Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why Bother Fixing a Troubled or Failing Relationship or Marriage?

Why should you want and expect to make an effort to fix a strained or distant relationship? The answer is obvious to some, but many really don’t know, and actually think that it’s easier to put up with pain, frustration, boredom, etc., or the stress of extramarital affairs. Wrong! Here for you are the facts and the truth…

I want to share with you the most ridiculous e-mail I may have ever received. I have always maintained a policy of keeping all comments about reader mail positive, but occasionally I get one that is just so downright idiotic that it makes me want to grab the sender and shake them really hard to try to wake them up. I’m not going release this reader’s name, and I want to make it clear that I am in no way saying that this reader is an idiot; I am however, stating emphatically that what they say is something I would expect from either a moron or somebody really emotionally damaged, not from someone intelligent enough to be able to write a letter like this one.

Dear David,

I’ve been reading your newsletter for several weeks now, and I really can’t see why I should have to go through all this trouble to please my wife. We’ve been married for 8 years, and have followed the same routine pretty much since we got married. I work, she keeps the house and takes care of the kids. In the evening, I watch TV or go to the bar while she helps the kids with their homework. If I fall asleep on the couch she doesn’t bother me, and if I come home late from the bar she’s asleep in the bed and doesn’t say anything. We don’t talk much, don’t go anywhere, and everything’s fine. What’s the deal?

Bob


My reply:

Well, “Bob,” (the name has been changed to protect the monumentally daft) let’s look at a few things from a logical point-of-view:

You’ve been reading my newsletter for several weeks, but you say there’s no problem? You’re letter doesn’t paint a picture of you being a proactive achiever, so I’m not buying that, and I hope you’re not either.

Doing the same thing, day in and day out for 8 years, and there’s no problem? Ladies, you are cordially invited to write with your comments on this one! (Please feel free to comment on anything at any time, but I’m asking you specifically for your reactions here to help this guy see that unless he’s married to “Rain Man” he has and is oblivious to a serious problem with a bored wife.)

You frequently go to the bar while she stays home with the kids, and sit in front of the TV on “non-bar” nights? Why aren’t you doing something with the wife and kids at least a couple of nights a week? No problem, you say?

You fall asleep on the couch and she doesn’t wake you up and tell you to come to bed, or throw a blanket over you, or say something about it the next day? Can you say “bored and disinterested”? But I guess that’s not a problem, either, even though that’s a recipe for your wife to be seeing other men while you’re at work and the kids are in school and chatting on the Internet or on the phone with other men while you are at the bar.

Don’t talk much? Don’t go anywhere? And you call that fine? And you think that she thinks that’s fine? At this point, I’m wondering if you’ve beaten her to the point that she sees “no beatings” as being the same as “happy marriage.” If you don’t interact with your wife and children, why do you have them???

In a nutshell, your letter describes a plea for validation, not education or improvement. I don’t know what you’re situation or problem really is, and until you come clean about all the contradictions and omissions in your letter, there’s not a thing I can do to help you, except possibly to point out a few universal truths that might motivate you to take a realistic look at your situation.

Let’s start with the old adage, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Even if you or somebody else has damaged your wife to the point that she really would rather live the life she’s living than to see positive change, is this what YOU really want? A robot that cleans the house, cooks, and keeps the laundry and house clean and the kids out of your way? I suppose next you’re going to tell us that they based several episodes of “The Sopranos” on your life.

I’m also curious as to what value you are getting for all the money it takes to feed, house, clothe, medicate, educate, and entertain those other people in your house. Do you have even an inkling that interaction with them could be far more interesting and rewarding than anything you find on television, and far less destructive than anything you’d find in a bar? Or are you too depressed and comfortably unhappy to notice?

And how about “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”? If your letter paints an accurate picture of your home life, you’ve completely turned your back on your family except for giving them whatever part of your paycheck they receive. Contrary to what many think, the average woman is interested in a lot more than her husband’s paycheck.

Do you really think they, especially your wife and the mother of your kids, are going to go on accepting being ignored indefinitely? Women and kids both do things to get attention, even the wrong kind of attention, when you don’t give it to them freely and willingly. The longer you ignore them, the more radical the actions they will take. Do you relish the thought of coming home and finding your wife in your bed with another man? Or going to a local jail to bail one or more of your kids out for shoplifting, drug possession, or worse, some kind of violent, gang-related mishap? Get a clue, because it’s coming.

Bob, the best thing I can tell you right now is “wake up and smell the coffee.” You deserve and can have better than the life you describe, and so does your family, and the choice is entirely yours. If your job is sufficient to pay the bills and provide you several bar nights per week without your wife working, then you’re doing well enough to do some things with your family.

You’re in a rut, and you’re not going to come out of it by just holding the wheel loosely and letting things just go where they want to go. Turn the wheel and get out of the rut. "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" will motivate you to help you feel deserving of such a life, but you should already be feeling some sort of longing for it or you wouldn’t be reading this newsletter and writing such a letter as you wrote, so what’s your real story? C’mon, lay it on me. I can take it. Can you?

Or are you afraid that the truth will hurt too much? You sound like you are one of those “comfortably unhappy” people that I help the most. I don’t know, but together, we can find out.

Take care, and keep in touch,
David


Folks, there’s no reason to continue living a life that you aren’t loving to live. The first thing to do when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging, isn’t it? Whatever has put you in trouble must be stopped immediately or inertia (that physics principle that says that an object in motion will tend to remain in motion and an object at rest will tend to remain at rest until some external force acts upon them, remember?) will just keep right on digging you in deeper.

Stop digging. If you don’t know what you’ve done to make your relationship a mess, go to
http://www.makingherhappy.com and download your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage;” I’ll guarantee you that the answer is in there. Together, we can get you where you need and want to be, if you’ll just take this first step in the right direction, and life is indeed too short to spend it digging yourself a deeper hole, is it not?

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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