Monday, October 05, 2009

Extreme Makeover: How God Renewed Our Marriage

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis

Between the fussy baby and the other kids waking up to the fussy baby, I'd gotten little sleep. My husband, oblivious to the rocky night, got up, took a shower and after filling me in on his busy plans taking him away from us for the majority of the day, shut the door and went on to live a real life, with people and respect and a sense of accomplishment.

And I changed a poopy diaper, swept Cheerios off the kitchen floor and prayed I could make it until nap time.

The years when our kids were little were some of the toughest on our marriage. I resented how HIS life went on while mine got lost in the mundane, in laundry and sticky fingers and constant needs of little ones. He got tired of my whiny attitude sighing, "I'll be here."

Though I loved my husband, and knew he loved me, we grew distant. My life was inside the house. His was out.

I thought I was doing him a favor by handling the household things myself, but found it made me more and more annoyed with him. I could use his help, but had trouble asking for it. I thought if I couldn't even do the mother thing without assistance I was failing the only job I had. Plus he was so busy, I didn't want to bog him down with my petty little problems I could take care of myself if I got off my pity pot. But in not communicating any of this, the resentment built up. When I tried to handle it all myself, he thought I didn't need any help and went about his own business further aggravating me and driving a bigger wedge between us.

I had to admit my need. Out loud. To him. It was tough. I wanted him to instinctively know. I thought if he loved me, he would take the time to see what was bothering me. Shouldn't he sense my troubled spirit? Shouldn't he be able to see what was all around him?

But he didn't. He trusted my judgment and my ability to take care of things and assumed I was fine with it because I DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING.

The best and most productive thing for our marriage, both then and now, is me communicating my need, not blaming or criticizing, but admitting I am bothered, no matter how irrational or trivial it seems. It is so hard for me. No one likes to admit they have need. But how is he to know if I don't tell him? He wants to make me happy, but how can he do so if he doesn't know what's really on my mind?

It is critical for both of us to swallow our pride--me in acknowledging I need him, him in listening without taking it personally. The benefit to our marriage? I feel understood. He feels needed. I feel loved and taken care of. I don't stew on things for months (and am probably an easier person to live with). He gets to feel like Superman when he responds to my problems.

When our kids were little it meant he made arrangements for one of our mothers to watch the them while we got out for a night. He encouraged me to do things with friends. He started asking for MY help in things for his job at church and we put a foot in each other's worlds. Thank God for a husband who may not always like what he hears, but always listens and finds a way to respond.

As crazy as it sounds, me opening my mouth improved our marriage significantly. It's still difficult for me to voice my concerns and aggravations, but now I have motivation. I know a good marriage will not happen otherwise.

Talk to your men, ladies! Don't accuse or blame, just tell them how you feel. See how God can use your humility to grow your bond.

To read more extreme marriage makeover stories, visit e-Mom at Chrysalis.


April said...

It is so hard to not fall back on the expectation that your husband can read your mind. So often, he has no idea what the problem was to begin with. Communication is key!

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

OUCH! You mean he can't really read my mind?!?! I have learned the hard way that my husband doesn't take hints. I have to spell things out. But I have also learned that when I do talk, the problems aren't quite as big as I thought they were.

Thank you for this great reminder to communicate w/our husbands. Hope you have a wonderful week!

MomE said...

Wow...thanks for sharing advice for right where I'm standing. Talk about smacking the nail on the head...about resentment just building! Once I talk to him...I wonder why I waited so long to get it out!

Anonymous said...

Weeping and clapping at the same time. You've got it! Yay, HOORAY Tami!!!

And yes, it's SO HARD for us to ask for support. And why is that? I think pride plays a role, certainly. But there's also fear at play. It's risky to ask. What if we're turned down or ignored?

I also think we find it unnatural to A.S.K. because we women are wired to respond to the *non-verbal* needs of little kids. We can read faces better than men, and body language. Babies and children often don't have the language skills to express what they need. They are dependent on Mom to figure it out.

As women, we assume men are naturally wired that way toward us, but they're not. We want them to notice our needs (like we would) and offer their help. But men wait to be asked. It's risky for them to offer. What if we said "no thanks?" Then their ego would suffer.

It's interesting to read about how you dealt with the inside-the-house/outside-the-house dilemma. Bravo. In our case, e-Dad has worked at home for decades, so our activities have overlapped quite a lot. (Not always to my liking: eg. get that fax machine out of my kitchen puulleeease!)

Love you, girl. Wonderful post!

Thanks for joining us for Marriage Monday today.


tonya said...

Asking for help can be so hard. I remember when my kids were little and I felt overwhelmed ALL the time. Chuck was so busy working, he too, didn't see my need.

Your post took me back to those days. Now that mine are teenagers, it's funny, but I miss being overwhelmed.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Girl, I could have written this post! This is one of those lessons that we seem to have to learn over and over again! You have no idea how timely this post is.....Blessings!

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing.

Faith said...

This really ministered to me... thanks for sharing this. I've been there done that with some of what you've said! COMMUNICATION is so important....

MiPa said...

Oh how well I understand that elief that he should instinctively know what I need and his believing if I don't say anything I have it under control. This is a path we have walked as well. Thanks for the post and the encouragement that with a little communication this doesn't have to be so hard.

Lynn said...


I had to admit my need. Out loud. To him. It was tough. I wanted him to instinctively know. I thought if he loved me, he would take the time to see what was bothering me. Shouldn't he sense my troubled spirit? Shouldn't he be able to see what was all around him?

Wow, I absolutely have lived here too. this post is one every young mother should read. Tami, as always you share your heart in a way that brings tears and smiles at the same time.

Love you.... Excellent... Hugs