Free marriage advice: part 1

Let's improve this marriage

Nothing a little tape can’t fix

Today I’m launching a multi-part Save Your Marriage series. If you read along each day, you’ll eventually learn every strategy I used to save my marriage. Today’s free marriage advice comes from the first marital improvement book I read: The 7 Best Things (Happy) Couples Do, by John and Linda Friel.

Today, I’d like you to think about this question:

How have you contributed to the failure of your marriage?

Um, are you thinking something along the lines of this: “Look Alisa, I’ve done nothing to hurt my marriage. It’s all my partner’s fault. Now if you would kindly tell me how to fix my partner, everything would be just swell.”

I thought that, too, when I first came across that question. After all, I was the one who was not happy, and I wasn’t happy with him. I could have listed hundreds of ways my husband had contributed to our failed marriage. Me? I was perfect. Wasn’t I? The Friels also mentioned that they thought my husband was my emotional equal. I really laughed at that one. Oh, did I laugh. I actually talked out loud to the book, saying, “You really don’t know my husband, now, do you? My emotional equal? Yeah, right.” Thing is, the Friels were right. My husband and I were stuck in dysfunctional pattern that was, in part, caused by my inability to ask for what I wanted. For example, my husband would ask, “Is it okay if I can go for a bike ride?” I’d say, “Yeah sure” when I really meant, “Are you out of your mind?! Don’t you see how overwhelmed I am right now? Are you that blind or just completely insensitive?” It’s true that my husband is not a sensitive mind-reading type. He doesn’t get body language. He doesn’t pick up on tone of voice. He just doesn’t. Expecting him to somehow read my mind is like expecting an infant to sing the alphabet. It’s never going to happen. Yet, my husband is really good at following directions. Once I found the ability to speak my voice and stand up for my needs, he found the ability to listen and do as I requested. He just needed an instruction manual. Looking back on it, I’m thankful that he was such a failure at reading my mind. It forced me to grow up and become a better person, one who is now more assertive in every area of her life. So think about that question. How are you contributing to your bad marriage? It takes two people to have a good marriage, and two people to have a bad one. You are just as much a part of your dysfunctional marriage as your spouse. Really think about that question, because owning the problem of your bad marriage is your first step toward fixing it.

How have you contributed to your bad marriage? Are you a part of the problem or is your partner entirely to blame? Leave a comment.

Do you believe you are a part of the problem?

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Tomorrow: Free marriage advice Part 2: How to forgive and move on from your hurtful past

More marriage advice and help.

85 comments… add one

  • Cynthia February 24, 2013, 11:12 pm

    My husband and I met our freshmen year of high school and dated on and off. After high school which we graduated in 2002 we would talk on the phone all the time as best friends even when we were dating others. In 2003 we got back together and moved in with each other in 2004 we have been together ever since so have known each other for 15 years together consistently for almost 10 married for almost 7 and have 1 son who will be 8 in May.
    We are both 28 he will be 29 this week. I feel we have both grown in different ways well, I have grown…I feel he hasnt grown at all….When we moved in together in 2004 I was 19 he was 20 he came to live with me moving out of his parents house…. I will admit the day I met him I told my best friend Im going to marry this guy she said I was crazy but I knew what I felt in my heart….so when he moved in I wanted to make him happy that he made the right choice by coming to live with me that I can take care of myself and him…. he didnt get his license til he dated me after high school nor a job til he moved in with me…. I did his laundry I did the cooking the cleaning and all the above things to make him happy to be with me….. in sep of 2004 i conceived my son we were so happy…. around the same time we found out his dad and mom of 22 years were divorcing so we moved in with his mom to help her as well as ourselves as 4 months into my pregnancy I was having complications so i had to leave my job and go on unemployment…. his dad had been an alcoholic my husbands entire life back and forth to AA meetings…. once we moved in with his mom i started seeing things change almost like an over protecting person…… but we would move past his outbursts and anger…. I never knew he had anger issues til we lived with his mom…over the years I just took care of everything we have a joint bank account that our paychecks get deposited into…I tend to all the finances all the cleaning all the cooking all the parenting and i work 2 jobs possibly a 3rd pretty soon because we are in such a debt and partially because of him…..my husband smokes medicinal marijuana for seizures and for recreational purposes….. he has is medical card for it but my husband has always been a pot head from the day i met him…… i dont hate that he smokes it i hate that its a priority for him….every payday that comes no matter how stressed out i am about the bills and how much i talk to him about our finances the first thing that comes out of his mouth is “can i get some”…….. over the years of knowing my husband and the times he couldnt get it he would get angry, never abusive physically but verbally/ mentally never name calling its more of a “you do this or you do that”…… He has no motivation, given he does go to work every single day and i respect him for that but I feel there is a hell of a lot more to a marriage and parenting than just going to work and coming home to sit on his butt……my day starts at 5:30 and im going all day long til 11 at night working going to gym to make myself healthier after 2 knee surgeries and back issues which he has stuck by me through and im grateful i am but once we got married i felt that getting married would have made him have more responsibility…i was wrong….its still the same thing….when it comes to my son…which is his son as well….and may be his only due to his medication for seizures….he has no bond with him at all but my son sees him as the world even though hes a mommys boy cuz im always with him and when my son asks me questions like why doesnt daddy play with me or why dont we do things together..i always sugar coated everything about my husband in my sons eyes…daddys at work or daddy worked late daddys tired or on daddys next day off we will do something……over the years i have tried communicating and ask for help that didnt work….i demanded help and nothing…..i yelled and nothing and ive tried biting my tongue…… but as i stand today i have no more tongue to bite…he complains about me almost every time he opens his mouth given he does make it known throughout every day to tell me he loves me and im beautiful….but hes always had this empowerment over me when we are fighting about EVERYTHING (money, work, responsibilities) that he knows when he pushes me to fight back and get angry after ive tried and tried to stay calm and he touches me with his hands and arms gently i always cave and bow down and im always the one saying sorry……hes a dweller meaning he only hears a partial phrase of what im saying and lingers on it instead of listening to the entire sentence and we will go in circles……..its been this way for years…… but a month and a half ago i finally put my foot down and blew up like a ticking time bomb although he has heard everything out of my mouth before cuz its always the same battle he actually compared himself to my son BIG NO NO FOR ALL MEN WHEN IT COMES TO A WOMAN AND HER CHILD ……a child always should come first in any parents eye…and any good man would know that…..not to the point where everything is centered around your child or anything like that but balanced between your spouses time and theirs and ive done that…his comparison was if our son did what i did how would you have handled it or something along those lines and why does he get that and I dont…..I looked at him and said are you freaking serious……. needless to say everything came to me in a different way and i couldnt bow down this time this past month and a half has been hell we are still in the same house…i told him i was unhappy but i wanted him as my husband but didnt know what i wanted as far as separation or staying right now he told me he didnt want to do all this trying if i wasnt sure what i wanted and if i were just goin to wake up one day and leave him i said well that sucks hearing coming from your mouth cuz that means you never gave your 110 percent to me and he said thats because i never put my foot down like i have done this time…….i almost feel im to a point of no return…..i told him things arent going to get better over night or in a week or over a month this is years of hurt and damage but im willing to try….. we have always had a great sex relationship that has never been an issue but lately due to everything im not in the touchy feeling loving mood…….i feel he needs to learn to take care of himself and stand on his own feet and know what it is to have responsibilities before he will be able to understand where im coming from……the man just wrote his first check from a checkbook last week……he doesnt ask me about bills although i offer to teach him…..i think i have made it way to easy on him and trust me like i have said this all just didnt hit me one day….its been years…..so thats why i said i feel i have grown and he hasnt…….i feel im to a point of no return…..i have read all the comments from others who are unhappy…..but none that i can compare to……..what do i do

    Reply
  • Wayne March 11, 2013, 6:57 pm

    I am basically newely married and already my marriage has fallen apart. My wife Angel, has three children and I married them all but i wasn’t a very happy or loving husband. You see it all started when I got laid off from my job. I was worried about how we were to pay the bills. She wasn’t working so it was all focused on my. I would worry to the point where I would not give her sex, I would always be complaining to her about looking for work. (her excuse is she has no people skills) also she hasn’t really worked anywhere except her and her girlfriend ran a cleaning business and her gorlfriend took off so the business was left all on Angel and Angel couldnt handle it all alone so she quit it and was doing odds and ends cleaning jobs but that was not paying the bills now close to it. I would be in this mood of I really dont know what to call it but I was not being very lovine. she has left me a total of 6 times and we have only been married for 6 months. I Wayne amd 35 and my loving wife Angel is 29. We lost our apartment and I had to move in with my mother and Angel and the kids had to move in with her parents. I have done everything to try and have Angel see that I am a changed man but after six times of leaving i really can’t blame her. I am now currently on medication from all of this. I take anxiety, depression and bi-polar meds. It has done me some good too! I feel the change within myself but I am just trying to have her see the change too! Six times in only six months is a lot of time to leave someone. She is working now but the work she does, I do not approve of but there is nothing I can do about it cause she is there and I am here. Shes topless dancing. I am working for a Temporary Service that seems to be giving me the hours so we will see how it pans out. I try so hard to re-assure her that I am a changed man but she seems convinced that she has to get a divorce. I know that a divorce is not the answer and I have been trying to convince her the same but it seems to be going in one ear and out the other. I know she still loves me though because when we do talk (which is not as often as I would like) she has it in her words but she does not want to admit it. She is listening to everyone else around her instead of listening to me, her husband. I have known her for 15 years. 14 years ago we use to be together in a sence and it took Facebook for me to find her again and I so want to stay with her! She is my best friend! I feel so safe at opening up to her and telling her everything even the real personal things. I just do not know what else I can say or do to convince her that I will not be the man i was when she left those 6 times. I need help because I love her with all of my hearts and the kids too! She has 2 girls and a boy. The boy James does not have a daddy to be there for him but I took on the role of being his daddy. He even use to call me daddy and say he loved me with all of his heart. He is 3. Angel’s two daughters Tessa is 5 and Tylene is 11. Tessa is the shy one but she was beginning to open up to me slowly but surely. Tylene got mad at me at mine and Angel’s wedding because I was a little tipsy I will admit but I told her she couldnt sit at our table which I know was wrong and still to this day feel bad about telling her that. I just really need help bad! PLEASE HELP

    Reply
  • tammie April 1, 2013, 7:24 am

    when my husband gets mad at me. i have a tendency to get a bit defensive when he brings up an issue, but these issues are minor. we got into a huge fight yesterday about the remote control. if my version of the event does not mesh with his version he gets all pissed off at me. what my issue is: when he gets pissed at me he resorts to verbal abuse. he calls me selfish and arrogant and he says because he makes the majority of the money in the marriage he says its his house and nothing i do matters. i took care of my two kids and his two kids in the marriage, i work part time, i am going to school to get a degree and i take care of the home, the shopping, the dogs and i am sick of him telling me nothing i do in this marriage matters. how do i handle this. he keeps making me feel like a second class citizen and i’ve told him this but he keeps doing it everytime we have a fight.

    Reply
  • purplelove April 8, 2013, 8:31 pm

    Any advice on how to help my alcoholic husband stop drinking? It’s taking over his life and in turn destroying our marriage! I can’t take it anymore!

    Reply
    • Michelle July 11, 2013, 1:16 pm

      My husband had a serious drinking problem when I met him and we have changed his behavior, together. First, I would ask you if you want him to stop altogether or if you want him to bring it to a reasonable amount. My husband enjoys the taste of beer and going out for a drink with me and so I did not want to take that away from him, I just wanted to bring to a level that was comfortable to me and not a habit for him. He went from drinking 10 or 12 beers from 5pm to midnight on weekdays and 15 to 20 a day on the weekends to no more than 5 on weekdays and most weekdays 2 or 3 to usually 6 or 7 on a weekend day. Some days he has zero. The way I helped him accomplish this is as follows:
      1. I told him it scared me and made me uncomfortable.
      2. I told him that it was harmful to his body and that I needed him to be around for the rest of my life, that I could not live without him.
      3. I ASKED him to slow it down, I never TOLD him to.
      4. I was there every step of the way.
      5. I asked him to not drink without me and in turn I bring him every beer, and ope it for him (which is how I can keep track)
      6. As ask that he gives me a kiss before he takes the first drink of each beer.
      7. Along the way we came up with acceptable numbers of beer and acceptable times and places for drinking. (i.e.: 2 when he meets me for happy hour and then none until right before bed, since he likes to have a beer or 2 in bed before he goes to sleep. or after he spends some lovin time with me)

      My point is that I asked for everything, and never told him what to do. I loved him throughout the way. I buy all the beer. My husband likes craft beer and loves to try new beer. So I make it my job to always have options and find new ones. I support that he likes beer just as he goes shopping with me. But I always keep track and I always will. The process took 3 years. But it worked for us. He used to have to have a beer in his hand. Now he says he often does not think about it. Some days I ask for zero and he does no problem. And some days I give him a friday evening out where I drive home and he can have 5 if he wants. (although he never does because he cannot handle the amount he used to…) But I know that the reason he did it all was ME. Many other people have asked him to slow it down. He never did before. He did it for me. You have to talk to him about it in a loving way. You have to take care of him along the way. Come up with compromises. Do it gradually. This method may not work for all but it worked for us. I rarely ever drank myself before him and now it is something we do together. It has gone from being about the beer to being about us time. Before he met me he drank to escape life and get through the day. Now he never drinks without me and looks forward to our date for a drink or 2 after work some days. And if I get uncomfortable with it, I tell him and we take a few days off.
      Just find a way to work with him and love him through it.

      Reply
      • Jim July 12, 2013, 5:29 pm

        I am the husband. My wife wrote this and she nailed it on the head. She is the reason I slowed down, No other. I love her with all my heart and always will. I do enjoy happy hour with her and I look forward to it every day. Ask your husband to slow down but make drinking about the two of you, not just him. Have fun with it. Things can change. Hell I still find it funny that I could drink 12 beers and still function. Now I have 6 beers and I am asleep. I guess the body adjusts.
        Love each other and all else will work out.

  • Theresa April 21, 2013, 5:16 am

    Need help to see if I can save my marriage , we been separate since last October , I love him very much , but I also hurt him in the past 2 years . I would like to try and get our marriage back before we get divorce . Family was the reason behind most of our problems in our marriage . I don’t want to divorce .

    Reply
  • Arnetta April 21, 2013, 10:18 am

    To begin, I just found your site today and I LOVE IT. The message behind it is remarkable. Congrats to you and your husband for committing to making it work and succeeding in doing so. ♥

    My husband and I have been together since highschool… married for 4 years and parents to 2 school age children (7 and almost 6). We have our share of issues and like you, I felt they were ALL his fault. Once I realized he was not going to magically make things better, or morph into Prince Charming, I decided to read a gazillion self help books, visit a trillion self help marriage sites, and like magic i realized I WAS TO BLAME AS WELL. I realized that I was not blameless. Once I took the microscope off of him and focused on myself, I found many things I could change that would make my marriage happier and healthier AND that would turn our house from a war zone back into a HOME.
    I realized I contributed to the breakdown of our marriage… and I made it my mission to contribute to the rebuilding of it as well. So far, 2013 has been a good year. We are taking it one day at a time and I am actually HAPPY. :)

    Reply
  • jkr April 26, 2013, 12:18 pm

    i love my wife .but she is not always happy

    Reply
  • jkr April 26, 2013, 12:32 pm

    Mine was an arranged marriage. I was not very happy in the beginning because i had a feeling that she was not very pretty. But i did marry her since i thought that she could be a wonderful wife. But, initially, she was very fond of finding my faults, I was lazy, miserly and naive.. her comments were not hollow. I knew that i was not perfect. So , i told her that i did not marry you not to compile a list of my faults and drawbacks. We quarreled a lot. After one year, she changed a lot. She loves me. But i dont feel that she takes care of some of my emotional needs. I cant communicate them to her. So , i have stopped grumbling. But i am more happy when she is not with me. I had many romantic dreams. But she is no where in the picture. I travel with her. I try to make her happy. I return home desolate.
    I dont know why i can not love my wife enough. I hope that she will be able to bring back the romantic moments in my life. But for the time being, mine is an artificial relationship. I live like an ideal husband. But in my heart, there isnt too much love. But i want to become a real romantic hubby. Bow can we rekindle the flames of love , no ,not again, for the first time

    Reply
  • sumi May 10, 2013, 2:13 pm

    my hubby is 10 years senior than me,we r doing love marriage.my parents are not accept.they leave me ..i am in love with this man thats why i compromise everything…but after marriage he expects a lot of thing from me just like i have to take care about his mother,family everything,,i am trying to do all of this thing but he never satisfy on me…besides he has no imotion,no dreams,no desire..nothing…feel like i am living with a death person…he has lot of problem in his family and he always think about those matter..never try to make his own world with me..Even he never share any feelings or anything with me.very self centered man…sometimes it made me frustated how can i survive my whole life with him…day by day i become lifeless…always i dream for a life partner who took care about me,love me…bt in my case it seems he just marry me for take care of his old mother…even he has a least sexual desire,,,i tried to make everything good bt nothing happen….even when i want to talk about this matter he dont talk to me….what can i do…i feel so hopeless and helpless……..

    Reply
  • Todd May 26, 2013, 6:59 pm

    Me and my wife live in a rural community in the country. My job doesn’t allow me to leave a lot on the weekends. She started going away on weekends without me. I didn’t mind if she went out with her friends but it turned into being gone almost every weekend. Now even when I have the time and want to go she would rather go alone. I know I pushed her away some because when I got tired of her being gone I was a dick to her and made sarcastic comments to her. She says she was stuck as a mom, wife and business owner and lost herself. She says I won’t understand and gets mad when we discuss it. She also says shes going nowhere and that once she sorts through this that we will be ok, but the sitting waiting for her to want to be here on the weekends is tearing me apart. We text when shes gone some but a lot of the time I am the one who sends the text or several before she replies once. Its very frustrating. I do laundry, clean, cook, help with the kids her business also to help almost every day. The other thing is we can’t afford her being gone every weekend. It has added up to be several thousand dollars since the beginning of the year and any time I bring up cutting back and saving money she just gets mad. Shes bipolar which doesn’t help and her meds make her gain weight so she doesn’t take them. I have tried to get her to talk to someone or both of us to talk to someone but she says no. I get we are ok and it will work out that she’s not going anywhere not cheating that she loves me. I feel lonely, empty, and can’t stop thinking of her and us all the time. What can I do. I try to give her space but going half a day without talking has never been us through are whole relationship.

    Reply
  • Jacqueline June 11, 2013, 2:04 pm

    Well heres another attempt possibly my last to try to save my marriage if theres anything left of it or if theres really some body out there to guide and advise me without asking me for something i dont have. My husband and i have been together 13 years. A few years ago, i felt so backed into a corner and so unloved and i didnt matter. I dont want to go into what led up to it becuz that just takes the focus off of what i did. Desperate to feel loved pretty and desirable one day a frequent customer came into my job. I was sad and crying all the time even at work. This customer said all the right things to make me feel better. I had moved into the spare bedroom at home and all i wanted was to be loved back. Well my husband wouldnt or couldnt acknowledge what i was telling him. So i cheated. It was my worst mistake ive ever made. He found out later cuz i didnt have the courage to tell him myself somebody else did. Yes he was MAD HURT ANGRY ETC.. He left. It was a few days before christmas.. I couldnt blame him so i stayed home and cried and cried!! My husband is my everything!! I love him sooo deeply and i later found out that he loved me just the same. He went to his kids house but on christmas eve he left a message on the machine to call him. I did he said he was miserable and that he was coming home. Tho i didnt deserve this he came home even with christmas presents in hand. I hadnt bought anything for anyone that year not my kid or grandchild. But my husband came in and he brought the gifts to the spare room where i was and talk about coals heaped upon someone. This was it. And he knelt down beside me and said “HONEY, I FORGIVE YOU!” I UNDERSTAND YOU JUST WANTED TO BE LOVED BACK.. ” i began crying uncontrollably becuz that is not what i deserved! We grew intensely close after that. A closeness that u couldnt imagine. You see what bothers me is that when he came back and i was walking into our bedroom where he was, i noticed the look on his face as he lay there waiting. That face of his was so hurt and empty that it nearly killed me to see it!! It wasnt til that moment that i realized he loves me!! I had to hurt him to see it! We got really close and hes a macho kinda guy and that bothers him to this day that he says i made him vulnerable. But during our time i told him i understand if he feels the need to pay me back to just get it over with now not later.. I also told him that i felt he forgave me awfully quickly and i know he wants to but without processing everything properly that this could affect him later. He said no. Well here we are 3 years later and hes been gone since march and he refuses to speak to me or tell me where he is. He acts as though he hates my guts!! Should i just cry and grieve or should i continue onwith what little hope i have left?! I hurts so bad because we had something special something true genuine and deep something that rarely comes once in a lifetime.. How can i save my marriage without communication?? Is there hope?? Hes got so many people feeding his head and theyre glad to do so cuz we were soooo envied as a couple..! I cant speak at all thank you

    Reply
  • Brian June 21, 2013, 12:27 pm

    I write about marriage from time to time and love to see what others are writing, but one small phrase struck me in this article, “stuck in dysfunctional pattern.” That is such a key for couples to understand that. After almost 25 years of marriage my wife and I still will find areas where we are stuck in some sort of dysfunction and we won’t even know it until some argument or crisis shakes us to the point of realizing the particular area of dysfunction.

    If we can help couples to pull back the curtain and see the areas of their dysfunction, that’s when we have one of the greatest opportunities to help them have a positive breakthrough in their relationship.

    Reply
  • Jeff July 6, 2013, 1:15 pm

    I met my wife back in 2008, I had been single for awhile due to a bad break up and didn’t feel like I would ever find anyone to complete me and heal my heart. Instantly we became friends, even though she is about 10 years my senior we still has more in common than I ever had with anyone! I was so happy and began to develop deep feelings for her. I then went away for a little over a year. We didn’t communicate during that time yet I always had her in my thoughts. Around the end of 2009 we finally got back together, starting in a relationship, we would be like animals! Usually having sex 2-3 times a day! I was never happier, we had such a great connection both physically and emotionally! We were partners! We were a duo! Yet because of past mistakes on my part our calm voyage of love soon met rough seas. We were put in a situation that was starting to year us apart! I felt such anger over the situation that came that I believe it was ready to fully consume me! All my happiness was stolen away from me, and us! Yet somehow I was able to move past it, and we married in 2011. Things should have been wonderful and grand since I love her more than anything! But unfortunately when you stop working on happiness it starts to go away, and what’s left is 2 strangers instead of a strong happy couple! Due to recurring illness and stupid choices I’ve made I feel we are on the bring of splitting up! I don’t want that and I’m sure she doesn’t either! Yet I don’t know what to do to help this, my heart, mind, body, and soul cries out for us to be as close and strong as we used to be but I don’t know the path to making that happen! We, like so many others out there have problems outside our marriage, I don’t want these problems to destroy us….. but what can I do to stop it? I just don’t know! I love her, want her, and I desperately wasn’t her to know and believe that, but then comes situations that I’m sure cause her to think otherwise! I’m tired of living in a dark world of unhappiness! I want the illumination of our love back to light my life! I keep searching and I truly hope she can see that I want us to be together forever! If you end up reading this sweetheart, know that I love you with every breath I take, and that I want us back! I’m not perfect and I stumble and fall at times but my body, heart, and soul is yours! I know we can make it through this! I just wish I had the map to take us back to the calm waters we both want! Until then I’ll always be here, always be by your side. I love you, always.

    Reply
  • Rene July 10, 2013, 6:06 pm

    My husband and I just passed our 1 year anniversary on June 30th. To say simply that it has been the longest year of my life would be an understatement. I had a miscarriage on our honeymoon, which kind of took away that chance to look at ourselves as a newly married couple . Literally, days after our wedding we became two different people. I know that a big part of it is the communication (which is something I have always had issues with in relationships all my life).
    I guess because the question is asking for what I do to contribute to my bad marriage, I will go with that (I am sure there will be somewhere where I can put the rest).
    I avoid conflict because I am afraid that I will blow up and say the words that will put our marriage to rest for good. I don’t like to talk about my feelings because I’m afraid I will hurt my husband. Also, I feel like I am insignificant because he has never relied on me to help him when it comes to his stress ( he relies on family and friends). I find myself in a bitter hole because of this. But instead of me coming out and saying “hey, I am your wife. Let me know something that the rest of the world doesn’t,” I wait until he is gone and get mad or sad. The only time we “argue” is over text while he is at work. Once he is home, we don’t really talk. Just chit chat. And usually I end that quick because I hate it when his phone or computer are in front of his face. When he is gone, I find myself either intentionally or accidentally coming across things that upset me. I don’t know how to trust him after some issues we’ve had in the last year. And I feel guilty, because I feel like I’m ruining our relationship, no matter what he’s done. I feel like it would be better if I put my head down and just pretended I was fine.

    Reply
  • moni July 16, 2013, 2:38 pm

    married for 16 years own a bar restaurant, mu husband keeps of grouping the ladies when he is drunk and thinks they are, this has become terrible for me I feel so ashamed and detrimental to our business, what can I do I have confroted him but he does not want to talk?

    Reply
  • Dan August 13, 2013, 2:21 am

    I don’t know how to start. Me and my wife been married for about a year now and things are getting worse. The only thing i ask is to keep the house clean an she dose not do that it’s like she wait on me to do everything and that’s getting old. I love my wife but it’s pushing me away. The lack of everything even sex! We talk about this many times and she say that she do more and next week it back to the same old thing.i would been gone but i have 2 grate kids and i don’t want to leave an make them sad because I left home. So my questing Is it always going to be up to me or will she ever step up to the plate?

    Reply
  • dhiraj August 25, 2013, 8:32 am

    Hello Dear, I am here to get a guidance for getting married. Well, I am from India and my age is 36 years and I doing a simple billing work job in automobile dealership at Jammu city of India. My parents are not able to search a girl for my marriage and I don’t have friends to whom I can trust so and I am not able to get any solution that how can I get marry as soon as possible. I hope you will provide some good solutions. Reply soon.

    with rgds,
    Dhiraj

    Reply
  • david August 30, 2013, 2:00 pm

    My wife and i have been married for 10 years, big in our church, three weeks ago i on a weds. night and asked for a divorce that she felt that she was smothered, found out later she had been texting one of the other church members thats about her own age, well she gets defensive and then moves in with our oldest daughter that just moved out a week prier to this incident. we have had 5 kids in all. two in college, two at home and one that works when he fells like it. it’s been tough over the years but we managed to work through it.Now she is saying it’s over…………….

    Reply
  • Jillian September 18, 2013, 3:41 pm

    I just want to say I love love love your blog! I’ve been married nearly 10 years to an absolutely wonderful man that I love with all of my heart. About 2 years ago he quit his job, and we ended up living at his parents place for a time. It nearly destroyed our marriage, and that was the best thing that ever could have happened to it! Before that, our marriage was ‘fine’–we never fought, we did things together, etc, etc. But all the while, we had problems that we both avoided because neither of us is the confrontational type. I secretly believed that my husband loved and respected his parents more than me. This feeling was not irrational–it was based on my experiences in my married life. Things came crashing to a head when my husband casually invited me to his baptism–WHAT?!?!! I had no idea that he was Christian (he wasn’t when we were first married, though his parents are wildly evangelist born-again types). Not only that, he wouldn’t tell me how long he’s been converted, and left me to hear it with the rest of the general public during his baptismal confession. Turns out he’s been Christian for the bulk of our marriage, and I never ‘knew.’ He didn’t go to church, I never saw him reading the bible or taking time for prayer. He started going to church when we moved in with his parents, and I had just figured he did it to make them happy

    I was livid–I felt unloved, insignificant, and like all the feelings I’d had about his loyalty to his parents were completely justified. I felt like leaving. How could he have been so untruthful to me for the BULK of our marriage? Did we have wildly different ideas of what it meant to be married? I thought long and hard. I wrote. I drove. I cried and cried. And I realized something. My husband is a GOOD MAN. I loved him. He loved me. We had some serious communication problems. No one is a mind reader, and once you marry someone, you’re still an individual person. You still have insecurities, and worry about what your spouse thinks of you.

    I obviously had given my husband the impression that I wouldn’t be able to handle him being Christian. He thought that there would be a wall between us if I knew–now he knows that although I don’t share his faith, I can celebrate this spiritual growth with him. He also knows that I struggle with his relationship with his parents, and he knows that I expect his first loyalty to be to me. In a way, I think it was a relief to him to finally have me spell it out, rather than be inexplicably moody all the time.

    We continue to labour through this journey called marriage, but now, instead of skirting around the obstacles and debris, we tackle them, sometimes individually, sometimes together. And what we are creating now is so much stronger and more beautiful than the barely discernible path we tread before.

    Reply
    • Alisa September 18, 2013, 5:19 pm

      Dear Jillian,

      Thanks for sharing your tale. I’m so happy to hear that you are growing stronger and happier. You are welcome here, and I think you’ll find many kindred spirits in the PHEA community.

      Alisa

      Reply
  • concerned October 2, 2013, 2:12 am

    I am having a really hard time and I don’t have anyone to talk to. Since having kids I have hardly any friends and it really is my fault on that end. My husband and I work full time and on opposite schedules so we rarely see each other. When our paths do cross it seems like it is to take care of the kids. When I get home from work I am excited to see him but he doesn’t even seem present. He is the boss at his job and he was recently promoted. He has been having issues with anxiety lately from work but he won’t talk to me about what is going on. I feel like the more I try to connect with him the further away he is running from me. Earlier this week I got a message from someone’s husband whom I don’t know saying that he caught my husband talking to his wife and asking her to send pictures of herself. My husband had told me about it months ago buy the guy said he was trying to contact her again. I am going crazy with worry. I started checking his phone and Facebook like a crazy that is so not like me. I try to talk to him but there are other issues at play with his family. Neither of us have family for thousands of miles. All we have is each other and our kids and lately I am feeling like I am not enough for him. I don’t think he has acted on anything yet…. But I am concerned of we keep growing apart it is only a matter of time before something changes our relationship forever. I don’t know what to do!!! Please help!!

    Reply
  • Rae drake November 14, 2013, 2:42 pm

    Hi I’ve been married it will b two yrs n march 3months after we were married my husband admitting to watching porn frequently he had done it a few times when we were dating n I never approved he had told me he didn’t do it anymore I found out three months after we were married he watched porn the week of our wedding and was very hurt he says he ddnt tell me because he knew I wldnt marry him…he now watches porn all the time talks to women on Facebook and gets on dating sights he says he doesn’t love me or care about me at all yet he won’t leave he says he’s afraid it will b a mistake to leave I love him very much and want this to work I’m willing to forgive and forget if he will stop I just don’t knw what to do anymore I’m to the point now that yes I love him but if we get a divorce oh well I’m just tired of being hurt I need help he also verbally abuses me terribly n never tells me I’m pretty and hardly ever wants sex from me just tired of the fight but don’t knw what to do… I have no money he supports me fully I’m a stay at home wife I cook clean n do everything for him n he shows no appreciation for it

    Reply
  • Corey January 13, 2014, 2:18 am

    Hi. Me and my wife have been married for 22 years and for the most part have been pretty happy together. We have 2 boys 20 and 18. She has an ex that is in prison and at first I was exremely jealous of the whole “friendship” thing. She assured me that since he had nobody else other than his parents for support .and since his mother was in bad health, that it was a friend only relationship. over the years I softened to the idea. Then after his mother died I noticed that she began to change. I have clinical depression and after finally being diagnosed. started a treatment.I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the easiest person to live with. I’m short tempered and intense toward financial issues, but I have never cheated or abused her in any way. recently, I notice alot of attention being shown toward her ex and she made friends witha girl who knows her ex. since then its all been downhill for our marriage. I recently found out that she is still in love with him. She told this friend that she loves me but not like she loves her ex. She blames me for pushing her away but I think she is just trying to cover up her own guilt. She does not know I know any of this and it is killing me because Im keeping it inside and dont talk to anyone about it. If I try to talk to her about it and work things out she just gets mad and emotional. I really want to save my marriage but I dont know how to get through to her that I love her more than life itself. I’m deperate and dont know where to turn.

    Reply
  • Anthony January 29, 2014, 3:22 am

    Hi Alisa.. I’m married for almost seven years now. Currently I am working away. I’m in the military profession and i’m assigned at a distant location and my wife and son with my mother-in-law are left home. I usually go home monthly for a week or two. My wife is a sales executive for hospital machines for just more than a year now. Currently I and my wife are having problems with our marriage. My wife sent me a message via SMS few weeks ago and told me that she gives up. She wants legal separation or the likes. In an instance I was shocked and saddened. I paused and ask myself why instead of asking her back… Then i finally made up my mind and called her to clear things up. During the phone conversation, she narrated all my failures, mistakes and deficiencies… She also told me that she has become on what she is now because of me and that i’ve been a bad effect to her. Alisa, my wife is a good woman, a loving wife and a caring mother to my son, I admit I have mistakes and deficiencies… I love my wife, my kid and my family… it’s just i’m not vocal on them on how i appreciated them…I constanly say “I love you” to my wife but then lately she stops on responding the same to me…She told me she doesn’t care anymore on what I do and will not be affected anymore… She told me she has stop loving me, she doesn’t feel for me anymore… Alisa, after this incident, i assessed myself, truly i have been deficient to her but i’m not aware… I know I’m not perfect, but I guess she is same too… She is thinking that I have affair to other woman as the number one reason following the accumulated bad treatments and deficiencies i made.. All over the years it’s been in her mind and poured it all out to me and gave up… I don’t know how to start but I did things right after until now to tell her and let her feel that I really love her… I have made her felt unloved but i didn’t intend it and i’m unaware..I always fall short of her expectations and on choosing the right words on our conversations.. Please give me the advice on how to win her heart back and how to start… I’ve wrote her letter and send her text messages to constantly reaffirm that I love her so much and will fight for that love and for our marriage..Whatever happens I will not give up on her….Our son is going to be seven years soon and I dont want my family broken…I love them so much.. Thank you for your time Alisa.

    Reply
  • Whitney February 11, 2014, 2:35 pm

    I’m in a really difficult situation with my husband. We were married in August of 2013, but we’ve been together for almost a decade. In March 2013 I was in a very serious car accident (rear ended) in which I was injured to the point of not being able to function on my own. I couldn’t always control my legs, the pain was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and I ended up needing surgery. For a brief period, we weren’t sure whether or not I would need to be in a wheelchair permanently. Also during this time, my father-in-law (who already suffers from severe MS) suffered a pulmonary embolism and needed a lot of care taking as well. Needless to say, this was one of the most difficult periods in all of our lives. Lucky for us, the surgery went well & my father-in-law recovered. I am almost back to my old self now. During this time, my husband and my family took care of me. My husband bathed me and dressed me and did everything he could to make me as comfortable as possible. For this, I am eternally grateful and I feel like I owe him a lot. Here’s where my story starts to get tricky. In June 2013, an opportunity arose for my husband to take over a new business, a little snack stand inside a bingo hall/flea market. My surgery was in May, so after some serious conversations, my stance was that we should wait until I was back on my feet to go into this huge endeavor, Instead of valuing my input, my husband took over the business anyway, without thorough preparation and research. 8 months later, it was bleeding money so much that we had to cut our losses. And here is the massive issue that keeps me up at night. I received a settlement for the damages from the accident. I took that settlement and invested some into the new business, some into our home, and the rest I set aside in a savings account to use for pursuing my goal of going back to school. To get into a career field that I would enjoy and ultimately start my life over in a positive direction. Before we got married, my husband, without my knowledge, took that money, every cent, and put it into the business and paid off his car. When he told me, months later, I literally threw up. Now, I am reeling. I want to forgive, but I am afraid I won’t be able to, if I cannot follow through with my plan to go to school. I had this vision of what my future was going to be after this great gift of being able to function again on my own, I put the necessary components in place to achieve this future, and I feel that my partner (who also took such great care of me in certain aspects) ripped it away from me & in doing so, treated me like I don’t even matter. We have discussed the issue and he agrees that the mistake and betrayal are enormous. He wants to make it up to me and pay me back, but because of the failed business we’re in a really tough financial position. I fear I will have to go back to working my butt off in a job that I hate, in order for us to keep ours heads above water. How will I fight the resentment that comes from this, if this is the case. I fear I will stew on the fact that “this isn’t the way I planned to step back into real life… he robbed me of my great plans” and we won’t overcome this obstacle. How do I let go?

    Reply
  • jessy March 14, 2014, 12:27 pm

    I am recently married to a man dat knws notin about feelings and how I felt emotionally’ , it always com up somtyms of him only caring 4 his family and friends and also give hearing ears to dem in a way dat almost everitin we do in de house he dose take de advice frm his friends and neglected me as his wife dis makes me fil so rejected and unloved , am so worried and confuse abt who to discloss it to and is so hard 4 me to coup wit and dis is eventually tearin my family apart pls I nEed some advice

    Reply
  • Jessica Calderon May 2, 2014, 11:00 pm

    Just a newbie here searching desperately for some hope. The D talk has occured several times this past year and I believe that this time its serious. Pray with me folks!!!!!

    Reply
  • Jennifer June 26, 2014, 5:30 am

    My husband and I have been together for 14years and married for 3 and half. Last year I had an accident which damaged my knee ligament so sex was very hard to begin with but we have gradually over come it. I have lost a lot of weight since January ( 47lbs ) to help with the pressure on my knees after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis also on top of my ligament damage. My husband is loving the new body so far but I feel like he just gropes me and there’s no passion anymore he just wants sex. We don’t really kiss, passionately, and We don’t really sit close on the sofa because of this. I want it back ! I love him and know he loves me we are strong. Am I being unreasonable wanting more passion ? How can we get this back ? I have spoken to my husband about this but he doesn’t seem to understand. He thinks the fact he wants me is enough. Sorry to get traffic but we often just play with each other and don’t have penetration. What’s wrong ?

    Reply

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