20 December 2011

Are You Working Away At A Hard Marriage?

Hello dear readers!

Let's talk more about marriage!  Shall we?

You know how many people say "marriage is sooooo much work??  It's soooo hard??"  I feel like I've heard people say this my whole life, to the point that it could almost make someone fearful of what they might be getting into (I certainly braced for the worst when I got married the first time, just because of what I had heard...any of you single people a little scared?)   And I get why people say marriage is hard.  I think people are referring to how hard it can be to: live with another person, deal with the faults of another, live on a budget, give up freedoms they used to have, feel that their needs aren't being met, feel that they aren't desired, share a home with someone who is not as tidy, handle difficult in-laws, deal with all the hurt feelings or fights or bouts of silence that come up, ETC.... 

YIKERS!  Well, these things all do exist in a marriage.  And it does sound like a lot of "work"...... if that's how you decide to view it. 

Well, you guys know by now that I have some views on things that are not always the norm.....and so I hope today I don't strike a nerve in any of you....buuuut... I think that viewing marriage as hard or unpleasant work results in a self fulfilling prophecy.  Remember what I said about identity?  That applies here, too.  If MARRIAGE has an identity of being difficult, that is what it tends to be, simply because that is how we already see it.

As an example…how many of you with kids tell them “I know, I hate peas too, they really are disgusting and I hate the way they feel in my mouth…but, they’re good for you, so you should eat them!”  More likely you try to tell them how yummy their vegetables are, and when you eat them you try to model as much satisfaction as possible.  It’s not a perfect analogy, but is marriage really that different?  Many of us grow up hating vegetables until we finally realize they can be scrumptious and delicious (even though the taste never really changed).  Are there a few of us who still need to grow up regarding how we view and talk about marriage?

So what's MY marriage identity?  Joy! An Opportunity to Progress! (...no matter what's going on.)  OK, I just felt like a dork saying that.  But who doesn't want a more joyful marriage?

It’s important to remind you all, that it was while my first marriage was failing (and Danny's too for that matter) that I found true joy in marriage and life.  How’s that for a shocker!  Why was a failing marriage a source of joy?  Because I relished in the opportunities to master my emotions, reactions, thoughts, and to develop my ability to have love and compassion, even for someone who wasn’t acting “according to plan”.   (See this post to see what kind of love I'm talking about.)

How about you?  What's your current Marriage Identity?  Do you think it needs to change?

Danny asks: Do you still hate vegetables? :)

Update - this was part one of a two part post.  The follow up post is here.

(Photo by the AMAZING Jonathan Canlas, in Central Park)


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  2. Mara,
    Although, I am not married. I agree with you 100%! This is not only true with marriage, but with almost anything in life. This idea is similar to the idea that comes from the book The Secret. We create our lives with every thought and action. We create it all. This does not mean we create the sickness and sadness that comes into our life, but it is the things that are in our control. The things that we CAN influence.

    For me this became my living truth when I was faced with the hard decision to move to D.C. with my sister or stay in Utah. I chose to stay in Utah because I knew it was the right thing for me; my family was not happy to say the least. Rather than dwelling on the sadness and disappointment I felt in myself I changed my attitude and began to work on the things in my control. I could not control their feelings and thoughts towards me, but I could control my own. It was incredible the transformation I saw in myself.

    This change internally, actually, became the change for my external relationships with those around me. My family and I were able to mend any disagreements and happiness was restored.

    It is truly incredible what we can create in our lives with positivity.


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  4. I like this thought alot. Marriage doesn't have to be hard. However, I am thinking back to your post titled ' stuck' where you talked about picking the right spouse and not dating people who are emotionally draining. Marriage can be great and wonderful but sometimes if you ignore the red flags and marry that emotionally draining person anyway marriage is nothing but hard. You still have the power to choose how you react to that and to find your own happiness but there is nothing easy about a spouse who lies, has an addiction, abuses you etc. As someone in the process of ending such a marriage (I was not abused but a marriage in which I ignored the initial red flags) I can say that even my marriage wasnt always ' hard'. There were great moments of joy and happiness, but even when I chose to be happy despite my circumstances that choice was hard. I envy those who think of the basics of marriage as hard. Sticking to a budget, living with a slob, losing freedoms is all worth it to receive the great blessings of marriage. That is not hard. Wanting those things to be the 'hard' in your marriage when you are with a spouse whose choices make your life a living heck in much more significant ways, now that is hard. Marriage doesn't have to be hard, it doesn't even have to be work, in fact it shouldn't be (most of the time anyway). But there are hard marriages. I hope that makes sense. I agree with you but thought it worth mentioning for those suffering in what may be a very hard marriage.

  5. although i've never been married, i am fascinated by marital relations (enough so to have earned my undergrad diploma in said field)....so i do so enjoy talking/reading/thinking about the subject! my thoughts are...we're heavily influenced by our cultural and family-of-origin norms. some people grow up watching sitcoms or hearing their own parents, etc display poor examples and attitudes when it comes to marriage. (e.g. the norm in sitcoms these days is to have a successful and sarcastic woman who barely gets along w/ her oaf of a husband and he must grovel to her every demand whilst he attempts to bumble his way thru fatherhood and husbandhood(?) so they can have a "healthy, loving" relationship.) Also, too many girls grow up hearing their mothers whine about "my husband this" and "oh you know how MEN are"...and likewise, too many sons come to view women as something that ties you down, etc. The point is, we all need to be MUCH more careful about what we expose our children to when it comes to marital role models. Additionally, it would do the world a great favor if young wives everywhere stopped writing facebook statuses such as "Ugh, all my husband does is play video games!" When i see that type of childish venting, i feel pretty certain that the husband isn't the only one w/ a problem around there. Keep the marriage troubles within the marriage or, if needed, involve a professional. Don't tell the world, don't tell your BFF, and don't tell your mother. It's about respect! (Oh dear, now I'm all embarrassed that I just ranted and raved on my very first comment on your blog....soapbox, i guess!)

  6. Mara, I've been a great admirer of your ability to be positive in the face of huge trials and heartbreak. It's truly inspiring. However, I think Melanie makes an extremely valid point.

    You know that the dictionary definition of work is effort. "Work" often has a negative connotation that "effort" does not, yet they mean essentially the same thing. Marriage requires effort or work depending on how you look at it to be sure, but either way it can be difficult and that difficulty is not always simply a state of mind or attitude as Melanie points out.

    It's difficult to have a spouse whom you married in the temple but has left the church, become clinically and chronically depressed, and/or underemployed or unemployed. It's difficult to have a spouse who has a bad temper. It's difficult to have a spouse with an addiction. It's difficult to have a spouse who is gay, but you've decided to stay together. Marriage IS different from vegetables because broccoli really can't be considered abusive or draining as in Melanie's case and no one should ever try to transform that into an acquired taste.

    I think it's important not to minimize the difficulty of a marriage, but rather focus on how people can deal with a difficult marriage if they have one. I think your blog is great in that respect because you do focus on the "effort" rather than the "work." You do set an amazing example for having a positive attitude when going through extremely difficult trials. But you acknowledge the fact that divorce and infertility are difficult trials. You never say divorce can be a joy if you just look at it in a different way.

  7. I love the post, but I love Melanie's and Anonymous's comment even more...

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  9. These are great comments! Mara and I both think that the points brought up in all of the comments so far have been spot on and very insightful (as others have noted, love what is being addressed by Melanie and Anon). If we weren't running around with work and last minute Christmas shopping we would have said so earlier.

    This post used to be much longer and incorporated a few of the very items some of you have addressed...the last half of it got cut off to save for another day (hopefully soon).

    We love hearing your thoughts and love having such incredibly insightful responses, especially responses that get to the heart of those whose difficulties go much further beyond the surface stuff people typically experience.

    Wish I had more time to reply...but for now...time to go catch Mara in the city for some final shopping!

  10. Someone I care for deeply (who happens to be the person who introduced me to your blog) said the following when we were talking about this subject.

    "[...] when you are with someone who is so very right for you, you feel at peace when you are with them. Your individual spirits almost utter a sigh of relief when you are together because it's truly such a peaceful and loving union. As cheesy as it sounds, it really can be like two puzzle pieces coming together. I think that Danny and Mara must feel this same way. I've learned that love truly can overcome anything if you let it. The other person will undoubtedly have annoying habits or push your buttons some days, but if the love you have is strong enough I think that you learn to brush aside all of those things. You are just so darn grateful and happy to be with that person that it overcomes everything. And that thought made me realize that appreciation and gratitude are also key. I'm sure many years together fades those initial feelings a bit, but I think that maybe you can choose love just like you choose to have faith, hope, or joy. You have to remember to choose to love the person you have chosen to be with each and every day just like you make a choice to be happy."

    I thought what she said was so profound that I couldn't help but share. The key, for me, was what she said in the beginning: when you are with someone who IS SO VERY RIGHT FOR YOU, you feel at peace when you are with them. I do not believe marriage is hard or work. I believe marriage to the wrong person could be, but marriage itself is not.

    I am tired of hearing that when your married the little things that bother you are multiplied. I am tired of hearing that it is hard work to hold a marriage together. I believe that marriage is and should be as blissful and beautiful as it is eternal.

  11. I agree with the post, as well as with what people have said above--sometimes it IS hard and sometimes that can't be changed with just a positive state of mind.

    Here's what I want to know...if applying all these truths to everyone and every situation, how would you apply it to your former spouses? Could they have chosen to be happy? Mara, you often talk about how your spouse fell out of love with you and how hard that was on you--as I'm sure it was--I'm guessing it was hard on him too. Do you believe he could have chosen to be in love, to make your marriage a happy and bright one? Could your marriage to him have been as happy as your marriage to Danny? These are very sincere questions.

    I'm asking because I relate to your former spouse....and it's an incredibly tough and painful spot to be in. There is guilt and shame, but not seeing a lot of hope for a better outcome.

  12. Again, thanks for the great comments...Mara and I have been talking about this all night and you've given us a great reason to clarify...we've come up with a much better analogy that I hope will fit the many different scenarios addressed here. Mara's trying to write it all down (but given our crazy schedules it may not post til after Christmas)

    ANONYMOUS - Great questions, but difficult to answer in a way that satisfies. For the most part, Mara and I both try to avoid openly speculating about what our spouses could/should have done, and instead focus on what WE did despite the unfortunate circumstances we found ourselves in. Going into specifics of what they could have done differently would probably be a little too personal (this is our blog, not theirs...and we try to politely keep them out of it as much as possible while still telling an accurate story). So, please recognize that it is difficult to provide you a fuller answer.

    Let me speak instead in generalities that we both whole-heartedly believe apply to our former spouses, and everyone else:

    -"Could they have chosen to be happy?" - I truly believe anyone can choose a better way of life that leads to greater happiness. I believe that we are all capable of an unlimited amount of growth, even if we all grow at a different pace. I think both genetics (nature) and the cumulative environment of life (nurture) can affect the pace at which we initially grow. But we are all capable of growth - and that means happiness too.

    -"I'm guessing it was hard on him too." - Unquestionably. At the heart of that statement is why neither Mara nor I hold or entertain grudges, anger, or malice of any kind for our former spouses. Because we saw that the choices they made came out of some deep suffering they felt at that moment in their lives. Knowing it was hard on them too is exactly why it was easier for us to forgive freely and move on.

    -"Do you believe he could have chosen to be in love?"- Yes...but that question goes a lot deeper. Mara and I have both learned that real love (the kind that people are referring to when the accurately say love conquers all) is a lot different than romantic/dating love or even the typical husband/wife love. All I know is if I was able to have sincere love for my former spouse even in the moments I should have been most offended...then the answer to that question has to be YES...but only if we're talking about a love that goes deeper than what many of us talk about when we say "in love".

    -"Could your marriage to him have been as happy as your marriage to Danny?" Mara and I both consider much/most of our former marriages to be characterized by happiness. That our spouses decided to leave and pursue different lives came as a great shock to both of us. I was reading an article the other day that said "History turns on small hinges, and so do people's lives. Our lives will depend on the decisions which we make - for decisions determine destiny". I remember feeling that the destruction of my marriage was so unnecessary, it never took much imagination to see it all turning out very differently. That my former spouse and I actually strengthened our friendship during our divorce to me seems a testament that we were capable of greater happiness IN the marriage as well.

  13. I remember when we'd been married about 7 years we were sitting with friends discussing the 'the first year of marriage is the hardest...' statement...

    I totally piped up saying "I dont get that statement at all. the first year of marriage was EASY and wonderful..'

    to which my husband said 'for you maybe'

    LOL LOL. I remember it so vividly (now married 13 years obviously I was a naive and annoying 20 year old he married ;) and we've always been very happy and found marriage fairly easy. I do feel for those who have to work hard at it.

  14. Mara,
    I get what point your making and it's great! You attitude about everything in life will determine your happiness. However I feel it is very important that the young adults of today need to know the true definition of love: that it is that YOU choose who YOU love, soo.., LOVE your choice. What is love? Why it's a verb of course, so the way you talk, think and act towards your spouse will truly determine how you feel about them. I know when I'm getting a bad attitude about life (oh c'mon we all do this at times!). This is when I tend to view everything even things about my darling hubby as a negative. As soon as i recognize this for what it is, I go into overdrive to turn it around. And with some effort or work as you might call it, I become happy, and in love. How? through my thoughts and actions. I serve my hubby, compliment him, make his favorite meals. Is it easy at first heck no! But it becomes easier. And I consider myself to be in a very loving marriage, whom is my best friend, and whom I felt tremendous peace when praying about marrying him. Another testament to why I never give up when the going gets tough, I know without a doubt we are supposed to be together-I love answered prayers. Anyways even so, every dog has his days, and that's OKAY!!! Your normal if you get a little irritable, just don't hang onto it too long, turn it around, make the choice! It will be work at first but it gets better. I always like to use the analogy of family, do you get along with your siblings or parents all the time? Of course not, sometimes it's work! But it doesn't mean you leave them in the dust and say,nope ive had enough, they're family, you love them faults and all! Marriage should be viewed with the same kind of commitment and forgiveness and attitude. I agree with the positive attitude, however too many people today will view thier "hard moments" with spouses as a reason to move on. Love means sacrificing some of your wants for the better of your spouse, overlooking annoying traits etc. And you can still have joy, if not more joy from doing all these things in your marriage. Phew sorry for being so long winded, but feel very passionate about building successful and strong marriages. Am actually writing a book about it.

  15. I promise I don't want to discourage anyone or sound like a "know it all". But I really just have gone through some situations and know some things from first-hand experience that I hope might shed some light in the subject.

    My marriage started on a BAD note, attempted suicide to be exact, fruits of the dating relationship I suppose. I had what many called a "relationship from hell" and it was. And I don't want to get too hung up in the details of it, just know that MANY of the situations that Melanie and the first Anonymous (and Mara) described were lived in this relationship. At the time, my self worth was so low that I thought I deserved all that was happening since I KNEW this is how this person was even before we married. I hated it, and I hated my life and everything and everyone in it, but most of all, I hated myself for allowing such a bad relationship to go on for so long, and for wanting to change someone so much when I knew all along how this person was.

    After many attempts to "disappear" (and no, divorce wasn't even an option in my world, that's how bad it was) I started practicing many of the things that have been talked about in this blog -that I discovered along the way and with the help of good therapists. And then I changed, completely, A LOT! but not only did I change, my spouse did as well. Something in me inspired him (or so he says) and all of this "baggage" was dropped from our lives completely. We've been together for more than a decade and I've had the most beautiful marriage for many years now.

    Was this easy? HECK NO! to date, it has been THE MOST DIFFICULT THING I'VE EXPERIENCED and the best thing that's EVER happened to me. I may sound crazy, I may sound like a masochist, but my life and my world changed COMPLETELY.

    What I remember the most during these difficult times was something that someone told me: "if you align yourself and your intentions and your life with God and worry about YOU and YOUR faults first, everything else will fall into its proper place. Who knows? maybe your husband will die, maybe he will change, maybe he'll leave you, but know for sure that something will happen once you decide to stop complaining about him, stop wanting him to change and start to change YOUR life and worry about that first"

    I don't want to get too carried away with this comment, just know that everyone who doesn't know us from the beginning (we moved) thinks that my husband and I are soul mates, that we have the best marriage ever and that he is the most respectful, righteous, and best example of how a good husband should be. We always laugh about it, as people have NO IDEA of what we went through during those first years.

    And most importantly, we've sincerely forgiven each other for EVERYTHING we did. Because that's what charity, Christ and REAL LOVE does to people, you heal from your wounds, you overcome your weaknesses and your life changes, completely, and literally you "remember them no more" and when you do, it's just a funny thing that happened many years ago.

    Much love to all!

    1. Thank you for sharing this. I am in the middle of this now. I dont think I can do it at times it is heart wrenching. Im trying to just work on me but it is sooo hard.I have had some reality checks and I have changed some behavior but I still need to do better. I long for a soul-connected marriage. I long for me to be able to trust my husband and give him my heart. I hope I have the faith to see this through because I want to give up everyday. I have seen my husband make some positive changes since the beginning of this summer since we have been in therapy. I have decided to not go to therapy any more because my husbands change is so slow and the reality of the situation is heavy. He is a good person who is a good dad but his commitment to his best self and his relationship with God is weak.

  16. Wowza!! so sorry! I thought I was keeping it short!

  17. Kate - we are packing and crazed - heading to the airport soon. But I just had to write and say....this was beautiful - absolutely beautiful to hear. You articulated this SO well. ah. Your description of your life is what we experienced as well (except our spouses left - but the personal change in us still happened, regardless.) Anyway, thank you, thank you for sharing this!

  18. Kate - Wow! I just caught this while grabbing a bite to eat and I am really touched by what you've shared. I hope this doesn't make me sound insensitive to those that are struggling, but I do think that this is part of what Mara and I are trying to address. When I hear stories like yours, when I think about what I learned in the ugliest/darkest moments of my life, I can't help but express this simple truth...sometimes the exception proves the rule. I know that not everyone experiences what you did, or what I did, as a result of their dark moments, but the fact that ANYONE does at all is a miracle, and shows the deep potential in every single person and potential relationship. Thank you so much for sharing what you did!

  19. I have so much to say on this topic, but I am going to be brief or I;ll fall asleep on my keyboard!

    I totally agree with this post. You have to go into a marriage with an open, positive mindset or you're setting yourself up for failure right from the start.

    Mara, I really like that you say that you came to these conclusions even as your first marriage was falling apart.

    People are not set in stone. We grow (up) and the universe constantly throws things in our laps that make us re-examine our lives. That means there is a constant need for readjustment in life AND marriage. It may take some getting used to (one may even have to walk away, or the partner feels he/she has to), but it doesn't need to be hard work. Not if you are prepared to stay in tune with YOUR OWN attitude. It doesn't have to be classed as a failure. What you learn is too valuable.

    Sorry if this doesn't make any sense, it's kinda late over here!

    Btw, Mara and Danny, thanks so much for always inviting conversation/ dialogue in your comment section :)

  20. Mara and Danny,

    I hesitated to write this comment (since I am a very private person), but I have realized that it is something you both should hear (or read).

    To anyone who might wonder if it is possible for a blog to change a person's outlook, and in turn, change a person's life, I must say that it is very possible--because your blog has changed mine.

    Without getting into too much detail, I just want to mention (or admit), that while going through a trial recently, I had the unfortunate inclination to blame that trial on my spouse. It consumed me. I just couldn't seem to get past my feelings. Luckily, I came across your blog, and have faithfully read every post you have posted. It has truly transformed my way of thinking.

    I once felt victimized, I now feel blessed.
    I once felt undeserving of my pain, I now see it as a gateway to growth.
    I once felt alone in my suffering, I now recognize that my spouse was suffering just as much as I was.
    I was being selfish, I am now working on becoming selfless.
    I was thinking of a way out, you helped me to stay in.

    Thank you.

  21. Anonymous - We got this note as we were heading to the airport. It has kept us smiling every since. We are just so touched by what you wrote. When I saw it, I couldn't wait to share it with Danny....I told him, "You're not going to believe this." We really were speechless. It sounds like you are experiencing something incredible. I remember those days, when I first began experiencing it, too. There is nothing better than making those personal changes. Thank you for being brave and writing us. You make us feel that every drop of effort we've put into this blog has been worth it. We couldn't feel more joy from being able to help others along their paths. And btw, you all are helping us, too.

    Much love to you. Congratulations for all that you are doing........we will be thinking of you.


  22. Once Josh and I learned how to communicate effectively our marriage has never been a struggle. I love being married. It's like having your best friend over for sleepovers every night. How can that be hard?

  23. I haven't read much of ur posts...just this one & part 2. It made me cry. It renews and reaffirms my beliefs. I was recently launched out of my 4yr relationship w my 2 youngests father.Long story short, he was n alcoholic (& things that come along w it), fr dysfunctional family whom was very controling and verbaly abusive 2 myself & my teens. I applied the princables you speak with him and his family as much as I could. But the situation required me & my girls to return to my hm state. I never thought it permant, yet we're going on 6 mo. I've always looked at it as an opportunity for all of us to grow - me, him, his family, my teens. To embrace the leasons we needed to learn and from there create our new exsistance be it together or apart. I know he has struggled with the feelings of "hate" and realizing that it is not me he hates but rather the reactions that have followed from his choices. Since "hell week" I've been trying to reitterate the notion life is what we make it and the importance of embracing the little moments even if not ideal making the most out of them. I gave birth to our youngest 3mo ago. He drove out for it and his attitude was utterly horrible! Three weeks ago I went back, packed our stuff & moved. During that time I convinced him to stay those days & nights with me to bond w our baby vs running off w 2yo. Begrudgingly he did. And it was only unconfortable for a lil while. We had some really good conversations. It was weird & shocking to learn since I left, he was looking at me as the enemy!!! But I just loved him & talked w him. He came out following wkend and we all spent more time together. This week he apologized for his behavior at our daughters birth. He realized after spending time w us n my attitude w him, how he has made things worse. How he was too busy being mad & hurt to understand the possiblities to come out of things. I don't know what the future holds for us...nor do I try and predetermine it. I am open to where god leads me. And even thou this has torn apart my heart, I am thankful for what has come from it in my life. I know I & my girls have touched ladies hearts fr the shelter, they teens appreciate me more, found wonderful counselors, and wonderful opportunities have opened up for me artisticaly! Behind every cloud is a silver lineing!!!

    Its late (or early?) & its first time I've ever been inclinced 2 respond to a post. So forgive my hodge podge of thoughts!

  24. Thank y'all so much for your blog, and thanks for all these comments/this conversation! I really found some community and connection and understanding and hope and comfort that I needed from reading through all this. Thank you all for existing exactly the way you do.

    My partner - who took me from being polyamorous for most of my adult life to monogamous cuz I knew he was the one, beyond a doubt - recently told me he doesn't know if we're soul mates/forever, even though he used to think so. That was a huge blow, and right now I guess I'm trying to figure out how to reorient/reframe my thinking about him, myself, etc, so that I'm still okay no matter what happens. He says he still loves me, is in love with me even, and says "don't leave me" though he doesn't really wanna say the same to me - he doesn't like thinking about the future, and I'm all ABOUT the future.

    I'm pretty confused, and definitely am still working on some personal things, like confidence and jealousy and healing from pain in childhood, and he is an INTJ and I'm an ENFJ (myers briggs personality profiles - very helpful!) so a lot of our problems make sense ;-)

    I think I'm growing SO much with him and I see our "fights" as bumps/challenges cuz I'm such an optimist. I'm really good to him, and he's usually really good to me, and everyone says we are the cutest most in-love couple ever (a friend of ours even said if we break up she'll lose all hope in love lol). But I ask for a lot of emotional support, our fights are really draining on him, and he's not used to having a long-term relationship or being with anyone so emotional, and he has trouble changing, I think, or communicating his feelings and needs, or admitting his errors, as per his INTJ profile.

    Thank all of y'all for helping me find some peace and comfort through this (I'm an NF after all - Feeling at like 83% lol). My problems are not nearly as serious and should not be prioritized the same as some of you beautiful people going through/who have gone through some much more intense stuff (I think you deserve much more/more immediate support and compassion). But if anyone has advice for some steps I can take to take care of myself mentally/emotionally/spiritually in light of this new thing he's told me about how he doesn't really know whether we're forever anymore, please do let me know.

    This place/places like this are like THERAPY for people who can't afford consistent therapy! Yay~! :-D

  25. I just wanted to chime in, that while I agree with what you've written here, and Kate's story in the comments was lovely, it also seems like this stuff needs a qualifier. People in abusive relationships often focus on trying to change the way they behave, believing the abuser's statements that "you make me do it". There really are some marital situations when the only sane thing you can do is to leave. Abuse is not the result of not being optimistic enough, and you can't sunny-disposition yourself out from under the fist or violent words of an abuser.
    I think it is important to make this distinction, because abusive spouses are often weak, sad souls in need of love too. They are violent because they are damaged/frightened/hurting, so it is easy for someone who is the victim of abuse to find tender feelings towards their torturer, because as someone close you see all that sadness and hurt that is causing them to lash out. The thing is though - it is a very dangerous road to go down, believing that you can change an abusive situation by giving love and building your virtues. You can wear yourself out loving an abuser, because until they begin to heal they are not going to be able to process your love. All the therapy in the world cannot be relied upon to save an abusive relationship, the abused person has to leave in order to give either person hope of getting better. I just thought it needed to be said, because this post and these comments could do some serious messing with the minds of those in unhealthy situations.

  26. Marriage does not have to be horribly hard, but it can be.
    The cliche about you get out of marriage what you put into it is very true, but not in the way it is presented. Before marriage, my fiancee and I agree we would both continue to work, but have kids fairly soon. Sex have decreased, but we knew we had to work at it.
    Once married, she stopped working, stopped housework and no longer wanted kids. From teh outside, it seems she was just taking. In fact, I have become more emotionally independent than I have ever been, despite losing my dreams. My wife has become more depressed as she struggles to find self-worth, having given up the things that gave it to her. When one gives up (and despite what we read, it can be the woman), things will be difficult. It is caring that gives us self worth and self respect and we have to keep working at that.
    If both sides care and try, it will work.


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