Kids, resentment, and “bugs eating up the tree”
I’m not sure what to do now, but I do know things aren’t going well.
In 11 years I have found out two things about her sexually: that she likes the CAT style “riding high and grinding” and that she likes having her breasts licked and sucked. Beyond that I ask her to show me how she likes to be touched… nothing… I ask about trying oral … she says “it tickles” and won’t experiment to find things out (I haven’t pushed on fellatio). Often when we have sex it is just routine and I feel she is pushing to just get it over with with minimal touching, but then every once and a while she will try something – maybe holding my hands above my head and getting on top, maybe a bit of anal play, but then it’s no more talk and back to normal. She does initiate usually when we do ML, and there is often plenty of kind touch, which is something.
It’s not all her and we were close, back before the second kid. Then some things besides the kid came up, but it seems like they’ve been at least attempted at being addressed:
My chronic pain which torpedoed my libido for a year or so – mostly fixed
Birth control issue – she can’t take hormonal. I’m trying to solve problem – she doesn’t like condoms much, keeps delaying approving a vasectomy, I even went in to sign up for a trial for male hormonal birth control. I didn’t get in as my sperm count was way too low, but even before we found out she was starting to go negative about it. Currently we’re using one of those calendar apps, but it is really limiting and I worry about it failing, especially when she’s late on her period (which has been happening more often)
Maybe it was her carpal tunnel issues (heck, I know what chronic pain does to libido…) – nope, got that fixed and no change.
I’ve tried to talk with her about it, but usually she just says “you need to spend more time with the kids.” Tried that twice and I got… more time with the kids, and yeah sometimes she was involved but it was still “family” and not “married.” I’ve tried the One Extraordinary Marriage “19 questions” sheet (cursory answers, no discussion), and printed out the “American Parenting is Killing American Marriages” article to talk with her about, but even before I could bring it up she saw it and said “What is this?? Why do you have it??” in a very accusatory tone. It’s getting to where I resent the kids and several times a week I usually find myself at work thinking “OK, I’m done… I could go home, but why bother?” or sometimes wondering if she only married me for the sperm necessary for children and to get an unpaid co-worker in a small childcare enterprise so we can play “happy families” and look good to some unknown audience.
Last weekend she spent a day and a half getting ready for a lunch with some people somewhere between acquaintances and friends plus my parents. This is more time than we have spent together in months, and for the last two times we have gotten rid of the kids we have (first time) did chores in the backyard and (second time) went to a movie and yes, held hands, but didn’t talk or anything. I don’t even know who to talk to about it. It shouldn’t be my parents, my sister doesn’t seem right either, and my best friend, well, when I did let some stuff slip once it seemed to just bring up stuff that made him less happy in his marriage for a bit so I don’t want to do that. Oh, that’s another thing – almost every time I want to go over to a friends and actually have some fun she complains.
It would be easier if I didn’t love her, but I do and I feel myself disconnecting which I don’t like but don’t know what to do about. A couple days ago she asked me “what was wrong” but I didn’t bother to tell her, all the other times I’ve gotten some variant of “you should” or “that’s just how it is now” along with “you need to communicate” no matter how much communication I do. It doesn’t help that I’m looking around me and seeing many divorces too, makes things seem sort of doomed.
Have you tried talking to your pastor or a spiritual man/couple in your church, a happily married one may be best?
I saw myself in a lot of what you wrote. I know what was going on in me back then, but she’s not me.
How old are your kids?
Since the kids seem to be a big part of this let me share where my heart was/is…. first, my children are like my heart outside of my body, how someone treats my children, including their dad, is how they treat me. If my husband didn’t make time for them, was harsh with them, or didn’t enjoy them, I felt/feel it to my core and I respond as such. But the opposite is as true, I am never more attracted to him than when he is being a hands-on dad, especially when I see his and a kids heads together working on something. That didn’t mean I was necessarily “turned on” or “horny”, but I was drawn to him. But a rare time of here and there are not enough to outweigh all the times of his near daily choices of neglect.
Second, as a mother, especially because my kids would be PKs and I knew the statistics of them walking away from God and the church, and I strongly believed it was linked to the relationship with the father, you better believe I was going to do everything I could to make sure they had a good relationship with their dad. So, if their dad overworked and had little time at home, I would sacrifice our time so the kids could have it. Because I strongly believed that was a matter of my kids’ salvation, and a “good marriage” wasn’t. Right or wrong, I am sure I would do the same thing today. A loving mother will sacrifice anything, even her own happiness, for her kids.
In all honesty, it sounds like your wife is on her way to a hard heart herself, if she’s not there. My husband had pretty much lost my heart somewhere in our first 10 years of marriage. It took a big act to turn me around. I know this sounds like a trite answer, but you need to humble yourself and seek the Lord. Be praying for His wisdom and direction. The Spirit will be faithful to give it, and He may even bring resources or another right to you, who will be His mouthpiece.
A few questions,
How many kids and how old? It sounded like two kids?
You said things changed after your second child, is it possible she is/was suffering some post-partem depression?
Her period is irregular, has she had her hormones checked?
She sometimes goes “off-script” and tries something new/different. Can you identify the timing in relation to her cycle and hormone levels?
How is your spiritual life? How is hers?
Everyone has their own hurts, scars, and lies that satan feeds us that rob us of experiencing the connection that God designed for marriage. He knows that the sacred bond mirrors the image of Christ and the church. Are you aware of your own areas that satan uses to attack you? Does your wife know hers?
You are not alone! Is there a men’s group at church or a spiritual mentor you can get connected with?
I’m out of time and will post more later.
Thanks for the tips.
SeekingChange – Wow… makes sense I guess, but a dangerous feedback loop. Husband wants relationship with wife, wife focuses on kids, husband pulls back. Wife sees that and sacrifices the adult relationship for the kids, husband sees that as more abandonment, etc. until he starts wondering if she ever really cared or if it was just a way to get the kids.
Jpops – I don’t think that she is suffering post-partum depression, youngest kid is 3 and I was looking. I’m not a complete ogre, I wasn’t expecting much that first year or so and did help out a lot. Oldest is 5, things seemed to bounce back to normal after that one.
Hormones… don’t know how her basic levels are. Timing is hard, as the only times we can really relax is right around her period. Last night she woke me up and we had a pretty fun time with several off-script things, but we did have to go for the condom and, at least for me, there was the lingering specter of “up to 18% failure rate.” First time in months we’ve had mid-cycle sex though. I’m going to try and make sure I’m present and attentive, which sounds a bit sleazy and manipulative on one level, but might help to open things up. Not sure how to get it so we talk about sex though.
Church is difficult. I’m not very connected anymore. Things have been changing, and the pastor retired so now they’ve gotten rid of the one service where they sort of did a few things to make it a bit quieter, and now they’re both rock music, light shows, and people jumping around on stage, which isn’t my worship style. Most of the people I know have either moved away or died, and church is more of an endure than an enjoy, but my wife likes it there. Short answer is I can’t think of many there to confide in, and don’t think wife would support it anyway (she called of premarital counseling because going to somebody to talk about your marriage makes it look like you’re having problems).
Areas of attack: obviously a number around my marriage, also church as I want it to be somewhere consistent and dependable that I can rely on being the same. That and a “money=security” mindset (from a sermon series many years ago, various ways of relating to money such as money=love, money=power, money=security, etc…)
That’s great MisterV! It is often said that the one who must take the first step is the more mature one.
I know that we have had multiple marriage resource say a “talk time” is needed. One suggested 10 minutes everyday, typically as soon as the husband walked in the doir. Another suggested 20 minutes, with the minimum 4 or 5 times a week, but you should try for daily. When we were practicing that, it was helpful.