Reading your post I was reminded of the frustration I often felt when I was in your position. Now that I realize how close you still are to D day, I understand why things are not yet where you�d like. At 11 months we were still not doing very well at all. You guys are still very early in this process moving towards a better marriage. Remember, it took you 16+ years to get to the bad place which resulted in your D Day. In fact even longer since many of your and your wife�s dysfunctional / counterproductive relationship habits and instincts pre-date your marriage. So don�t be surprised that it is taking time to untangle and re-wire. The favorable conditions conducive to change and growth are still just newly (and somewhat clumsily) being put in to place. Yes, it is a slow process � it is slow and it is a process.
I have great hope for your marriage because I feel I�ve been where you are (in many ways) and we have made our marriage SO much better. But it took time and effort � much longer than you�ve been at it. Hang in there =) Maintain your �buyers� mentality. You own this, for the long haul. But it is going to be worth it. Your best chance at happiness is making your marriage to the mother of your children great.
You asked me how and why my wife came to the realization about her ENs and how/why she was willing to engage in MB. Well, keep in mind, periocially for many months on end, she was NOT engaged. Our growth happened slowly over a few years. I was reading books, filling out worksheets etc. Sometimes she participated, often she did not. As I slowly made the right changes in my behaviors and thoughts, it created a safe environment where my wife began to open up. It wasn�t until �our dynamic� began to change for real that she started to explore and grow.
I hear you saying that helping your wife better meet your needs by making requests for changes in her behavior is just not going to work right now. You know way more than I do about your situation and I trust you are right. I think I made my point though that feeling/knowing she is successfully meeting your needs (rather than being shielded from them) is *really* what your wife needs most. Keep this in the forefront of your mind (if you agree.)
So I�m going to summarize my advice so far.
- Make sure you wife is not getting her ENs met outside your marriage
- Avoid behaviors that withdraw love units from your wife�s love bank
- Consistently and expertly do the things that make your wife feel loved and cared for
- Help your wife learn to successfully meet your ENs and avoid LBs against you
If you are not satisfied with the current results, then the process is still ongoing. Lack of success means one (or more) of the above elements needs adjustment or attention. Don�t see your lack of resolution as a failure, just a need for more time in a favorable environment, for fine tuning.
I hope this is helpful. I�m interested in hearing how things are going.