Dear Dr. Laura,
I apologize in advance, as this will probably be a long letter.
My husband and I are coming up on our 10th Wedding Anniversary. To be completely honest, 6 years ago, I didn't think we would make it here, and it's all because of the lessons that I learned from your book, The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands, that we did.
In 2003, we lost a set of twin babies to miscarriage, and in 2004 we lost another pregnancy. I was devastated. At that time, I thought I was the only one going through this grief. To make it worse, the general society does not have much understanding of the grief that miscarriage causes. You are supposed to "let it go, and move on because it's not like you actually delivered that child or carried to full term" Trying to deal with my grief, I joined a women's group for step-mothers that honestly, just contributed to my anger and bad behavior. This was the beginning of the downward spiral that nearly caused a divorce.
Before the miscarriages, I spent a lot of time out in the shop with my husband working on his car hobbies. After the miscarriages...something in me changed. I quit going out there. I stayed in the house, and began sleeping on the couch. My husband began staying out there later and later each night...sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning.
Then in 2005, I became pregnant again, and this time we had a viable pregnancy...and I was scared of loosing that baby every day. Then my husband began going out to the shop immediately upon coming in the door from work, every day. It became his obsession. I became angry and distant. I began nagging, bitching, and complaining. I began belittling his hobby, and putting him down for his obsession. How dare he avoid his pregnant wife after two previous miscarriages...I began telling him he was not a good father or husband, because I and his child was in the house by ourselves. I began bitching about what he wasn't helping me with, nagging him to death. Going out to the shop and picking a fight in front of his friends.
I got caught up in the beat of the family drum after the baby was born. Treating him like my disobedient child, rather than the love of my life. All of this behavior by me, pushed him more and more towards his hobby, and farther and farther from me. In late 2005, shortly after the birth of our son, I made the worst mistake of my life. I had a very brief affair with a man who told me how beautiful I was, and how special I was, and how perfect I was. Realizing what I was doing was wrong on so many levels, I broke off the affair, and immediately that day, that man called my husband and told him everything before I could even be honest and tell my husband myself. Things only got worse from there. My husband began drinking, which turned into violent outbursts and constant screaming. I knew this was all my fault, but was still trying to blame his lack of time with me for the affair to begin with... That's when I read your book on the recommendation of a friend.
Everything about our marriage changed once I started behaving like a wife again: stroking his ego, filling him with compliments, and most of all recognizing his hard work for our family.... We slowly became even stronger than we ever were on our wedding day. We started talking, and finally a break through...The start of all of this, the absorbing himself in his hobby, was his way of dealing with his own grief regarding the miscarriages. I learned he hated to see me hurting, and didn't know how to take my anger and pain away, so he just avoided me. I also learned, my sudden refusal to go and enjoy his hobby with him hurt him too...as well as my acting as if I was his mother, not his wife. I hurt him in so many ways by making him feel like he could do nothing right...It is only a miracle we survived it all.
Today, he is absolutely my best friend in the world. And when I changed my attitude and behavior, he changed his. I swear, he would "Slay Dragons for Me" He has walked away from life long friends that he felt were disrespectful to me...He has become my Hero. I truly found that love I needed, once I was able to give that same love to him. Thank You, Dr. Laura. Your book really changed where my life path was heading. I appreciate it so much, you'll never know. Occasionally, I pull it out, and read it again, just to remind myself not to get caught up in my own selfishness, and to remember to put him first and foremost in everything I do.