My fiance and I had a talk last night about whether or not we're really ready. He seems to think that I'm making a big mistake because I tell him things like he doesn't treat me right, or he 'always' does this or that to upset me, or he yells or gets too loud. I know I say things in the heat of the moment, and I've always been an instigator starting stuff I shouldn't, but I've never learned to stop completely, and just like he won't change overnight or maybe ever, neither will I. He pointed out that I use the words 'always' and 'never' when I say he's doing something that bothers me. Of course most of us use these words too often when we actually mean 'sometimes' and that's what I tried to tell him, but he needed more assurance than that and that I do love him and do want to marry him. I told him that I've always loved him, and he was my first for a reason, and even though we've had relationships off and on since we were in high school (I'm 33 now and he's 35) I'm still here because I've always loved him (and I do mean always LOL). Is this just cold feet talking or what? Our wedding is two months away, and I think we're both feeling nervous, but I think that's ok. I just need to hear what others think and are going through so I know I'm not the only one.
i am sorry you are going through this. it must be tough.
my first thought is, TALK TO SOMEONE!!!! whether it be a clergy person, a counselor or a doctor. i think it is important also to determine whether he DOES treat you bad or not. maybe take some time alone and reflect. are his behaviors abusive? or are you simply afraid of conflict? when i was with my husband i got upset that he was heated about certain things, like when he was driving. i later realized this didnt make him a bad guy. this was his way of verbalizing his feelings (mind you he never drove aggreessively, yelled out the window and instigated or hurt anyone as a result). yet i would internalize his outbursts, because i came from a family where we were afraid of conflict and confrontation. i turned his anoyance on the road into him having a horrible temper and yelling at me, which NEVER HAPPENED!!! luckily i was able to discern the difference. one thing that helped me do this was the premarital counseling required by our church.
now mind you, i HAVE been in past relationships where people have been verbally abusive and not put me first. and if your relationship IS like that, and when you say the things you do, they have truth behind them, perhaps it is best to move on. Many times people tell themselves after marriage things will get better. but we know the abuse will only get worse.
so thats my advice. take a step back and determine what type of relationship you have. one in which you both just need to learn how to accept the way the other communicates and embrace one anothers ways of reacting, or one that is abusive and toxic which you need to bring an end too. then if you decide that it is choice A. seek assistance in bridging that gap. if communication is your issue, it is surmountable. maybe it will take time and help, but you can do it.
He is not abusive physically or verbally. He does yell and raise his voice at times which he says he doesn't realize he's doing it. It's not just me he does this to either, it's his parents, friends, even his own son. I grew up with some family like this, but I guess it's harder to deal with when you live with the person everyday. We all remind him to keep his voice down.
I am certainly not afraid of confrontation. In fact, I think it's part of my problem because I instigate stuff that I should leave alone. I've been like this since I was a kid, and have never learned to completely control myself. I have a hot temper sometimes too (worse at the time of the month) and I can get mouthy, and I know that doesn't help.
Premarital counseling is your best friend, especially if you find someone good to work with. Our counselor told us repeatedly that "Conflict isn't necessarily bad for a marriage, it's normal. It's when you manage conflict badly that marriages turn sour." He asked us all about our family backgrounds, identified ways that our styles of "conflic negotiation" seemed to be different, and gave us tips for how to handle things better. Also, if you call enough places (especially Church charities), you can probably find someone to do it for a very reduced rate. Going to premarital counseling doesn't mean that your marriage is in danger -- in fact, the opposite is the case! Good luck!
You and your FH need to go and see someone (counselor of some sort) to learn how to communicate better.
In one sense, he is quite right: the way that you are talking to him is destructive. While he should not expect you to change overnight, you are going to have to get some guidance to know HOW to change these habits.
The habits you are listing like pushing a conversation when you know you shouldn't, generalizing his behavior (the "always" thing) and correcting his behavior by suggesting how he act differently are all straight off a "How NOT to Talk to Your Spouse" list. These are exactly the kinds of things that lead to hurtful and damaging arguments - and sometimes, no matter how hard you try - that damage cannot be undone.
If you're nervous about counseling, try a little self-help. Do an internet search on "spouse communicating" and read what comes up - you are likely to see things to try to help solve some of the exact problems you're talking about. Books can be great, too, but check out reviews from real readers on amazon first, so you don't invest time in something that is not helpful.
He has a right to his feelings, and it is important that you listen to what he is telling you. The fact that he is willing to share this with you says a lot about how much he trusts you. Trust me... it would be much, much worse if you went ahead and married without working this stuff out and then one day he just disappeared because he'd had enough.
Hang in there and keep talking to each other - it's a great sign!
Message was edited by friendofgusgus on Aug 1, 2006 4:36 PM for spelling
While I wouldnt go calling off the wedding, you guys could definitely benefit from premarital counseling as others have suggested. One of the key ingredients to a good marriage is not trying to completely erradicate conflicts, but to learn to fight FAIRLY so that you vent your feelings in the most constructive way, get 'em out there, and put yourselves in a good place to resolve the issues and move forward. This doesn't mean you won't yell, or BE mad/hurt/disappointed. The important thing is for you BOTH to learn how to handle those emotions and the issues that will cause them.
Your fiancee is justified in asking if you're making a mistake to marry him; if you truly BELIEVE he treats you badly enough to tell him that, why would you want to marry someone who treats you that poorly? I know that to you and your fighting style it's just in-the-moment, but words are like feathers. Once you open the bag, it's tough to get them all back in.
Obviously your fiancee feels that what you SAY is valid enough to have actual feelings to back it up. The generalizations of "you always" and "never" are just wrong b/c they're not the truth and you know it. Besides that, they're also a lot stronger than you may think; if someone keeps saying a behavior of yours is THAT constant and that it's an all-or-nothing deal, wouldn't you feel like there's no point in putting the effort into changing? No one is perfect, so those are unrealistic standards to set. Please research some counseling ASAP, and let us know how it goes!
I just wanna say that my husband and I fought a lot in the months preceding our wedding, and it was almost always something to do with the wedding, or the stress of the wedding causing us to just go berzerk. Things are totally different now! We are like wow, without the wedding, we have nothing to fight about! lol......... Anyways, its normal to feel stressed and snap at eachother, thats just how some people handle stress. But its never a bad idea to see a counselor to help you guys learn to communicate better through this stressful time (how crappy that such a wonderful event is so stressful!!). Or even buy a couple self help books for couples about communication. Thats what we did, and it really helped.
What I meant by him not treating me right is him not helping me around the house and taking me for granted. When he gets home, usually he's asking what's for dinner as he's ploping in front of the tv with the remote in hand. I work all day too and would like to come home to a hot meal too that I didn't have to fix, or maybe have a load of laundry done and put away. That's what I meant about treating me right. I guess because my dad helped around the house when I was growing up (and still does), I'm used to it and expect it from my fiance too.
That's a totally valid complaint if he does that much of the time and you don't FEEL that he's grateful for the fact that you do those things. But telling him he doesn't treat you right is awfully vague. Again, just an example of how counseling can help you learn to communicate better and more clearly so you can get exactly what you want.
It was a tough lesson for me to learn, but guys aren't mind readers. In fact scientific tests have even theorized that they lack the same ability to perceive emotions and therefore anticipate desired behaviors as women are able to do. TELL your fiancee specifically, "I don't feel that the workload between us is fair around the house, and when you don't offer to help or even say 'thank you' I feel hurt and unappreciated. If you would pitch in with some of the things that need to get done after work, that would really help." Then ASK him to do certain things like run the wash and fold it, or START dinner. This will take some learning on both your parts b/c he probably won't do stuff your way or as well at first; be sure to praise him and make a big deal anyway, b/c if you complain or nag he'll just get the msg that when he helps he STILL gets negative feedback.
You both have valid points. PM counseling, great idea. In the mean time:
This is his perspective (bear with me, I am not saying it true): He is just going along, being a guy, when out of nowhere you completely attack him. You accuse him of things that are not true. He doesn't always do anything. When, for example, he doesn't help around the house, it doesn't have anything to do with you, he is just focused on something else, and it 'is no big deal'. When you confront him, he goes into 'defend' mode, and he doesn't hear you. Which, of course, means that you have to repeat the same thing days later, only now it is worse because he didn't listen the first time.
Since we are all girls here, your side is easy to understand. You feel unloved, disrespected. He is taking you for granted. etc. You are tired of doing everything.
Here is what you do: First you need to communicate with him in a way he can understand. Try saying things using this formula, "When you do X, I feel Y." You are also going to have to ask for what you want directly. I would talk to him about what his dad did around the house when he was a kid. I have a feeling he is doing what his dad did. Then you two need to discuss what will happen for the two of you.
Ok, I bought a book yesterday that seems really good although it doesn't have the best reviews by other readers - The Rules for Marriage. Some topics I think will help are Relax During the Engagement and Wedding, Be A team, Give him fifteen minutes alone when he comes home, Be supportive, Accept some things are none of your business, Don't force him to talk, Don't find fault with things you knew about when you married him, Say what you mean, but don't say it Meanly. I really see some new light from this book despite the other's reviews.
My fiance is a lot like his father and has the same temper. In fact, his dad still gets cranky if his mom isn't home preparing a hot meal for him to come home to. And when my fiance and his dad get into an argument together - ugghhh, it can get bad - not physical, but verbal. So there you go.