Do All Marriages Have Major Issues?

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  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    Venting? wrote: »
    On the whole sacrifice/compromise issue, it is something we have always struggled with. For example, there really isn't a compromise when each partner wants to live in a different state, someone has to give something up. Likewise last year when I wanted to go to PAX and he didn't (that was what we went to counseling about) he let me go by myself. I do think sacrifice is important and it's something I feel gets lost in the current culture, even though I've got strong urges to do what's best for me I don't want to lose sight of doing things that I don't enjoy the most for the good of the relationship.

    Again, please don't take this as harsh because it isn't meant to be, but if you can't work out "I want to go to PAX but you don't" that's a very big sign that you guys have massive communications problems.

    What did you expect to get out of marriage counseling? That is, what were your expecations?

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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    My husband wanted us to go to a Weird Al concert with his friends. I didn't want to go, mostly because I don't like being around his friends for any length of time.

    He was a little disappointed because he wanted to share it with me, but I gave him my blessing to go see it with his friends and he went and had a great time and I got a nice evening to myself. Similarly there are things that I love to do and want to share with him that he's not really interested in, and unless it's super-important to me that he participate I usually get over it and have a good time by myself. And we do a lot together, too.

    That sort of thing really shouldn't be complicated, and unless you can't afford something like PAX I'm not sure how much drama can come from that.

    You should both have some things you enjoy doing on your own as much as you should have things you enjoy doing together. You haven't really said what being "the perfect wife" entails for you except that you seem to feel a need to martyr yourself upon the cross of your marriage, but I can almost guarantee you that you will both suffer for that in the long run. If you two casually throw around the D-word to your friends and relatives at the first sign of conflict be it to scare the other or as a defense mechanism, then there is some deep dysfunction that you both need to address and discuss if you actually want any hope of salvaging the marriage. You BOTH need to want it. If you don't you'll be happier in the long run if you can own up to it and cut your losses. Only you can decide that though, and I second giving marriage (or perhaps individual) counseling another try.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    My husband had his heart broken twice prior to us getting married and he once said that he would never love anyone as much as his ex-girlfriend because he no longer had the same heart; that what we have is a more pragmatic kind of love.

    o.O

    I've heard a lot of messed-up statements, but I think this one might be able to edge itself into my top 20 list somewhere.


    To be honest, it sounds like you're more or less already divorced. You rejected counseling, you're openly talking about how you'd like to break ties, you yourself are chasing other romantic interests, you've apparently talked about how you don't love each other, etc. From what you've said, it's as if the marriage itself has become the thing to save or not save, rather than the actual relationship with your spouse.

    Yes, many marriages go through bad times and continue slogging along anyway. My mother's first marriage endured plenty of abuse & terror and then finally ended when my dad threw her into a bathtub, and her current marriage looks like it'll last until whatever incredibly bitter ending despite there being no romance within it for decades, constant negativity & superiority complexes on both sides and at least one affair. My grandmother & grandfather's marriage has lasted for just shy of 80 years, built of nothing but what your spouse might call 'pragmatic love' (literally only having sex for the purpose of producing children that could work on their farm), which becomes surprisingly dysfunctional after you've retired and there's no practical purpose for sex anymore.

    So I'll go out on a limb and say that, yes, you can probably find ways to ultimately keep your marriage (at least, until / unless some terrible breaking point is reached). But I'm not so sure that this is something you'll actually want in the long run.

    With Love and Courage
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Oh holy shit I missed that part.

    That's a pretty messed-up thing to say to your wife. o_O

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • ThroThro [email protected] Registered User regular
    My husband had his heart broken twice prior to us getting married and he once said that he would never love anyone as much as his ex-girlfriend because he no longer had the same heart; that what we have is a more pragmatic kind of love.

    Once burned, twice shy. First love is always the strongest, etc.

    I certainly wouldn't have phrased it the way he did, or told my wife, but it's not really that bizzare of a thought.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    Looks to me like things are very much heading apart and it will take significant work to get them back together. I think step one of that commitment is returning to some kind of therapy. Especially given the sexual incompatibility comments. Maybe try a different therapist but the thing is, we all know exactly what a therapist is going to do and could do it ourselves, but we don't. A neutral third party, someone to keep things moving when the process get difficult, someone to know if we aren't putting in the effort who will chivvy us along, and, if nothing else, a sense of getting your money's worth will focus the mind on actually trying your damndest to achieve something here.

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  • tarnoktarnok Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    C. S. Lewis once wrote that immeasurable damage has been done by constructing a fairy-tale version of love and feeding it to children from an early age. Real love, he maintained, is not something you fall into and live happily ever after, but is a continuing effort and takes real work.

    I didn't buy into it at the time but having since met and married my wife I have to say that he was right. You should be happy together, yes; but you have to realize that there is no one you can be happy with without investing a significant amount of effort. No matter how much you like each other living together requires constant communication at a skill level that many people never achieve and a willingness to compromise.

    I'm not saying that you should stay in a relationship that is broken beyond repair, just that you should try very hard to look at the situation objectively before you act. Don't give up on someone you love in search of something that doesn't exist.

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  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    To be honest, it sounds like you're more or less already divorced. You rejected counseling, you're openly talking about how you'd like to break ties, you yourself are chasing other romantic interests, you've apparently talked about how you don't love each other, etc. From what you've said, it's as if the marriage itself has become the thing to save or not save, rather than the actual relationship with your spouse.

    Bolded for truth. Venting?, given your comments about "sacrifice" and other people's marriages lasting a long time, I think Ender makes a very good point here. Perhaps I'm misreading, but you come across very much as thinking that now that you're married, you have an unpleasant obligation to make it work out, even though neither of you really want to, and you are both waiting around for a "good enough" reason to divorce. That's a very different thing from working through the ups and downs of a generally happy marriage.


    Thro wrote: »
    My husband had his heart broken twice prior to us getting married and he once said that he would never love anyone as much as his ex-girlfriend because he no longer had the same heart; that what we have is a more pragmatic kind of love.

    Once burned, twice shy. First love is always the strongest, etc.

    I certainly wouldn't have phrased it the way he did, or told my wife, but it's not really that bizzare of a thought.

    First love may certainly be the most intense because it's the first time, but that's different than "strongest" or "best" or, even "worth comparing other relationships to".

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  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    I'm probably not the best person to comment on marriage problems since I've only been married 2 years, been together 4 years total, and my wife and I have never had any really serious problems, but since you wanted personal anecdotes, I'll chime in.

    As mentioned above, we've never really fought. We've disagreed with each other, we've been snippy from time to time, but never full on yelling at each other. We usually have a little chat at bedtime where we can bring up things that are bothering us, whether it be about ourselves (ie - "I feel like I haven't been helping out around the house lately, and I want you to know that I'm aware of it, and I'm going to try and change that"), or about the other person (ie- "I really need you to chip in around here, and not spend entire evenings playing games").

    Most of the time when these things are brought up, the other party has already recognized their shortcoming, and sometimes there are some upset feelings, but I feel like sometimes it's a necessary evil to upset your partner if its something that is bothering you as well. Otherwise, things well up and they blow up.

    I really feel like my spouse and I communicate well. I don't lie to her, she doesn't lie to me, if something's bothering either of us, we will tell the other. We both make sacrifices/compromises to help and build up the other person. The fact that she does that makes me want to do it as well. I don't think I'd be so eager to sacrifice things if she wasn't as eager.

    There's a feeling in my marriage that we're both willing to do what it takes to make things work, and that we both value each other's happiness equally, and my general happiness is somewhat reliant on her's in the sense that when she's unhappy, I'm unhappy and want to help her feel better, and vice versa.

    As a general observation for these types of threads, the problem lies with the above dynamic being skewed: One person weighs their own happiness above their partner's. Or, one person's sacrifices vastly outnumber their partner's. But in the end, it's really cheesy, but communication is so key. It sounds like that just isn't happening with you guys, and my only advice would be to give counselling another shot, and not just one session.

    Those are just my personal experiences, and general observations, take them as you will.

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  • RendRend Registered User regular
    Thro wrote: »
    My husband had his heart broken twice prior to us getting married and he once said that he would never love anyone as much as his ex-girlfriend because he no longer had the same heart; that what we have is a more pragmatic kind of love.

    Once burned, twice shy. First love is always the strongest, etc.

    I certainly wouldn't have phrased it the way he did, or told my wife, but it's not really that bizzare of a thought.

    Someone once asked me if I had found the girl of my dreams, and I told them "Yes, then we broke up before I was a sophomore in college when I realized the girl of my dreams is a dream."

    My wife has heard me say that before, and she doesn't mind because she knows how much I care for her, she knows my heart is hers, and she prefers a more realistic view of love and romance, one that is more stable and one that will last.

    The sentiment is extremely poorly worded in his case (jesus christ, I don't know how you could have said it worse) but there definitely a huge difference between your first love and your love after that. "As much as" is a really poor choice of phrase, but I wouldn't exactly crucify him over it, god knows I've made worse blunders in my word choice.

    That being said, with the frequency you've said this happens, it sounds like one or both of you are not treating the relationship with the respect it deserves. One of the best things I've ever learned about relationships is, essentially, do not draw the gun until you're ready to fire it. If you talk about breaking up, you'd better be ready to, because if you're not, you're using it as a weapon, and that is a gross misuse of trust. If you intend on fixing things, that's the first thing I would address: threatening or announcing the possibility of breaking up or divorcing should be, literally, the last thing to happen.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    What Rend said. It's not that he feels that way, I think most of us still have a small ember somewhere for our first true love, it's human....it's that he said that, and the way it was phrased, that's a huge red flag. It immediately puts your current wife on the emotional defensive, and makes her question how true your love for her is. Really, it's not even a subject I would bring up, but if you do...phrase it better than that.

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  • Aurora BorealisAurora Borealis Registered User regular
    I just got married last weekend. I just wanted to tell you all that this thread has been incredibly enlightening. H/A, you're awesome.

    OP I don't know that I am qualified to give advice to you, but I have to say... the day my marriage starts to look like yours, it's over.

  • RendRend Registered User regular
    I just got married last weekend. I just wanted to tell you all that this thread has been incredibly enlightening. H/A, you're awesome.

    OP I don't know that I am qualified to give advice to you, but I have to say... the day my marriage starts to look like yours, it's over.

    Congratulations!

  • KiasKias Registered User regular
    I won't repeat what's already been said, but there is a lot of good advice in here, especially the post from EggyToast earlier. I think you said all your friends and family are advising on the side of separation, which is also telling, but in the end of the day it's up to you. I guess what I would want to add is, while going through a divorce is scary and difficult and adjusting to life after can be painful and somewhat overwhelming, if you learn from the experience and don't let it make you bitter you come out on the other side a better, happier person who really has a deeper understanding of what it really means to be in a committed relationship. Sharing your life with another human being is a tricky thing, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Life is too short to spend your valuable time being unhappy.

    While I get what some of the folks here are saying in regards to the "No one like your first," mentality, if a person can't tell the difference between the ignorant passion of their first, where its generally the euphoria associated with being in love more than anything else, and a serious relationship, then they have some growing up to do. Like Rend said, it's the dream of the previous relationship, not the relationship itself, and knowing the difference is important when structuring realistic expectations in any future relationships. This isn't meant to be negative, and some people are lucky enough to grow with their first, which is an incredible thing, but you don't tell your significant other, in any terms, that "I will never love you as much as her" or that your love is "pragmatic." That's childish, self-gratifying bullshit.

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  • SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Been married for almost nine years, and while we've had bad days and occasional arguments, overall the relationship has been far more about helping each other through our respective tough times than creating tough times for each other. It's absolutely possible to have a marriage without big fights or frequent relationship drama, but it depends on the personalities involved and a mutual commitment to having that kind of relationship.

    What your husband has said about love is worrying, especially if he still thinks that way. It's very difficult to fully commit yourself to a loving relationship if you see yourself as irrevocably damaged in terms of your capacity to love. It sounds like you guys need to sit down and talk about what you want out of marriage and whether you are both willing to make the commitment to give each other what you need in the long term. You can try to focus more on the marriage all you like, but if he's not doing the same thing, you'll just end up feeling more frustrated than before. It needs to be a mutual decision to re-commit to each other and put the marriage first (and by the marriage, I mean that both of you want to build each other up equally, even if you sometimes need to take turns compromising or making sacrifices). If after serious thought one or both of you honestly isn't willing to do that, there is no shame in ending the marriage. You can have a relationship that's better than what you have now, whether it's with your husband or with somebody else in the future.

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  • badpoetbadpoet Registered User regular
    I dated my wife for 4 years and we were married for over 3. We married at a very young age, I was 23, she was 21. For the first several years of our relationship, we didn't argue. Even when things got bad, at least from her perspective I was pretty blind-sided, we didn't argue often or with much heat. Neither one of us was truly ready for the commitment we made, especially her who envied her single female friends quite a bit. Combine that with our fully developed co-dependence and my anxiety issues, and in the end it was a blessing that we split up.

    I say that despite the fact that it took me three years to go on a second date with a woman. Despite the fact that I moved to another state and changed my life completely around. I'm a totally different person in so many ways, independent and content with being with someone else who also is independent. Not relying on someone else to make me happy, but being happy with myself while I'm enjoying my time with my significant other.

    Divorce is scary. Even amicable ones will tear at your insides. You feel like you failed. You feel like this situation isn't fair. But, divorce from a bad marriage is not a failure. It's a new beginning.

    We can't fix other people. We can't rely on them to make us happy. We have to make ourselves happy. So you have to ask yourself if you have given up so much of yourself to please someone else, they don't appreciate it, and you resent them for it (which appears to me to be a big problem here) , why are you putting yourself through all of this?

  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    We've been married for almost 31 years, dating for 4 years prior to that, and are pretty happy. We met when i was 17, he 19, we were each other's first (and only) serious relationship.

    It can be hard work though at times, all relationships can be. We've had a few fairly fundamental disagreements in these 35 years - number of children, discipline, money, faith - but our relationship is worth dealing with the disagreements and working them out: eg: I wanted 4 children, he wanted 1. We have 2 and have fostered 13, currently with our 19 year old living with us again for a couple of months while she sorts herself out. This would never have happened if we'd had 4 children of our own. I used to be irresponsible about money; he lost his job, went back to uni and I learnt to budget. I'm a Christian, he's not - that proves interesting sometimes!

    I love him more than anyone else in the world and couldn't ever imagine life without him, even though we drive each other scatty at times. We talk about our difficulties and work out solutions we can both live with. For me, the toughest was children, but you can't have half a child, so we agreed on 2. Looking back, he was right, our lives would have been very different if we'd had 4 children. I'm much more emotional, he's much more logical, which can be hard on us both, but I trust him to make the right decisions for us - experience has shown me he does, cos he thinks things through much more than I do.

    We drifted apart a bit 20 years ago, thankfully recognised it, and planned time together without interruptions to talk about what we wanted in life. We both wrote it all down - an agenda, bullet points, the works, and then agreed to talk about each other's agendas until we were happy we'd sorted things out. We swapped agendas and guess what? they were identical, just in a different order to each others! We were both not happy about the same things, had got too wrapped up in our jobs and caring for our children that we'd lost sight of each other a bit. It was tough talking everything through, but so amazing, and so worth doing. If you keep talking about stuff, and really listen to each other, putting the other first, most problems can be sorted out in time. If you're not prepared to do that, or its only one-sided, maybe you need to talk about what you both want out of life and see how it matches up. If it doesn't, or mostly doesn't, you have some choices to make about your futures together.

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