So I'm not sure where to go from here but my marriage is at a bad spot. I've tried communicating my concerns but more often than not I'm stonewalled with guilt trips and declarations about how unfair I'm being.
For instance, our Birthdays and Anniversary are tightly grouped in May. For my wife's birthday I had worked with the kids to create a beautiful card and gift from them. They woke her up to a duet of happy birthday (which had I must say impressive harmony for a 2 and 4 year old). I gave her a lovely gift and card with words from my heart and we spent the entire day doing her favorite activites and dinner at her favorite restaurant. I thought it was a great day and she told me she had a wonderful time... Sounds good right?
Shortly after her birthday is our anniversary. I again had a nice gift and card for her and made reservations at a great restaurant. She "wasn't able to get to the store" to get me a card but I let it go because I know she can get busy with the two kids at home. We had a nice time at dinner and watched a movie together when we got home. But no sex - she was too tired...
Fast forward a week and its my birthday. I wake up to the kids playing outside my room and my wife snoozing. I get up and feed them breakfast. We watch some cartoons and get dressed for the day. She comes down a little while later and says do I mind if she goes back to bed for a while, she didn't sleep well etc... I'm fine with that so she goes back to sleep. Later on she told me we have people coming to celebrate my birthday, great I thought. Then I find out that were having a BBQ - and I'm cooking... OK so I do like BBQing but not so much on my birthday. The guests arrive and its almost exclusively her friends and family - although she did manage to invite my parents. So I spend my birthday cooking and hosting while she spent the day talking to her friends and socializing. My son realizing it was my birthday feverishly tried to make me a present and a card which I really treasured. But no card, no gift, no nothing from my wife. All I got was her pontificating on how "amazing" the house looked for the party (and she did do a nice job cleaning). Guests leave, we clean up, she heads to bed. Not even a word about a birthday card...
If this was the first time something like this had happened I could forgive and forget. But this isn't and every time I tried to talk to her about it in the past I get met with a tirade of how hard she works and how much she does. Its just so hard to get out with the kids she says...
I haven't even brought it up this time, I know the answer already. I'm just waiting to see if fathers day gets forgotten as well.
The pattern has been progressivly getting worse. I seem to be little more to her anymore than a source of financial support and child care. She does tell everyone I'm a great father and husband which is odd since she certainly doesn't make me feel like one. I'm not sure if she is just completely oblivious? I've tried to tell her how I feel but she always has an excuse - and I get told I should be more sympathetic.
Sex has gone from 3 times a week 7 years ago, to 1 time a week 4 years ago to once in a freakin blue moon now (were at a bit over 8 weeks now). Over the years the reasoning has been shes too tired from working full time while raising the kids (which was by no means a solo effort on her part) so I told her to go down to part time since I made enough money. Then it was she needed more help with the kids when I wasn't home - so I hired child care to help her. Then it was that she didn't like using condoms and was afraid to get pregnant a third time (and she had a legitimate reason for not using the pill) so I got a vasectomy (we only wanted 2 kids so I was ok with this). But each time it didn't improve, it just continued to decline. The more I try to make her happy the worse the situation becomes. At this point I'm simply not trying anymore.
I guess I'll end my rant here... I'm just confused and I really don't know where to go from here. I've tried talking about our issues (I don't just mean sexual ones) but its ineffective since she gets super defensive or ultra-confrontational. I suggested counciling but she seems to be a no-go there saying thats for people who have "real problems". I guess she can't see that we have real problems.
if you've sat her down and had the serious talk about what's wrong in your marriage... then it's time for 1 8 0 (read about it in here). Do not be so accomodating and willing to do her half of the relationship work. No more!
Do not be a Mr Nice Guy anymore. It's only digging you deeper.
Decisions, ultimatums that you're prepared to back up with actions, frank discussions -- and openness to working with her to help work it through. Good luck.
Darwin, the very best advice I got about depression was to welcome it as a guest at my table. A guest who is there to tell me that something is very wrong in my life and has been for a while. After all, that’s what depression is, it’s sadness that’s been there for more than 4 weeks. It is a phase we sometimes go through and it’s best thought of as a phase.
Medication is only a short term fix to make us “feel good”. But it doesn’t solve the problems causing the depression. We need to find out what it is that’s causing our sadness and subsequent depression and actually do something about the causes. But we must remember we can only change ourselves, we can never change another person. If we try and change someone else, that will just lead to more sadness.
I thoroughly recommend the book “Awareness” by Anthony De Mello to you.
The concept of this book is a good one. It illustrates that people do acts of love for their spouse that they themself would appreciate, but those acts are not necessarily the proper "love laungage" for the reciever.
For example, you are doing nice cards, birthday's anniversaries thinking your wife will love this because you yourself love this. However, this may not be your wife's "love language" so she does not connect it. Therefore you get frustrated that you are demonstrating love, but not receiving it back.
Reading your post, it seems that what you are doing is not making your wife feel loved, and it's obvious that she is not doing anything to make you feel loved. I would start on how to make your wife feel loved, and then start advocating for what she needs to do for you.
Thank you everyone for your thoughts and advice, it is much appreciated.
And Hicks, I understand what you are saying. Perhaps it is something like you suggest, times change and what she used to connect with could have changed over the years. I do admit that its become much harder for me to act lovingly in the present due to my feelings of emotional abandonment which I'm sure is only helping to perpetuate the problem.
Deep down I know that counciling is probably our only hope of salvation. My wife comes from a broken home and she still carries the baggage and resentment inside her from when she was a small child. Her mom and grandmother (whom she lived with) actively demonized her father during her whole childhood. She did resolve her issues with her father later in life and realized that most of the "bad" things that were said were just untrue but I think she has a subconscious expectation that our marriage will end up the same way. Without help I think she's probably right.
I think you look at a bad childhood as a problem, instead of the key to the solution to your problem. Give her what she never got from her father, and give your children what your wife never got from her father growing up. In the 5Love Languages, look at Quality Time and Acts of Service.