Marriage distress - page 3

I am a senior nursing student whose marriage has gone into complete turmoil since I have started school. Any suggestions? I don't really know what's going on. I almost feel my husband is threatend... Read More

  1. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Quote from WendyPsychRN
    I sympathize with you. Been there, done that. I got pregnant and delivered my youngest child the same week I graduated from nursing school. Husband (ex husband now) left me 3 months after graduation because he couldn't handle a woman making more money than he did.

    I hope all goes well for you. You guys are going to have to work together as a team. Communicate, Communicate!

    Best of wishes. God bless.
    Am I just too tired from all this studying or did you say you got pregnant AND delivered a baby the SAME week you graduated from nursing school?
  2. by   rn/writer
    Quote from CRNASOMEDAY25
    Am I just too tired from all this studying or did you say you got pregnant AND delivered a baby the SAME week you graduated from nursing school?
    I had the same reaction. I thought, wow, she really is an overachiever!

    Seriously, you guys, there are some men who are useless clods who don't see any reason ever to flex for their wives. There are others who are basically decent men who are being challenged in ways they don't know how to handle. You can find out a lot by asking your husband, "What do you need?" If you do it sincerely at a time when it won't come out sarcastic or furious, you might be able to communicate that no matter how determined you are to succeed in school and career, you still care about how it affects him. His answer should tell you something.

    If he just needs reassurance that you still need him and you aren't just looking for a way to finance your escape, that's a fairly easy fix. My husband lost his parents at a young age and had a fear that if I weren't totally dependent on him, I'd leave, too. Once that was exposed, I was able to let him know that I had no plans other than to make our life together better. It took time and repetition, but he not only started to trust me more, he was also able to let go of some or the old hurts that had run so deep for so many years.

    If he tells you he's overwhelmed with the division of labor, that's also something worth discussing. I learned to let go of a ton of stuff that, in the grand scheme of things, really didn't matter. We reorganized our schedules enough to make life more workable, and because we had school-age kids, they were brought into the mix as well. We had to view my schooling as a group project because I couldn't do it without their love and support and cooperation.

    If he's feeling less manly at the thought of you bringing home more than he does, that's another issue you can talk through. We've always seen whatever comes into the household as our money, but not everyone looks at it the same. It's partly a cultural mindset that equates a man's worth with his net worth. Men are especially vulnerable to this if they don't feel valuable in other ways. Still, this is a topic where discussion and the building of trust can smooth a lot of bumps.

    If, however, his answers tell you that what he needs is to keep you dependent and "in your place," (and this is after you dig a little to make sure that this is really what he's saying), that could be bad news.

    When one person in a marriage is feeling bad, they have two options--try to find ways to feel better, or try to find ways to make the other person feel worse. Your combined goal as marriage partners ought to be to figure out how to lift him up, not how to knock you down. If he insists the only way for him to feel better is for you to feel worse, that's truly a dangerous attitude.

    I think most guys get their cages rattled when we go back to school because it's a huge change for everyone. As much as we feel the pressure, they do too and because the focus isn't on them, it's much harder for them to deal with. They aren't used to getting all touchy-feely about what's going on inside them, and we're too freaking busy to worry much about it or sometimes even notice. But, if you can connect periodically and learn to be supportive of each other in whatever circumstances you find yourselves, you will both be blessed and your marriage will be stronger for the stretching.

    I hope your men are the decent kind who will rise to the challenge.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Dec 1, '05
  3. by   Saoudishabiba
    Yep. I was induced on a Monday and graduated on Friday. And I had 2 other children (under 5) at home. I was pretty proud of myself. Good riddens to him though!
  4. by   Saoudishabiba
    Clarification: I didn't deliver a baby and then get pregnant the same week. I graduated and delivered. Sorry for the confusion. :uhoh21:
  5. by   rn/writer
    Quote from WendyPsychRN
    Yep. I was induced on a Monday and graduated on Friday. And I had 2 other children (under 5) at home. I was pretty proud of myself. Good riddens to him though!
    Wow. You ARE an overachiever, even if you didn't manage to pull off a one-day pregnancy.

    Sorry your lesser half didn't come through for you.
  6. by   ZASHAGALKA
    take a peek at all the 'first year of nursing' threads to see how hard it is to adjust AFTER school. The first year is a gut check to implement everything you learned into on the job training.

    For me, it was working an 8hr shift 4-MN and not getting home till 2am every morning and having to work 6 days a week to make any overtime. That was the start of the end of my marriage.

    My point: don't think you can just 'run out the clock' until you graduate and then everything will be OK.

    A marriage on good footing can survive the hardship of school, etc. with the knowledge of a payoff down the line. A marriage not on good footing can fail in the life of luxury.

    Let me suggest that it's unfruitful to look at it through the lens of 'it's school'. Because after that it'll be 'work', etc. etc.

    This is very long, but this is some advice from me:

    How you argue is extremely important. Intimacy is a very fragile thing. You cannot expect someone to keep the doors of intimacy open if you are throwing emotional bombs in. “I’m sorry” can never truly erase the damage of a few careless words.

    If you want your relationship to last and/or improve, you must learn to fight fair. And you must come to understand the goal of an argument. Here’s the bottom line: you are a team, and you will win or lose any argument you have as a team. You will both win, or you will both lose. The goal of arguing is to compromise.

    If you are currently in a strained relationship, I would be willing (if I were a betting man) to bet the Brooklyn Bridge that you argue now more than you used to argue. Some of that may well be because you have more issues than you used to have, but I doubt it (The biggest issues that come up in any relationship are learning each others habits and peculiarities). You had ‘issues’ before; you just learned which issues could be handled, and which should be tolerated.

    You argue now because you are less willing to compromise than before. And arguing is a convenient way to vent general frustration with your relationship. For example, how many times does an argument, no matter how trivial, quickly degenerate into trading blows about all the woes of the last several years? Sound familiar?

    It is very easy to turn any disagreement into a proxy fight about the relationship in general. Instead of truly working through a problem, you use the pretext of the problem to vent. This is common, and a direct blow to a forever relationship.

    Anger is a good emotion. It shields us from unwanted trespasses into our intimate selves. But your soulmate has already been or should have been granted free parking in those intimate spaces. Therefore, anger towards your soulmate should always be a very short-lived emotion. Think about that.

    Keeps no record of wrongs. Hmm, where have I seen that before?

    The goal of arguing is to reach a compromise. Nothing else. Any argument you win against a forever partner is an argument you lose. You lose that argument because the very act of winning tears the fabric of the intimacy of your life. Winning or losing is a team effort.

    So what constitutes a fair fight? In a fair fight, there are rules. So, let’s look at some rules:

    1. Compromise is the goal (not anger or giving vent to anger)

    Any fight you have should be only about resolving a particular issue with a minimum of hard feelings. Think win-win/lose-lose. It’s been said that the art of compromise is best practiced when both parties think they won or lost in equal proportions.

    It’s easy to let an argument slip from a particular topic to an all out assault. That my friend, is something you cannot do. Of course, we recognize as a society that you cannot engage in physical violence with a spouse. What you should recognize is that society deals with the physical and tends to ignore the spiritual. The truth is that it is equally or more reprehensible to engage in emotional violence with your spouse. You are a spiritual creature and, as a direct result, the spiritual damage you can inflict upon a spouse has far more devastating consequences than all but the most severe of physical abuse.

    There can be no intimacy in warfare. Either your walls are down to each other for each other, or you are circling the wagons.

    If you use arguments to give free reign to your anger, that ends today. Sorry, not allowed. You cannot ever give free reign to anger towards your partner. Such an allowance is a direct admission that you are denying your partner the intimacy you are contracted to give. That my friends, is a personal foul and you are ejected. Go straight to the locker room and take a cold shower.

    2. No Name Calling (except for sweetheart, darling, etc.)

    Every name or evil thought that you express about your partner is the equivalent of throwing spiritual bombs. And as you perfect the art (armed with the intelligence gathering of years of intimacy), the bombs you throw become more and more lethal. It doesn’t take long at all before the warning shots you used to fire over the bow become all out thermonuclear exchanges. Do you really, really expect your relationship to survive the spiritual nuclear winter that you are creating?

    Bottom line, intimacy is the strongest bond you can ever hope to hold. But intimacy has a fragile underside. It requires your constant protection. It’s like your reputation, it takes a lifetime to create but can be destroyed in a second. Think about it.

    Always protects.

    Name-calling is not protecting the intimacy of a forever love. And you have an obligation to always protect such a love. Or of course, you can lose it. Call your spouse a name every now and then, and it won’t take long.

    3. No proxy fights.

    You cannot argue about any topic but the topic at hand. That file cabinet of past sins; it’s time to shred the whole lot.

    Think about this, relationships evolve. As they do, people make mistakes. Even your humble writer has made at least one mistake, I’m sure. But every time you say, ‘Remember when . . .’, what you are really saying is, ‘You haven’t changed a bit’. What you’re really doing is declaring general war.

    The only time you are allowed to bring up a past event is if it is a). recent (less than a year), and b). directly relates to the topic at hand.

    You cannot generalize. The words always and never are not allowed. You cannot take a discussion about the trash not being taken out and turn it into a discussion about “You never help out around here”.

    4. Time Out

    You must learn to negotiate to a compromise without letting anger take over. If this means taking a time out (or a hundred), so be it. You’ve heard it said that you should never go to bed angry. So true. But, that is not the same as saying you should never go to bed until the issue is resolved. You should be able to suspend a disagreement without being angry.

    Take a time out. Take a walk. Take a shower. In sports, teams take time outs, not to rest, but to regroup and, if necessary, change strategies.

    You will find that, if you start arguing to compromise, and stop arguing to wage war, that you can settle any disagreement calmly. I could be wrong about that. But, I happen to think that God made you both intelligent for a reason. So, I doubt I’m wrong. The key question is if you are willing to win as a team, or lose as a couple of individuals headed for divorce court. Think about it.

    You are not entitled to any long-term anger towards your forever love. The path to forever requires constant forgiveness and constant openness of soul that precludes such anger.

    Communication

    Men and women communicate (both verbally and non-verbally) differently. Not only that, but they communicate with different goals in mind. Women are cultured to communicate in inclusive ways. Men are cultured to communicate in competitive ways. Understand that simple differences in the way you communicate can create hurt feelings when such was not the intent of your partner.

    That being the case, you must be willing to give your forever mate the benefit of the doubt when it comes to hurt feelings and communication.

    I’ll give you two examples.

    “What’s the matter, dear?” “Oh, nothing!” This type of exchange is subtle but at the root of many arguments. Women communicate in inclusive ways. Many women feel that it’s a matter of intimacy to intuit hurt feelings without being told. And that’s probably the case with her girlfriends who are inclined to communicate in similar patterns. But us guys are sorta, kinda dense, aren’t we? The point is that guys communicate differently and aren’t intentionally being hurtful.

    Next example – the old nag routine. “Honey, will you take out the garbage.” “Yeah, I’ll get to it.” Men communicate in competitive ways. For a man to always jump when his wife becks is, for a man, yielding his ‘King of household’ title. The guy isn’t intentionally trying to be infuriating. This is just how he is trained to communicate. By waiting to comply, he is subconsciously claiming his autonomy to comply, not because he’s whipped, but because it was his decision, too.

    Both of these types of communication styles seem to be at odds with each other. Competitive vs. Inclusive? No wonder the divorce rate is skyrocketing! But understand that we are made opposites, not to infuriate each other, but to complete each other.

    The difference between being infuriated and being completed is your perspective. You know this! When you were first together, you handled the differences just fine. But now, now you have no tolerance.

    I believe that this is the scheme of things. How things affect you depend upon your perspective. The same things that endear you when you’re in love annoy you when you fall out of love. Love however, is a temporary instinct doomed to fail. True love takes more. True love takes the faith to choose to be close in communication. True love takes the faith to choose to extend the benefit of the doubt to your forever lover. ‘Keeps no record of wrongs.’

    I believe that the difference between endearing and annoying conversational patterns is purposely designed. It is designed to bring forever, true lovers closer together. It is designed to deny that closeness to lovers not committed to the faith of forever. Why? Because that faith requires, well, faith. This is the spiritual nature of your universe. You are here to learn something spiritual. Therefore, you will not get a free pass to the spiritual benefits of true love unless and until you learn the faith to acquire that love. In the meantime, you will become increasing annoyed with each other as the years pass.

    One last thought on this subject. There are a few very excellent and time-tested books on the subject of communication between the sexes. They come highly recommended by me. Look for them at your local bookstore.



    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Dec 3, '05
  7. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Quote from WendyPsychRN
    Clarification: I didn't deliver a baby and then get pregnant the same week. I graduated and delivered. Sorry for the confusion. :uhoh21:
    That's what I was confused about. Well at least I read carefully. In any event, you were pushing it that week, huh? Glad you got through it and are an RN now and happy WITHOUT him.
  8. by   ZASHAGALKA
    I didn't mean to crash the thread. . .

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  9. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    You didn't crash it. People are still lurking, just not posting.... lol
  10. by   Balder_LPN
    Quote from Fun2Care
    You didn't crash it. People are still lurking, just not posting.... lol
    lurkers......


    but really this thread has alot of good info.
  11. by   missninaRN
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    I didn't mean to crash the thread. . .

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    You made an excellent post, Timothy. Lots of food for thought and truth.
  12. by   NJNursing
    Good info Timothy - just the huge font is a little hard on the eyes for reading.

    I'll be filing for divorce after I graduate and start working. I basically went to school because I knew 4 years ago that this marriage wasn't going to be "forever". I really never should have gotten married to begin with now that I can look in retrospect. But me being in school had put the most strain on it all, especially because I quit my job because they wouldn't bend to be a little flexible with my schooling even though I game them AMPLE solutions to problems. And not working allowed me to take on more classes to get done quicker. But the nursing classes are mentally and physically taxing and we're now to the point we're just co-habitating in the house and he's a live-in babysitter for our daughter. The emotion has pretty much gone out of it and intimacy? I don't even know what that means. I've got several classmates in the same situation where they're on the verge of divorce (and are planning such, post-graduation) where the husbands weren't pulling their part to be able to help with kids/home/etc with school. We spend 4 days in school, but we spend a lot of extra time studying at home. Ok, /end rant.
  13. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Quote from NJNursing
    Good info Timothy - just the huge font is a little hard on the eyes for reading.

    I'll be filing for divorce after I graduate and start working. I basically went to school because I knew 4 years ago that this marriage wasn't going to be "forever". I really never should have gotten married to begin with now that I can look in retrospect. But me being in school had put the most strain on it all, especially because I quit my job because they wouldn't bend to be a little flexible with my schooling even though I game them AMPLE solutions to problems. And not working allowed me to take on more classes to get done quicker. But the nursing classes are mentally and physically taxing and we're now to the point we're just co-habitating in the house and he's a live-in babysitter for our daughter. The emotion has pretty much gone out of it and intimacy? I don't even know what that means. I've got several classmates in the same situation where they're on the verge of divorce (and are planning such, post-graduation) where the husbands weren't pulling their part to be able to help with kids/home/etc with school. We spend 4 days in school, but we spend a lot of extra time studying at home. Ok, /end rant.
    It's almost spooky, I could have written this post! I will be 28 when I graduate and I plan on filing for divorce too once I graduate. Only difference is he doesn't live here though--he ate me out of house and home and got on my nerves too badly. I wish you luck and just know you are not the only one going through this.
    Last edit by Lisa CCU RN on Dec 8, '05

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