If you haven’t read Matt’s Blog, I highly suggest you do. He’s written a few posts titled “An open letter to a shitty husband, vol XYZ”. I’ve read through them, and most of what he has on his blog. It’s been a friend to me in the last 2 years, as I’ve gone through my own divorce and “recovery”. In that two years, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve reflected and been honest with myself about what I did right, and what I did wrong. Matt, this post comes from the opposite perspective of yours. I hope that mine can do yours justice.
You my dear, are positively a pain in the ass shitty wife. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but there it is. You can protest and argue and pout all you like, but what I speak is the truth. We wives forget how much control we really have in a relationship. Funny, how at a young age, we’re taught to look for strong men, riding horses in suits of armor who will take down a dragon, or climb a tall tower in our honor. We look for men that remind us of our fathers, strong, honorable, loving men. We’re encouraged to be doting and feminine, to be good with kids, or handy with cooking and cleaning. And then we’re also taught to be strong and independent, intelligent females. Perhaps this has left us spinning a bit, but you, my dear, need to understand and take the responsibility for what you bring to the table and how and what you influence in the world around you.
How do I know this? Perhaps it is because I was one myself.
I loved him. I stepped up when our family needed me to. When he wanted the career, I played the housemaker. I baked, I cleaned, I did everything my grandmother would expect me to do. Dinner was ready when he walked in the door, a cold beer in the fridge. When he lost a job, I jumped in and got work, found a career, climbed the ranks. Paid the bills.
By all outside views, I was a great wife. And in some ways, yes, I was. But here’s the thing. I also wasn’t. I lost myself when I married him. I grew to become someone different. I didn’t go and hang out with friends as often, I didn’t go to a movie or walk the park without expecting him to be there with me. And when kids were involved, that too became an inner expectation that I had, but failed to communicate to him. Every let down, every disappointment, I wouldn’t speak up. And when I did, I was past frustration, to where I’d nag, or pick a fight. I’d hold high expectations that he would consistently fail at, but I never laid out the requirements.
We, as women, tend to be good at juggling our worlds. Soccer practice, potty training, pay a bill, doctor visit, make a meal, work a job… we’re superwomen. But we suck at being wives. We know the things that make our men light up, and yet, we don’t let them have it. If our man loves a sport or hobby, why not add it to your schedule to remember to plan around those special games or events that come with them. Likely, when you met your husband, you had interests. You had a life outside of him. I’m betting that the mystery of some of that life is what caught his eye. Your husband is the same. He had that interest before he met you, and yet now you expect him to drop it. To “want” to spend time with you and the kids. But what is the quality of life like when you ARE spending time together? Is it nagging? Doing chores? The monotonous day to day stuff that can be such a grind? If you are doing chores, do you make it fun? I’m betting you forgot. I’m betting that you got wrapped up in the grind and forgot that that man, he IS trying in his own ways. They just aren’t YOUR ways.
Of course – I’m not saying that ALL marriages are this way, or that ALL wives are this way. There are exceptions of COURSE. If you are in a relationship that has abuse or neglect or infidelity or addiction – Get help and get out. The end. No discussion, no argument. They can’t and won’t change for you. They have to do it for themselves. Period.
Can we be honest about double standards? We expect a lot from our men, whether we communicate it or not, and yet, there are many times, when we break our own rules and standards? Allow me to give you an example. We have our routines. The things we love to get away and do, whether it’s going for a massage, getting our hair done, or doing our nails. We could be more of an introvert and enjoy writing or reading or painting. These are things we do to recharge and reboot. We may not even ask or mention it to our spouses. But do we remember to work these same kinds of treats into our husband’s world? I’m betting not. And if they do get a treat, I’m betting it’s not at the same level of consistency that we do for ourselves.
Communication, compromise and equality is what we should be considering. I’d tell my husband everything, except when I was feeling a bit depressed or sick because I didn’t want him to worry about me. I spent the last 3 years of my marriage in a strange rut and routine. I didn’t speak up. I went silent. And then I walked away. I broke him when I did. I’ve watched him go through his own recovery. He made a lot of mistakes in our marriage, and he has a lot of responsibility and accountability to take for it all, but I can take accountability for mine.
I work daily now, on always communicating with the people I love. Even when I’d rather stick my head in the sand. I work hard now at ensuring that I consider both sides of all of my relationships, not just mine. It’s amazing how rich my relationships have become because of it. I give. I don’t expect in return. I plan my life, and live my life, looking for and finding my own sense of self and happiness. I share that with others. And my influence on my world has grown. I’ve grown from my divorce, and I wouldn’t take back what I did. I can now see the impact my influence has on my daughter, on my son. On my friends and coworkers. Now that I’ve experienced what a healthy relationship is… I also now can see the differences, I know a bit more about what to do moving forward. I don’t have all the answers. Hell, I may not have any of the answers.
All I can do is pass on the experience, the knowledge to you, dear wife. And hope that I can do it in time to really make a difference.
Goodnight Neverland! XXO!