When and why did I start disliking my husband so much?
That’s what I keep asking myself. As my marriage was disintegrating before my eyes, I felt helpless as to how to make it come back to life. And, the honest question was, did I even want to?
The fun was gone, the intimacy was gone and yep, most of the sex was gone. How did we get here? Not an easy thing to answer. I found myself pondering big issues like… What’s this relationship contributing to my well-being? What does it do to enrich my life? My joy? My desire for partnership in a deeper sense?
I must have liked him enough to marry him… What was different then? A lot. First off, I waited to get married until 40, with my career being my priority, I wasn’t in a hurry to shift my focus. But after a long string of quality, but not-good enough for the “M word” relationships, the timing finally felt right and I wanted something more. Enter the good-guy, single dad of two, kindred entrepreneur. I was hooked.
Whirlwind courtship of less than a year and we were hitched. Full-time young kids, new home, new roles, new pressures. When we were engaged he had made a comment about “not being the guy that takes out the trash.” At the time I laughed — surely that was just a silly thing to say.
But reflecting on that moment now, I see how such a simple statement really summed up how he wanted to live — no pressure, no have-tos, no judgements, and God forbid — no criticism. The contrast was significant to my style, typecast as more of a type A, project manager, go-getter.
When I dissect part of our downfall, I can see now that there is an inherent conflict between his no need to talk about it, I’ll do it later, easy-does-it tempo and a tempo that’s hardwired to communicate about everything, plan ahead and get-shit-done.
The more our lives demanded the get-shit-done speed to cope with normal scheduling, routines and the monotony of the daily grind, the more we fell out of sync. I took over as task master seeking a connection and he took on well, less and gave less emotionally.
I wanted a true partner and I felt like I didn’t have one. And he wanted a wife that acted more like a girlfriend, which was hard to do when life’s realities abound. Both of us missed the mark.
They say that acceptance is a virtue, and I am seeking to see if I can accept — who he really is. This is no small feat when the stress, anger and pain that got built up by wishing and wanting each other to be different than we really are has been standing in the way.
I have also decided, that I too want to be accepted for who I really am. After years of being told I am “just too much” or “too intense,” which maybe I am (for him) and that’s okay because I’m done feeling bad about being me.
No marriage is easy, it takes a real commitment to evolve, practice forgiveness and hold on to love through the hardest of times. Resetting my marriage is a change that’s long overdue and while I am unsure of the outcome, I do know that I need to reset my view of my husband. Let go of the expectations for him to act or say something different than what he is capable of. Let him be free to be himself. Perhaps in doing so, we can both remake this marriage — he being him, and me being me — even if it means I might have to take out the trash sometimes and he has to plan the weekly schedule.