Monday, September 29, 2008

Marriage Or Mental Health Dept?

Deep inside, I feel guilty for complaining about my husband - because, I have one.

I know exactly what life can be like as a single Mom, I was raised by one. I knew that it meant that as the child, I had a different kind of relationship with my mom.

It meant that I had more responsibilities, I was expected to be more mature, and that I was part of a team - the team was her, and I.

For her, it meant that all the weight, and all the stress was on her shoulders all of the time, without ceasing.

I know that I am blessed to have such a wonderful husband who cares so much for myself, and for our children, but I think that any woman, any human can only go so long under stress.

For me, just this past week, the last straw was just as everyone in the household got sick, I was at my end.

This was the first time in our entire marriage that I ever yelled at my husband so loud. I am ashamed of it now, but some how, I think it helped him to realize that I simply could not handle the way things were going any more.

Our family sees little of my husband. He leaves often before we get up, and is home seldom for dinner. If he does eat dinner with us, he is gone again until just a few minutes before the kids go to bed. So they see their father maybe 5 minutes a day.

This has been going on for weeks, and weeks. Maybe a month or two. I don't know exactly, all that I know is that I feel just like a single Mom, and I know that I didn't sign up for this. It's felt like an eternity.

When we decided to have a child, 2 children, and then a third - we talked about sharing in on the responsibility.

Because they are 4, 2, and 11 months, and all very busy boys, by the end of the day some days I am ready to just quit - or lose it. As sad as that may sound.

I love my husband, and love my children more than life, more than anything, but I have felt all alone in raising them, and completely overwhelmed.

I can handle a lot. But after not having support for so long in any way, I can understand why some women lose it. So when I yelled at my husband, that was me saying "I'm going to lose it, if things don't change."

You have to understand, that he is self-employed most of the time. So, the hours that he sets - well he sets them. I am well aware that we need money, doesn't everyone. But, I am willing to settle for a whole lot less of it, if it meant that I could have just an hour more with him a day.

My breaking point was when we went to help his Grandmother at her house. The family was there.

She is getting older, and there are certain things that she can't do any more. So, we were all pitching in.

We were about to leave, and everyone was standing around saying Goodbye.

My father-in-law asked why on earth I didn't want to bring the kids out with them to have a bonfire, and camp out.

After hours, and hours of being outside working, my children were falling down tired, and so was I. He hadn't a clue.

My mother-in-law asked "What is she going to do instead?"

My husband responded "I don't know what she does all day."

It wasn't so much what he said, as how he rolled his eyes, and mockingly said it as if he didn't know what I did - like I did absolutely nothing.

I don't think I have ever in our entire marriage even felt so disrespected, and humiliated in front of family members.

His mom ever proceeded to say "Whack." As she imitated smacking him across the head, insinuating that he was out of line.

I left. I was crushed.

Receiving nothing but grief at every turn of myself trying to express how I need my husband, like I was being smacked in the face at each and every turn, I could not believe that he would do such a thing in the presence of others.

I bawled all the way home, my 4 year-old asking "What's wrong Mommy?"

And, what was I supposed to say, as I desperately didn't want to involve my children.

I managed a "Mommy just needs to cry, so that she can feel better."

When my husband got home later on, he wondered why I was upset. He was almost mad at me for not being in a good mood.

I suppose he is upset because he knows that if I'm not happy, we don't always have sex.

I couldn't believe it. He doesn't understand at all. I lost it.

I screamed words at him that explained exactly how I felt. I cannot believe how I sounded, I am truly ashamed - like a crazy person.

He left, not being able to handle the yelling.

When he returned, I had come to a decision. I absolutely had to leave, with the kids.

No kidding, I was done. I needed to go away for a while, and not be any where near him. I couldn't take one more day with his selfish, unsympathetic, oblivious, and almost cruel attitude, and without support.

I explained to him that I planned to go away for 4 days to see his sister, and take a break.

He asked why.

I explained that there was no point in me being here, because not only was he not - but when he was he was mean to me as well.

I was expected to be the quiet little obedient housewife that catered to my husband, and to his needs, while ignoring my own. I felt in a timewarp.

What a low, extremely low point to have reached in our marriage.

I was adamant, and I walked away. He knew that I was serious, and I think for the first time, he realized that everything that I had been trying to say for so long wasn't a joke. I was truly hurt, and truly felt all alone.

When I told him that every time I reached out to him to tell him that I needed him, and that he was mean to me in return, it was just like a slap in the face. I think he for the first time felt sorry.

I can put myself in his shoes. I know that he must feel an incredible weight on his shoulders to provide for his family, to keep everyone that he deals with happy - there probably isn't much left of him to give at the end of the day either.

After this fight, it was the first time that he came to me, and asked me what I needed.

I told him this:

"I need you home for dinner, even if we eat dinner later on in the evening - say 7pm. I need you to stay home after that to help with the boys, to play with them, bath them, and help put them to bed at 8pm. After that, you can do whatever you like. But I need you for that hour. That is what would make me happy."

I have also started helping him with his work while I can.

Now, he gets it. He's been home every night for dinner since, and has been around to help out.

I haven't felt better is so long.

Single Moms, I do not know how you do it!? I admire you, and I admire my own mom.

All that I can say is - I am human. I am grateful that we were able to finally understand each other, and that I have every reason in this world to make our marriage work because I am certain that we need each other.

Marriage isn't perfect. I can remember back to the time when we got married, and went through premarrital counselling - the most important thing we were told was to know each others expectancies of one another.

That's excatly what we have finally established - our expectations.


Mama of Romance

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~The Shoebox~ said...

I am glad that I can be one of the first comments on this post.

Thank you. Marriage isn't perfect. It takes a lot to openly admit when we are wrong for our part of the negative in any relationship... I am fairly certain that it took a lot to openly admit that you yelled at the man that you love, and even more to admit that you still feel badly.

I commend you, yet again, for your honesty...

And for those who would be negative and make you feel the need to defend your marriage... They're idiots if they criticize you here, because you ARE defending your relationship... You defend it by saying "this is what I need"...

If it's enough for you and him, then our opinions don't matter, but the "I've been there" and kind words can help you feel like you're not the only one going through this.

Again, Thank You for writing a blog that I am priviliged to be allowed to read...

Straight to Your Hart said...

In a marriage it is important to know each others expectations and respect them...I find that your situation is similar to mine..but more often..and it is killing me do you have someone give you respect when they have none for you?? Sorry to much said, but with tears coming down my face..I understand the need for open lines of communication and respect for a marriage to stay healthy in all aspects of the relationship..

Diva Ma said...

Sometimes it's hard for them to understand the things that we go through and in terms its difficult to respect all the work that we put into our daily lives to run a family. Marriage is tough. I commend you for keeping the lines of communication open and letting him know how you feel.

Rori Raye said...

It was amazing of you to be able to communicate what you wanted from him in a way he could hear - and that he's stepped up.

If you can do that, from such a stressful place with so much anger and resentment and sadness - you can do anything...Brava. Thanks for this heartfelt post, Rori