I apologize for the length of this, I just thought to ask advice I should be clear what the issues are. Thanks in advance
My husband and I have been married for 5 years in September and together for 10. We are 30 and 31 years old and we have one son who is 5.
When we were younger and madly in love, I could never see clearly the issues that would make us somewhat incompatible. Now, they are in my face on a daily basis:
I am super affectionate and loving all the time, I make it a priority. He used to always be so affectionate and kind, that's why I fell in love with him. Now he tends to only be affectionate and loving when he is not pre-occupied: we're adults with a child, a house and careers and he is in med school...aren't we always somewhat pre-occupied?
I am very sensitive (overly so admittedly) and try to be sensitive to the feelings of others, I always taste my words before spitting them out. He can be very insensitive and often does not pay attention to how he speaks in tone or what he says, it can be very hurtful. I find criticism to be generally ineffective unless you know how/when to use it, he says he was raised with criticism and thinks it's how people learn.
I come from a large extended family with successful marriages and generally happy backgrounds, I know that for a marriage to work it takes love and devotion and sometimes hard work. He comes from a background of divorce (mother married 4? times, one uncle married 3 times) and a history of family turmoil. There are 3 successful marriages in his family, 2 started as extramarital affairs. He tries to avoid conflict all together and sees "work" in a marriage as unnecessary, if a relationship takes work, it's the wrong relationship. He immediately shuts down when I am upset about something.
I (female) like to talk issues to death, he (male) would rather avoid them all together. We are on extreme ends of the spectrum here.
I find myself hurt so often by his lack of affection and tact when it comes to communication and I have a hard time hiding it, so I end up beating a dead horse "you're not affectionate enough" "you never say nice things" "you are being rude" "you are being insensitive" and in return I get brushed off or "you are too sensitive" etc.
Because he is unresponsive when I am upset, every argument is left feeling unresolved and issues never seem to go away. They just build on to one another and therefore tiny arguments turn into large, hurtful ones.
When we do not argue, we enjoy one another's company. And when I do get moments of affection it changes my whole mood. Over Christmas we went to an amusement park and he was so affectionate in line all day, hugging and holding and being playful, it was the best day for me. We love each other and we say so. We love our son dearly. I know he feels we are somewhat incompatible as well and we both want it to be better but he sort of feels like if it will get better it will just happen and I feel like it would take hard work or even counseling.
I bought The 5 Love Languages and we agreed to read it. I read it and thought some parts were silly but some could be helpful. I figured he could read it and we could decide together what advice is worthwhile. He agreed, but it has been left unread. To be fair, he is in med school, but I am hoping after his board exam he will take an hour to at least take the little test in the end and read my "love languages".
I can be very sensitive and I do struggle with depression. Maybe I should seek help for myself first? Generally, I am happy but I think my depression makes me more sensitive to his criticisms and tones. He swears my feelings get hurt more than most peoples would. I say he is just too insensitive.
If I stop asking him for more affection and kindness am I more likely to get it? I keep hoping he will come around and then he does something hurtful again or I get my feelings hurt, then we fight and then we are distant.
I want nothing more than to have a happy, life-long marriage with him and our son. Am I just supposed to look past these issues and accept them? Will individual counseling for me help our marriage?
(There are a lot of things that I love about him but they are not mentioned since I am asking for advice on our issues)