Insecure wife in almost perfect marriage
I have been married to my wife for ten years and we are in our thirties. We have beautiful young children, great paying jobs for both of us (though busy, like 110-120 hours combined a week), live in au-pair to help with childcare, great house, three cars, a lovely pet dog, and pretty much everything most people would care for. My wife makes more than I do and both of us are very proud of that. She is petite, slim, and pretty. She works some more hours than I do and more than she wants to but we are working on scaling it back for her, which should work out. We have great sex (probably 1.5 times a week) though I still enjoy adult videos on the side, which I suspect she just turns a blind eye on. When we make love, she certainly gets more out of it than I do. I do envy how much more she seems to enjoy her climaxes than I enjoy my one climax, ha ha. It totally relaxes her and our sex is a major stress reliever for her. And we try to make love as much as our busy life allows.
However, she does have issues with episodic emotional outburst, both at work and home. A good part of this is that she is raised by parents who have poor coping skills (with people and changes in routine) though they are very successful. Her side of the family are all very intelligent, hard working, and successful financially. However, they have no other concern in life other than that. So, my wife is brought up to have no other goal in life. However, though she is very good at her job and makes very good money doing it, the job does not give her much satisfaction other than that. I have very clear goals in life and wants happiness for everyone else. I do almost all the cooking, arrange/provide childcare, and arrange most of the details of our family life (she files stuff and arranges/do cleaning). I want us to retire early in another 16 years or so, so that we can move close to our parents and take care of them when they are in their late 70s/80s. I take pride in myself in been pretty much superdad, superhusband, super son-in laws, etc. I consider myself been pretty much everything woman can ask for in a marriage. I am extremely dedicated to my family and everyone on both side of the family.
However, my wife lacks empathy, as does the rest of her family. They are all good people but are mainly concerned about themselves. Therefore with her occasional emotional outburst, she would say the most hurtful things AND mean it. She can't help herself. She just can't cope. And this can happen both at home and at work once in a while (so it really can have nothing to do with me). Throughout the years, these infrequent episodes (maybe a few times a year) have made me turn to the bible and other psychology resources to learn how to love her despite her unkind words. So, I have, to the greatest extend possible to me, convinced myself that love for another should have nothing to do with the other but only everyone to do with myself. I decide to love her despite her flaws (I should not love her FOR her flaws, no?). I want to love her regardless of, what many would consider, occasional emotional and verbal abuse. Though I am not perfect, I want to emulate what Jesus does.
The only thing my wife wants is my love and I want to give her that. She is relationship based and I, like most men, am goal oriented. I have been encouraging her to seek outside goal, interest, friends, and hobbies that would fulfill her in other ways as well. However, probably because she is not concerned about anything else other than herself and then me and due to my "almost flawlessness", she is only interested in our loving relationship and feels that I am giving her less attention than before, given that I try to take care of everyone else. So, I have arranged nanny coverage and set aside time on a regular basis so that we can spend time or a day together alone and I take her shopping, dinning, movie watching, etc. She loves our time alone, for good reason. I am very good at achieving anything possible under the sun (well, almost everything) for my family.
And I talk to her about all of these. Maybe I talk to her too much and analyze it too well for her. Both of us understand clearly that she has major personality flaws and that I am "almost flawless". It most likely makes her feel insecure and not good enough for me. She probably feel that there is nothing ABOUT her that makes me love her and that I love her only because I DECIDE to love her (which fortunately or unfortunately has turned partially true). The biblical analogy would be that people are sinners and can achieve salvation only though the grace of God. Gee, that can make the people insecure about themselves, no? In the religious context, that's OK because the other one is God. But when you apply that analogy to two mortal beings, I can see that it can bring insecurity.
I am certainly not perfect. I am not. I can work out more and be fitter (I can be a little slimmer to get my cholesterol down but I am limited by how busy we are. I am certainly not fat as I wears only size 32, weighs 165 pound, and am almost 5'11"). Though I do think of infidelity, I know very well that that's a dead end street. We have a young, intelligent, and attractive live-in au pair who the kids love and to whom I am nice, just like I try my best to be nice to and help everyone else. I keep my distance and mostly keep our conversations public. Our current au pair and future ones will come and go since they, by rules and regulation of the law, can only stay in the US for up to 2 years. I try to reassure my wife about this. How else can I attract good future au pairs to help take care of our adorable kids if I treat the current one badly and words get out (as it will)? I KNOW that the pasture is NOT greener on the other side. I want to work on this relationship and this one alone. Though my wife's occasional outburst started well before we even have our first and current au pair, the au pair probably makes it worse.
My wife needs therapy badly. You may wonder what kinds of things she gets ticked off at, it can be about small things that I deem inconsequential. I deem those inconsequential since those things, in my context of goal in life, are just inconsequential. I have inner peace and consider myself wise well beyond my years. However, my wife has little basis to make such a judgement because she has NO goal in life, besides wanting to be with me all the time. I am very happy living my life the way it is but I wish she can be happier living her life. She knows that, if there is a way to make her happier, I will try to find it and help her through it. I even go as far as telling her that, if she wants to be "set free" so that she can find herself, I can try to arrange that for her. I want her to be truly happy like I am and be with me not because of her insecurity. (But obviously I hope and want her to "come back to me" for me and the kids.) I want us to be co-interdependent on each other, not her depending her emotional need on me alone.
Gee, this starts to seem kind of tough on and for her. It is tough for me to be co-interdependent on her, when we both know that I do and can be independent of her. To make our early retirement possible, we will need her higher income and I certainly appreciate her for that. But, that makes her feel like I need her only to work for the good of the family. I do want her to be "lovely" and "lovable" in her own right but she likely needs to work that out herself.
I love my wife. She loves me too, but probably too selfishly. I am afraid that her infrequent outbursts and unkind and hurtful words will chip away, little by little, at our relationship years down the line. I am not a saint and I am afraid that I won't love her years down the line.
This is probably NOT a situation and problem you hear about frequently. Most women probably would envy my wife very much because I simply make her sooooo "happy". I can see 99% of the men would hate to be me, committing almost all my time and energy to my family, housework included (I cook very well too). But I am very happy and am grateful that I have been given the means and opportunity to give happiness to others.
I appreciate your thoughtful and constructive comments and any suggestions.