I do think he really DOES mean to make this work. I just don't think that he has the skills or the ability to do so. And I'm just way too damaged.
I can relate! My H bitterly complained in our first joint counselling session about how controlling I am. He stopped going after 4 months because he was nothing more than a "whipping post." Gee, sorry my point of view has that effect on him!
Your description of early marriage struck a chord with me. I admit to making efforts in the past to control my H's behavior. He considered his mother very controlling. I am so NOT like his mother! At first I didn't think his accusations of my controlling behavior were warranted. Then I realized how he seems to perceive control. Request from me = control. As an example in counselling, he used some infrequent instances where I would ask him to bring me a napkin (the only time I do that is if I'm seated and he's in the kitchen anyway). My oh my. I'm just soooo controlling! Gimme a break. BR, do you think your H perceives control in the same way?
Anyway, I've learned a lot this year about my marriage. My C says H's first response to any request of any kind is resistance. (understatement!) I've modified some of my behavior that seems successful. I have a history of taking on too much responsibility while my H is carefree and oblivious. A petty example is gas in the car. I did it.
A while back, we were going out of town. We were discussing what time we would leave, and part of it depended on filling the tank first. I knew better than to ask him to do it. Instead, I presented a choice: well, H, we could go together to the gas pump and leave 10 minutes later, or you could take care of it while I'm doing xyz. When presenting him with options, I seem to get what I want more often. A direct request is practically guaranteed to meet with resistance from him and disappointment in my heart.
My H's passive resistance and indifference toward me have done tremendous damage. I'm getting better, I think. At the same time, my H needs serious professional help. Like you, I'm not confident that he has the skills or the ability to fully participate in this marriage. Yep. It's not a pretty place. Well, BR, be encouraged anyway. You've acknowledged him for what he is. Figuring out what to do with the information is a whole new ballpark. In my case, I can see the probability that I will never have a fully functional marriage with this man. That puts the choice with me. Move on and give myself the option of trying again later with someone else, or accept my status quo. Yukko! Can I have a different menu please? LOL