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I've never posted to a message board before, so if I'm doing something wrong, please let me know.

 

My husband and I have been together for almost nine years now, and we've had problems from the start. He was always lying, always manipulating, and became more and more abusive as the relationship went on. When I was almost 18 I became pregnant with our daughter, and he spent those nine months either ignoring me or screaming at me, but I stayed with him because I told myself he was just scared. After all, everyone who knew what was going on kept telling me how even though he was 20, boys take a lot longer to grow up and mature. So I told myself that when our daughter was born he'd be a better man. Every time things got bad I'd pray and ask God to change his heart, to give him a heart to love his daughter, and He did. The moment our daughter was born, he cried and realized how wrong he'd been. And it seemed like things were going to get better. I should tell you, he's never been a bad father, our two children adore him and he loves them with all his heart, but towards me, things didn't get better; from emotionally cheating, to porn addictions, to even an incident of physical abuse. When ever he'd mess up badly, I'd start to leave and he'd pour on the "I'm so sorry's" and I'd give in and stay.

 

Fast forward to a year and a half ago, he finally physically cheated on my with a close friend of mine. That was my breaking point. Although I didn't kick him out, didn't call a lawyer, I did shut down on him. I wanted to show him grace, I wanted to be the good wife I was supposed to be, taught to be, and just tell him that I forgave him, but I couldn't let go of how badly it hurt. One of the only things I said to him in the weeks that followed was when he asked me what he could do, I told him to pray for me, like I'd been doing for him. Even though he didn't believe, even though he was a skeptic, to pray for me anyway, and he did, still does, so he claims. Since then he's been working on becoming a better husband and better man in general, but every time he slips up, which is fairly often, I can't help but shut down on him, I can't help but point it out (sometimes rather rudely), and I can't help but lose the tiny bit of trust I began to put back into him. He does try to correct his behavior when he does that (which is something he has never done before) and that leaves me feeling guilty for getting angry with him. People I've turned to for help point out that we're young and that's why we have the problems, he has always wanted something else because he settled down so early in his life. They ask what I could do differently, but to be honest, I'm not sure. As far as I know, I've been a good wife, but then I feel guilty about thinking that because obviously I'm far from perfect. I'm just at a loss as to where I should turn, and don't know if I'm even justified in feeling the way I do.

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Hi! Welcome to the forum!

 

If you haven't ordered Joel and Kathy's 2 books, I'd advise you to do so asap. A lot of what we tell you will make a lot more sense if you've read the books. Your husband also needs to read them, but we'll get to that in a minute.

 

I wanted to show him grace, I wanted to be the good wife I was supposed to be, taught to be, and just tell him that I forgave him,

 

 

Aaargh! That kind of teaching ticks me off. So your husband gets to do whatever he wants, and you are supposed to be a "good wife" and pretend it never happened? I don't think so.

 

every time he slips up, which is fairly often, I can't help but shut down on him, I can't help but point it out (sometimes rather rudely), and I can't help but lose the tiny bit of trust I began to put back into him. He does try to correct his behavior when he does that (which is something he has never done before) and that leaves me feeling guilty for getting angry with him.

 

 

Congratulations. You're normal. You haven't gotten enough healing yet to trust your husband again, and most likely he does not really know how to make that happen.

 

People I've turned to for help point out that we're young and that's why we have the problems, he has always wanted something else because he settled down so early in his life. They ask what I could do differently

 

 

 

I'm sorry, but that's the biggest crock I've ever heard. You have been physically and emotionally abused, your husband has cheated on you, and they want to know what YOU could do differently? Are you kidding me??!! How 'bout holding your husband accountable for his behavior?

 

don't know if I'm even justified in feeling the way I do.

 

 

Yes, you are. First of all, your feelings are your feelings, so there is no justification necessary. But you have been hurt by your husband. Why would you NOT feel the way you feel? That doesn't even make sense.

 

So, on to the practical stuff.

 

Does your husband know about this ministry, and is he open to working with us? If so, this could be a fairly easy fix.

 

Get on the conference call tonight.

 

Order the books. Give your husband the 1st book (the red one) and tell him he has 2 weeks to read it. You read the 2nd book (the white one) and then you can switch. If he refuses to read the book ... well, if he doesn't want your marriage badly enough to read 1 easy book, that tells you something, doesn't it? Let us know and we'll help you with what to do then.

 

Your marriage can be saved, but only if you are both willing to do what you need to do. You can't save it by yourself.

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He knows about it, I think, but isn't on it. I don't think he'd be against joining though. I did order the books today, they'll be here soon. Is there something we should read in the mean time?

 

This thread has me shaking (literally) as it is, and I don't think I can do a conference call tonight, I have severe anxieties and I really don't know if I could handle it. I will try to work up to it. What exactly are they?

Edited by amak0911
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Do you mean, what are the conference calls?  They are for couples to receive help for specific issues that come up, but anyone, even a wife alone can feel free to listen in without saying a word!  I think you would begin to feel less anxious if you just do that to start with.  Here's the number so you don't have to search for it: 

 

1-443-453-0034  Access code:  544475

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I agree with MJ - just dial in, mute your phone, and listen. You don't need to speak up. That will help you get familiar with how the calls work, and often something that is said to another couple will help you as well.

 

The call starts at 10pm eastern tonight.

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BTW most of the couples' calls start at 9pm eastern. Tuesday is a little different because Miss Elizabeth has an encouraging, positive living type call from 9-10. It's not for marriage help, but it's really uplifting. Listen in on that one if you can. :)

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Thanks, I will check it out! Its good to know I'll be able to make the next call if I can't make this one (nine is a lot easier to make it to, haha). My husband said he'd join and start posting here too, and that he will read the books, so I'm hoping this can help us.

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 I did order the books today, they'll be here soon. Is there something we should read in the mean time?

 

 

Good Morning amak0911,

 

Glad you are posting! You can download samples from the books from the GodSaveMy marriage website and read those while you are waiting for the books to arrive.

 

 

 

This thread has me shaking (literally) as it is,

 

I too, had severe anxieties when I started here and would physically shake. I completely understand this. just don't let your physical symptoms be an indicator to you of how right or wrong something is! let God's Word- and our teaching of it - do that for you. As you change the way you think and the way you do relationship, there will be anxiety. That's NORMAL!

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Thanks for that, my anxieties can be debilitating sometimes, so it is nice to know someone can relate to that, too. (I'd have quoted you, but I'm not sure how. :huh:) I will be checking those samples out tonight. Maybe we will start them together as it is reading night (we try to read to each other a few times a week).

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So, we started the samples last night (a little reluctance on his part, but he did do it). I think they hit uncomfortably close to home for him, but that's a good thing because he responds best to things that do that; it is the only time things get through his thick head. He said he is excited to read the whole book, and that he will "try" to post here. He is having trouble getting past the part of him that keeps telling him asking for help and talking about his problems is weakness on his part (his words).

 

Now for a question. Kathy said that it will take time to trust and that that is ok. My question (which I had when I first posted but I guess it got lost in trying to get my story out) is: Is my lack of trust going to hinder him from changing? I can't help but feel bad when he slips up and I react like that's the end of his trying to fix this, when really he's just slipping up because it's hard to break the habit of being a jerk when you've always been one (at least I tell myself this when he apologizes). I worry that there will be one too many times that I say "that's it, things are just like they were" and it will cause him to actually stop trying because I'm just not believing in him.

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You cannot cause your husband to stop trying. That's his choice. If he is really committed to saving your marriage, he will stick with it no matter what you do.

 

Having said that, you can make it harder or easier, depending on how you respond to him. This is where we ask a wife to choose to respond warmly, no matter how she feels inside. But we also ask the husband to realize that you're human, an you're hurt. You may not always be able to respond well, and he's gonna have to love you anyway.

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You don't react warmly to the wrong behavior. This is kinda like training the dog LOL - you respond warmly when he does the right thing. You let him know that he hurt you when he does the wrong thing, and you back off a little relationally until he pursues you for restoration. It's good for good, and bad for bad.

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Here's an acronymn given to me when I first started here. It has continued to help me immensely in the areas where I need healing- especially when my teen daughter accidentally does something that brings up all the old woundings of my ex. She and I used it this morning and i learned huge new things about myself.. things that were hurting her, which I don't want to do.. and she felt loved- I felt loved .. it was win, win...  Hope this helps...

 

 

L -- Listen to your wife (or mother or daughter)
O -- Offer an apology
V -- Validate her. Tell her she has every right to feel the way she does.
E -- Embrace her, if she is willing.
R -- Repent. Let her know you intend to change your behaviors so you won't hurt her again in this way. (And pray about it!)

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OK, that makes more sense to me, LT, and thanks for acronym, 4evr.

 

I now have to vent and ask you to please put this in perspective for me. Am I over reacting, underreacting, or doing what I'm supposed to?

On his way home from work, he calls me like he always does and something about going to his mother's house on Sunday for a cook out comes up. (I should mention now that my in laws and I have a rough history and that I promise you, my issues with this woman go so much deeper than the smaller things I'm about to mention.) I start venting about how I don't like the fact that I have to cook something just so the kids will eat more that pickles, chips, and olives for dinner. (I mean, really, you can't cook a box of mac and cheese for your grandchildren? If you want people to bring things so you don't have to cook, then tell us! I've asked twice now if I should bring something and she has flat out ignored me.) Then, I say I don't think it is very fair that his sister in law's mother got an invite and will be there, but my mother didn't. He said that his sister in law probably invited her, but I can assure you, she did not, she was raised, just like I was, knowing it was rude to invite someone to someone else's house.

I can understand wanting to defend his mother, but really, our history goes so much deeper that clearly this is just the tip of the ice burg and getting him getting defensive is not going to help me feel better. I understand that I should not speak bad about other people, especially his family, and he proceeds to tell me this every time it comes up. He then tries to "fix it" (like this is a problem he can solve, instead of taking it as face value and understanding that I'm just upset and hurt from a terrible history with his family, and on my period so I am a bit touchy.) He actually says,*sigh* :roll:(with that eye roll he does, I imagine) "Well, I can talk to my mother about inviting yours, too." Now, let us set aside the fact that whenever he asks someone something on my behalf he turns it into a drama about how I'm too scared to ask myself, and that I'm so upset that I will not stop nagging him, and could this PLEASE happen to get me off his case, we will completely ignore that problem for now for the sake of getting through this post. Did I not just say to him that I found it rude to invite someone to someone else's house? That my mother, who raised me more or less on her own, taught me never to do that? I told him that I felt he wasn't listening, and he said that he was, I tried to explain again the difference between hearing someone and actually listening to them, but he just got mad and refused to speak. I could actually feel his anger through the phone. So I hung up.

Now,  although I have been very civil with him since he got home 4 hours ago, I refuse to let him touch me. Is that going too far or is that more along the lines of what you meant by "back off relationally"? I'm still upset and every time he tries to kiss me, or hold my hand, I say calmly that I am still angry. This isn't getting us very far. He is now basically giving me the cold shoulder, something I usually respond to by telling him that I'm sorry, and warming back up to him. I am fighting every fiber of me to not do that this time.

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This would be a good issue to bring up on a conference call, preferably after you both have read the books and your husband understands the principles of the teaching.

 

Anyway, for now, I'll see if I can give you a "quick fix". 

 

You could tell your husband that you can't warm up to him until he has apologized for not standing up for you with his mother -- even though today, his mother is not in your presence.  Tell him you are hurt to the core by his seeming lack of care for your feelings/heart/personhood -- whatever word you want to use.

 

Also, you would like him to listen in to the conference call with you tonight just for half an hour. 

 

If he does these two things, you should probably "warm up" to him as you are able.

 

God bless you.  :)  

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Your husband apparently missed the memo on leaving and cleaving. :unsure:

 

Now,  although I have been very civil with him since he got home 4 hours ago, I refuse to let him touch me. Is that going too far or is that more along the lines of what you meant by "back off relationally"? I'm still upset and every time he tries to kiss me, or hold my hand, I say calmly that I am still angry. This isn't getting us very far. He is now basically giving me the cold shoulder, something I usually respond to by telling him that I'm sorry, and warming back up to him. I am fighting every fiber of me to not do that this time.

 

 

 

You're doing the right thing. Don't give in. HE needs to pursue YOU to get the relationship back on track. This is one of those examples of making him uncomfortable enough to want to change. When you don't do what you usually do - apologize and warm back up - he will probably become pretty uncomfortable. He will most likely do all sorts of things to try to get you to make the first move. But that's backwards, because he has been created by God to initiate. Right now he is acting like a responder.

 

If he asks what he's supposed to do, then suggest that he get on a call or post here. That's what we're here for.

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I remember well how I used to do exactly this same thing.. fight with every fiber of my being to not run back and apologize and warm up. I just couldn't see that I was giving my husband the golden get out of jail free card! I was enabling his poor and unloving behavior every time I did that! Hang in there and trust that to get the boat turned in the right direction there has to be uncomfortable change for awhile!

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Thank you, ladies. I appreciate the responses so much, it is nice to have advice and support. He has yet to post, and I really wish he would. I don't want to keep nagging him about it, but I do want him to understand it's important to me and that it will help him and us both. Maybe by the end of the weekend he'll start posting, we will see.

 

Last night I just wanted to go to bed, so a call was not going to happen for us. Fighting with him just sucks my energy. Anyway, I told him good night and he wanted to cuddle up with me, but I again told him I was still upset by what happened. So he said *sigh* "Are we going to talk now? Should I turn on the light?" Unfortunately, I can't type the tone in his voice, but it was sort of a "here she goes..." kind of tone? If that makes sense. He did and I proceeded to tell him that he hurt me by getting upset for my venting my feelings, who else should I vent them too but my husband? Regardless of who it is, I have the right to be upset with a person who disregards me, my family, and most importantly my children. He agreed. I told him, I did not need him to speak for me, that my mouth is plenty big enough to speak up. I then told him that he really hurt me by trying to manipulate me into warming back up to him. And that I feel like he owes me some sort of apology for doing these things. So he gave me one. He said that he was sorry that he wasn't truly listening to me, and sorry for getting upset at my venting when my feelings are most important. And that he was sorry for giving me the cold shoulder, but that he only does it out of habit. He doesn't set out thinking "I'm going to manipulate her and bully her into giving me what I want" but that it's just a habit he's slipped into. I feel like he did really good at an apology up to that point, and it was probably the best apology I got from him in 9 years.

 

Eventually, I would like him to recognize the need to apologize on his own, and leave out any excuses, but I will take what I can get for now, I guess and keep working at this through you guys. I'm hoping to get on and listen to a call tomorrow. In the mean time, any tips on getting him to post? He says he doesn't know where to start.

Edited by amak0911
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Well, once again, you can't really get him to post. It's his choice.

 

However, you can adjust the circumstances so that posting will be the more attractive of 2 choices. For example, you could tell him that if he is choosing not to post, then you are choosing not to make his coffee in the morning. Obviously that's just an example - whatever you set as a consequence needs to be important enough to him that he will prefer to post. Some wives choose to make it a requirement to post a certain number of times per week.

 

In order to start, he simply needs to do exactly what you did - register, and then go to the men's section and start a thread. He can simply say something like Hi, I'm married to amak0911 and I'd like to get some help. We'll ask questions and figure out where he's struggling and offer suggestions. The only requirement is that he keep the dialogue going - he needs to respond to the helpers, answer any questions we ask, and be honest about what he's thinking and where he's having trouble. If he simply says hi and then doesn't come back for a week, it's not going to go anywhere.

 

As for recognizing when he needs to apologize, yeah, that takes time. It sounds like he did the best he knows how to do right now, which is all we can ask of anyone. As he learns more, his apologies will get better. In the meantime, that's one of those responding warmly things - you recognize that he made an honest effort and thank him for it, even if it didn't quite scratch where you itch.

 

As for the conference calls, I don't know how Mondays are for you, but I run the Monday night call with Timothy Paul. This week 4evr should be joining us too. Maybe it would be a little less anxiety producing for you, since you "know" us a little bit. Just a thought. :) You won't need to speak up, and I won't know you're out there unless you say something. The computer tells me how many people are listening, but I don't know who they are.

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Monday at nine on the same number and extension or does it change for the different days? I will call in and put it on speaker so he can listen too.

 

He did register, and I have told him repeatedly that I'm glad he's making an honest effort. And I was sure to tell him I'm very thankful for his apology last night. It was heartfelt, and that's something he's never given me (yay for small victories! lol).

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Yes, the number and passcode are the same for all of the couples' calls.

 

I'm glad he registered. Tell him to just write a line or two to start. I'll probably be the first one to reply, since I tend to be on the forum the most. I promise not to scare him off right away. :P

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The call last night was nice, a little awkward for me (from previous therapy I have had leaving a bad taste in my mouth and having a much harder time speaking than I do writing) but you guys do a great job keeping a dialog going. He seemed to really listen to what was being said. We will be calling in again for sure, but probably after the the books get here. That's all I can really post now as I am at my daughter's school helping out.

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