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Bad Wife Syndrome

by Anonymous

I have marriage affirmations that I use everyday. I listen to marriage recordings with my husband, and I pray about my marriage everyday. With all of these things, I still have problems in my marriage that seem insurmountable to me.

My first husband said that I was boring and that I was the reason why he drank so much. He said that if I was the kind of wife that he really wanted, he wouldn't drink. When I asked him what he wanted in a wife, he looked at me and said, "A drinking buddy". I waited for him to laugh like it was a joke, but he was serious.

My second husband is irritated with me a lot. When I ask him why he's irritated with me, he says that he's not irritated. I have become resigned to the way that my marriage is. I am his forth wife and his daughter used to say that she couldn't wait to find out who his fifth wife will be. Everyone who knew him when he was married before say that he is impossible to be married to. People who knew my present husband in the past have been expecting our marriage to break up any time.

It's been fourteen years and we're still together. Because we've been working on our recovery from our childhoods together, our marriage is much better than it was in the early years. The more we heal from our past the better our marriage gets. That's why I think we have a chance. If there's improvement over the years doesn't it make sense to keep trying?

My ex said that I was not good to be married to. One time when I was trying to talk to my ex about our marriage problems, he said, "We wouldn't have any problems if you would just shut up."

I hate talking about marriage problems to my present husband too. It seems like nothing gets resolved. I wonder if how I'm talking about it or the wording that I'm using is wrong. Maybe I need to work on how well I communicate. A friend of mine once said that I just need to learn one word, "Goodbye". I just don't want to say that word yet. I want to try everything I can before I have to say that horrible word.

I am not good at just knowing how to do marriage. My parents were my only teachers when I was a child and their marriage was horrible.

My husband doesn't seem to think our problems are as bad as I think they are. I would think that I am just being negative, but I use affirmations everyday.

I can't seem to feel close to my husband. We have this detached marriage. We're together a lot, but we're not really connected. I know that it's not realistic to expect to be wonderfully connected to your spouse all of the time, but I would hope that there should be some moments of emotional connection. Maybe it's there, and I'm just not feeling it. He said that his other wives complained that he would not get close to them. I feel like I'm being rejected. There have been times that I felt we were getting kind of close, and then he just starts getting irritable again.

I don't want a divorce. I don't think that I would ever take a chance on marriage again. That runs in my family. My Grandmother was divorced when I was a child and she never remarried. Two of my Aunts were divorced and never remarried again either. When my Great Grandmother's husband died, she never got remarried. Everyone in my family thought that I was breaking tradition by getting married again.

I remember a song that I used to hear over and over again when I was a child. My sister and I actually started to sing it while doing the dishes sometimes. My father was a Joan Baez fan. He used to play her records all of the time. He especially liked one song and he played it over and over. The lyrics were "I'll never be married, I'll be no man's wife. I intend to stay single all the days of my life." I could remember the rest of the song, but that one statement stays with me the most.

I've been single before. I'm not good at it. I'm not a woman of the world. I'm not a partying type of person. I wouldn't know what to do on a date. Being single scares me. Am I just staying married because I'm afraid of being single? I feel like such a failure in marriage. I feel like I just don't know what I'm doing half the time.

When I look at my husband sometimes I feel resentment and sometimes I feel love. I have mixed feelings about marriage in general. I sit down and write out all of his good points. Then I write down all of the things about him that bother me. The things that are good about him outweigh his flaws. They always do.

I hope my marriage will someday become better. I know that I need to accept myself and my husband the way that we are. We're both not perfect, we both need to heal and learn. We both have our good and bad points. I hope that we can work this out.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thank you for your story. I like the clarity of your thinking and writing. It makes very good sense. And I also realize you're having a lot of trouble figuring out how to proceed with your marriage.

I have a couple of suggestions for you:

1) Take a look at these relationship quotes, and see if they are any help to you.

2) Try keeping your focus only on the positive aspects of your husband and your marriage. As you say, there is more good than bad. If we look for problems in any relationship, we will always find them. Love and happiness have a lot to do with where you're putting your focus. Try journaling daily about what you appreciate about yourself, your husband, and your marriage.

3) Create a vision in your mind of the closeness you would like to have with your husband. Spend time every day thinking about that, and looking forward to it as if you knew it was coming in your future. Keep doing this until it becomes real, no matter how long it takes.

It sounds like there are a lot of good things in your life. Focus there.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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Jan 17, 2010
Bill DeFoore's Marriage Recording
by: Anonymous

In the car yesterday I listened to the marriage recording "Expectations in Marriage" by Bill DeFoore. I listened to it with my husband. While listening to it, I realized that I have some unresolved anger and resentment built up in me about my husband. I know that I have to get out that anger and resentment. I don't want to go through my whole married life with a black cloud of unresolved yesterdays holding us back.

I know that I need to try to also be positive about my husband, but that is very hard with these resentments in me. I really want to work on getting out the anger and then seeing the good things about my husband, like the way that he listens to that marriage recording with me while driving to places in the car.

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