Marriage Builders®
I've married about a year and a half. I've felt like it was a mistake since we were engaged. My husband proposed after we knew each other 3 months. My family was in a different state, and I was starting a new life after graduation, so didn't have any friends really. I felt very isolated, and he was someone to hang out with during that time. our relationship got to the 'will you marry me?' part really fast in my opinion. i felt very panicked when he asked, and i think i said 'yes' because my parents hadn't met him yet, i was afraid of hurting him, and he was older and ready to marry. ::guilt:: if not me, then would he ever marry? it was more like a 'yes?'. i did feel good about it at one point when we talked about it before he proposed, but i felt like he kinda pushed it too.

i started to panic a lot while engaged, mostly because i didn't know if i loved him. i told him several times that i wasn't sure about it, and he always blew it off. i was scared to break it off. i almost called off the wedding 6 weeks before (again all my emotional support was out of state and felt virtually non-existent.) i decided marriage wasn't about being 'in love' and i would just make it work, so i sucked it up and went through with it.

the first year was really hard because every month i would break down, feeling like i was living a lie. we've gotten past that, and i'm trying to focus on the 'now'. i've been 'going with the flow' the past 4 months, and there has been less conflict. but i don't really feel any different.

all the advice i hear is 'how to save your marriage by falling BACK in love'. welp. i NEVER had that. he does however love me with every inch of his soul (which is kind of annoying). a lot of the times i feel guilty because i don't think it would care that much if he wasn't a part of my life, and i don't 'miss' him, or want to be around him very often. i feel like i was trying to communicate that to him when we were engaged. i have a hard time respecting him for marrying someone who was trying to tell him 'hello! i'm not sure i want to be with you' he gets annoyed because it's in the past... but my feelings haven't really changed.

instead of feeling bitter and cheated for the rest of my life, any ideas on how to make a marriage work with someone you were never sure you were 'in love with', but is a great person, with great qualities....

Some days I feel like i'm going to have a break-down because i don't want to be with this person. i get scared of bringing a child into our marriage. Other times I'm like "any two people can make a marriage work, even if they were never 'in love', if they choose to respect and take care of each other".

it seems like all i hear is "you're screwed, BUT God says make it work so you'll just have to be miserable."

Can anyone relate?? Should I give up and ask for divorce, and set us both free? I'm 24, and although not old, I'm scared to start over. Or is this fixable? And if so, is it smart to get pregnant? I've been dealing with this for a like 2 years now and I'm going crazy!! It's been like a living [censored]!

thanks
Posted By: CWMI Re: I WAS NEVER REALLY IN LOVE. Can this work?? - 11/14/08 12:11 AM
Would you want to be married to someone who never loved you?
Probably not. : /

I feel like my husband does though. He has said 'If you want out seriously, just leave'. I dunno, I;m still scared of hurting him though, and starting over.

I'm also afraid of trying to not fall in love with other people for the rest of my life though.
What does "in love" mean to you?

And, how do you feel about your husband?
love should be the same for everyone, its commitment, lust and romance, and intimacy, with all three, its true love.
Wow. Is there any other man that you are friends with?
 Originally Posted By: believer
Wow. Is there any other man that you are friends with?


are you asking me?
My own experience is that if you don't have that "special feeling" towards your spouse, you never will. I cared about and loved my wife, but in hindsight I was never IN love with her, and feel like crap about that fact because that means 13 years wasted for both of us, and yes I got a similar "suck it up and stick with it" speach as well. As far as hurting him, which is more painful: the pain of a breakup, or continuing to live a charade?
 Originally Posted By: badgas
My own experience is that if you don't have that "special feeling" towards your spouse, you never will. I cared about and loved my wife, but in hindsight I was never IN love with her, and feel like crap about that fact because that means 13 years wasted for both of us, and yes I got a similar "suck it up and stick with it" speach as well. As far as hurting him, which is more painful: the pain of a breakup, or continuing to live a charade?


then what was it? do you think you were in love before you were married, I am just curious, no judgement here.
According to Dr. H, it is totally possible to create those feelings of love for someone whom you've never felt them for. See his basic concepts and "How Dr. Harley Learned to Save Marriages":

"I theorized that love might be nothing more than a learned association. If
someone were to be present often enough when I was feeling
particularly good, the person's presence in general might be
enough to trigger that good feeling - something we have come to
know as the feeling of love."

That is an amazingly hopeful statement for someone in your situation. Assuming you want to try to save your marriage, (and that is your decision to make) I think you have a GREAT shot at doing so.
If your husband loves you like you say he does, he will likely be very willing to try any and all of Dr. H's concepts.

As to the pregnancy issue, it is my advice that you consider waiting. Give the Basic Concepts a go, and then when it works, your child will be conceive in love. \:\)
MidNovember

I think from all that you have shared that it is obvious that you are not in love with your H. You are right to face this situation and not shy away from it. Have you talked to your H about things? Does he know how you truly feel? I suspect he will not let you go willingly anyway.

Don't be dishonest. Work through your feelings and check and double check there are no underlying issues which you may well just take into another relationship should you and your H divorce. From my perspective it seems like you married the wrong guy. DO NOT even consider starting a family.

This is just my opinion and I am in no way an expert but I was/am in your position. All I can say is if you have tried EVERYTHING (individual and marriage counseling included) but it has failed then it is better to go your separate ways.
 Originally Posted By: LaFire
What does "in love" mean to you?

And, how do you feel about your husband?


I've wondered this myself. I actually was never sure I even wanted to marry, I think because I wanted to be with someone who I feel close to intellectually, not as much emotionally. I think I've had 'in love' feelings for guys who weren't right for me, like borderline alcoholics, guys who treated my horribly, etc. I guess I didn't trust my 'falling in love' feelings because they didn't lead to the right guys. I think I should have guarded my heart a bit better because I fell in love the wrong way a few times.

How do I feel about him- I think he's a wonderful man. He's kind, I respect him, I trust him. I am attracted to him (our sex life is fine). He's an honorable man. Also, when we were dating, I remember breaking down one day and feeling like if we didn't work out, I was going to be really hurt. But we did... the heart forgets those desperate feelings of wanted to keep him though. Also, at one point, I did feel prompted by God that we were going to get married.

Sometimes I think I just resent him for 'rushing' things (that's how I perceived it.) I've had to start a brand new life, and it's been a lonely and hard adjustment. A lot of growing up to do...I do get sort of tired of people being like *gasp* how could you marry someone you aren't 'in love' with? You're life is going to be a disaster.... and all doom's day about it. It's quite discouraging. Is that what Christ would tell me? I have a hard time discerning how he would judge our marriage.

Dear Jesus- is it okay if I stay married to my husband, even if I'm not 'in love' according to a very vague standard?

Honestly, I do plan to stay with my husband, and I do love him, even if I was never 'in love' whatever that means. So, thanks (sort of) for some of you're guys' advice. Even though, I found some of it very discouraging.

Yes, my husband does know how I've felt, even told me to leave if I wanted to. Which I haven't, of course.

I miss the days when people who got married stayed married no matter what. I'm not sure people were searching for the perfect romance, but rather an honorable person. It seems like now everyone splits up... even Christians, it's no different. I don't think I want to be that. Is that crazy??
 Originally Posted By: badgas
As far as hurting him, which is more painful: the pain of a breakup, or continuing to live a charade?


It's not a charade, because he knows full well how I feel now, and I've made it clear to him over the past year. I feel like, so where do we go from here? I have hope we can work it out, but trying to figure out if that's crazy...
 Originally Posted By: believer
Wow. Is there any other man that you are friends with?


Not really... I mean beyond an acquaintance. I'm not sure what you mean.. like I don't have a crush on anyone else or anything.
 Originally Posted By: lovemyabba

"I theorized that love might be nothing more than a learned association. If
someone were to be present often enough when I was feeling
particularly good, the person's presence in general might be
enough to trigger that good feeling - something we have come to
know as the feeling of love."



Ok- so I'm totally analytical about things.

I can see how I've had 'bad feeling' triggers with my husband the first year of our marriage. Like sometimes the negative feelings I get triggered with my husband are- feeling suffocated, uncertainty, feeling trapped...I can see how I've associated negative things with him. I'm trying to focus on the positive. Like- feeling comfort, familiarity, having fun with family, and mutual friends, etc.

I think I wanted to build up more history between us, and positive experiences before we married. Now- I look back on our engagement and first year and see it spotted with a lot of horrible memories. I'm making an effort to change try and change my outlook.

In times where we've reached the point of 'I'm done, I can't do this" and he's like, 'Ok fine, leave.' THEN I'm flooded with all the positive memories, and time I felt in love with him, having fun together, and all that.... and I'm like how could I give that up? It makes me cry. So I always end up changing my mind, and staying here out of my own choice, not out of sympathy for him.

But then I have so many negative memories built up again!
 Originally Posted By: badgas
My own experience is that if you don't have that "special feeling" towards your spouse, you never will. I cared about and loved my wife, but in hindsight I was never IN love with her, and feel like crap about that fact because that means 13 years wasted for both of us, and yes I got a similar "suck it up and stick with it" speach as well. As far as hurting him, which is more painful: the pain of a breakup, or continuing to live a charade?


OK- so this is what I'm wrestling with: in marriage vows, it's a promise of what you're going to do. love you even when I don't want to, forsake all others, etc. so doesn't choosing to love him even if I'm not sure of my feelings fall under my vows? Or is it I will love you until I'm not sure I feel like I'm in love with you... I seriously am wondering. Don't vows account for circumstances in which the couple may run into: if I meet someone else I have feelings for I will "forsake all others". If things don't go the way I want them to in our relationship, I'll be here "for better or for worse".

Wouldn't everyone divorce at some point if they weren't 'in love' anymore? I really don't mind being with him, loving and taking care of him for the rest of our lives... but it seems like wherever I turn, people tell me that my feelings trump my vows? I thought only death trumped them, or an affair (which I don't intend to go there).

I'm not trying to sound preachy or my high horse, or in denial, but it does disturb me how it seems like vows don't really mean anything. Aren't we supposed to make them mean something by fulfilling them?

Even Christians have been telling me I'm wrong about this... it's discouraging.
Posted By: GH31 Re: I WAS NEVER REALLY IN LOVE. Can this work?? - 11/17/08 11:57 PM
 Quote:
THEN I'm flooded with all the positive memories, and time I felt in love with him, having fun together, and all that....


So you did feel in love with your husband at one point then? Freudian slip?
OK- so I guess I did at one point. I did have feelings for him. But I feel like it was just at the beginning, and didn't have a chance to grow before we were already engaged. Once it became about commitment, I think I just freaked out and wasn't sure how i felt about him.

Like 6 moths before I met him I was still in college and like dating a different guy every month. I think part of me was like 'how is this any different than all he other guys i dated this year?' I guess things were different w/ my H, as far as, I wasn't like 'looking for a boyfriend'.. I was actually into who he was as a person.

It just went so fast.. especially for not even feeling comfortable with it.

It was like: Hey nice to meet you...dating...I think I might love you...engaged... second thoughts...freaking out...married...what the heck did I just do?...fighting a lot...questioning marriage.. trying to work through it.

But yes, I did have feelings for him. I think I did 'fall' for him. however brief our courtship was. Maybe what I'm struggling with is not having a lot of those positive memories to look back on.
Posted By: GH31 Re: I WAS NEVER REALLY IN LOVE. Can this work?? - 11/18/08 12:40 AM
 Quote:
It was like: Hey nice to meet you...dating...I think I might love you...engaged... second thoughts...freaking out...married...what the heck did I just do?...fighting a lot...questioning marriage.. trying to work through it.

But yes, I did have feelings for him. I think I did 'fall' for him. however brief our courtship was. Maybe what I'm struggling with is not having a lot of those positive memories to look back on.


You've only been married 1½ years my dear. Get to work on building those positive memories! The more of them you build, the more "in love" you will be. You don't want to leave your H - otherwise you would do when he tells you to do it.

Commitment is scary. But, if you really respect and love your H then surrender to being committed and get to work making those memories!
you say he's a wonderful honorable man
and that you respect and trust him
and that you find him physically attractive


are these not part of your definition of "in love"
and how do you define "in love"


do you have common interests?
do you have fun together?
do you enjoy his company when your not being intimate?




are you expecting to be head over heals crazy
for him like a love sick crushing teenager?

one last question...
how long were you engaged?
5 months. I was really stressed during this time with roommate situation,and work,and long horrible commute.part of me thinks i just 'decompressed' after we got married,and i need to get over where we were at,and focus on now and realize we'll be fine.
MN,

First, your commitment to your marriage is in your actions...like coming to MB and sharing. \:\)

Would you consider reading about the pursuer/distancer relationship? There's not an exact book...many mention it..however the one I read which brought it home to me most was "Facing Love Addiction". One of your posts brought it to mind that it was unsettling to you for your DH to love you with every inch of his soul.

And why you feel nearly immediate relief when he says "Walk if you don't want this".

You're not weird, wrong or alone. It's really common, to different degrees.

Strive first to understand (which is what I see in you posting on MB), then be understood.

Next, it sounds to me like you've already discovered the healthiest approach to your marriage...to see the three parts...you, him and The Marriage. You committed to The Marriage...and you honor it, even if you don't FEEL like honoring him right now.

You know your feelings come and go...you mentioned your awareness of stress factors, radical life changes, and acknowledged them having an impact on your resulting feelings.

One of the many blessings I found here on MB was the knowledge, "Feelings follow actions." They are a result, not a mandate. They no more tell you what to do in life than tea leaves.

Our feelings are signals to us, about us, from our beliefs. When you act with awareness, from your beliefs, your feelings follow. When you act from your belief you choose to love your DH, then loving feelings result. Read Harley's articles, get his books...you'll see where meeting ENs and eliminating LBs results in giving you a full to overflowing love bank so you will fall in love with your DH, over and over again.

And how MUCH you cut out from his deposits getting in, how much of a factor you are in blocking them.

All of us have our part. It's not about getting our partners to meet our needs...it's about our focus, priorities and willingness to fall in love by holding our fear and acting from love, anyway.

Have you heard the addage, "He who loves least controls most of the relationship"?

Please take heart and rejoice in your choice to make your marriage into a thriving, fulfilling, loving one...have faith in yourself, your DH and don't be afraid to flourish. Takes time, forming new habits, not reacting to our feelings and instead, acting from our beliefs, our goal.

What's your goal? To have love be a mystically dispensed, no choice kind of thing; whimsical and sporadically given to some couples and not others?

Or do you choose to believe God IS love...that we are made from love...equal to everyone...by the hand of the same creator, loved as much, looked out for and provided for...from love? Emulate this in your marriage...KNOW you love and act from your choice...your feelings will follow.

There isn't someone better for you out there...and I heard in your posts how you want to look back to yesterday to give yourself feelings today...which isn't unreasonable...but as a habit, it will break apart every relationship you ever have, not just your marital one.

See, your brain cannot tell time...cannot tell past or future apart from the present. Your brain is ever present. And it cannot tell the difference between fantasy or reality. It hands you what it thinks you want, based on what you wanted before, how you trained it to respond...rely on today to cherish, understand, and thrive in. If you choose to dwell on what you wished had happened, what you wished he'd done, what you chose to resent DH for, then you will continue to drain your own love bank. You doing, not him.

And dislike yourself...for your choices then...when you have so much more now...you have committed to, vowed to right now. For what you do to your DH in your head, you also do to yourself. If you tear him down for what he did or didn't do, so do you to yourself...and the tearing down is the draining away. And then looking at HIM as if he isn't thrilling you.

I've been there, done this, lived it...it's self-deception at work. Free yourself. Right here and now you are his wife. Focus on what you do and don't do right now rather than what you feel and don't feel. The shift itself changes everything. Loving feelings result.

Do you try to reason why God loves you endlessly? Do you try to evidence his love in your life, earn it, substantiate or justify it? Then why would you do this to yourself, your marriage, your spouse? You mentioned doubting due to your age at the time of the engagement (your own expectations for an appropriate age maybe at work, not his), the speed, your unpreparedness in previous poor choices...this is your heart pointing you to all these beliefs you had which were greatly disturbed, acted against, really...sort out expectations and judgments...and see if they really do hold up to your core beliefs about humans, love and the universe.

Then understand how young you formed those, took them in, even before you knew God made it so you choose your own beliefs. Examine and see...not shame and judge...and understand YOU are half of falling in love with a man who has vowed to act from his love and honor his marriage to you, no matter what.

You didn't choose badly, MN. God rejoiced and still does.

Welcome to where there are friends of your marriage.

LA
 Originally Posted By: MidNovember
THEN I'm flooded with all the positive memories, and time I felt in love with him, having fun together, and all that.... and I'm like how could I give that up? It makes me cry.


Just to point it out! Now either you were in love or you were not ever in love with him. Which is it? I suggest you start reading Fall in Love, Stay in Love by dr. harley.


 Originally Posted By: MidNovember
OK- so this is what I'm wrestling with: in marriage vows, it's a promise of what you're going to do. love you even when I don't want to, forsake all others, etc. so doesn't choosing to love him even if I'm not sure of my feelings fall under my vows? Or is it I will love you until I'm not sure I feel like I'm in love with you... I seriously am wondering. Don't vows account for circumstances in which the couple may run into: if I meet someone else I have feelings for I will "forsake all others". If things don't go the way I want them to in our relationship, I'll be here "for better or for worse".


Yes, you took vows before God to marry this main TIL DEATH DO US PART. I think you can fall in love with your H if you start applying MB principles. "In Love" is chemical reaction in the brain like a drug. There is no fairy tale, happy ending, living happily ever after. Marriage is work and you need to start working at it.
 Originally Posted By: MidNovember
Even Christians have been telling me I'm wrong about this... it's discouraging.


This is like me saying I am Bill Gates. No, these are not Christians. Christians follow the teaching of Christ. These are people who profess to be Christians but who are not. Christ was an example to us, teaching us how we should live. People who claim to be Christians but do not follow the teachings are hypocrites.
 Originally Posted By: LovingAnyway
MN,


You're not weird, wrong or alone. It's really common, to different degrees.


What's your goal? To have love be a mystically dispensed, no choice kind of thing; whimsical and sporadically given to some couples and not others?

Or do you choose to believe God IS love...that we are made from love...equal to everyone...by the hand of the same creator, loved as much, looked out for and provided for...from love? Emulate this in your marriage...KNOW you love and act from your choice...your feelings will follow.

You didn't choose badly, MN. God rejoiced and still does.

Welcome to where there are friends of your marriage.

LA


Thanks you-

I sort of want to change the title of my reply now \:\/ and i feel a bit sheepish.

honestly, i think i have been believing that 'love is mystically dispensed... given to some couples and not others'. i think it's been blocking me in our relationship, believing that "it's just not there" while all the while not even really defining for myself what "it" is.

i've been feeling at peace. i believe that we are going to be fine, and our love is going to grow and grow. i'm going to cling to those beliefs and work through negative feelings when they come up. we really have been doing good lately. Also- what does MN mean?

------------------------------------------------


i do think it's a beliefs issue though. i had a lot of negative beliefs about marriage, and fears, so when i actually was married all of them came out. i think they were beliefs formed by past broken-hearts, and relationships.

Bit of relationship history-

i had a high school relationship in which the guy got too serious with me too young. i knew i wasn't going to marry him, so i broke it off, and i felt like i destroyed him. i think since then i'd been afraid to do that to anyone else. i've had a lot of extremely needy/broken friends that have put me in a position of being their savior. i think i saw my H as needy at first, which made me resent him. i know that is not true now, he has shown me he is strong.. maybe that's why i need to here that he's 'fine without me sometimes', so i know he's not dependent on me in an unhealthy way, like i fear sometimes.

also- i got my heart broken in college. i know the guy wasn't right for me, and the relationship wasn't very healthy, and he wasn't very good to me. looking back we were both very immature. but i was heart-broken for a while when he ended it. i think i told myself that i'd never have feelings like that for anyone again... so i feel like that's gotten in the way of my feelings for my husband. it's like i compare it to how i felt about that relationship (even though i know it wasn't right or what i wanted).

maybe that is what 'it' has been for me: what i felt in my college relationship. i always thought that what i felt then would be even stronger with the one i was going to marry. it wasn't, but it was better, as far as it felt healthier. maybe i told myself i would never be able to have feelings like that for anyone else, and so i won't let myself now. it's like i have this imaginary ideal of what 'in love' should be, so i'm not letting myself fall in love in this relationship. if that were true though no one would ever fall in love after having a broken heart!
I completely understand. I was in sort of the same situation... The first part of a relationship is always the greatest and you 'poo-poo' a lot of the things in your head thinking it is just butterflies. All I can tell you is do NOT bring a child into this if you are unsure. Your child looks up to you for guidance in love, respect, understanding, etc. Children are smarter than you think and will pick up on your behaviors. Thikn about your parents...what kind of relationship do you have with them? What kind of relationship do THEY have? My parents are together but honestly I am not sure why...I think now it is out of habit. The same holds true of my husbands parents. I dont think it is too much to ask to be happy but I do think you may have some deeper issues to deal with. Maybe talk to someone --by yourself first. How are you feeling about the rest of your life? Your job? your financial status? Your self-esteem, etc. If those are all in check with no question then maybe it is time to look at the future of your marriage. If not and you have some things to deal with on the inside, I would work on those first.

When it comes at you from both sides the easiest and most common thing for us to do is run away- -I know I want to. Anymore though I am not sure which side is heavier--my marriage or my personal! \:\) Best of luck!!
 Quote:
I sort of want to change the title of my reply now and i feel a bit sheepish.

honestly, i think i have been believing that 'love is mystically dispensed... given to some couples and not others'. i think it's been blocking me in our relationship, believing that "it's just not there" while all the while not even really defining for myself what "it" is.

i've been feeling at peace. i believe that we are going to be fine, and our love is going to grow and grow. i'm going to cling to those beliefs and work through negative feelings when they come up. we really have been doing good lately. Also- what does MN mean?


MN is my abbrev for your name.

You can change the title of your thread, your reply, in the subject when you make a post.

Thank you for sharing your feeling sheepish...and discovering a little deeper what you're believing...and not really believing it. Your love will grow and grow as you choose to act from love. How it works. "It" doesn't cut it...for "it" represents The Marriage...which is your half and his half...and you continually have your half, so your actions cannot count more or less than your H's.

Great choice to not dwell in your thoughts on negative feelings..for they are to deliver information, then they drop off...you choose where your thoughts dwell, which makes your treasure...and realizing you do not want to treasure resentment, bitterness, deprivation is a great start.

Makes even more sense to realize why you've experienced these feelings as a result...because you're treasuring them...training your brain erroneously, to believe this is what you want most.

When it's love, understanding, acceptance and awareness. Focus on those, and they will be your treasure, hence, your experience.

In regards to your history, consider the three stages of relationships...we are attracted to each other's self-image...our best self images...which is really attractive...so the first boy you choose to believe you destroyed wasn't in love with who you really were...he was infatuated with your self-image, his concept of you (which can take on far more than even we believe we are)...his own fantasy may have destroyed him at that time...our wishfulness can do that. Know it for what it is (now in your experience) as new, now.

You are not powerful enough to destroy another human being. God's not unfair. If you believe yourself MORE responsible than others, then you are truly believing they are less responsible than you are...get that inequality...another subtle belief...and hear how disrespectful and deceitful it is...not to shame yourself...to understand the payoff.

You were attracted to needy/clingy friends. Makes sense...the less responsible they were, the more you seemingly could be...more control...more power. An illusion...just like your first boyfriend...you guys share in that. Good to know.

You cannot be cornered into the savior role..ever. You choose to act in that way...a pleaser...and I didn't realize how abusive and disrespectful pleasing was until five years ago. See, I had this experience, also, as if it were being done to me, instead of me choosing, setting up and reacting.

Now I make different choices. So I have a very different experience.

Dr. Harley, posters, friends, family members do not save marriages. Only the husband and the wife do that, really. Their choices. We don't save people...they choose to save themselves or not...they allow our influence to come in or not...their choice, not ours.

Ours is to offer what we know now, to connect, to share...and let the outcome go. No illusion in that...no fantasy. We don't control outcomes.

Your H's actions cannot MAKE you anything...you feel resentment...the human saviors do...and we do it to resent, to be right and feel righteous...and when we don't get the response we want, when we want it and in the way we want it, we resent.

Odds are, we'll get our daily dose of resentment many times a day, in little ways...since we are creating it in ourselves through our expectations.

Our judgment manufactures it by the barrel...when we lay down our judgment, see it for the DJ routine it is, then we free ourselves of the fantasy, bit by bit. Retrain our brains...and yes, have a different experience.

Humans swing between to basic fears...fear of abandonment and fear of intimacy...both feel like annihilation...fear of intimacy is another person taking us over (clingy can feel engulfing, smothering), thereby wiping us out. The fear of abandonment feels the same, only by rejection...we don't exist. I believe your H's desire for you, his need of you, is both what you were greatly attracted to and liked about him, and it is the same for what kicks your button now and is behind you thinking negatively of him.

That which brings us together will most likely be our undoing.

What we love in our partners when we are in love, is what we deny in ourselves. What we hate most in our partners is what we deny is in ourselves. Takes awhile to let that seep in...where we don't allow ourselves dependency (needy/clingy) we don't allow in others. Fearing intimacy (which is actually knowing and sharing yourself...for you cannot be taken over by anyone and you cannot be abandoned)...it's the fear. Get to know it. Comes from really old, out-dated beliefs we've stored up for years.

Your fear is yours...not about him. He can do without you, MN...so did the first boyfriend who hurt, greatly, wasn't destroyed. He moved on...so will your H, if your resentment kills your half of the marriage. For every act of love you choose to do, if you do knowing you will resent, isn't what your H wants. He doesn't want you to meet even one EN if you will resent.

Feelings follow actions, not the other way around. You choosing to not allow yourself to be intimate, to known and be known with your H, so you don't hurt, hurts you immediately. Makes no sense. You cannot control your feelings...make it your goal to not feel this and only feel that...feelings are information to you about your beliefs...for instance, that someone has to be the right partner for you...instead of you desiring most to be the right partner.

Might be linked to that mystically dispensed belief of love being outside humans (and it is) instead of the very stuff we're made of...so we alienate love, in a way, and then crave what we're least giving.

Act from love and you will experience deep love...your H is your real partner...your happiness doesn't depend on him...depends on you, your choices...of where your thoughts dwell, what you allow yourself to perceive (the way you do it), DJ, assume and live as if you're not in control (responsible) for what only you are...and in responsible (control/savior) for what you cannot be.

Our expectations...what you thought you'd feel about the man you married someday...speak of when you created that expectation...check it, understand and know it came before you even knew you choose your beliefs. Part of your responsibility. You are love. You choose to act from it or from fear. You reacted after your college relationship from fear...so you're experiencing fear, conflict, frustration, deprivation (depriving yourself of loving feelings), resentment.

You're doing that in your choices. Choose differently.

In the second stage of marriage, we experience each others more complete self-images...not just best...what we think is lousy in us, our faults, weaknesses, rebelliousness...still not who we really are...more intimate of how we see ourselves showing us to our partners...and them to us.

Tests the belief we earn each other's love, loyalty, respect, acceptance...when we don't. If we piled evidence of love (he's strong so I can love him; he is kind, so I can love him) high enough, then we'd feel enough to know our marriage really is the love of our lives...we'd know by feeling it. Instead, we experience the opposite...feel punished, deprived, frustrated, resentful and focused on our partners doing/not doing; feeling/not feeling; speaking/not speaking; seeing/not seeing our self-images as we want them to...

which abandons our own selves...so we feel helpless, unimportant, not a priority and not loved...which we do to ourselves...in our choice of where we focus.

Then we blame them for our feelings...when they are ours. Most often experience is for our partner to not acknowledge our feelings...to not listen and understand...and for them to not fix them. When we do not do that ourselves..own our feelings, acknowledge, get the info, trace...spend the time...not to fix, to know.

What's still in operation in the second stage of marriage is that we continue to see ourselves through our partners (self-image) and in them, to send our own selves messages...so we may fall down exhaustively from trying to get THEM to do/not do; feel/not feel, etc...which is what we are trying to signal to ourselves, not them.

No wonder we get so confused.

When we fall in love with ourselves, then we see how very much we are surrounded, too, by love. We experience being loved in a deep and profound...even new...way. It's incredible.

In the third stage, you get to mature love, where it's not self-images, just real selves, side by side...partnering. Through realization and awareness of how much you tried to work out in your partner that which was in yourself...you break through, heal old wounds, really see your whys as to your attraction for your spouse...and that they chose every moment to be your spouse...freely...they chose to love you (couldn't earn it), respect, be present and through presence, really there for you.

Even when you weren't there for your own self.

You get it...and then maintain getting it. Together. Even when you don't feel like honoring this man who you can and have pushed so violently against...blamed him for what you did, in essence, all along. And him, you. Until you both stopped, looked, shared and kept your focus on acting from your own choice to love...then you experience that mystical love as it always was...in abundance, inside and outside of yourself.

Real freedom in our actual responsibility and limits...focus on partnering...yourself.

You can do this. Your awareness grows every day...stop judging and up your awareness of what is and is not...and where in you your feelings are coming from...get the message.

You can do this...and thrive in that third stage...

LA
LA-

That response was really encouraging. It made me think about things that I haven't, so I don't have the same repetitive thoughts all the time.

I need to think about my side of the marriage, not keep focusing on his. I need to be true to myself, and in so being true to the marriage.

I do feel so eaten up by resentment and bitterness sometimes, I can't stand it. But I want to move forward, because I've gotten a taste of what it's like to just sit and stew in the same thing over and over. Like the bible says 'a dog coming back and eating it's vomit'. I need to move on!!

I've felt some 'pressure' released on me since I've had the attitude of just being myself, and being PRESENT in my marriage. Doing my part in the marriage, and not trying to do 75% of it. Things have improved a bit. I've also spent more time with friends, and vented to them more. I need to build a support system for myself.

I am still going to counseling though.. I need to find a way to work through all the resentment and bitterness inside me. Not just from the marriage, I think it's a lot of things.
Thank you for your response.

Wow...your biblical analogy is dead-on in a really yucky way, I think.

\:\)

Hit me close to home because that truly is what I was like in my focus...and I hear you are committed to not doing such an unhealthy and damaging thing as to create and maintain resentment anymore.

And I heard you realize you'd had this affair with resentment before you even met your H. You realize it was a modeled behavior which you took to be the way to live, and now, you're rethinking it.

Sounds like you're taking healthy actions for a healthy life and marriage. Once you pry your focus off H, of course.

I say this because when you vent to friends...you are regurgitating your damaging perspective...you are doing what you did before in a sneakier way...with the idea you're protecting your marriage instead of growing yourself and your half of the marriage. Believe me, there are more levels of self-deception, because this belief (that we sacrifice to earn love) goes deep within us...and prohibits us from a close relationship with God, and along the same model, our spouses.

So...consider the desire to vent as the signal you want to catch yourself stewing, dwelling, focusing on what you cannot control. Humans will feel intense injury, frustration and anger when they do this--not really what was done to them. It's our own DJs feeding the resentment mill, keeping us running on that treadmill when we really did say we were worn out.

So state to your friends and your spouse, "Here's what I caught myself doing. Here's what I really want. Here's my goal, restated, what I really want." Increase your intimacy and you'll increase your self-focus on what is within your control--because it's the same as what you're responsible for.

Pray for clarity and God will provide. True humility comes from acting intimately with your spouse and yourself. They become your ally, your helpmate, the one there for you...not to fix you (you're not broken), not to cure or control...they can't...their presence, listening, hearing your own stuff...that's an act of love.

Can't earn it or punish it out of someone. They choose. Every moment. So do you. Realize this and your need to vent drops away...when he does, focus on your response...what did you promise you would do? He AO's...do you stay present? Are you clear with what your boundaries are? Or focused on his LBs?

That's where marriage cleans it's slate and becomes what it wasn't before...you KNOW he's responsible for his stuff...it's inherent...do not focus there...focus on yours...and use your commitment to O&H to reinforce to your brain that self-deception (DJs), resentment, entitlement and lack of respect are no longer what you really want.

I know that's not what you want...not what you want to experience in your marriage, either. Thank you for beginning with yourself...be gentle and firm, respectful of yourself...this is new...you're going to go back from habit to DJing/AOing/SDing your own self...in really subtle ways. Look at your permissions to react and revoke them...they weren't who God made you, anyway.

LA
 Originally Posted By: LovingAnyway
Believe me, there are more levels of self-deception, because this belief (that we sacrifice to earn love) goes deep within us...and prohibits us from a close relationship with God, and along the same model, our spouses.

Great advice LovingAnway...
MN...I understand what LA is saying. Feeling entitled is not a feeling that you want to receive from your spouse; I have and it is not a pleasant thing. He has tried to "earn love" and feels entitled to SF when he does not feel that he gets (from me) the respect and SF he feels he deserves. Be careful with this. I think this comes out of his feelings of NOT feeling deserving because he was abused and abandoned as a child. He had NO other loving relationship history when we met though he is a very loving and sensitive man. I was the one with IB (Independent behavior...) so much so that on the my birthday about 7 months after we were married, I planned on having a birthday party that my friends was throwing for me without asking him if he wanted to do something. He was so terribly hurt and rejected and I don't even know how and why it all came about. I just felt "independant" probably because I was afraid of the committment of marriage.
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Pray for clarity and God will provide. True humility comes from acting intimately with your spouse and yourself. They become your ally, your helpmate, the one there for you...not to fix you (you're not broken), not to cure or control...they can't...their presence, listening, hearing your own stuff...that's an act of love.

I will be praying this for you also.
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focus on yours...and use your commitment to O&H to reinforce to your brain that self-deception (DJs), resentment, entitlement and lack of respect are no longer what you really want.

O&H will help heal a lot but remember, sometimes when healing must take place we might first see the "wound" that has been developing and the pain and hurt of the "clean up" can be pretty hard on us and our spouse emotionally.
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be gentle and firm, respectful of yourself...

I have tried counseling several times and it has helped to a point but prayer and journaling and turning my thoughts, pains and hopes over to the Lord and waiting upon Him has been the most healing in our marriage.

It sounds like you are working things out...healing takes time sometime...
DJ, AO, SD? I don't know what these mean?

So things have been pretty good. I'm in my marriage for me. I feel like I'm taking care of my part.

One thing I'm scared of though, and I'm not sure if it matters or not. I feel like I settled.. not for the person he is.. but for how I felt about him. I think I thought he was a good choice, but deep down if I was honest, it's not really what I wanted... and maybe still what I don't want. How do I reconcile those feelings?
I feel like I'm ready to be committed on my side, but not without compromising how I feel. I don't think I really 'loved' him when we got married.. and I'm still afraid eventually it will get the best of our relationship, and I'll fall for someone else, even if I never act on it, and always stay in the relationship.

Maybe I'm setting myself up to be resentful again? like, 'sure I'll stay, but I know I'll just fall for someone else, but I'll stay faithful, and just resent him and our marriage'.

any thoughts about how you should feel about your spouse when you marry them? I'm willing to commit, but part of me is afraid that I can't engage myself emotionally in my marriage... is it possible that you just can't feel a certain way about someone? What is the importance of feelings? Is commitment enough?
Also- how honest should I be with my husband? I don't want to hurt him. Should I say I'm at the point where I'm willing to work on this, and be committed, but I have serious doubts if I can be emotionally engaged and faithful to him? Is that normal to feel that way?

That sort of sucks for him. It's like I can't let him go, but I don't really want him either.... frown I feel like he deserves better than that. But it's my choice, it's his. If he wants to be with me, knowing where I stand, that's for him to decide right?

Can we get to the point where we need to be eventually? Will commitment take us there, or do I need to work on the emotional aspect of our marriage?

Everyone I trust- family, and godly people, keep assuring me that we're going to be fine.. but how do I reconcile how I feel? That deep down i don't know if this is what I want?

I treated our vows as commitment only... but i've learned since that your heart and intentions have to be in the right place. i'm not sure i can get there.
I meant to say: "It's NOT my choice, it's his."
Ok- I'm here again.

With all this said. I really do LIKE my husband. I don't really want our relationship to end. I feel safe in it, and I like him- but I always feel like I settled. frown

I know there has to be others out there who feel like that, so how do you make a strong marriage feeling that way?

Also- the theory of MB is that you continue to build on the 'loving feeling', and make it last for a lifetime. So if I don't have that, am I doomed?

Even the bible talks about passionate human love in Song of Songs... it makes me feel like 'oopsy, I made a mistake. i certainly didn't feel THAT way.'
Wow. I joined this forum today 04/13/09...And have been reading it like crazy. This thread really hit home.

MidNovember, I feel like I can relate to a lot of what you said...And reading LA's comments made me cry! What she says is very wise and easily viewed as truth.

I think following what LA mentions and continually filling up each other's love banks...By fulfilling emotional needs, you first shed your resentment of your marriage...and then with forever continued deposits you can rest assured that you will never fall in love with another man.

I think the hardest part for me, is learning to perform the EN fulfillment without resentment or desire (or expectation) of EN return.

The second hardest part is, not just making a change for a day, or a week, or a month...But continue to practice that 'muscle' of tolerance and unselfishness.

LA spells it out much prettier than I do...Read her posts several times, the points she makes are so very valid. It makes me hold faith in the marriage institution.

I (we?) need to order Dr. Harley's books.
thanks eric292-

i find myself making a point to shed my resentment. i remind myself that i have no right to be resentful, and stop trying to find reasons to be resentful.

our lives have improved too. we are making more friends, and foud a awesome church...sometimes it's the little things that need to be fixed before the big things.

i read somewhere that the biggest things that tear apart a marriage are 1) lack of commitment, 2) unrealistic expectations.

i've worked on the commitment part, but my expectations tear mess with me sometimes. as far as the title of my thread 'never really in love'.. i've really had to examine what that means. i think what i felt when we married was, i wasn't really in lust, like i had been with other guys in my past. as it turns out.. real love is much more than lust.. and that's a good thing.

yea- i'm still working on the expectations though... what is it that i need? how can my husband fill my love bank, and not deplete it? like i said little tings have helped: hanging out with my girlfriends, getting more hobbies, giving him a break smile

i think i had a lot of doubts in the marriage institution before i got married, which didn't help us, but i've worked through a lot of those too.
Are you spending 15 hours a week together (not counting TV)?
uhm, we watch a lot of tv together.

we did that when we were dating too.
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