Advice appreciated from those married 15 years or more to their initial one and only spouse


#1

Friends:

I would really love to hear from those still married 15 years or more to the same spouse that you married to begin with, and I'd love to hear how your marriage of 15 years plus is going. I would like to know any tips, and advice, and trials you have been through, and I am sure it will bless me a lot.! Thank you ahead of time for sharing your heart with me. It might not be all too easy, but you must know I really appreciate hearing from you, as I am going through a very difficult time.

Love,
Corinne:)


#2

My husband and I will celebrate our 41st Wedding Anniversary next month. Over the years we have had ups and downs - normal small difficulties that come from two people living together - and some larger difficulties, like the time when my DH was unemployed for 2 years and 8 months! At first we were dependent on his father, and then I got a job (our children were small at the time).

We've both been through unemployment since then, but not for as long. There have been some illnesses and other hiccups in life, but none of these things were ever allowed to come between us. All of our difficulties served to bring us closer together.

We are now, both of us, retired. Living on a fixed income with the cost of living rising monthly means that we must be careful of spending. We do own our own house and each have a car, but, of course, extraordinary expenses arise. We discuss the problems and together arrive at the solution we consider best and trust the rest to God.

Over the years our love for each other has grown stronger and deeper. At the same time, there can be times that I can get frustrated with some typical male reactions!! Such as, almost 2 weeks ago my DH, in helping a friend with something managed to cut his finger quite badly. When he phoned me about it I urged him to go to the Emergency Department at the hospital or to our doctor to get it stitched. He reacted in his usual way - tried to fix things himself. When he came home the finger was bandaged up and he informed me that he had purchased Steri Strips and it would be fine. A few days later he took the dressing off and, of course, the cut had not even started to heal and the Steri Strip had been put on the wrong way - just wrapped around the finger instead of at right angles to the cut so as to close it..... We ended up going to the local hospital where he was scolded by the doctor because he is diabetic, and had to get a tetanus injection and was put on antibiotics. Of course, I have to dress the cut daily, cleaning it and applying antibiotic ointment..... MEN!! He would not listen to me, but had to be told by the doctor. I don't charge for my advice :dts:

I hope he listens in the future, but I still love him. :shrug:


#3

I know you are going through a really tough time. I am not sure what you are looking for but here is my response:

My wife an I have been married right about 15 years. I still care for her as much if not more than when we got married. As for trials, we have be in a celibate marriage for the last 8 years. That has had some real difficulties especially since it is not something we have ever been comfortable talking about. However, I believe we are beyond that being a serious issue and we are happy and growing in our faith together and are thus far doing fairly well at raising our kids in the faith. I sometimes feel that God is blessing us for weathering the storm (although many people have much more difficulties to deal with than we have had)

God Bless


#4

My husband and I have been married for 27 years. I think the first 10 years were probably the hardest (money issues, etc.). We have grown closer with the years and I treasure him more each day. We are lovers, soul mates and best friends; we have been life partners in our decisions. We have grown in our faith in God and in our relationship with each other. We laugh together and we pray together. We are grateful to God for each and every day!


#5

Hi Corinne.In April of 2011,we will be celebrating our 40th Wedding Anniversery.We were married when I was 18 and she was 17.Everyone said it would'nt last "so",out of spite we stay together to prove them wrong(just kidding).If I were to give anyone advice on marridge the three most important ingrediants are#1.God.Put Him first.Pray together,attend Mass together,pray for one another.#2.Laugh together.A good sence of humor and knowing whats important and what to let go.Some things are not worth arguing about.#3.Forgivness.None of us are perfect.Someone once said :Marridge is the only relationship you'll ever be in where someone can be mad enough to kill you and worried if you've had enough to eat at the same time.I'm sorry you may be going through a ruff time.We will be praying for you.Well I think I'll go let that woman know how much she loves me,Rocky.


#6

Wow, it's been a long time! Our oldest just graduated from high school...

Anyway, we both have terrible tempers, and after having some crazy fights, we learned that sometimes we have to leave the other one alone and back off, because there's no sense in having a fight on our permanent record when the mood is temporary.

We learned that we can go through a period lasting a couple of years where things are really bad between us, but then they will improve.

I read to put on my to-do list to do something for my husband each day, even--or possibly especially!--when I am not happy with him, and I try to do little things for him. I don't know if he notices or appreciates them, but when I do them, things are better between us.

He is not my source of happiness, but we get along a lot better when we are happy. (I am not saying he never makes me happy, but that a person cannot allow their happiness to rest on someone else.)

No matter what is happening in a marriage, I believe that if the two people are committed at a minimum to staying together (if only for the sake of the children), then things can improve between them.

I don't know what you're going through, but I hope things get better for you.


#7

39 years.

We got some really bad "training" and advice from both sets of our parents: micromanage.

NEVER micromanage. Never bicker. Never use sarcasm.

Never belittle. Never berate.

Don't let what Shakespeare called "the slings and arrows" bother you. What he meant was "stuff". Not material stuff, but the things that happen. When kids spill milk, it's not the end of the world and not worthy of a lifetime of condemnation. [Think of a synonym for "stuff", as in "stuff happens". I can't use the actual word here.]

Learn to roll with the punches. A parking lot scratch on the car will not cause you to die, for example. I always lived in dread fear of losing my job. And one day, it happened. And you know what? I didn't die.

Things will go wrong from time to time; expect it.

I bought a book one time and among the first words in the book were: "Life is difficult; once you realize that life is difficult, then life is no longer difficult."

What happened was that was as far as I got with that particular book. I marked the page and showed it to my wife and read it many times. Wonderful.

Learn to shrug "stuff" off. Resist when parents demand you worry about stuff.

Always end the evening before falling asleep with, "Good night. I love you. See you in a couple of hours."

The only real thing to be careful of is money. "Normally" it is in fixed and short supply. Learn how to stretch it. Learn to DIY. Avoid spending anything if you can avoid it. The family comes ahead of husband's sports or wife's clothes. Just remember all those lottery winners who went broke. They couldn't manage their money. Avoid debt and pay off your debts as fast as humanly possible, including your mortgage. Check out Dave Ramsey www.daveramsey.com

For "fun", tell God that you are now on HIS payroll. Tell God that you are dependent on HIM for EVERYTHING. Your daily bread. [The Lord's Prayer refers to "daily bread"; it does NOT say anything about a trip to Cancun.]

I still think of my friends who insisted on having new cars every few years. The used a home equity loan and were still paying off cars they had gotten rid of YEARS earlier.

If you can avoid buying a NEW car, you will be way ahead. See if you can make your cars last twenty years or more.

Set up a separate checking account and put ten percent of your take home pay in it. That is your tithing account. That money goes to charity, the church, Catholic Answers, etc.

Say a rosary every day. Get to Mass at least every Sunday, and if there is a church near home or near work, get to daily Mass, as well.

Pray constantly. In the supermarket check out line. Waiting at stop light. In the bathroom. Walking down a hallway. Up on a ladder. Mowing the lawn. Sorting the recycling. Always. Muslims pray five times a day; we can do at least as well, and better.


#8

[quote="Corinne3, post:1, topic:207700"]
Friends:

I would really love to hear from those still married 15 years or more to the same spouse that you married to begin with, and I'd love to hear how your marriage of 15 years plus is going. I would like to know any tips, and advice, and trials you have been through, and I am sure it will bless me a lot.! Thank you ahead of time for sharing your heart with me. It might not be all too easy, but you must know I really appreciate hearing from you, as I am going through a very difficult time.

Love,
Corinne:)

[/quote]

We've been married just over 15 years. What I have learned is this:
1. Remember that life (including marriage) is not perfect
2. When you hit bad days or weeks or years ride them out. Cling to the good memories. Look at your wedding album and vacation pictures, etc.
3. Bite your tongue
4. Try and be a kind to your spouse as you would to anyone else...and kinder (we tend to say and do things with a spouse we would not to a friend)
5. Pray, go to Mass as often as possible...and together as much as time permits
6. Find something to do together...take golf lessons or go bike riding once a week...anything.
7. Do not entertain the idea of separation or divorce. Period. (So long as everyone is safe and the trials are the usual, but hard, bumps).
8. Have a sense of humor about the bad times (a friend called me and told me she could not WAIT for her husband to go out of town for work because he was driving her crazy. She said "I might just get my pilot's license and fly him out myself!!!". She loves him dearly and they are a wonderful, faithful and faith filled couple... but we ALL hit a day here and there where we could use a break!).
9. Focus on improving yourself, your attitude and how you deal with your spouse rather than focusing on changing him.
10. Remember, your spouse is an adult. You are 'not the boss' of that person. Sometimes,the stuff that irrates you you just have to get over. You also have to remember that you likely sometimes irrate him.
Above all: SHOW YOUR LOVE (a hug, a kind word, a favorite meal, getting him the paper, et.c) even at times when you don't fully feel lovey dovey in love.

HTH--
Taben


#9

Hi Corrine,

My wife and I are coming up on 30 years in marriage this fall. 3 children, two college grads, the other tossing a coin between college or the military at the moment.
I think that men and women enter into marriage with different attitudes and expectations, and how mature (not necessarily how old) they are when they begin is inversely proportional to how different they enter marriage.That can be overcome; it's just harder to do and requires more dedication.

The thing I find amazing is that as the years of marriage progress, I find that my wife and I, and for that matter most couples we know, tend to swap or reverse those expectations. Maybe a better way to say it is they become more like the other. I am not sure why that is, but I think it has to do with the many times in a marriage one of the two will fail at something while the other succeeds, and over time, like a seed planted, one cannot help but see the sense and success in acting differently than you'd reflexively respond, and act more as your spouse would.

There are may jokes about men and remote controls, and sometimes they are iconic for the territorial boundaries we each build in our marriage. Sometimes these "boundaries" we erect are a way of resisting what we know we must do in order to make the marriage work; to give up control. For men at least, that is never an easy task. I remember one time my wife went to visit her dad who was ill, and we could only afford for one of us to make the trip. Our first two children were still very young, and I'm sure it wasn't in her comfort zone to leave two babies in my care for a week, but she had to. I still remember getting "the eye," and being "asked" sternly: "You WILL remember to feed them, right?"

Of course I would. She knew that, but it was a comfort thing; she knew I would, yet at the same time I'm sure spent time each day worrying about whether I did or not. It sounds goofy, almost trivial, but these things are like checkpoints in a marriage. They are gates we must pass through without going off the rails if we are to really reach that level of blind trust we all want. We have to place that trust in the hands of our spouse much as we might be uncomfortable with it at the time, and as that trust is honored, we are willing to give even more until there is nothing you wouldn't give or trust to the other.

That seems on the surface to be all about give and take, but comes the day when something serious happens that puts one or both of you to the test, a solid basis of trust can be the thread that will hold a marriage together when everything around it tries to pull it apart. Sometimes your friends, in their zeal to "help," will cater to your feelings and help you feel anger or resentment about a spouse when that truly isn't helpful though it may give you a moment's sympathy. It's when the pressure of those tough times press us the most that in quiet we are reminded that, oh yes, to my surprise he DID remember to feed the babies, or she DID actually get the oil changed in the car when I asked her to. These memories ground us while we sort out what's important to us in our relationship to each other, to family, and to God.

As I was standing around the sacristy in the moments before my wedding, a relative I hold in highest regard said to me, "Don't forget to die a little each day." I didn't have a clue what he meant. I thought it was some sort of joke, you know, where people will joke about marriage being the end of (good or happy) life as you know it. I just smiled and said, "Yeah, I'll keep that in mind."

Well the truth of it is, I didn't keep that in mind. In fact it was more years than I care to admit before I had my moment of awakening and realized the truth and the wisdom of those words. Oh yes, I'd heard it read in the gospels and talked about in homilies, about how we must die to ourselves in order to gain heavenly reward, and so forth. But for many years I thought that meant giving up something I had to some stranger who didn't have any of it. Never in my wildest imaginations did it occur to me that it might mean I have to do that to or for my wife.

We went on a retreat one day and the leader of the retreat spoke about marriage being a sacrifice, and that the word sacrifice is a compound word made up of two Latin roots; sacra (holy) and ficio (to make). Then came the challenging question - How (men) are you making your wife holy? Well I hadn't been making my wife holy, I was just trying to get along so we would be nice to each other and dinnertime would be happy and I could have the remote control. She did her house things, I took care of the car and the lawn, we both read to the kids, and what, now there's MORE to it? OH yes! There is MUCH more to it than that. That is just existence, it is not growing, it is not growing closer, and it certainly isn't growing closer to God.

It took a while, because I can be quite dense, but I began to see that trying to live a marriage as a thing of equality and you-do-this-and-I'll-do-that was a ticket to nowhere. The E-ticket in marriage is doing more, giving up more, wanting less, and being willing to not have to be right. In the time since I began doing that, or at least trying my best to, our marriage has held more deeper meaning and given more fulfillment and joy than anything in the years before that. It really changes your whole attitude about life, if my opinion means anything at all. It also is a way to see a living verification of that part in Ephesians 5 that makes most people so uneasy when it comes up for the reading in Mass... that part about wives submit to your husbands, and husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church, that He might sanctify it. There really is nothing to be uneasy about hearing that; it's merely the correct formula for making a marriage the best it can be. Strive to make it holy, and it will be happy and meaningful.


#10

Pick your battles.

Don't sweat the small stuff.


#11

I think KCT has it nailed. Don't sweat the small stuff. I don't care WHAT direction you put the toilet paper on... just put it on... no nit picking about stuff like that!

We will actually only be married 14 years this month. But dated 10 years prior to that.

We've been through Cancer, unemployment, and most recently utter exhaustion with his newish job that virtually makes me a single parent of twin boys...

It's important not to blow up all the time. Important to share frustrations and how the other can help, without pointing fingers.

We find humor in much of the same. We actually e-mail each other a lot, and call each other during the day whenever possible.

It's almost like the need to keep each other updated and posted (almost like we are dating) has helped with just the everyday stressors of life...

And when one of us gets really mad, we have found lately that letting it rest for bit before discussion results in calm rational discussions, instead of crazy exhausted outbursts...

Good luck!


#12

I advise people that if they want to be married that they should be prepared to wake every morning and ask themselves "how can I be a better spouse today and how can I be a better parent?" And then approach each day with that in mind to guide your words and actions. It works.

married 19 years so far

good luck


#13

our 18th is next wednesday! :D
we have been through so much together, besides having our 7 children but what i am learning is to not "have" to win every argument, try to compromise, do special things for my husband just to show him i care..he does so much for me every day and i love him more than anything!


#14

31 years this June, and we dated for 6 years before we got married. Remained virgins until our wedding night, too. Still madly in love.

I see a lot of things in other posts that sound like us. Here are a few other pieces of advice that haven’t already been given.

  1. Live a “clean” life as much as possible. Stay away from the worldly vices, especially alcohol. Don’t abuse alcohol and if possible, don’t drink alcohol at all. I’m very serious about this. We know so many people our age who destroyed their marriages because one or both of the spouses abused alcohol, or spent too much time at the bars, or got in trouble with the law over some alcohol-related situation (e.g., driving and drinking). If you or your spouse find yourself using alcohol to cope with stress or problems, then you have a problem with alcohol and you need to get yourself some help, probably with AA. Don’t wait until alcohol destroys everything that’s important to you. Get help before alcohol sinks its claws into your heart.

  2. Don’t live like trash. Again, this goes back to staying away from worldly vices. Don’t gamble, ever, even buying $1 Lotto tickets. Don’t hang out with losers unless you are trying to help them better themselves. Don’t stay out too late habitually. Don’t visit questionable places in your city. Don’t watch bad movies that drag your soul down and numb you to evil. Don’t waste your time. In Sirach (in the Bible), the writer tells us to associate with wise people–this is excellent advice. It’s OK to go to Monster Truck rallies and watch COPS on TV and wear wife-beater shirts with your belly hanging out–once in a while!–but spend even more time listening to good music, reading good books, watching good TV, and wearing clothing that doesn’t hint at illicit sex or getting drunk.

  3. Don’t always blame everything and everyone else for your problems. So many people think it’s “that cop’s fault” or “that crazy neighbor’s fault,” or “that stupid boss’ fault” or “the Church’s fault.” It might be, but don’t go around blaming people all the time. It does something bad to your personalities–it makes you unable to accept responsibility for problems, and it gets you into the habit of blaming others, even your wife, children, and other relatives and dear friends. Nothing will destroy a relationship more than living with constant accusations and criticisms.

  4. Don’t fill your life with violence (unless you’re a cop or a soldier). Watching violent television and movies, listening to violent music, especially rock and rap, using violent language (swearing) and spending time with violent friends is a bad path to take in life. Live a life of peace.

  5. This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice I can give–please, ladies, listen to this! Wives–say “yes” as much as possible. Certainly there are times when you really are too tired, or your stomach is bloated, or the baby is distracting you, or you actually have a headache, or if you’re practicing NFP, it’s your fertile time. But all too often, wives get into the habit of automatically saying “no” because sex is a lot of work for a woman and a lot messier. Don’t get into this habit. Say YES as often as possible, and you will discover that most of the time, you will get in the mood very quickly, and the love-making will bond your husband to you in a special way. It is sex, lovemaking, that makes a man and woman husband and wife rather than best friends or roommates. Don’t pass up the opportunities to make love.

  6. You CAN change irritating personality traits. If your spouse wants you to dress better, or stop swearing, or call home if you’re your going to be late, etc., you CAN do this. Your spouse isn’t demanding too much of you.


#15

We've been married 22 years and 2 months.....and we've been married 2 months in the Catholic Church. The 1st year was rough as we were not used to living with anyone else. He had to learn alot about me ... like I am not his maid...and not to say "my mom used to do it this way"....:D

We have been though getting through my childhood abuse, him in the Air Force, an eye injury, off to the first Gulf War...him coming back disabled...now he is a disabled vet, coming back to Oregon, both us going back to college and working full time, and now my coming back to the Catholic church and him following.

  1. We always thought marriage was forever.
  2. We had to learn not to sweat the small things. I used to get after him because he didn't fold the towels right...then I thought I'm an idiot...at least he is folding them.
  3. We like to do things together....always have.
  4. We've never let it be about each other...just the issues....
  5. We always made time for each other...even when we were both working full time and going to school full time...we had a date night every week.

Our marriage has grown and evolved....we both have changed...but together. Now we both have to go through confirmation together which will bring us even closer.:thumbsup:


#16

Looking back on 28 years of marriage to my one and only, I can give you two tips.

Tip one: marriage is a two-way street; man and wife should support each other. BUT, depending on your personalities and circumstances, support doesn't have to be symmetrical. In other words, do not expect to be supported in (what seems to you) the same way, or the same amount, as you are supporting him. Marriage is not a zero-sum game, or a trade relationship where import and export must be balanced over the short and even medium term. I am from Italy, and there is an Italian proverb that says: "chi piu giudizio ha, piu' n'adopri"; "who has more judgment, should use more of it".

Tip two: don't think that love and duty are mutually exclusive. Sometimes you will feel that you are doing something in support of your spouse out of duty. That does not imply that love has taken a back seat: rather, consider that you are choosing to do your duty out of love. Love is service. There is an English hymn that goes like this: "I vow to thee, my country / All earthly things above / Entire, and whole, and perfect / The service of my love." A soldier in war chooses to stand up and fight with his comrades (whereas he could feign an illness) out of duty, but also out of love for them because of what they share in life and in responsibility. Duty, real duty, is a free choice, not an obligation.

Good luck, and I hope your marriage will last a long time!


#17

Thank you so very much. I do know all these things. What I do not know is how to handle an unfaithful spouse who is willingly choosing to pursue whores/strippers/strip joints, etc., when a wife has no job, no money. TRUST IN GOD I suppose. I am at my wit’s end with it all, him having confessed he once again retreated back to his favorite whore one month ago now. I feel it was probably much less, perhaps yesterday even. I am so through with emotional abuse once and for all. I have been thru the total wringer and then some. I have written in here in with woes, gotten great advice and NOW am at my total wit’s end. My h is an adulteror. He hates me and it shows how much he wants out of the marriage yet does nothing about it, he wants a double life, to have his cake and eat it too, (still do not what this means)…but it’s a saying. Meaning he wants it both ways. A loving home, with kids, wife, yet going out on us too.

I am way too emotionally distraught to deal with this any more. H told me today he still went back to his favorite whore last month, more likely last week. I am worn down, beaten down beyond belief now. I told him if he is not out for good by next Wednesday, I will file an RO getting him legally to leave. YES, I mean it this time,and I am ready to face the consequences. I will have to work full-time, but I know God will provide for me.

Pray for me friends. I am still in the mud puddle. HAVE to get out now or I will be dead.

Corinne


#18

OK: Is infidelity worth trying to still stay in your marriage no matter what????? We;ve been together 22 years now, it would be like breaking my limbs off to split now. I have stuck by SO MUCH, it would feel like giving up now. I feel like a total fool for trying counseling, conferences, endlessly. He is one sick man. I am certain of this.

He is a SICK sex addict. Sometimes I feel certain this is total emotional abuse, other times, I don't. Our marriage is dead, I know this. I am not trying for anything further, as far as counseling, Retrovaille, been there done that, done everything. He lusts after other women. I cannot take it. I got more evidence tonight on his dresser. I found little cut out from a local sleeze paper, free coupons for totally nude strip clubs, sick and disgusting things he wrote, (his sick and twisted sexual fantasies).....it's never ending. He talks about this mystery woman like she's a piece of meat. It's so horrible. I will show it to the Priest tomorrow and get his advice.

Friends, it's obvious nothing has changed with my husband in the past 2 years----the past 20 years......

Here's my main question: Should I wait until I get a job, have money coming in to take any action, or should I get him thrown out now by the police? by filing a Restraining Order? What do you all feel about this? What is your gut thought? We are sleeping in separate rooms still. You betcha. I do not want him near me. He still is handy around the house, doing many things I cannot do, manly things, etc. But we have NO relationship left. He lies still through his teeth.

Please let me hear from you, anyone, who can give me some solid advice as to what to do right now, if anything. Should I tell him I found these things laying around or keep it as evidence and keep it to myself???? I really need wisdom regarding this too.

I will check here tomorrow.

Thank you so very much. :blush:

Am meeting with another new young Priest for some counseling. I just don't what to do, or if there even is anything I can do YET.


#19

[quote="Corinne3, post:18, topic:207700"]
OK: Is infidelity worth trying to still stay in your marriage no matter what????? We;ve been together 22 years now, it would be like breaking my limbs off to split now. I have stuck by SO MUCH, it would feel like giving up now. I feel like a total fool for trying counseling, conferences, endlessly. He is one sick man. I am certain of this.

Friends, it's obvious nothing has changed with my husband in the past 2 years----the past 20 years......

Here's my main question: Should I wait until I get a job, have money coming in to take any action, or should I get him thrown out now by the police? by filing a Restraining Order? What do you all feel about this? What is your gut thought? We are sleeping in separate rooms still. You betcha. I do not want him near me. He still is handy around the house, doing many things I cannot do, manly things, etc. But we have NO relationship left. He lies still through his teeth.

Please let me hear from you, anyone, who can give me some solid advice as to what to do right now, if anything. Should I tell him I found these things laying around or keep it as evidence and keep it to myself???? I really need wisdom regarding this too.

I will check here tomorrow.

Thank you so very much. :blush:

Am meeting with another new young Priest for some counseling. I just don't what to do, or if there even is anything I can do YET.

[/quote]

None of us know you. It's your decision and your life to live, so you are the only one capable of making your own decisions.
Hope you receive good advice from the priest and take it.

God bless you.


#20

Corinne,

You have posted about your problems in the past and I think that your responders have outlined a plan for you. Your marriage is broken. You need to consult a divorce lawyer who will outline a plan for you. You might consult a women's shelter regarding free legal advice and ideas about where to go and what to do. You have to devise a plan and stick to it. But you need to be able to support yourself or be able to rely on someone either to live with or support you. I think that many others have advised you along these lines. I think that your husband wants you to leave--otherwise he wouldn't tell you about his latest escapades and leave stuff around.

Your problems are much worse than others of the long-married . It is not clear that a young priest can advise you.

You would be miserable continuing in this marriage. Life is short and these problems are making it a lot shorter for you. I think that your husband is mentally ill, but of course he won't seek treatment.

I have been happily married for 37 years and we've had no major problems. My husband is absolutely faithful. The above posters have given excellent advice but they haven't faced a problem like yours.

Regarding divorce, it isn't clear why you couldn't get an annulment. Your 'husband' certainly isn't in a marriage now.


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