Article “How I Stopped Being Cruel To My Wife & Saved My Marriage”
Author: Anonymous – Article written in Aish.com website
In ten years of marriage, my wife and I were blessed with four beautiful children. But the marriage itself was often difficult and painful. We were divorced for two and a half years. Then we remarried. This is not a recommended course of events, but Divine Providence took me on this unusual path. Fortunately, my wife and I usually got along pretty well during the time we were divorced and I saw my kids nearly every day. But being divorced was definitely not ideal. There were times that the hate I had for my wife was so intense that I could never repeat those awful thoughts out loud.
I now realize that my marriage was lacking true harmony from the very beginning. At the time of the divorce, I did not know about the concept of Shalom Bayit, the uniquely Jewish approach to peace in the home. I never had a real understanding of how precious the marital relationship is. Our first marriage was filled with periods of calm and periods of tension and discord. I always felt there was something missing. I never had the inner peace that the calm would last. There was always a storm brewing around the corner. We could go a couple weeks or maybe a month or two when things were relatively smooth, but I always knew it wouldn’t last. And inevitably, I would blame the ups and downs on my wife.
Our troubles weren’t dramatic. It was simply the day to day negativity that ate up the marriage. My wife would make a critical comment about my family. I would immediately take the insult to heart and attack her right back for the direct affront to the people who meant the most to me. After all, she knew how deeply I loved my parents and how any attack on them hit me at my weakest spot. How dare she hurt me in that way? Another tender area was the children. She often voiced her displeasure at the way I parented. She would often undermine me and refuse to back me up when I made a decision. I couldn’t understand her passive aggressive behavior, especially when it came to matters dealing with the kids.
Regardless of the trigger I would get extremely defensive and tumble reactively into “win mode,” feeling I simply had to win the argument. That dynamic would spark a cold war of sorts, where we wouldn’t speak for days or even weeks. I found it easier to shut down and just not have anything to do with her when I sensed she was upset with me. I would just escape into endless hours of mind-numbing television and internet surfing. After a while I was usually able to get us back on track with humor, but even my humor eventually stopped working and reconciliation became almost impossible. Before long another silly incident, insult, or miscommunication would present itself to allow us to further tear down our marriage.
My only conclusion was that my wife was an unhappy and unreasonable woman, who couldn’t deal with the fact I was basically a good (albeit imperfect) husband and father. It was almost as if her personality just couldn’t be content if things were too calm for too long.
After years of the marriage slowly wearing away, we made the mutual decision to divorce. But a person takes themselves with them wherever they go, and divorced life didn’t provide the relief I was hoping for. My wife felt the pain and vulnerability too. After two-and-a half years, we made the radical decision to give the marriage another shot.
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