The Healthiest Example of Dealing with a Potential Divorce I’ve Ever Seen

She ducked.  She waited.  And it worked.

In an August 13, 2009 article published in The New York Times, Laura Munson described how her husband came home one day and said he wanted out of their marriage – that he didn’t love her any more.

Ms. Munson was stunned.  They’d had a good marriage and partnership, they’d achieved many of their goals, and life seemed happy and fulfilling.  This pronouncement – that he didn’t love her any more – seemed to come out of the blue.

Like countless others in her position, Laura Munson had to make an instantaneous decision on how to proceed at a time when she’d been sucker-punched.   Her very next words, her next actions, would determine not only the course of the frightening conversation at hand, but of her very life.

Unlike the vast majority of others in her position, Laura made an amazing decision.  She chose not to believe him.

Oh, she knew he thought he meant it.  She knew he was hurting, that he’d had some disappointments of late, that – she hoped – he believed he needed a fresh start, to assuage some wounds his ego and his sense of self as a man had borne.

But she chose to believe that he was saying hurtful things to her in the same way that an unhappy child will; that he was striking out the only way he knew how at the time, pushing against the perceived barriers to his happiness.

What happens next is the healthiest example of dealing with a potential divorce I’ve ever seen. In her writing, Laura Munson shows great class, courage and dignity… and ultimately saved her marriage.

We’ve all heard stories of those wounded spouses (partners/whatevers) who viciously retaliate when their partner wants out. They cry, they scream, they rage, they destroy property, they run up credit cards in the other spouse’s name, they trash the one who’s leaving the marriage to anyone who will listen, they manipulate the kids, family and friends into taking sides…

They show no class, no courage and no dignity.  And they destroy any chance of saving that relationship.  It’s as if they’re saying to the world, “I love him and I’m going to prove it by showing the gods how wounded I am.  I really really love him, but give me more nails to drive into this coffin dammit”.

Laura Munson proved that she loved him by first understanding that he was in pain, and second by making the situation about his pain, not about her.  She gave him the time he needed to work through his pain in a classy, dignified and courageous fashion.

And it worked.

Brava, Ms. Munson.  Brava!

To read the article, go here:    http://theweek.com/article/index/99512/he-said-he-was-leaving-she-ignored-him

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Really, Ladies… He Can’t Read Your Mind

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Why does my marriage work – and work so amazingly well?

Communication.

Yeah, I know.  You’ve heard it all before.  “Communicate with your spouse. Talk about your needs, your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your anxieties and little irritations.  Work through them, and you’ll have a great relationship.”

But you’ve tried and he doesn’t listen.  Or maybe he seems to but then he does (or doesn’t do) the same thing the next time.  And you can’t figure out why he doesn’t seem to care because after all, you wouldn’t dream of being so cavalier about things that are important to him.

Let’s take a pretty basic example, and say he forgets to put his socks and underwear in the hamper.  Instead, he just drops them on the floor and there they sit.   So you have to pick the items up yourself and toss them in the laundry.

Socks

Or his concept of “doing the dishes” is to “do the dishes” and nothing else.  The mat under the drainer doesn’t get washed, the stove doesn’t get washed, and the counters don’t get cleaned up.   So after he’s done with the dishes, you have to clean up after him.

Stove

Annoying, huh?

Yes, it can be.  If you allow it to be.  Or you can “communicate”.

Unfortunately, too many women think that communicating involves having your man read your mind.   I know; I’ve been there. “Look at this mess!” you sigh, pointing dramatically and world-wearily to the socks on the floor (or the grease splatters on the stove).  “Mess?” he asks, confused.  “Your socks are on the floor!”  And he looks briefly befuddled, then hurriedly picks up the offending items, tosses them in the laundry and starts to head off.

Man with Laundry 2

And you’re ready to shriek.  And may, in fact, do so if this is the 137th time you’ve complained about the socks.

And he’s confused.  After all, the problem is solved, right?  The socks are in the laundry.  So why are you standing there, annoyed, and acting as though this man who is a complete brainiac at the office is a total doofus at home?

Here’s where you get to communicate.  “Before you leave for work every day, please pick up your socks and put them in the hamper.”

It’s that simple.  No drama, no sighs, no expecting him to read your mind, no picking up after him.  Just a simple statement of what you want done.    If he doesn’t do it, leave them there.  But don’t do it as a punishment, or as a passive-aggressive way of getting even; do it as a consequence.  If he doesn’t pick them up, they won’t go into the laundry. And they won’t get washed.

The next day, repeat “Before you leave for work, please pick up your socks and put them in the hamper”.

Why should I have to do that?  you may ask.  Shouldn’t he just get it?  He’s not a child!

And there’s the rub.  That attitude, the “I have to handle everything, he’s behaving like a child, he should know better” long-suffering dialogue you have with yourself is the problem, not the socks.

Man with Laundry

If you want something, just tell him.  If it doesn’t get done, tell him again.  As long as you do it without drama or impatience, most men will gladly try to remember to do whatever it is to make you happy.

By the way, this goes for sex, too.

If there’s something intimate you want him to do or think you would like, tell him.  Don’t expect him to read your mind.  Just tell him.   (More on this in a future blog.)

To be continued…

What Does Your Bedroom Say About Your Relationship?

I’ve always felt strongly that the condition of one’s bedroom reflects the condition of one’s relationship.

A fairy tale... not a fantasy.

A fairy tale… not a fantasy.

For example, if you have pets, there should be beds for the pets in the bedroom because once the lights are out the people bed is for the people… no dogs, cats, ferrets, Gila monsters….  Nope.   it’s tough to have a physical relationship when you have to shove an 40 pound dog – or three – off the bed.

Is the room pristine-perfect, with every corner tucked in and not a speck of dust anywhere?  Then there may be too many rules defining the relationship.   Even the best of couples – and I include my husband and me among those – are somewhat messy in their interactions and boundaries at times.  So if our bedroom isn’t of gleaming showcase quality, that’s because we’re real people with occasionally blurred roles or behaviors, and our sanctuary room reflects that.

Unlike the author of the article below – and countless others with a similar mindset – I disagree about the negative value of having a television in the bedroom.  Not only do we have a fairly large television, but we have books – lots of them.  Our bedroom is a place to hang out, where we read and watch television and I often manage the paperwork for my business, as well as write various blogs.

After closing down the rest of the house for the night, we can transition from the rush of work and business, into the slower paced camaraderie of hanging out with the dogs, talking about whatever the television may prompt (if we’re watching it), and my husband can sprawl across the bed, filling me in on some factoid found in his current biographical or historical reading, while I wind down with some of the more reasonably mindless computer work my business requires…. all part of our pre-lights out routine.

Our bedroom is where the dogs and I share ice cream every night, where my husband can hang out shirtless (thank you, Hubs… I do like that look), and where we gratefully turn out the lights and talk silly stuff or cuddle or just fall to sleep, completely exhausted.  It’s our family room, our transition room, our center.

This would not suit our marriage.

This would not suit our marriage.

But this DOES describe our relationship!

But this DOES describe our relationship!

Here’s the previously mentioned article.  What do you think?

6 Feng Shui Signs You’re Dating The Wrong Person

BY DANA CLAUDAT
OCTOBER 1, 2013 8:00 AM EDT

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11134/6-feng-shui-signs-youre-dating-the-wrong-person.html

There’s a tremendous amount you can tell about how someone views things like sex, kids, love and even how much they want to be in any type of relationship just from walking around their bedroom — despite what they say.

But is it really fair or accurate to judge someone based on his or her bedroom?

Nope. People want what they want and no one is right or wrong for what they want. It is interesting, though, when people say they want something — love, kids, a long-term commitment — and their bedroom screams otherwise in rather vibrant feng shui language.

Today, I want to share with you some big red flags of romance I have seen time and time again that should raise your feng shui’d awareness when you’re dating or are in a relationship. If you have a fabulous partner with one of the red flags, I wouldn’t be that concerned, as long as that one red flag isn’t a deal-breaking flag.

If you see more than one red flag, it’s worth paying attention. I’ve had clients and readers ask me if it was “that bad” if their new boyfriend had a crazy bedroom setup, only to come back later to say that they should have known better. So, now you’ll know!

Some feng shui bedroom red flags for relationships:

1. There’s one nightstand or no nightstands.

No nightstands usually bespeaks an unsupported or unsettled life. People without nightstands are generally not planning to stay somewhere for a long time and are unsettled in one or many ways. Adding a nightstand is, of course, an easy fix. One nightstand in a bedroom, however, is a sign of someone who is primarily living for him or her self, and not necessarily in a selfish way. These people don’t really see another person sharing their bedroom; it’s just not part of their present-day thinking. Even if they desire it, they may feel for some reason it isn’t possible right now.

2. The bed has smashed up against a wall, with only one way into the bed.

People with these beds up against a wall don’t always really want a relationship, or at least not a balanced one. You’re trapped in their bed if you sleep against the wall. You are out on a limb if you sleep on the outside. It’s not the best situation.

3. The bed is on the floor, with no bed frame.

This is what I call squatting. If you’re casually dating, this can be fun and childlike in its romance. It’s typically not the makings of a solid life partner’s foundation. Same thing goes for a bed without a headboard. If you don’t have one, get one or make one. A solid headboard creates far more security and soundness for a bed, and for you!

4. If you see a giant (or any) TV in the bedroom, this isn’t a good thing.

It’s very easy to avoid intimacy when you have a huge TV that can fill the room with noise and distraction.

5. Follow me on this one: The bed is placed with its headboard on the wall to the left of the entrance-door wall.

The headboard isn’t up against the wall of the entrance door, but, rather, against the wall to your left. This is the ultimate bed position of someone who wants to “hang out.” Relationships can definitely work in this position if they’re based on strong friendships. But if you’re “hanging out” for ages and want a committed relationship, this bed position is not the greatest thing to see.

6. There’s work in bed: laptops, books and papers.

People who sleep with their work tend to have no boundaries when it comes to their job, and a strong identity attachment to it that’s larger than themselves. Even the biggest workaholic should get at least an hour’s distance between work and sleep. It’s a fixable red flag for many who are willing to see their relationship and their personal well-being as a priorities.

If you’re reading this and saying, “But… there’s no other way to set up this bedroom, so he/she has no choice…” I’ll say this: we pick our spaces. On some level we find a space that mirrors where we are in life for all its greatness and its quirks. That said, every single space can be improved!

Also, if you’re stuck in a dating rut, you may want to look at your own bedroom — and life — and see why you keep attracting the same situations. Balance, love and feng shui shifts — as well as all good things we want to experience — tend to start from our own selves first.

Good luck in love!

Published in: on October 2, 2013 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Happy Anniversary, Husband

Happy 5th Anniversary

Published in: on September 19, 2013 at 6:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Our Partners in Love Deserve Courtesy and Kindness, Too

“Remember that true friendship is the basis for any lasting relationship. The person you choose to marry is deserving of the courtesies and kindnesses you bestow on your friends.”—Jane Wells

Such a simple concept, yet so hard for some of us to accomplish, particularly when we are either in the wrong relationship, or have let too much time pass in what was once a promising relationship.

Courtesy and kindness should… nay, MUST… be the basis of our interactions with others.  If not, those relationships will become sources of irritation, anger and resentment. Or – equally as sad – the initial caring and love will just wither and fade away.

My first marriage was a battleground from day one (I was just 18 when we first got involved), and I spent 30 years terribly unhappy.  It seemed that every day was turmoil and drama, and I was always exhausted from the negativity, the anger, and the just plain awfulness of it all. My education and training told me life could be otherwise, but I didn’t think it was possible for me.  (A note here: my ex-husband had a form of brain dysfunction that left him with few social skills, and the inability to empathize with others even though he loved me greatly.  I felt trapped in a world of broken mirrors…a world where every look, every gesture, every action came out magnified, distorted and just plain wrong.)

Then John came along completely unexpectedly, and I found someone who was as eager and ready for friendship and communication and connection as I… he is my best friend and I am his. We are both very aware of the value of what we have, and we nurture that relationship, rather than ignoring it or taking it for granted..

In a relationship with constant pain, anger and drama it’s reasonably easy to point fingers and say “It’s your fault. You weren’t kind.  You said horrible things.  You didn’t watch my back because you were too busy protecting your own.”

But what about a relationship in which there are few disagreements or overt difficulties, because there is little communication, where signs of affection are absent and where each individual does his or her own thing without consulting the other?

It might be surprising to outsiders looking in that this type of relationship is just as lacking in kindness and courtesy as the battleground of my first marriage.  “But they don’t fight!  They’re living in such harmony… the relationship seems so ideal!”. And so there is shock when one partner leaves… and the sympathy goes to the obviously wounded partner left behind.

Yet in such a relationship the emotional distance is as substantial – or perhaps even more so – as in the battleground marriages… the acts of kindness and courtesy are just as lacking.  For when two people live together without discussing issues, and without occasionally disagreeing, they are not being honest with themselves or the other person.

All relationships have areas of contention that should be acknowledged and worked out in some mutually agreed-upon fashion.  To ignore those issues is not a kindness; it suggests the relationship is too fragile, or not important enough, to pursue a more meaningful understanding of the other person’s values and points of view.  The same goes for relationships in which there are no signs of affections.  How can it be considered kind or courteous to withhold the simple daily acts that show you care?

Ms Wells, author of the opening quote, has with very simple clarity, identified the foundations of a successful relationship.  It is up to the rest of us to define kindness and courtesy as they apply to our relationships with others.

Thanks to one of my former high school teachers, Rodney Abbott, for posting the Jane Wells quote.

 
Published in: on September 16, 2013 at 9:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Love Talk

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John is a typical man from the Baby Boomer era.  He wasn’t raised to express his feelings, and isn’t comfortable with verbal exchanges of love-struck happiness during those times when he’s “expected” to say them.   So, like many men of his age, his silence could be taken for a lack of caring, when truly, nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve tried to institute a game with him that I thought might make it easier to get those words out, but it hasn’t gone over so well. The “Tell Me Something Nice” prompt usually elicits a response like “No, I can’t…. it’s raining out”.  Or “No, I can’t… I’m asleep”.  Or “No, I can’t… I have a bullet lodged between my teeth from saving the West”.

This morning I tried a new tactic.  We’d gotten up and taken the dogs out, fed them their breakfast, and decided to climb back into bed, pups and all.  (The three dogs are not allowed on the bed after lights out at night, but this was just a morning snuggle.)

John was ready to fall back to sleep, but I was in one of those yappy moods.  “You sleep while I talk at you.”

Grunt.

Okay, he’s still awake.

Repeat after me.  ‘I am a lucky man.  I have an awesome wife.'”

Dead silence.

Do it!  Repeat after me.  ‘I am a lucky man.  I have an awesome wife.'”

His breathing, slow and measured, sounded like someone who was on the verge of falling asleep.  I waited a bit, but it seemed there would be nothing further coming from the Hubs.  Just as I was about to begin pushing my way through the dogs so I could get out of bed, a very low and deep voice said….

“I am an awesome man.  I have a lucky wife.”

HA!!

He’s right.

SoulMate 8

Setting Up Your Spouse to Fail in Your Relationship

Relationship battles are always individual to the relationship, yet there are common themes and behaviors that pop up over and over.

One of those is the spouse who doesn’t like specific expectations, requests or demands from the other spouse, but doesn’t address the issue directly. Often she resorts to what’s known as passive aggressive behaviors, putting her partner (whether male or female) in a no-win situation. Let’s presume her partner is a husband for the purposes of this discussion. (Note: passive aggressive behaviors do tend to be used more often by women than men as women – even nowadays – tend to be socialized to avoid addressing difficult issues directly.)

Let’s say the couple has decided to save money to buy a house, and to forgo splurging on themselves for such things as eating out, unnecessary clothing, vacations, etc. One day they go shopping together to purchase gifts for some family members’ birthdays, during which the wife suggests the husband check out the wristwatches she knows he really wants. While he’s doing that, she heads to the dressing room, carrying a cocktail dress she’d noticed earlier.

When her husband finds her, she’s in front of the three-way mirror, admiring the lovely dress that fits like it was made for just for her. What happens next depends a great deal on the thoughts, feelings and behaviors the wife employs in her interactions with her husband, although almost certainly, whatever his reaction is – if it’s negative – will be blamed entirely on him.

Grace Kelly, in her famous dress from "Rear Window".

Grace Kelly, in her famous dress from “Rear Window”.

Say he says, “You look beautiful” and she chooses to take that as permission to buy the dress even though she knows full well it’s not in their budget. She happily says “Oh thank you! I know we’re trying to save money but it’s so wonderful of you to say it’s okay for me to buy it!” The husband is now in a very awkward position… He’s been snookered, and he knows it. And there’s little he can do. If he “allows” the purchase by pretending to be okay with it, or by saying nothing, the two of them have engaged in a relationship charade that will eventually lead to relationship anger of the type that’s almost impossible to sort through without professional intervention.

Yet, if he says “Whoa, wait a minute… who said anything about buying it? I merely said you looked beautiful”, the wife is likely – based on the choices she’s already made to first try on a dress they can’t afford, and then to deliberately misunderstand his compliment for purchase approval – to become upset, feeling he deliberately led her on. If this couple has poor communication skills (which are likely if the conversation has already gone this far), there could well be a meltdown by either or both of them in the very near future.

In both instances, the wife – using a passive aggressive style – has put her husband in a very difficult position. Unless he’s unusually adept at figuring out how to extricate himself from these manipulations, there are almost certainly major problems within this marriage. She has a style that deliberately sets him up and places him in a no-win situation. Even if he offers no outward display of irritation or anger, he is feeling angry and manipulated, and that anger will spill out in other areas of their relationship.

Below is an example of a post I saw on a relationship blog a while back. Can you see what happened?

We went to the local organic cafe this morning because my wife wanted something “healthy and nice”. I said “my wife” because healthy food was her motivation, not mine.

When the cashier asked what we would drink, my wife said “Water of course” and turned to ask me what I wanted. I said “Cola of course”. She looked at me, then she stared at me and asked the cashier to give me water. I asked why and she said she has to make sure I eat right. I said “Its not food”, to which she responded, “Well, in that case I have to make sure you drink right”.

Two hours later, I was in a bank when a man and a woman walked in and stood in line behind me. After a few seconds the man walked to the coffee table and got some coffee. Then I heard them arguing and the woman saying “You know you can’t have that.” The man smiled and continued drinking his coffee.

Coffee

Coffee

The woman left the line to sit in the lobby. I tried to avoid looking at the man, but I still saw him shaking his head so I said, “Women, it looks like they all took the same class.” The man looked at me and shook his head some more, winked at me and smiled. I took that to mean, “I can’t talk right now”, so I laughed and said “What a smart man!”

That was three hours ago and now I am hungry and still wondering. Why do women want to run our life? Does anybody know why?

The author goes on to further explain that he’s had some health problems but doesn’t understand why he can’t have a cola once in a while. And seems from the other gentleman’s wife’s comment that he’s supposed to avoid caffeine.

So what we have here is a classic example of passive-aggressive behavior. Both husbands put their wives in no-win situations. The first husband knew they were going to the organic cafe for “something healthy and nice”, yet insisted on ordering a cola in a setting where the wife could either give in (and he wins) or make a scene (in which case, he’s the victim… and he wins). The same with the second husband. Both chose to take their relationship battles into the public

As long as these men continue to look at their wives’ caregiving behaviors as trying to “run their lives”, and to react to it in such a passive aggressive fashion, they will always have conflict in their marriages.

Beauty

Beauty

Published in: on August 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

When the Ex Feels Entitled

Watch out for fraud! And monitor your credit record!

Seventeen months ago, my husband was served papers claiming he had reneged on paying a credit card – one that he knew nothing about. When he checked his credit record, sure enough, the card showed up on there. The balance in 2006 was zero, but after that had been run up to its $14K limit, then no more payments were made.

He and I chased down the lawyer in the case and demanded proof that John had actually taken out this card. The lawyer – who was a really smarmy dude – refused to provide it, saying he didn’t have to. In January, the case went to court, and John again asked for proof, which the Judge told the lawyer he had to provide.

— The lawyer – a Randall Pratt – did not do well by the judge, who was not amused by the fact that Mr Pratt a) did not show up for the case, b) called in 15 minutes late, c) professed that he’d already sent John the information, d) when told by the Judge that he had to provide the information said he didn’t have to “jump through hoops”, at which point the Judge said, I thought you said you’d already provided the info, and e) then told the Judge that he wasn’t sure because his computer wasn’t working….

— This same lawyer had previously yelled at me, and condescendingly stated my husband was lying to me and I didn’t know what I was talking about… a very nasty creature. Beware, but if you ever have to deal with him, be assured that apparently he’s not very good at his job, so stand tall and stay firm.

When the “proof” came in, it was clear that the card had been taken out fraudulently by someone who knew John’s social security number, and who had forged his signature (there was no attempt to disguise the handwriting and it was readily apparent to even a casual observer who the forger was). Even more proof was that all of the bills had gone to an address John had not lived at since 2006.

It was all clear evidence that this was not John’s responsibility and that fraud had been committed against him, and finally, last week the Judge threw the case out… 17 months after he was first served with the lawsuit.

Unfortunately, even though we have proof of who the person is, and even though this is not the first time such has happened with this individual, there’s little we can do about it. Oh, legally, yes.. we do have a right to pursue the issue and we would easily win. I think the amount of this fraud is big enough that it’s punishable with jail time, too.

Sometimes, however, keeping the peace and taking the high road is the better course of valor. So my husband is doing the right thing and keeping silent about the situation, although I’m so disgusted it wouldn’t take much for me to start naming names, and expose this individual for the piece of tripe s/he is. (And since this is a marriage/relationships blog, I know my readers will easily figure out who I’m talking about.)

It’s a good lesson though… monitor your credit report!

Published in: on July 26, 2013 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Resentment: Death By 1000 Cuts

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

— Carrie Fisher

Resentment in a marriage could be called death by 1000 cuts.  Few marriages fall apart because of one major issue… it’s usually the accumulation of many small resentments over time, dozens and hundreds of them, that just add up.

Several years ago, when Husband and I had just started living together, I was describing to an acquaintance how much I appreciated his attentiveness to small household-type details.  For example, he doesn’t leave his dirty socks and underwear lying around, and in fact, one evening when I happened to pick them up before he had a chance to, Husband said, “Hey, I’ll get that”.  My response was, “It’s okay, I’m heading towards the hamper anyway.”

My acquaintance commented: “Yeah, but I’ll bet he saw that look in your eyes that told him you were p*ssed off.”

I was taken aback for a moment, and then realized two things… a) had it been my first husband, that resentment would have been there, and b) she was saying more about her own relationship than she was about mine.  But with Husband, there’s no resentment about the little things that most couples squabble about.

Does that mean he’s perfect? Ha! Absolutely not.

Does that mean I don’t notice the annoying habits he has?  Of course I do. 

I notice that he often leaves me to do the dishes, and like most men doesn’t seem to realize that cleaning the counter and range are part of that job…. and after 4½ years he still doesn’t know where the fire engine red collander goes (which is in a different place than the cheap stainless collander). 

He can’t be trusted to wash my clothes, and when folding laundry will pair one of my black ribbed trouser socks with a plain one.  He snores.  Loudly.  He smokes like a chimney and our garage—which is now called The Clubhouse—reeks as a result.  He forgets to shave sometimes which makes his face really scratchy. 

But I also notice that if I lose my keys (a daily occurrence), he’ll hunt high and low for them, even though it isn’t his fault and even though it’s the 90-hundredth time it’s happened. 

He always helps bring in the groceries without being asked; he will eat anything I put in front of him even if he doesn’t like it or it’s vegan. 

He prefers to be a homebody, but if I want to go out (with friends, to a movie, a restaurant or whatever), he’ll go… and not gripe too much.  

He calls me several times a day (even if he’s in The Clubhouse and I’m just yards away inside) to tell me little things he’s just seen, heard or thought of.  He looks for movies we can watch on television together, and he remembers anniversaries.  He thinks of things my daughter would like.

He doesn’t complain when I forget to shave sometimes (okay, often) and my legs get really scratchy.

He is as excited by our love as I am.

Given all this… why in heaven’s name would I waste time on resentment?

 

 

Soul-Mate Marriages is saddened by the high rate of divorce in the U.S., with even fewer second marriages succeeding.  We recognize the reasons are complicated but believe the trend can be reversed with trust and hard work.

Neither of us is a relationship saint, but our marriage, the 2nd for both of us, has brought more joy, satisfaction, and peace than we could have imagined. 

We hope our insights will be helpful. 

 www.facebook.com/soulmatemarriage

How Could She Be Surprised? Part Two.

My August 2nd blog described how stunned a male friend was by his wife’s over-the-top reaction when he told her he was filing for divorce.

The marriage had been distant and uncommunicative for more than a decade, and he figured she’d be as relieved as he was to finally just get it over with.

 Instead, she was furious. How could he do this to her? She’d been left alone with the house and the children, week after week for years, while he’d been off on his never-ending work-related sales trips. She’d raised those kids practically single handedly, and had dealt with the household problems and vehicle breakdowns all by herself.

Where was he when the children had chicken pox and were whiny and feverish? Where was he when a blizzard dropped 26 inches of snow and the power was out for three days? Where was he when she didn’t get that promotion she desperately wanted?

And now that the kids were grown and out of the house, he wanted out too? How dare he?

From his perspective, her anger was completely unfair—this was the first time he’d heard any of this from her. They’d agreed years before that he would take the sales job, because it would provide them with a better living than he could otherwise manage. He’d always thought it was a mutual decision, and her actions and attitudes seemed to reinforce that she preferred it when he was gone.

Wondering what signals he’d missed, he thought back over all the homecomings when she’d barely acknowledged him as he came through the door after being away for two or more weeks.

He cringed over the times when he had realized once again that he’d missed out on an important milestone in his kids’ lives… the grade school graduations, school plays, birthday parties, first boyfriend (it came and went while he was on an extended trip).

And he sighed as he remembered how she had made it clear that this was HER house, and his suggestions were unwelcome… after all, she handled it all just fine while he was gone, didn’t she?

So why was she so angry with him? How could she believe they had a marriage when they didn’t sleep together, talk or even eat their meals together?

And what about him? Did she really think it had been all fun and games? He’d spent half of his life on the road, living out of suitcases and in so many hotel rooms in so many cities that often he’d wake up in the middle of the night completely disoriented—he wouldn’t even know which state he was in, let alone what town or hotel.

He’d spent night after night either entertaining clients and drinking too much, or sitting alone in yet another boring room, watching bad television. This was a life? Hadn’t he done this for her and for the kids? And what did he get for it? A family that didn’t know him and didn’t seem to want him.

Sadly, this couple, like too many others, never communicated their relationship wants and needs in an open and honest fashion. Had they, it’s possible there might have been a different outcome to this marriage.

We’ll continue to explore this relationship in future blogs.

Coming soon, Part Three.  

Soul-Mate Marriages is saddened by the high rate of divorce in the U.S., with even fewer second marriages succeeding.  We recognize the reasons are complicated but believe the trend can be reversed with trust and hard work. 

Neither of us is a relationship saint, but our marriage, the 2nd for both of us, has brought more joy, satisfaction, and peace than we could have imagined.

We hope our insights will be helpful.  www.facebook.com/soulmatemarriage.