She Was Cynical Earlier About Her Husband’s Contribution To Their Family.
If you had asked me (29F) a few years ago if I was happy with my husband (30M), I probably would have given a playfully cynical response. Something like, “I’d like him more if he picked his socks up off the floor like I’ve asked a thousand times.” I’d laugh, but deep down, my response would be filled with hidden resentment. I was resentful for having my needs ignored, from being left to parent our daughter while he observed from the couch or computer chair. I was spiteful for watching him do what he wanted, while all the responsibility fell on my shoulders.
The resentment felt like a friend, cheering me on from the sidelines. “That’s right, pull away from his hug. He doesn’t deserve your love or happiness! Maybe next time he’ll pick up his socks!” I loved my husband, but I wouldn’t dare show him that. As far as I was concerned, I could justify my actions through his behavior. If he wants to stay up until 3:00 AM playing video games when I’ve had to get up with the toddler, then fine, I just won’t show him an ounce of happiness today.
It obviously wasn’t always this way. We’ve been together now for over seven years. Our relationship was a quick starter – We went from starting a long-distance relationship from different countries (US and UK), him moving to be with me, engaged, married, and pregnant with our daughter all within ten months. It went so quick, but I had no regrets. I knew he’d be mine forever within days of dating.
Things changed once our daughter was born. Our love and spontaneity turned into indifference and exhaustion. I felt the intense pressure of motherhood and put so much of the responsibility onto myself. It’s heard a thousand times over from couples with children – the wife feels like she’s doing everything to keep the household and family balanced, while the husband lacks in taking on his share. She becomes resentful, and the husband is forced to exist with a miserable human being.
I was miserable, and I blamed him. I hated that he was refusing to make the changes I needed to be happy. I wanted to love him, but how can you love someone who is seemingly inconsiderate of your feelings?
A couple years ago, we took a family trip. The thing that sucks about resentment is that she’s a clingy b*tch and will follow you wherever you go. I pouted through this whole trip, rejected my husband’s touches, and just was an a**hole the entire time. One evening, at the end of the trip, my husband and I were lying there, and it was quiet. Out of the blue he says, “You are literally never happy anymore. I feel unloved and rejected by you.”
The realization that I needed hit me in that moment; I had all these expectations of him to make me happy, but I never considered my own actions, behavior, or words. I just justified my misery because I wasn’t getting from him what I wanted. I never stopped to think, “Am I being the kind of partner I would want to be with?” I had as much of a responsibility to love him as he did me, and I wasn’t being fair. The resentment was allowing me to justify my actions, but it was slowly killing our marriage. Resentment wasn’t giving me the results I needed. She needed to go.
We had a long talk that evening. If we weren’t making each other happy, then what was even the point of being together? We went into this with the point of being happy together, and if we weren’t happy, then something needed to change. We either needed to try and fix things, or we needed to split. We needed to try to fix it first, so that we could at least say we tried before giving up.
I had to stop worrying about waiting on him to change, worrying about his actions, and start consciously paying attention to my own responses towards him. I had to be aware of the resentment and realize how much it was controlling me around him. I stopped pushing him away when he’d come in for a hug, I let myself have fun when we did things together, I made a conscious effort to smile at him more, to be appreciative of the things he was doing for me, talk to him about things beyond b*tching at him, and just be a warmer presence for him.
Lo and behold, things started to improve. Suddenly, his socks were in the hamper, and he was helping clean up dinner because we found it effortless when we were laughing through the clean-up. He stopped disappearing behind his computer, and maybe it was because he didn’t feel he needed it to escape his miserable wife anymore. He would get up with me in the mornings, sometimes letting me sleep-in, sometimes going to get me breakfast, or sometimes getting up to help with the laundry. We started to really, truly enjoy each other again. Our sex life improved, and it felt like a light switch was turned on in our marriage.
I nearly gave up on us, and I’m so glad that I didn’t. I feel closer to my husband now more than ever, and I don’t know where I’d be without him. He’s my absolute best friend, and I’m so glad he fought this fight with me instead of us turning on each other. Everything we felt towards each other has passed, and we are really a team again. We are full of love for one another. Of course, we must sometimes remember to look at ourselves and say, “Am I being the partner he/she deserves?” Am I being the partner I expect him/her to be?” It’s constant work, but it’s been so worth it. We’ve watched so many friends around us give up on their marriages before they even tried to save it, and it breaks my heart for them, because I’ve experienced what love and effort can do for a relationship.
The love I have for my husband is the concrete for my foundation. Feeling his presence is beyond physical; it gets into my soul. I’d never be a whole person without him, because he is part of me.