I have been listening to your show for a little over a year now. The thing you said that has hit me the hardest is, "when you rescue a damsel in distress all you end up with is a distressed damsel." I am 32 years old and I am coming up on the second anniversary of my second marriage. Frankly, this one is going about as well as the first one did.
My first wife was the product of a messy divorce. It seemed every day she screamed and yelled and yelled and screamed. It was rarely about something I did, it was more related to her work than our relationship, but I was still the constant punching bag. Once I actually "grew a pair" and stood up for myself it turned into constant fighting. After a fight where I had to restrain her from hitting me and she actually bit me, I decided there was nothing more I could for her. I had teeth marks in my shoulder for days. Shortly thereafter I moved back home (about 600 miles away) and we divorced. I got custody of the dog; we had no children.
My second wife is also a product of divorce, but rather than being forced to be in the middle of a messy divorce she was basically neglected by her parents. They gave her food and shelter but beyond that they did not do a lot of parenting. Her father saw her every other weekend and tried to parent her, but other than that, she was out of sight out of mind for him. Her mother worked and brought her home dinner but was "too tired" for anything beyond that. When my wife was 16 her mother even moved in with her new husband and left my wife behind at their house to fend for herself.
Now my wife is following in those footsteps when it comes to me. When she gets home from work she is "needs to unwind and is too tired" to pay any attention to me. Unwinding to her is lying on the couch and watching TV. The best way to describe her is as a grumpy lump.
Last July, I bought her "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" thinking maybe she just didn't have a good example of how marriage is supposed to be like. It took her three months to read it, (this is a woman who did an entire MBA program in 9 months.) When she finished it, she made more comparisons to how her parents treated her rather than how she was treating me. None of it sunk in. So I waited a few months and got her "Bad Childhood, Good Life." She read the introduction and never picked it up again.
So after being neglected and completely bored with watching her watch TV from the time we get home from work until we fall asleep on the couch, I joined the gym and spend most of my evenings there. I have lost over 20 pounds and have gained a lot of muscle doing Les Mills Body Pump. Now the wife is annoyed with me for spending so much time at the gym and that I don't start making dinner until I get home around 8 pm. But at least I am doing something productive rather than being bitter she is wasting both of our lives away.
So needless to say I wish I had heard that little bit of advice earlier.