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Last edited by ChrisInNOVA; 03/02/10 12:38 PM.
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Hi Chris, welcome to Marriage Builders. I too, am in the NOVA area and am in the waiting period before my ("no fault") divorce can be finalized (it's "no fault" per Virginia law - my wife is committing adultery with a married man, but since we have no children together, Virginia would rather we just split and go our separate ways. But I digress).

Are you referring to the Marriage Fitness plans that are currently being advertised on local radio? I looked at the web sites for that program and felt that you had to pay a lot for what you can get for free here. That's not to say you can't get counseling and buy books here, but there are a lot of articles, concepts, guidelines and questionnaires you can find here that can give you a lot of insight into how healthy marriages function (or should function), and how you can work to build yours.

There are also a lot of great people here who have been down the road we're traveling now. They can help steer you and clear the path for you. Now, a couple of questions if I may, to help find out where things stand:

Do you suspect your husband of having an affair? Either an emotional affair (EA) or physical affair (PA)? Either ongoing or in the past? Sorry, but we have to get that out there right away.

His physical abuse alone should be a deal-killer. Your story suggests that he's managed to control his physical abuse due to the threat of losing his job it exposes him to, but that he's found different ways of being abusive, still. Not a good sign.

You are posting on the Divorce/Divorcing forum, but it sounds like you're not really sold on the idea, is that true? What does the Marriage Fitness program say? Are you here because it is coming up short?

This site is primarily about building strong, healthy marriages. Of course, it takes two (regardless what the other program tells you, which on the surface sounds much like "Plan Doormat" to me). If your husband is not willing to work on the marriage, I don't really know what options you have. Others may have advice that fails me at the moment.

My initial recommendation would be to read everything you can found either in the yellow box to the right of this page, or through the link at the top of the page to learn about Dr. Willard Harley, his Basic Concepts, how he learned to save marriages and the Marriage Builders program.

You may wish to set up a telephone counseling with one of the Harleys (his son and daughter, also Ph.D.s in psychology and counseling, are part of this service) or attend one of their Marriage Building weekends. But first, learn as much as you can from the free articles here.

You have found a resource unlike any on the Internet here. Please learn as much as you can, then post and ask your questions. The wonderful veterans here will give you no-holds-barred advise. It's great stuff, and if you heed it, it can do you wonders!


Preach the Gospel every day. When necessary, use words.
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Chris,

It seems to me that everything now hinges on your husband. You have described him (and his family/father) as tough, former USMC "alpha male" types. I'm guessing that people such as these have a very hard time looking inwardly and examining themselves. Their entire culture and upbringing has shaped them to believe that being tough, unemotional, in control and macho is the "proper" way to be.

I do not know if there is a way (or if it's even possible) for such men to change. My late former FiL was a career soldier. He married an Italian woman, who though feisty and fiery, pretty much subjected herself to his career and issues. Apart from him, she exhibited a certain independence of thought, but she spent her entire married life doting on their daughter (my first ex-wife), cooking and shopping.

So I guess it comes down to what YOU can do. You wondered if your husband would be receptive to counseling or coaching. You won't know the answer to that unless you ask him. I would suggest you do so, but not as a threat ("I'm going to leave you if you don't") even if you feel that way. You may need to do so some time in the future, but for now, I'd suggest playing it short and sweet: "Our marriage is in trouble. Will you agree to counseling, either with me or on your own? We do not seem able to work this out between ourselves." His answer will probable give you an indication of what your next step will be.


Preach the Gospel every day. When necessary, use words.
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Fred, again - thanks for your response.

My mom suggests that for now, I should focus on my physical recovery and not upset the applecart immediately because I am depending on him for day to day assistance and he is providing it. It will just be a few more weeks of this.

She also suggested and I also know that I need to continue reinforce the friendships I have & work on developing new ones too. She says that, at the same time, I should and continue to try the suggestions on this site & the program I already purchased...which basically say - try to meet as many of your spouse's needs as possible, do not fall back into old routines, be open and prepared to communicate with honesty and kindness if & when your spouse starts to respond to what you're doing to make things better.

I know it will be tough because it saddens me that he is still stubbornly unwilling to talk to me about anything beyond logistics, groceries, and home projects. "I don't want to talk to you about this. I'm done." My feelings right now remind me of the times when he was physically abusive. I felt hurt, panicked, and empty inside all at the same time. This is exaxctly how I feel now and I hate it. This is very painful. I am wondering that if he does begin to open up - will I be able to get over this hurtful time? This is not the first time he has hurt me this way.

I am married to an angry man and one who sees nothing wrong with all the anger / angry words & outbursts / consistent stonewalling.

It could very well be that the best thing for me and our son is a separation and then a divorce. And a serious self examination as to how and why I ended up in this predicament so I don't end up with the same type of person in the future if I do find love again.

I saw that there were over 50 reads to my thread, yet you're the only one who offered input....Does that mean that my situation is really crazy and hopeless?

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Originally Posted By: ChrisInNOVA
I saw that there were over 50 reads to my thread, yet you're the only one who offered input....Does that mean that my situation is really crazy and hopeless?

This is the Divorced/Divorcing forum, but you haven't specifically said you were either, so my guess is some people don't know what to say.

Just another suggestion: Perhaps you should click on the "Notify" button to the lower right and request the moderators move this thread to the "Marriage Builders 101" forum. You will get a lot more readers there (and thus more feedback), but it also is probably a more appropriate forum for you to work on your marriage rather than work on divorcing. Does that make sense?


Preach the Gospel every day. When necessary, use words.
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Thank you.

I thought this was the right place since my spouse told me what he did...but I can see your point. We're actually still married, and I can't be the only person who has a spouse who is unwilling to talk / work on things.

I clicked the notify button per your suggestion.

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Welcome to MB 101, Chris...

I don't know about the other Fitness program...I do know that what you listed as doing now, I didn't see "Eliminating Love Busters"...

which is crucial to falling in love again.

If you don't, and you have many, then I don't see your marriage as having a chance. For each one LB, you withdraw 20 EN deposits.

So you may feel as if you're doing everything possible, because you won't look at yourself, examine YOUR daily choices, your responsibilities...it really won't work.

Kudos on recognizing that you both can connect through conflict. Means you are aware your H isn't the monster...the bad guy, the if only he were different then guy...

I see you having a lot of your own bad choices reinforced by family and in justified in your thoughts.

There are no bad guys in your marriage. Each of you have attacked the marriage in different ways...ways of doing and not doing.

We all have...until we came and learned and chose different actions in our marriages. You are not alone.

What are you really choosing as your goal, Chris? Are you choosing to do everything possible to save your marriage, keep your family intact for the best for your son and yourself and your spouse? Or are you going to continue wavering?

Your H stopped acting out his anger physically. Doesn't mean he worked out his anger once and for all...nor that reasonably, the verbal abuse hiding behind the physical abuse would stop, too. What did you change in 2006? You finally enforced a single boundary...what about since? What boundaries did you learn and put into place, what predetermined and progressive boundary enforcements have you consistently held yourself to?

Can you understand that doing your half, your part, is equally important to his changes, and always have been? If you can conceive of AA and Alanon...one is for the alcoholic (abuser) and the other is for the spouse/loved one of the alcoholic (abused). Because it takes BOTH for the cycle to exist and continue...BOTH choices of each party are important...one doesn't cure the other, ever.

And many abused spouses don't see themselves as sick...so they don't do their part, own their half...only look to the abuser to get well, to stop, to change, keep changing...and the abused continues to

You don't listen to your H, Chris. I don't think you realize how much you hear and don't listen.

Your H said he very MUCH wanted to address what happened in 2006. Are you ready to hear, not assume, what he wants to say, share with you? Do you really want to know him today, as he now is?

You could choose to see him stopping his physical abuse as his choice about him...not who he ever wanted to be...to see it as an achievement, celebrate it, because he chose to learn, to stop, learned how to stop. You could admire him for changing rather than rewrite your choice of him in the first place.

These are your choices...just yours. They will change your feelings today, if you choose to go for clarity. I advise going for clarity as a goal before deciding separation or divorce. To see clearly your part, your influence and power and limits...and for a divorce to be the final boundary enforcement after you've taken many ahead of it.

Then there is no worrying or fretting, re-evaluating. Because you made a plan for yourself, chose your goals, your priorities, and made sure you were clear every step of the way.

Though the thoughts you're having are understandable, they are not nearly as reasonable as I think you'd like them to be. Learning that difference is really important when you're considering divorce.

LA

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Hi Chris, welcome to MB! A lot of folks will read and not comment, because some things we are familiar with, and others we are not. That's not a reflection on whether your situation is hopeless or not or anything else. Folks can be rooting for you without posting, too. I encourage you to read through the Basic Concepts.

It sounds like you're in the information gathering stage, not feeling at peace with any of the options available to you yet, am I right? I don't know if your H is flip-flopping because he's in an information gathering stage, too, or whether the divorce remarks were intended to get you back up functioning against your better judgment. I'm really happy you're here, because there is a ton of information available. Here's an article that talks to a similar situation, When to Call It Quits - Part 2 In the Newsletter section I think you may also find some more newsletters that would have relevant information for you.


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I purchased a session w/ Stephen W.

I want to see if I can save my marriage.

Last edited by ChrisInNOVA; 03/02/10 01:05 PM.
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Chris, I caught one-read through of your response to my post before you redacted it. I understood you to feel attacked and put down in some way, and for most of what I said to not apply or be flat out wrong.

I'm glad you've made an appointment, and want to save your marriage (or see if you can).

I don't understand why you wouldn't also use these boards to add to the support...unless what you heard was the one unchangeable truth...

We can only help you with what you control--yourself--because you are the one here. Which makes you powerful and limited...like the rest of us. We just don't have to go it alone.

I wonder if you heard folks here tell you that you were wrong...in the wrong place...using the wrong words...having the wrong focus. I hope not...but I do remember when I first came here and could not hear what others were hearing in my posts...which were very much like yours...full of DJs they could hear and I couldn't...focused on my DH as the problem...

and they said the same thing...I'm here, I'm half of the marriage at all times...so I gotta be half of the problems.

And that people weren't problems--they have them.

After all these years of sharing that with other newcomers, maybe this time I missed the mark. If so, I'm sorry, Chris.

We stand for the marriage here...friends of the marriage. So we don't take sides, per se, for the wife or the husband...just the marriage.

Very different than any other place on the 'net, in my experience.

LA

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LA, sometimes we're just not ready to to focus on our side of the street until we are left with only our side of the street smile

Having been a long-time lurker and reader of threads, I have preferred just to listen and learn and let it sink in before I ever posted. Most "thread watchers" out there are used to going on forums and having their egoes stroked and getting loads of BS justification for whatever mindset they are clinging to. This place is SO different, but a lot of people post before they realize the can of worms they are opening!

Chris, you are not alone. If you don't feel safe posting, that's OK. You're not there yet. But please keep reading the other stories and threads. Give it a few weeks or months to sink in over time. When you are ready you know where to come!

And FWIW, Loving Anyway is one of the wisest voices I have ever come across in my life. What she has to say sometimes doesn't penetrate my thick skull, but enough has sunk in that I'm seeing a difference in my life. Read her responses. She has a lot of sanity, good sense, and TREMENDOUS compassion. She won't let you off the hook though smile

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LA & Thinking,

I am a very introspective person and I fully understand that there are a minimum of 3 sides to every story.

It wasn't that I am not ready to "hear" about what my part in this is. If I wasn't ready for that, I don't think I would be inclined to look up any info about how I can turn things around or even sign up for any sessions. What put me off about your post, LA, is that I know for a fact that my behavior in no way caused him to physically abuse me & that is where some of your comments seemed to be going. (I couls have misinterpreted that though...)

To be clear: I know that I have probably made withdrawls in excess of depostis in the Love Bank, but then again my husband's mental state may also be a factor in this as well. He is a decorated veteran of over 20 years and has had personal hurts to overcome as well.

Even with all that, I sincerely appreciate the information, support, and opinions (even if they are very different from mine) which everyone has responded with. I want you to know that I removed my posts for privacy reasons, not because of anything anyone has said.

Please - keep the honesty coming. smile

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Sorry Chris, I was probably being a bit snarky. Long day smile Not an excuse though . . . sincerely sorry. That said, I'm not taking my comment down. For one thing, that would be too easy (for me to forget and not learn to stop with my arrogance), for another, some people really AREN'T ready until they are ready, and I think it's wise for all of us (including the lurkers like I once was) to remember it. Dang, there I go being arrogant again!


And good for you for enforcing your own boundaries by removing your posts. Whatever your motives were it shows you are capable of protecting yourself (and thus your family and maybe even your marriage!).

Something troubling about your answer though, and something to think about. I have a problem with that word "cause" when you say your behavior in no way "caused" him to be physically abusive. What you say is a true statement. But what we do on our side of the street DOES CONTRIBUTE. You address this yourself when you admit to making more withdrawls than deposits (and heck, we have ALL been there, good for you for seeing it). That's never to EXCUSE another person's behavior. But nor is it a justification to throw in the towel until we've stopped any and all behaviors on our part that may be making the situation worse. Does that make sense?

I always try to choose my words carefully. There is a difference between "cause" and "contribute."

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t, you always get me thinking. I understand that we contribute to how others feel about us, like your thread with mark talks about. But I 100% agree with Chris that her behavior in no way caused her H to be physically abusive. Nor did she contribute to the permission he gave himself to lash out at her physically. He decided what his permissions were before they even met. Many folks decide they are not going to get physical when they get angry with their partner.

We all get our feelings hurt sometimes in relationships, make withdrawals, and we can learn better ways to work through that and make better choices together. But as always, we choose how we respond. There are hundreds of other choices folks can pick other than physical violence.

For example, when my kids were little and acted up, I sent them to time-out for like two minutes. Other folks paddled their kids. But the kids' behavior in no way caused the parents' choices. They'd already made up their mind on discipline before the kids came along and acted up.

Last edited by NewEveryDay; 03/02/10 09:08 PM. Reason: added more (again)

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Originally Posted By: NewEveryDay
t, you always get me thinking.


smile

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Originally Posted By: NewEveryDay
But I 100% agree with Chris that her behavior in no way caused her H to be physically abusive. Nor did she contribute to the permission he gave himself to lash out at her physically. He decided what his permissions were before they even met.


Totally agree with you both on this part.

I think what I mean by "contribute" is asking myself, "Is there something I'm doing that is making the situation worse?" Taking ownership of my half of the relationship, like LA said.

I am very grateful never to have been in a situation where I've experienced PHYSICAL abuse. But I have endured VERBAL abuse. I "contributed" to the situation by not stating that the cursing and angry outbursts were totally unacceptable and physically removing myself from hearing them. Someone pointed out to me that perhaps I was punishing myself for something I felt guilty about, and in this case, I was indeed! But it took a wise outsider to be able to point that out.

Anohter example, more generic. My spouse spends a LOT of time doing IB in the eveinings instead of spending time together. It's been like this from day one, and I never noticed it until we got married because we didn't live together beforehand and didn't really spend much time together while dating and engagement. (red flag I didn't' see)

I found that I contribute to the problem. I am also engage in IB. I did it because my spouse was ignoring me. I felt justified in doing my own thing, when what I should have done is state very clearly that my spouse's IB was really bothering me and POJA a solution. After so many years of this cycle of my IB justifying spouses IB justifying my IB, we now each contribute to each other's IB. I'm stopping the cycle by stopping my IB and giving my spouse opportunities to stop their IB. I'm not as hard core as ML about being honest and critical, because my spouse is very against all this MB stuff. I'm taking a more gentl approach by working on me consistenly for a long time then upping the anti. I need to know what is my part anyway, and we are so enmeshed that I really don't know where I end and my spouse begins with some of our conflicts.

I don't want to threadjack here, so I'm going to stop now. But I thought Chris might also benefit from the distinction.

I am in NO WAY blaming her for the situation she is in!!!!

And whiile I don't remember all the details of her redacted posts, I think she has been doing some work in trying to find out her part and his part. I wouldn't want to give advice, but a separation (not a divorce) might be the very thing for her to do both to discover her own issues, and also to allow her husband to realize the consequences of his actions.

Ther is still a chance for recovery if separated, and I would guessthat in a situation like hers something like separation might actually be helpful. I don't know though.

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