I'm new here and would like to share my epiphany I had yesterday and hope to get some feedback on how to use it. However I need to set the stage before I do:
I met my wife back in 2007 through myspace which begot, email, texting, and finally talking over the phone. I felt we had a real connection, but when we were suppose meet for our first date she canceled and told me to give up on her, "that she was a lost cause." At the time she was still coping with her mother’s cancer treatment and was backsliding into depression. I could have taken it as a loss, but instead decided to stand my ground and told her "that we all have problems, that shouldn't stop you from living your life." She was impressed and felt a little guilty, we met for a beer at a local bar and...well I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say life has been for the most part great for the past for years, not that it hasn’t had is rocky times.
2010 was a great year for us, I finished my degree in History, we got married and I took a part-time job shortly after our Honey Moon because the economies crumby. Last year I worked on getting an officers commission for the Navy, dropping 40 pounds in the process, as well as looking for employment in my career field. My wife has been really supportive of my decisions in the hopes that we would move on in our lives. This year has been roughest so far: the Navy turned down my application, resulting in a blow to my ego and less motivation, and ultimately an emotionally distant wife. On the flip side of the coin my wife lost out on her dream job, tattoo artist, when she lost her apprenticeship last year. Having been married for only a year and a half, I'll admit I'm green to the whole marriage process. Unfortunately our it has become stagnant, we’re still in the same jobs, still in the same house when we met, and uncertain as to whether were ever going to start a family.
And finally my “Ah-ha” moment. We both work fairly demanding customer service positions for different companies. She works as the voice for hers (call center), I work as the face for mine (cashier). It’s come to the point where we have been coming home and trying to one up the other on who had the worse day. Well I was working yesterday, resenting the fact that my wife had the day off on one of the nicest days in months. I tried to think of the reasons why her job was worse than mine and then it hit me like a bolt from the blue:
We both work in positions where don personas that falsely represent ourselves, catering to the needs of others all day to ensure the best interest’s of our represented companies. When we come home we expect one another to have our needs met by our partner as husband/wife and not respecting one another as individuals.
I thought a lot clearer after that, the stewing over our relationship and life in general just ended, I was genuinely happy to customers in months. At the first opportunity I told my wife to get out of the house and go do something make her happy, she thought I was crazy and still doesn’t fully see my thought process clearly. All I know is that I have a beautiful day off and intend to use its full potential. If anyone has any Ideas on how we should tackle the issue at hand let me know, I really want my partner to be happy again and be the woman she wants to be not the wife she is expected to be by society in general.
Thanks for the advice. I told her my theory, and she is still a little leery. Its hard to connect with her due to our conflict schedules, I'm encouraging her make the most of her free-time, but it only seems to broaden the distance between us. I would like to switch departments at my store as means of easing some of the tension. However, I think getting started on the right career path is what is really going to change our lives around.
I think that it basically boils down to having high expectations for change last year. When we failed at our goals we began to question our personas as "Mr. Perfect Husband" and "Mrs. Perfect Wife". As such I reverted back to "Mr. Better safe than Sorry" and my wife returned to "Miss Independent" mode. Not a good combination in any relationship. We have begun to see a lot of fractures in our marriage as a result, leading to suspicion and resentment. I think our jobs are to blame, we can't act as our real selves during the work day so we fight one another instead. Not health.
I just need some help convincing my wife that we need to be true to ourselves before we can reconnect with one another.
I think our jobs are to blame, we can't act as our real selves during the work day so we fight one another instead. Not health.
Well, maybe not.
NO job is EVER to blame for a person's choices and actions. The person is. You revert back to whatever because you get a PAYOFF from it. She reverts back to whatever because SHE gets a payoff from it. Nothing more, nothing less.
To blame a job is to let yourself off the hook. Failing to accept responsibility gets you...miserable and divorced.
Turnera I think your right, I'm using our jobs as a scape goat for more deep seated issues. There is no guarantee that a change in occupation will solve the issues we are facing. I truly love my wife, but she is extremely stubborn. I wouldn't mind going to see a MC, but she would never go, in her eye's I'm the one with the problem. I'm trying my best to be happy and enjoy life now,thats all I can do. I just wish I didn't have that "walking on egg shells" feeling when ever I come home to her.
(3) Once you have read those two books, get the book His Needs Her Needs, but not before the other two.
(4) After you've read the last one, tell your wife you want to set up a weekly 'meeting' or 'assessment' of y'all's lives. It's a very strong method of letting you enjoy your life together without being repressed all week long, because you know you'll be talking about whatever's bothering you during that 'hour.' Pick a night or morning when you know you won't be rushed. Promise each other that you will be SAFE during that hour, i.e., neither of you is allowed to (1) interrupt the other to defend yourself or (2) put down what the other person says. If you say all you have to say and you still have more of the hour left, start talking about the issues, and try to find solutions. If you run out of time, agree to just think about what was said, and come back next week with a discussion.
(5) Go to marriagebuilders.com after the first 4 steps, and print out their Love Buster questionnaire, one copy for each of you. Ask her to fill it out, tell her you will be, too. It allows her to tell YOU what she doesn't like about you, and vice versa. Use your one hour a week to start going over what you learn in those questionnaires. If she has a legitimate complaint (remember, no defending yourself, but rather being honest with yourself), then start eliminating those habits (LBs) from your day-to-day life - and ask her to do the same with what YOU don't like. You'll see in HNHN that you HAVE to eliminate these LBs or you will never stay in love; it sounds like you're both already down that path. It doesn't matter how much you love each other, if you're pissing each other off, no amount of love or showing love will matter, if you're still resenting each other. Get rid of the LBs!
(6) Once you've worked on those for 3 or 4 months (takes that long to change your habits), then print out the Emotional Needs quesitonnaire and fill that one out; address it as before. Now that you know her top 5 ENs, make SURE that you are the only person meeting those needs. If you don't do this, someone else will!
(If you watch Glee, they addressed this last night, where Kurt started having an emotional affair because Blaine wasn't paying attention to him; find it and watch it online)
(7) Finally - and you can actually start doing this now - start making sure that you are spending 15 hours a week together doing 'dating' stuff. I don't mean going out to eat. I mean paying attention to each other as you did when you were dating. Go on walks, have talks, surprise each other, take day trips, go to festivals...whatever you can find. You have to spend that time each week, or you will take each other for granted and fall out of love with each other. You have to WORK at love.
btw, the eggshells comment usually - if not always - means that one person is being dominant while the other is being weak. You need to fix that. If she does something that upsets you, TELL HER. Don't avoid telling her just because it will escalate and you don't want to make her mad. You need to be on an even level, and that includes YOU having boundaries. If she yells, you hold up your hand and say 'we'll continue when you can talk without yelling' and you leave the room. If she follows you, you leave the house. If she still follows, you get in your car and drive away. You TEACH her that you will be respected. We TEACH people how to treat us.
Because it is run by a handful of people who deliberately dictate what is said and not said, they bully people, and if you don't do EXACTLY what the good doctor says to do in his 'plan' you get lambasted and shamed and driven off. Oh, and they have a special offsite group who talk about the posters and decide who to target next. I kid you not. BTDT.