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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a marriage counselor by trade and know a lot about marriage.... but have been really struggling with how often I either feel attached or critical. I am working hard to use my GD techniques to be a better partner. Anyone want to join me?<br><br>
I just read a wonderful essay about how children judge our love "from behind". Think about sitting in the back seat of your parents car and watching them or following them- did they hold hands, did they touch, did they listen to each other, did they laugh? I know that I want my children to grow in a loving envirnment but it is so much easier for me to be understanding and accepting of my children then of my dh. He just drives me nuts sometimes. Mostly I just don't feel we are able to give our relationship what it needs without neglecting the kids. Isn't life always a struggle for balance?<br><br>
Anyone else? What works for you? Are you a yeller? Critical? or a stuffer?
 

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I am a world class yeller. Though I do try very hard not to yell at or in front of my kids. I might raise my voice but when I feel the need to really let loose and yell I now 1) take 2 squirts of Rescue Remedy and hold my breath and count to 10 to let it work. 2) I think about how I hated when my mother yelled and how scared that made me.<br><br>
As for dh and I, we are very lucky in that we don't usually fight. We do however have conversation where we might raise our voices in passion, and the boys ages 5 & 7 are now taking as we are fighting, which we are not. They don't listen to the words, but the volume at which we are having the conversation. They tell us not to fight, to say sorry and make friends again <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/heartbeat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="heartbeat">: which is very very cute. So we have been making a point to not raise our voices when discussing things in front of them.<br><br>
I don't know that I would call myself critical but I expect alot from ppl, not only dh. But I also expect alot from myself. It has taken 37 years but I am finally realizing that I cannot hold ppl to the same standards that I have set for myself, that I have to love/like them for what they are and if I can't then I should not be around them. So in recent times I have been way less critical of dh. It helps that he is a very attentive husband and the best father I know, so it's easy to get over anything he does to upset me. Plus we are always affectionate with each other, even around the boys, and I hope that they understand that even when you fight with someone it does not mean you don't love them<br><br>
Don't know if that is what you were looking for but it's all I got! :LOL
 

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I have really changed in the last year or two, become more "gentle" I guess. I don't argue with him any more (I will sometimes tell him where to go tho<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> ), we used to have some beauty fights which usually ended up with a lot of name calling from him and broken crockery from me, but I have finally after 12 years learnt that it doesn't get us anywhere and we are better waiting until we have both calmed down, then we can sit down and talk about it, if he starts getting heated I usually put my hands over my ears until he calms down again. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Sometimes in the middle of a disagreement/turned loud argument, I get the feeling that my normally pretty good happy marriage is somehow taking a wrong turn and will somehow not survive but all the arguments we've had in 4 years have led us to humbling ourselves and learning something new about each other and getting closer at the end. I hope that pattern will continue. I think some people can be married and never argue. Dh and I are just both kind of arrogant know-it-alls and kind of enjoy the debate part of arguing so I don't think we'll give it up entirely. We are both 'fighters' in life and we also fight for our marriage to survive and be good and to overcome obstacles. Sometimes it takes a little bit to get it back on the right track but we always put out the effort. We both are kind of attracted to the 'hold your own' in an argument trait and find well thought out debates to be very attractive. Sometimes they boil over a little but we apologize and make up. Dh will always apologize to me infront of dd if he did anything inappropriate infront of her. Same vice versa. It works for us. So far atleast.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MsMoMpls</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Mostly I just don't feel we are able to give our relationship what it needs without neglecting the kids. Isn't life always a struggle for balance?</div>
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Yeah I feel this way too. It's kinda like you hit that wall that comes with constant giving giving giving and you have nothing left. And basically your kids are your top priority and you feel like your husband(or wife as the case may be) doesn't need as much from you and his(or her) needs go overlooked at that wall. That's how I feel much of the time. We just had a huge huge blowout a few nights ago and divorce was seriously talked about as a viable option because we both have hit that proverbial end of the rope. He neglects his responsibilities at home because I am more efficient so he LETS me do everything and I nag about it and he pulls away even more and we both end up mad and not speaking. So I steamroll over him with everything at home(kids, cleaning, etc) and then get angry when he doens't offer to help so he spends more and more time away from home to stay out of my way and I get angry at that too. So we are both bigtime stuffers. I don't think we truly realized how bad it was until the other night when divorce came to the table and we realized that to make this work, we need to stop stuffing everything and lay it all out. Communication has had a big breakdown here and we need to fix it in order to save our marriage. I'd personally rather have a few big knockdown, drag-out fights that my kids know about once in a while than have what we have. It takes a toll and the kids see it. And the truth is, it sneaks up on you. You don't notice things have gotten so bad until it's nearly too late. And it takes a LOT to get back to where you are "safe" again. So I really think that despite your kids seeing you fighting every once in a while, as long as their is communication in the home, they will still see how much you truly love each other. I am definitely one for being at home with my kids and spending quality time with my kids but I think that once the nursling can be given a supplementary bottle once every 2 or 3 weeks, they should. The mama and daddy need some time out away from the house. That shouldn't preclude the weekly date on the couch to snuggle and watch a movie either. But a little change of scenery never hurt anyone. We are starting that arduous task of finding a good babysitter that we feel comfortable with and our girls feel comfortable with so that we can go out once a month or so. We've neglected each other so that we could provide the best for our kids and in doing so, we've neglected THEM in a roundabout sort of way. What are we showing them as role models if we aren't caring for each other as well as we care for them?<br><br><br>
Meg
 

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While it's quite easy for me to not yell at my dc, I could *very easily* become a yeller with dh. The thing that saves me from doing that is he doesn't yell...ever! If he were to begin yelling at me, then I would just follow suit and do the same. At the beginning of our marriage, it used to drive me nuts that he didn't get as 'passionate' (as I liked to refer to my yelling as) in disagreements as I did until my sister said to me "Do you think it would help things if both of you were ranting and raving?" For me and my 'issues', it really is best for me to keep disagreements calm and rational. So, that usually means waiting a good deal of time so I can think clearly.<br><br>
My major downfall with dh is that I am *very* critical of him. It takes a lot of strength for me to let go of having everything done my way. When I begin finding fault with him, I don't stop ~ I'm irritated by everything he does, right down to the way he washes his hands!! It's my downward spiral.<br><br>
It's funny, MsMoMpls, that you should mention viewing our parents' marriage from the back seat of their car. I have thought of this analogy so much since I had a hugely profound experience in our car about two years ago. We were all driving somewhere and dh and I were holding hands in the front seat. I turned around to look at ds, then about 3, and he was focused intently on our hands. I realized that I couldn't even fathom that safey and security he might have been feeling seeing dh and me touching each other like that. Also, it struck me how much my dc see how we really are when are backs are turned (in this case, sitting in front of them).<br><br>
I, too, feel that nurturing our marriage or children sometimes comes at the expense of the other. I also feel one of the greatest gifts parents can give their children is a healthy role model for loving adult relationships. I think about how I would have gladly given up an evening with my mother every now and then to see my parents go somewhere together, alone, to have fun. It is all about a struggle for balance and moderation...
 

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We use to fight daily, well it seemed like one never ending fight really. I think I had a lot to deal with at the time, now that many of my issues are out of the way I can handle my emotions better and talk about what is bothering me vs. pick fights over other stuff and not dealing with the issue. I've also learned to pick and choose my battles.
 

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I hear what y'all are saying mamas. I like the backseat of the car idea. I was just talked to my DH last night about my own family. I am very aware that I grew up in an emotional vaccuum. There was hardly any touching between my folks. I don't remember very many hugs or kisses. I know they've loved each other but in a more traditional way. Because of that, I am constantly struggling to be more expressive with my DH. It's very hard for me but I do want to break the cycle with my marriage.<br>
Balance is a very big issue for me. I'm learning that I need to find some ways to really step back a bit from life and be reflective and spiritual. I'm not grounded right now and I feel that I live a very reactive life. I'm going to try journaling and yoga again as ways to bring myself back into my body and my spirit. When I step back, I know I'll be able to start creating a more intentional life, if that makes sense. I've gotta have me time so I can have we time for my DH and I.<br>
Chrissy
 

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Dh & I were partners for 4 years before we had any children. During that time, so many issues came out into our marriage that both of us brought in. The biggest and worst was the <b>breakdown of our communication</b>. This one was the <i>monster</i> marriage-eater!<br>
After couple counseling followed by 2 months of separation and almost beginning the divorce process legally, dh & I <i>finally</i> had a "meeting of the minds."<br>
We had both come to a place where we needed emotional support that we could only get from each other. We decided our marriage was worth working for and immediately began to rebuild. Our therapy began to sink in finally, and we had more real conversations than we had ever had - and fell in love all over again.<br><br>
Since then, we have been VERY careful to let issues come out as they arise!!!! Issues that fester under the surface are what drove us apart in the past. We have a very happy relationship together now and are really enjoying our roles as parents to our two dds. Our family has beautiful, loving moments every day.<br><br><b>All that said, our relationship DOES require upkeep! We're two human beings living together and issues come up sometimes.<br>
And YES, we get angry with each other and I tend to say things I don't mean. Dh gets hurt. I get hurt. We talk about it. We apologize. We're sincere. It's how we keep things from "building up."</b><br><br>
As for how that fits in with our parental roles... We try very hard not to say things we don't mean or raise our voices. Sometimes it happens, and we make sure to apologize to each other in front of our children-- & give each other a hug.<br>
We're not perfect, and I don't think it would be healthy for our children to perceive us in that way and develop unrealistic expectations for themselves or the rest of the world.
 

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We are the no-fighting freak family. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Really, dh and I never fight. I actually had a good friend of mine tell me recently that she was worried about us because we never fought. That was so strange sounding to me! Usually your friends are worried about you if you ARE fighting with your SO.<br><br>
Honestly, we both try very hard to keep the other one happy that there's not much to fight about. We try to talk about important issues that could become a problem (child raising, money, chores, etc). I think we've actually become more open (at least I feel we have) about sharing stuff since our daughter was born. We had a fine marriage before but I feel it's even better now. I do believe both of us choose our battles and know what sets the other person off (and try to avoid doing those things). I also think it helps that we're both pretty laid back and slobby people so things like house cleaning not getting done doesn't turn into an argument. Lucky for me!<br><br>
I think it's very normal for married couples to have arguments and fight. I mean, how can you live with someone day in and day out and not get ticked off over SOMETHING?! I guess I'm just lucky that I married someone who doesn't anger easily and who isn't really annoying to me. I also think that my parents' marriage (not perfect) and my dh having survived a horrific childhood that included three divorces has shaped us. We have a deep want to see our marriage last. We've seen from our parents' mistakes what we DO NOT want to do in our marriage and we consciously try to steer away from those behaviors. I love my dh so much and it absolutely kills me when I know I've done something to hurt or disappoint him. So I really try to make a effort to not do things I know will bother him. I believe he also does the same for me (either that or he's really perfect!).<br><br>
So, I think fighting in marriage is normal but I also believe that it doesn't have to consume the marriage. I obviously don't have any answers to solving excessive fighting. I just feel extremely blessed to have spent the past 10 years married to a wonderful man. Hopefully we're not really weirdos for not fighting. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Jill
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you ladies, this is just the discussion I needed to have. My dh (sometimes) admits that he has anger issues. Occassionally when I voice some criticism, and I am pretty gentle in my approach, he defends himself like I have attacked him.<br><br>
My biggest struggle is that I don't know quite what my responsibility is here. I see this as his issue to figure out. I try not to take on his anger issues. He is doing very well with the boys and if he does yell, I usually just say something like..."He's only 3" and he backs right down. He knows, just has a short fuse. With me, I just don't see that he understand that the impact of his anger is that I don't talk to him much. I don't need the fight, so there are many topics I just never approach. This certainly leads to less intimacy.<br><br>
As a feminist, it drives me nuts that I am the only one who seems to work on parenting, or our relationship so I am kind of just waiting, and waiting, and waiting. If I brought it up, it would just be a fight and I am not going to go there.<br><br>
There is some good research that most arguements are brought up by wives. Men just don't like to talk about stuff the way we do. So, maybe since I have decided not to start any fights, we won't have any. And who knows, maybe that is a solution. Most days I would say our relationship is pretty good. I just don't know if it has the strength it needs if things got tough.<br><br>
Thanks for helping me think this out.<br>
Maureen
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">:
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">My biggest struggle is that I don't know quite what my responsibility is here. I see this as his issue to figure out. I try not to take on his anger issues. He is doing very well with the boys and if he does yell, I usually just say something like..."He's only 3" and he backs right down. He knows, just has a short fuse. With me, I just don't see that he understand that the impact of his anger is that I don't talk to him much. I don't need the fight, so there are many topics I just never approach. This certainly leads to less intimacy.</td>
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i think maureen, that your responsibility is to determine what it is about you and any unresolved issues that have landed you in this kind of situation. you are very right in not taking on his anger issue, but i think these kinds of situations are always an opportunity for growth if we can only define what our reactions to the situation mean from a deeper perspective and why we attracted this kind of relationship in the first place. i also think a clue is that you do not want to talk to him about this ... i appreciate your desire to avoid the fight, but also your avoidance of expressing yourself, your feelings and concerns about the situation also says something. i don't think there are any rights or wrongs, i think as you said maybe this is a solution for you and it might work for your family, so long as it is not having a long term negative impact on your emotional, spiritual and physical health.<br><br>
i hope you find the answers you are looking for <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Dh and I take pride in the fact that we almost never fight. We might get in a really tense conversation (I'm weepy, he's throwing up his arms because he doesn't know what to say) but we have only really yelled at each other a handful of times.<br><br>
I think our lack of fighting can almost be a problem sometimes too. I am SO FOCUSED on re-evaluating everything I think before I bring it up to him, I'm not even sure what's a valid concern anymore.<br><br>
There are a few cronic issues that always come up. Not deal-breakers by any means, but just that underlying stuff that colors the relationship (that I'm assuming most couples have...?) When we just move along day by day, trying to talk about things respectfully and rationally, the tension sometimes builds up.<br><br>
Some of the most significant break-throughs and "A-ha!" moments - <i>when we really took in what the other person was thinking and feeling</i> - sprung from the passion of a really heated fight.<br><br>
It's hard to know what the balance is. I know that basically I'm just agreeing with you here, not really offering any new info. I'm looking forward to what others say about this too.
 
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