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What do woman want?


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Some more details:

My wife decided she wanted to be a stay at home Mom early on, we have three children 9, 14, 16.

To compensate, I have worked a part time job or two in conjunction with my full time work. She is involved in multiple volunteer activities, all good hearted kind of things with the school and church. But couple that with the stress of raising three children, we kind of lost touch with each other. She feels overhwelmed and I feel that I am at times working myself to death.

Her biggest complaint regarding me is that:

I don't listen (which was mentioned a few times above). It's not that I don't want to listen, my mind wanders and to be honest, she kind of nags and rambles on and on.

We went to two marriage counseling sessions and she refused to go back. I also went twice alone.

I know I need to do something's differently, but I don't see any effort on her part to get over my shortcomings of the past and to move forward.

I guess I should be going to AnnLanders.com or DearAbby.com but the women on this site impress me with their passion, openness and honesty. I also appreicate the input from the men, whose responses have impressed me so far.

I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm not ready to give up just yet!

Thank you all!

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I'm sure there are others, besides you two, who

love the children. Having the marriage succeed is

good for the children. Instead of having friends and family take sides in this matter (as often happens), they need to be interested in what's good for the children. Which means to sometimes lend a hand w/ baby-sitting or whatever --- so you two can spend time together (a break from the kids) to do something you both like to do together. Main thing is that support from those closest to you could be crucial to the marriage and the kids futures.

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I stayed home to raise our boys and my husband worked off-duty jobs at first and when he went to the homicide unit he worked a lot of overtime usually 60 hrs a week.

I loved he worked so hard to provide a very nice life for us. I also resentenced the Hell out out of Him. I felt as if I did everything to keep things going at home, when things went smoothly nobody noticed... no paycheck, no thank you, nothing ~it was expected.

It is also very hard to depend on someone else for money. Demoralizing is too strong but something on that line, we all need validation a paycheck does that. Since she doesn't get a paycheck from you. You need to Tell her you appreciate what she has done for the family, what she has given-up for the family.

You may feel it is all on you right now to keep your marriage alive, It may be.

Marriage is not always 50-50, sometimes you need to give more and other times she will give more.

Keep trying... complements, gentle urgeing and humor work wonders.

If nothing works, you know you made your best effort to keep your marriage alive.

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Excellent post, Beth! That's exactly what I was trying to say in part of my first post! It's SOOO easy to get lost in the rush of taking care of a family and it's even easier for it to overwhelm you and burn you both out. You can love and respect what the other is doing for the family but still end up resentful and exhausted because your own needs aren't being met. I almost didn't catch on to that "time together" stuff until it was too late! I always thought there was too much more that needed to get done first (that was my misconception of what being a perfect mother meant) and I almost lost everything I had in John because of it. It's easy to be so busy being a good parent you forget to be a good spouse. But it sounds like you've got a good sense of what is happening, Ericphan, and better yet you still want to make a difference! Sit down and remind her why you're working as hard as you are. Reassure her that you recognize how hard she's working, too. Then open a dialogue and ask her if the two of you can brainstorm some ideas for really enjoyable time together because you want the two of you to be close again and enjoy your life together. If she can genuinely hear that in your voice and see it in your eyes I guarantee that she'll respond positively and give it a try, too. Women need to feel connected!

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My first year of teaching the home ec teacher got married and under her name in the yearbook the kids wrote this quote: "Marriage, to tell the truth, is the necessity of two people becoming one, but the question is, 'which one?'"

It was supposed to be a humorous quote, but a kernel of truth is often found in jest. In first bloom, marriage starts out with "we" because it's so new and exciting. Sometimes one or both parties feel like they almost lose their individuality, and that's a bit scary. It's important for both people to have their own "space" to spend a bit of time to pursue their individual passions. Then each is interested in what the other is doing and is more interesting to the other person as well.

As time goes on, some marriages find one person dominating and making most of the decisions, etc. Other marriages become two "I"s going their separate ways or even competing against each other, losing the happy "we" time. In the demands of everyday life, both partners can become oblivious to the needs of the other without even knowing it, making their partners feel unappreciated and resentful. Talking things out every once in awhile eliminates little things before they get bigger.

Every marriage has its ups and downs because human beings aren't perfect alone, let alone *together.* The important thing is to talk a lot to find out what's going on with the other person. It's difficult to communicate with a partner who isn't very forthcoming. Some people keep things bottled up and don't let their spouse in. I remember the "Dear Abby" or "Ann Landers'" famous quote: "Nobody knows what's going on in a marriage except the two people involved and sometimes one of *them* doesn't know!"

The advice you've been given by other members is very good. When people are at odds ends with each other, one usually perceives the other as being selfish in some way. It's difficult to see our actions from another person's point of view.

Some of my girlfriends have complained about their spouses being "unyielding" and difficult about decisions and also about spouses "always giving in," which they say takes the excitement out of things for them. My advice is to try everyone else's, and then sit down and have a heart to heart if she will, asking her to give you her take on the situation. Just asking her what she thinks might help significantly, especially if you let her know how much you value her opinion. Approach cautiously and resist giving her an angry answer if you get accusatory comments from her, no matter what she says (which is difficult to do, trust me!) Being non-judgmental and telling her you appreciate her points no matter what they are might get a positive reaction. If this doesn't work too well at first, don't give up. Communication is the most difficult but most important factor in a relationship, right before "compromise," which is also difficult! Just letting her know you are interested in changing things for the better might well put you on the road to improvement.

Try to go back to the fun things you both used to enjoy together, take some nights out without the kids if you have any and try to enjoy some good laughs together. Finding something hysterical and laughing together usually does it for us.

Good Luck!

smile --Darlene

I got through season two of "Rescue Me" on DVD in less time than it took me to read this post...
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How about this: Is the 16 yr old able to "babysit" her younger siblings for an evening so you 2 can go out to dinner say twice a month?

To make her feel special and that she is appreciated get her a gift certificate for a massage(if she likes that kind of thing). Are there grandparents that can take the kids for the weekend?

Do you know what is making her feel overwhelmed? Too much housework - kids not picking up after themselves, being the chauffer to here there and yonder, bickering amongst the kids? These are some the things that irritate the most patient of moms and build up resentment.

If you can afford it how about having someone come in and clean the house once a week so your wife can have a whole day to herself to do as she pleases.

Just some ideas. Hope this helps.


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Sit down and remind her why you're working as hard as you are. Reassure her that you recognize how hard she's working, too. Then open a dialogue and ask her if the two of you can brainstorm some ideas for really enjoyable time together because you want the two of you to be close again and enjoy your life together. If she can genuinely hear that in your voice and see it in your eyes I guarantee that she'll respond positively and give it a try, too.
Kathy Lee.... very good suggestion. She also needs to understand that she owes you the courtesy (for want of a better word) of why she didn't want to continue the counseling... why she wasn't interested in making the marriage work. As Beth said it isn't always 50/50 but it shouldn't continually be just one making all the effort all the time either.

Ericphan... Kiwi and I wish both of you well in trying to resolve this and you will both be in our prayers.

Muzza cool

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A wise man at a couples class in church once said that it's hard to have a successful marriage if it's 50/50. It's got to be 100/100 if it's going to work. If you're thinking you've done enough, or done your part, it's probably not. If you have given all you have, it may or may not work out, but you will have the knowledge that you tried your hardest, and hopefully not have any regrets. Kirk.

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You have been given some pretty great ideas here.

It's hard to generalize regarding what women want, we are all different. But in some ways we are alike as well. Maybe try to remember the things you did to "get the girl" in the first place. (And buying her a bunch of stuff is not the answer.)

Try seriously asking her what she wants, and take her answer seriously as well even if it sounds a little nutty. I'm not being sarcastic here. Sometimes we get so angry we get an edge in the voice and say something like "What the H--- do you WANT from me anyway????" That is non-productive.

I like Bessieboo's suggestion that you touch her when sex is not your intention. That's more important than many men realize.

Another good suggestion is counseling. I hope your wife will change her mind and go.

I admire your willingness to try and save your marriage. I can relate to your frustraion and pain; I was divorced after 45 years of marriage.

I suggest you read "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" by John Gray. He gives great insight regarding what makes men and women tick and why we see things so differently. You should be able to find it at your library, I found it at mine. It is still carried in the bookstores as well.

Good luck. pray

cool chick auntie

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Well, you say you're hard-working--you listed it first. That's very honorable, but you don't mention you're a loving husband till near the end. Prioritize. Your wife should be the most important thing in your life and you in hers. You mention church-going, so I will offer you the best advice I know--pray with and for your spouse. Hold her hand and pray out loud--pour your heart out.

That's how my darling hubby and I work through things and it works just dandy.

Hang in there. I'll say some prayers for your marriage!



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