What do you do when you love your partner, but currently you don’t like him or her? You know your partner is your soul-mate, but you’re going through something that appears to be SO BIG you don’t know how to move forward. In other words, neither staying in the relationship or leaving the relationship feels like the right decision. What do you do?
Well, let me start by saying I understand you. Last year, I knew my husband loved me, but it felt like he didn’t believe in me. He knew my dream of being an author and was comfortable with baby steps, but he had an end point in mind. He had an end point when it came to money and an end point when it came to me working on the books. One night we had an argument I will never forget. He did not tell me to quit, but he did say my loss of income from being a consultant was impacting the family and asked if I cared. He did say he wondered if we were on the same page with our life goals. Throughout the venture, my husband was one foot in and one foot out. He loved the book idea, but said he wanted no part of the business. He said he just didn’t have the time or interest. He said I was wise enough to do it on my own. (A nice compliment, but not what I wanted). Honestly, it was probably the most difficult and painful argument and time of my life. The only time I would say I felt any type of bullying from my husband was around the books. Eventually I realized, I had to make a decision of whether to work on my marriage and family or to work on my dream.
What I decided was to work on both, but to work on them differently. My husband was right nothing we were doing was working as we had hoped. I could not yet retire from consulting. To his point, I needed to know when to give the green light and when to give the red light when it came to the books. I couldn’t hope for something, have my hopes not come true, and keep going the same route. The definition of insanity. However, I also knew I could not give up the book dream permanently because of the vision and the vision of the books helping families who were struggling. A core value of mine in life is to help people, so, my dream of the books and the books getting into the right hands will always remain a dream of mine.
The question then becomes how do you make your marriage work while working through your marital issues? The first step for me was to take a hiatus from the books and radio for awhile. I also had to regroup, learn from my past mistakes with the books, and decide what I needed to do next. What I did next was to get back into consulting and to find more cost effective ways to market the books. I also began planning towards our family’s goals; which we hadn’t focused on for awhile. Our new goal was a new house and a new start.
Some people may read this post and get upset at me for putting my life dream on hiatus, but I also realized other dreams such as a happy marriage were also important. Honestly, I don’t believe I gave up. The Bible doesn’t guarantee life will be easy and this wasn’t easy. There were plenty of nights I cried myself to sleep. As time passed, my husband and I have discussed this issue to exhaustion and my husband has said he knows how much he hurt me and he understands his approach might not have been the best. I’ve also learned my husband’s boiling point is always around money. The argument for my husband was more about money and stress then it was about my dream or the books. Lastly, I learned, in order, to keep my marriage healthy I needed to not bring my husband into book conversations unless he really needed to know something. This last part still hurts me quite a bit because I’d love more support and get jealous of couples who I see are fully invested in each other’s dreams, but I also have to realize he does not want to be part of the details and have to respect who he is and changing Phil would never be an option just like him trying to change me would never be an option.
So back to you and your story. Your marriage may have a different issue than an argument about a dream. Perhaps, your BIG issue is about parenting, family dynamics, careers, communications, health, finances, etc. Whatever your issue – I ask you to consider what is the most important thing to you? If it’s your marriage – is it worth it to continue a battle? As many marriage and family experts and therapists will say – you are not going to be on the same page or always giving 100% to your marriage. This is the same for your partner. In other words, there will be times when the marriage is rocky and a rollercoaster from both ends because you don’t want to give in, compromise, or give the effort you need in your marriage.
One thing (the most important thing) I am glad my husband and I agree about is not wanting to get a divorce. Truthfully, it is our morals, our faith, and our knowledge we don’t want to be with anyone else that keeps us together. We don’t stay together because we always like each other. Sure, deep down we always love each other, but we may not always like each other. I feel this is human nature.
So, whatever your issue may be – I ask you to take time to separate yourself from the scenario, to think about the scenario from your partner’s perspective, and to truly consider your options. When I say from your partner’s perspective, I really mean try being in their shoes. I would never suggest you sell your soul or not stand your ground, but can you be creative in how you resolve your issue? Can you fall a little bit on the sword? Can you take a break from whatever you’re arguing about?
Like me, moving forward after you have been hurt may be the hardest thing you ever have to do. All I can say is marriage is not easy, like anything else in your life you have to work on marriage for your marriage to be successful. Overall, I do believe your spouse is a gift from God (even in the awful, sucky times) and I do believe God puts two people together for a reason. You may have had thousands of other people you could have married, but there is a reason you ended up with who you ended up with. For some, marriage will be about becoming stronger or improving who you are as a person, for others it may be about learning important life lessons, for others it’s about giving and receiving love, etc. Whatever the reason for your marriage, my belief is during the journey of marriage you live through life’s tests and frustrations. A pastor once said during a sermon – you can’t know what love is without knowing what pain is. I now know exactly what my pastor was talking about. It is so strange to feel both love and hurt so deeply at the same time.
Again, you may ask me – Am I happy my husband couldn’t hold onto the reins of my dreams like I was holding onto my dreams? Of course not. However, I do love I can talk to my husband about almost anything. We have the same morals for our family and our life. We both have our faith. My husband is wise and works hard at his job. We love to travel together. He makes me laugh. He loves me no matter how much weight I may gain or lose. He likes to give to others. Everyone adores him. He’s best friends with his Dad. It also doesn’t hurt I am still attracted to him almost 20 years later. The goal is not that you’ll never be hurt. The goal is you have more love than hurt; which I believe we have.
In conclusion, I couldn’t imagine life without my husband even if there are times I don’t like him very much or even when there are times I wish he would change. It’s hard to be hurt, but also know the grass is not always greener. If you’re living through a similar instance as my story, I first want to say I am sorry. I next want to say don’t give up on either your marriage or what is hurting you. Instead pray and find what will work instead of what won’t work. Listen to your own heart since there are many people out there who will have their own opinions and may direct you in the wrong direction. I know if I had brought up this scenario with family, friends, and acquaintances many people would have said leave your marriage. This just didn’t seem like the right option for me. I looked at our memories together and what my husband and I had built as a couple and I didn’t want to leave. I had too many years and emotions invested into our family. If you are me, please know love can conquer pain. You can see light at the end of the tunnel. You can have cake and eat it too. The answer is your approach not changing what you can’t control. On a good note, my husband and I have not discussed or argued about the books for a long time. He knows it’s still a dream of mine and I know it’ll never be a dream of his. We’ve both learned to accept this reality. Again, do I like having this dream without him – “No.” However, I do like being married to Phil and I do like knowing we can work through what we don’t like about each other. Overall, I think this is the definition of a life journey: the journey of working through the good, the bad, and the hurt.