Words vs. Action
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Words vs. Action

We will have been married for 17 years this coming Saturday. 15 of those years were basically spent being parent partners (not by my choosing) and suddenly one day my husband comes home and essentially says he wants us to change. Yes, after 15 years of me essentially beating my head against a wall and him telling me our marriage is awesome he "realizes" that it isn't. So I try my best to put aside 15 years of hurt, anger and neglect and try to make the best out of our future together. We went to counseling and things "seemed" to be getting better.
Fast forward to today. I realize that there has been no change in him whatsoever except for words. In the last 2 years he does say "I love you" and "you are the most important person in the world to me" so I guess that is progress? But what does the context tell me. He says these things yet doesn't back it up with any action. None. His "I love you's" are usually said while tapping away at his laptop, barely looking up at me. As for being the most important? I certainly don't feel it. A small example: over the weekend we were supposed to "talk" and try to understand one another better. That didn't happen despite my asking him about it. He said "let's do it tomorrow". Sunday, nothing. So yesterday I sent him a private message telling him my feelings about us. He got that message before 9:00 am. No response whatsoever and last night he spent all night watching t.v. before falling asleep at 11:00. Today, when I confronted him about it he said "You didn't give me a chance to respond". What? How is that making me the most important person to you? Hell, the television was more important than my feelings!
He says that his word is his bond. Okay. But what if those words don't match the action? A man can tell his wife he loves her all he wants but if his actions are those that hurt her, what do his words mean anymore?
In these past two years he has been more vocal but my "list" of actions have gone ignored. On my list were things that are/were important to me and ways that he could make me feel like a priority to him with time spent together. I wanted him to take black and white photos of me (he is/was an amateur photographer), I wanted to go up to the airport at night, lay on the hood of his car and watch the planes take off and land (I love airplanes, want to get my pilot's license), I wanted to go out just the two of us to a nice restaurant that wasn't kid friendly and had candlelight. I wanted to have sex outdoors (lol). Not ONE thing on this list has happened or even come close to happening in TWO YEARS. Most of it is free for God's sake! I have mentioned (and even written these items down) more times than I can count. It is always the same thing....next weekend/next time/next month/after this, that and whatever. Yet I am supposed to believe his words and he gets angry/sad that I don't believe them. What hurts the most? It's not like he doesn't have it in him to act on his words. He has made a career out of managing projects, deadlines, resources, budgets and people. He is a Project Manager and very successful at what he does. It just leaves me realizing that I am a "project" that isn't important enough.
Are words as important as action? What if the words aren't met with action?
I am just so hurt. 17 years this Saturday and I am dreading that damn day.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Words vs. Action

It sounds like you have done a lot of talking yourself.

Have you taken any action to force the issue...?

Just start doing the things on your list. Set the time you are going, ask him to come, if he doesn't go, don't pout just take someone else.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Words vs. Action

I have not finished your post but it hit me by the 1st few sentences and saw that was me { 19 years of grap and I wanted change, just suddenly}

My take, if he wants change, well his 1st change for you is read "how to love your wife". 2nd change is for you to support it.

I spead through your post, and he hasn't done a thing, right ( no action)?

Well dont resent, dont say any thing, show him through your actions to his s**ty attempt on being better through words and give him exambles like affection, take his hand while walking, give him a quick peck on the neck, even slight touch on his back, a touch with a long look/stear or a light slap on the butt. I'm just quessing here but if your already doing this, do it more.

I have found the more affection I get from my W the more I want to return it. It just seams like the right thing to do. You know what I mean, its like when someone says hi, you say hi back. Does that make sense?

He may start questioning your physical attention and well actions speak loader then words and besides he started this.

W & I never saw much puplic affection from our parents and it WAS an obsticle for us as adults.IDK, try it.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Words vs. Action

I actually know a lot about action vs words from experience. For years, my low self esteem issues have played havoc with my marriage (23 years), and many times I have said that I would change. I always had the intention of doing so and would work hard for a while, and things would get better. But eventually I would fall back in the same habits and hurt my wife all over again. It got to the point that she had had enough and said she may want to leave. Just the jolt of her wanting to leave has been quite the motivator!

It may be that your husband realizes that change is needed, and he actually wants to change. I suspect that he probably tries for a bit, then things feel "normal" again and he gets comfortable and goes back to his same pattern. He probably won't make any real, permanent change until you are both at "rock bottom". That is why drug addicts have such a hard time changing until they are at their lowest poing. It is just human nature. You may have to force his hand by action on your part. Just be sure that if you bluff, that you are ready to follow through. I really hope things work out for you. You both sound like you have a lot to work with and can get through this.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Words vs. Action

Atholk,
I told him that I would hire a photographer to take pictures (clothed) of me and his response was "They will come out better that way. I don't have a studio or good lighting". When he said that it made me feel ugly. I told him so and he said that I misunderstood him in that he wanted to make sure they were "perfect". I could care less how those photos came out, I wanted to experience this with HIM. None of the things on my list would matter jack **** if it were done with somebody else.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The Guy: I will buy that book. Thank you.

Last edited by Therealbrighteyes; 09-28-2010 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Words vs. Action

So what are you going to do?

Have you asked about a MC?
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sanchez,
Thank you for your insight. Yes, we have LONG history. Married 17 years (this dreaded Saturday) and have known each other since age 9. Friends. Dated others yet ended up together. What I cannot wrap my brain around is how do you treat the "most important person in your life" the way he has? He is my lover, my rock, my love. I think he would say the same about me. He isn't a jerk or a cheater yet he seems to care more about his comforts than to put forth effort in to me. Again, words versus actions. Right now, if he told me the sky was blue I would have to go outside and check for myself....his words mean that little.
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Turnera,
We went to MC for five months. She in essence said that we both harbor anger and resentment over the past 15 years when we didn't think our marriage was important. I took serious issue with that. For 15 years (try 6 months after being married) I told him that something was wrong, something was off, this didn't feel normal. My husband dismissed it. He was happy, loves me and cannot wait to spend the rest of his life with me.
Looking back, to him, words meant everything. To me, actions spoke louder than words. We have both read the 5 Love Languages. Here is what saddens me the most. He came out highest on words of affirmation. So to him when he says he loves me, he really means it. But he doesn't show it. Ever. I am not asking for the Hope Diamond, I am asking for his time, his connection, his love and his attention and it hurts more than anything to think he gives that away freely to co-workers, friends, our boys and his parents but not me. The "most important person" in his life my ass.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey! I hear ya on the words vs action issue, it seems like they wanna try and then they dont... at all. Even when I go way out of my way to make an effort like compliments, i love you's, actions, etc i get get nothing in return. I haven't decided if they are oblivious and dont get it or if the relationship is too damaged to repair. Even when I get frustrated and bring up his lack of effort/action/anything he just repeats his words of yes i wanna work on the relationship etc etc. I just wanted to relate, i am still learning myself and wanted to be let in on any tips. One thing that does seem to make the relationship better is spending time together to just get to know each other again and sometimes all those fun things that you wanna do happen bc you get carried away in the moment. idk i hope it helps a littleish! good luck!
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Words vs. Action

It frusterates me, I was that guy , for 19 years I dismissed my W.
I wish I had some great wisdom that brought me to were I/we are today.
I hope he wakes up soon, believe me, a spouse will do some ugly thing for self preservation when ther need aren't met. and he is a fool for not understanding that.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:34 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I've been in the same boat for 30 years. I'll tell you the ONLY thing that has worked: I finally told him that I'm thinking of leaving him if things don't changed.

Then HE changed.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:49 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I think that when you are ready to deal with whatever consequence you dictate, you'll probably just have to tell him to use his project management skills to give you a workable plan of demonstrated behaviours, with defineable results. For your part, maybe you could commit to your own plan of actions to support the behaviors he will commit to.

Some people only move out of their comfort zone when they realize inevitable consequences. I see that you've worked with plans in the past, but the difference might just be the lack of consequences (when you feel that you have no other choice). Your offering of helpful books referenced above could be a step he chooses to incorporate into his plan.

For me, with a wife who suffers from personality disorder issues, I committed to supporting actions. So, since I'm a guy, I noted them on a notecard that I keep with me at all times. I was able to say the things she needed (and mean them), but her end didn't work out too well.

Last edited by takris; 09-29-2010 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Some words get through, but ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by turnera View Post
I've been in the same boat for 30 years. I'll tell you the ONLY thing that has worked: I finally told him that I'm thinking of leaving him if things don't changed.

Then HE changed.
Brennan,

If you change Turnera's he/him to she/her and 30 to many, I could have said that.

W has changed for the better recently, actions finally matching words after a multi year series of too many rejections, too many "I know, I'll change", but after I used Leaving and Divorce in the span of five minutes she heard me. It didn't seem to hit home until days later, but it did.

At this time I think you need to raise these topics, a broom and a rug is not the way to deal with them if you want a fulfilling marriage and life.

I don't think your MC was effective, do you? He is either not hearing you, wants to separate or divorce, or thinks you would rather stay married than leave.

Like other spouses who have been rejected repeatedly and not heard for years, I'm dubious these actions will stick, even if they do there are still big problems ahead of us, not the least my lingering anger.

I mention this because you need to find out if he decides he wants to change and does, would you want to stay married?

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Old 09-29-2010, 07:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thank you all for your responses. We met today for lunch, at my asking. I told him that I was unhappy with us and he said he knew. I told him his words vs. actions don't match. I then painted a scenario of this: 'A man cheats on his wife. She finds out and is crushed. He sees her hurting and says "but honey, I only love you".' What do his words vs. actions mean to her? His words mean nothing. His actions spoke louder than his words. My husband gave me a blank stare and said "but honey, I am not cheating on you nor ever will". Huh? THAT'S what he took out of what I said?! I left.
Driving back to work I was fuming and by the time I got to work I was seeing red. I fired off a message to him basically telling him that he is void of caring and compassion (and not in such nice words). He wrote back that I make it "impossible for him to want to do nice things for me since I am overly critical of him, belittling and always looking for something wrong". I fired back that maybe I behave like that now because of YEARS of neglect, being ignored and last on his list. He then tries to pull out the chicken/egg theory of which came first. Well seeing as I was happy when I walked down the aisle and really felt important to him, he can shove his "theory" up his ass.
So I guess what he expects/wants out of me is to be praising, adoring, caring, smiling and accepting. I shouldn't point out that this anniversary weekend will literally make it 7 months since we went out as a couple. I shouldn't point out that nothing on my list has even been attempted by him. I shouldn't point out that I sit in a room with him trying to have a conversation but he can't be bothered to make eye contact, since his computer is more important. Nope, shouldn't do anything to upset his feelings. I should just smile and believe him when he says "I love you" and that I am "the most important person in his life".
I think I married an emotional idiot.

Last edited by Therealbrighteyes; 09-29-2010 at 07:21 PM. Reason: wording.
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