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First, let’s rewind. Remember those first few dates? You were enthralled with each other. When you weren’t with him, you stared at your phone for hours, waiting for him to text or call.
When you were together, you were up for anything. Spur of the moment beach trip? Sure, why not. Romance works like that.
Then you get married. For the first year, you play house. Maybe you try on the “perfect little wifey” role. Maybe you aim more for “a lady in the street, a freak in the sheets” status.
Either way, this year is all about the two of you. You fight, and you make up.
Then baby fever sets in. And soon, you find yourself mothering children and doing laundry. You and your husband rarely talk about anything but work and kids. You fight, but you don’t make-up. You let it go. You move on. Or worse, you bottle it up until the next round.
Sound familiar? I’ve been down this road and I want to help you see WHY your feeling disconnected from your husband. I hope this will be eye-opening and life-changing for your family.
My husband and I had a whirlwind romance. It was magical, beautiful and very very quick. We had only known each other for 11 months when we said “I Do” and we had only been married for 11 months when our first child was born.
Not long after our daughter was born, disillusionment set in. We began bickering over ridiculous things. Sometimes we just wouldn’t talk at all. I was feeling so disconnected from my husband, I honestly couldn’t remember why we’d fallen in love in the first place. It took years and several sessions with a marriage counselor before I was able to really see what was happening
It seemed like he wanted all of my attention. He wanted to jump in the car and head off on a spur of the moment trip. I needed a plan so that I had time to pack the baby bag. I was still waking up early, getting his coffee for him. I still cuddled up with him to watch TV at night. What more did he want from me? I was an exhausted new mom. I started getting irritated with him on a regular basis. Why couldn’t he just be a man and understand that this child needed my time and attention? Didn’t he want her to feel loved and cared for? Didn’t he want me to succeed as a mom?
The problems compounded when our twin boys were born 16 months later. I had 3 children under 2 years old and exhausted took on a new definition. My husband was working long hours, earning that paycheck. I spent most of my time alone with 3 babies who demanded everything I had to offer. In fact, we were both so tired, we didn’t have time to argue anymore. Things went from bad to worse. Our marriage was quiet, comfortable, and completely unfulfilling.
On the rare occasion he brought up how unhappy he was, I faulted him. How dare he expect me to give of myself even more than I already had. I was raising his children. I wasn’t sleeping. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. What was wrong with him that he couldn’t attain the same level of selflessness
It was YEARS before I was able to see his viewpoint. YEARS before I was able to accept that I had a huge role in the way he was feeling.
From his point of view, I had abandoned him. I had built him up, promising him a life filled with attention and love from a wife who doted on him. Then I got what I wanted from him and left him to flounder around while I became “the perfect mom.”
I began building my identity around motherhood rather than around being his wife. I just naturally assumed he would just do the same. He was a father now. That was his identity. But he was neither ready or willing to take on that kind of identity.
Please don’t fault him. Try to see his perspective. He wasn’t spending his days cuddling with babies. He didn’t get 1001 hugs from pudgy little arms all day that helped fulfill the emotional need. He was not taking hundreds of pictures to post on facebook and delighting in every new accomplishment our little ones made. And when we walked into the church or a store, he was not the one people stopped to talk with about our daughter’s beautiful eyelashes and expressive personality.
He was the one who woke up each morning and went off to work.
He was the one who handed off his hard earned money to the family who ignored him.
The one who stood waiting, invisible, while I chatted with strangers about our twins.
He was alone.
I had promised him the moon, and then promptly taken it away the moment I got something new to love.
It took me quite a long time to see this clearly. QUITE a long time. In that stage, I really felt like he had it easier than I did. He got to sleep through the night after all.
This stage of marriage is so hard. Our marriage counselor had told us that this was the third out of four stages – Misery.
We were both miserable. I felt exhausted and alone, deprived of adult conversation most of the time. He felt unloved and alone, deprived of attention and time with the people he most wanted to be with.
Unfortunately, most people get stuck in this stage. Even after the kids have grown, they’ve become so accustomed to the disconnect that they just live in it. Or worse, they divorce and start all over – only to get stuck in the same stage again.
Learning to move past this stage will give you the ability to stop feeling disconnected from your husband and move you into the awakening to joy stage.
But you have to be willing to see him and love him the way you promised that you would. You would never consider allowing your child to feel unloved or unwanted because you are too exhausted to care. Treat your husband with the same respect.
When he comes home today, don’t let him feel like he comes in second. Pay attention to his need for your attention. Dote on him a little. Get the kids excited to see him. This is his family. The one and only place in the world where he should be able to feel completely love and wanted.
Is that what he feels when he walks in the door? Or does he dread coming home because when he gets there you’re anxious to pass the kids off and get a break from your day? I’m not denying that you have needs too. I’m not saying that you never feel alone. But recognizing that your not the only one will be the first step to stop feeling disconnected from your husband.
If you can find it in your heart to sit patiently beside your toddler, praising him for pooping on the potty, then surely you can find the strength and patience to spend a few moments doting on your husband and his less than extraordinary day.
Find time to love him, today and every day.
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