We all share stories with family and friends about the daily issues we face managing a family... especially regarding our husbands. We laugh in unity, relieved that we are all in the same boat and thankful that it's not just us. Where did the 'happily ever after' go? I'm surprised there's been no class action against Disney for feeding us that dream ... but that's for another time! Back to the issue with husbands. What is this really saying about marriage?
When was the last time your friend told you of something wonderful their husband did that didn't end with a snide remark, 'it was about time' or 'probably a once-off' or 'he just did it to improve his chances of sex that night!'
Repeating the things your husband doesn't do is half the problem, as Alison Ledgerwood explains in her TED Talk, Getting Stuck in the Negatives. However the bigger problem is what is being said - not what isn’t getting done!
Here is a list of phrases and words that break a marriage ... from a woman's perspective.
You never follow through
You're eating too much
You look fat in those jeans
You look old
You're so mean
You're so uptight
You're no fun anymore
You're never happy with what you have
Why can't you be more like (fill in name of someone amazing)?
You're so disorganised
Why can't you just have fun?
You're not a very good friend
You've got a terrible memory
You're face is so puffy in the morning
Your boobs are so droopy after having kids
Your skin is so dull
You're not very good at this 'mom' thing
Why don't you know why our baby is crying?
You're always stressed
You've let yourself go
You're not as good as (insert name of someone amazing at work)
You're a hopeless driver
You're terrible at directions
You're not much of a cook
You drink too much
You're the reason our daughter has anxiety
You're the reason our son is acting up in class
Why can't you cope being a working mom like (insert name of someone amazing)?
You're always yelling at the kids
You're such a hopeless wife
You're such a crappy mom
You're not worthy of love ...
Do they sound familiar?
The problem is, they're not coming from our husbands. It's what we are saying to ourselves every minute of every day of every week of every year. That's why we 'fly off the handle' when our husband makes one comment, and blame them for not being there, not loving us enough, not listening. They stand there gobsmacked, totally at a loss at how one comment made us believe they are the worst person ever at that moment!
As Brené Brown reflected in her interview with Oprah, 'we have a scarcity mentality – we're not good enough, don't have enough, not worthy enough'. Our biggest problem is showing others our vulnerability and the saddest part is our inability to express that vulnerability to the person we should trust the most – our husbands or partners. Instead, we blame. Blame them for all our problems, our families problems, our lack of time, our troubled kids. No doubt they contribute to certain issues - probably because they are in the same boat, scared to be open about their fears, their worries, their doubts. But the problem starts with us.
It's time to be kind to yourself and in turn, be kinder to those around you. If you haven't already, read Brené Brown's book Daring Greatly. Identify your own fears and shame. Right them down. Own them and be prepared to feel real pain in your vulnerability. Then take a deep breath, sit down with your husband or partner and calmly start the process to divorce-proofing your relationship.