Just Ask Joyce: This Marriage Needs Help
“I am confused about what my husband wants from me. He wants me to work, but he doesn’t want me away from the home. He wants me to dress up, but then he’s jealous when I do and claims I’m dressing up for other men. He wants me to monitor the kids closely, but then he says I smother them too much. If I cook his favorite meal, he always wishes I had fixed something else. I stay exhausted trying to figure out exactly what he wants on any given day. When I try to talk to him about the issues, he makes me feel like I’m imagining things. I love him, but it’s hard to love him, if that makes any sense. What can I do to bring balance to my life?”
One should never depend on someone else to bring contentment.
The distribution of weight in your home would cause any wife to become unsteady on her feet. I am, however, not nearly as convinced that the problem belongs to you as much as it does to your husband. It brings several questions to mind: Has he always been this way, or is this a new occurrence? Is he easily angered, and if so, are you afraid of his reaction to you? Is there constant arguing in the home or only when you fail to meet one of his expectations? Is intimacy a demand upon you, or is it something you look forward to?
My sense is your home life is more like a prison. If it is for you, it could likely be for your children, as well. Whereas that could be stretched speculation, I certainly would venture to say it appears to be less enjoyable than it should be, at least for one — you. Let’s take each issue and offer a possible alternative for you to consider.
Is work necessary? If you don’t need the extra income, decide what you want to do. However, I would caution you to never allow yourself to become someone who could not meld back into the workplace earning a decent salary, especially with unhealthy issues plaguing a marriage.
Dress for yourself. Your husband is a most wishy-washy kind of personality, but that doesn’t mean you must be as well. Decide that you plan to do things that make you feel good about who you are. Dress up because it makes you feel good about yourself. Dress down if you want to be more comfortable in your day. Whatever you do, exude confidence in who you are. Give no reason for your husband’s jealousy to be validated, but relax in the security you will begin to assume.
Be the mother you should be. All children should be monitored, but a hovering parent can be the ruin of their potential. It sounds as though Mr. Hubby expects you to carry the burden of their successes and their failures. His involvement is necessary as well in order to bring balance to their lives. If he’s a negative influence, you must be the judge of how much he partakes. I do encourage you to, again, be confident in your responses to him. Praise your children where they deserve it and develop within them confidence about their competence. It’s important for their emotional health. They’ll need you to be their champion if he doesn’t want to be.
Cook everyone’s favorite meals. Dispel his negative comments about your food. Things like, “Yes, tonight was Johnny’s favorite meal.” Or perhaps, “I’m sorry you’re disappointed, dear. Maybe next week I’ll land on something you like,” and then engage in a light-hearted conversation with one of the kids.
Attitudes of anger, resentment, and/or frustration serve issues poorly. Keeping things positive around your home is, obviously, going to be the biggest challenge you face. You will find, I’m certain, that your positive, confident, and secure input will bring balance not only to your life but to your kids’. Who knows, if enough of you find peace, laughter and optimism, it might rub off on Dad, which would make him much easier to be loved by all.
Struggling with a relationship issue? Write Joyce Oglesby and find a solution for life.