Marriage Divorce Excuse #12….
“I Was Nice For 15 Years!!”
I wanted to respond, “Wow. Good for you…you did your best and now it’s hard and you want out…”
But a coach can’t say that. A coach can’t say the obvious. I had to work with my client (only 2 sessions) until he saw that indeed, his marriage was worth saving.
But to most, when things aren’t going well, they are out!
In a marriage, we are to be nice…FOREVER. Sometimes we slip. No one is perfect. You may slip 30 times a day. But at the end of the day…the end where you close your eyes and reflect on where you are and what you did during the day…recovering for those ‘not nice’ moments are what makes you who you are.
When Jeff spoke steady, “I was nice for 15 years…”
I waited for a second and added, “…and….then…what…? You woke up one day and just decided to stop being nice?”
Jeff laughed, “No. Yeah! I was tired of not being treated properly. So yeah. I stopped being nice.”
“What did you hope to get out of not being nice?”
Jeff was clear, “I hoped she would finally see she wasn’t being nice to me and start treating me better!”
I paused and waited…letting what he said sink in. Then I said, “And how did that work out…?”
Jeff laughed again and shrugged his shoulders, “It didn’t. It was the same. She didn’t notice. She doesn’t care. She did start getting mad that I wasn’t being nice to her!”
I stayed silent and let Jeff’s words linger in the air. Hoping Jeff would see that once he felt his wife wasn’t giving him what he wanted, being mean or unkind or ignoring her was not going to help or get him what he wanted.
I asked Jeff, “What do you want from your wife?”
Exasperated Jeff said, “I just want her to be nice to me. I want to have a good relationship. Like we did before. We were great friends. There was talking and eye contact and a give and take.”
“So knowing what you want, how do you think you can get that from her?” I asked.
Jeff sat for a second and said, “I don’t know! I guess I have to tell her that?”
“Tell her what?”
“Tell her how I feel…”
It’s funny how when people get into a rut or a problem in a relationship, in the end, it always comes back to communication. In this case having a conversation with his wife about what Jeff wants and needs from his wife is an easy solution.
Now if his wife gets mad, freaks out, says she can’t deliver, that is where it’s clear there is something wrong. But most times, the drama, anger, dilemma is all in our own heads. We make up this conversation that we have with ourselves that create the story of what is or isn’t happening. Yes we make it up. Crazy? I know!
Cause then we get all upset and/or act on something that may have started in our heads and may not even be real. So before you ever get into a tailspin about what you aren’t getting or what you think is not possible, just because you assume something…TALK to your spouse or partner. Ask them and have a dialogue about what you want and need. See what they say and go from there.
One time my husband wanted to go to a basketball game. He knew we had a lot going on that weekend and was concerned if he asked me I would say that I didn’t want him to go, that I needed him at home. So on his way home from work he had several conversations with me in his own head. Conversations where he tried to imagine everything: what he would say, what I would say, back and forth. Each time he did this in his own head, the (dramatizations) conversations all ended with me getting mad at him and saying “no” he couldn’t go to the game.
So by the time he got home, he was so convinced I would say NO, that he never even asked me about the game. He never said a single word to me about it. BUT, that didn’t stop him from holding a grudge against me. Yes. He came home mad and stayed angry at me that entire weekend. Even now, years later, he still has scars from these events. Event he didn’t go to because he thought I would say no. The dramas he played out in his head were so strong in leading him to believe I would deny him happiness to going to the game …that was a reason to be angry.
So before you declare your wife isn’t nice or kind over a conversation in your head. Have a real conversation. A dialogue to come up with solutions or answers to things you want or don’t want.
Names have been changed to protect real people.
If you need help with your marriage, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org