June 30, 2017 Office Hour Recording

Relationships Topics

This is the full recording of the entire session from the June 30 office hour for themes related to the course content of Strengthening your Relationship and How to Talk to your Kids about Sex.

If you want to listen to the June 30 Relationship Office Hour from start to finish, play the above recording.

For listeners who prefer to browse -- to read the questions and selectively listen to their responses -- or who have difficulty streaming large audio files, the individual questions in the above recording have also been extracted into separate segments below for easier browsing.

Note that there is no question in the above full recording that is not also found below, and vice versa. They are recordings of the same office hour.

Question #1

I've been thinking a lot about the "same-as" idea from the relationship course and I can't picture a time when my marriage has ever felt that way. My wife has always played a more active controlling role in maintaining our life but she complains about how exhausting it is to not have me more involved. She is working on stepping back but I need help figuring out how to step up. How do I do that when I'm so used to the women in my life calling all the shots?

Question #2

My wife has said to me several times, "If you do (x), [or don't do (x)] , that will mean that you don't love me."
I told her that it does NOT mean that I don't love her and said to her that I thought that was an example of her trying to control me.  She AFFIRMS and ASSURES me that she Is NOT trying in any way, to control me.
Do I misunderstand? Is this an example of one trying to control the actions of another?

Question #3

I do a lot of the life organizing and scheduling for our family. I'd like my husband to be more of a leader and help make decisions, have opinions, and manage more. But then I always want his decisions to be what *I* would have chosen of course! How can I foster a better team leadership of our family and encourage his input while still maintaining the efficiency and effectiveness with which I'd like our family to run?

Question #4

My first question while taking the class ... is to ask for any pointers about how to deal with the emotions that come during the “pinch” when I’m trying to be a bit more vulnerable and say what I want.... I need help with the transition emotions of old patters tearing my heart out, while I’m trying to change my own behavior to follow what is taught in your class.

Question #5

I’m really struggling a lot with belonging. Your course has given me the words to better verbalize my feelings, but I still struggle to change.

I do not have an identity outside of being a mom. As you’ve mentioned, in the LDS culture girls are brought up looking towards this life goal of being a mom. It’s what I’ve always been pointed towards and what I’ve always wanted. I am, by nature, a rule follower, and one that always wants to do right, and I never planned on pursuing anything other than motherhood. And I love being a mom. But any extra curricular activities or side hobbies I had, I dropped so that I could be 100% mom. I feel like this was a big mistake, but now after 11 years, how do I change it? My husband, on the other hand, has kept and continues to do his side hobbies, and I have a lot of resentment towards him for it....

What can I do to help myself not get sad or upset when I see my husband succeeding in belonging, and when I see him going out and doing activities that he loves?

Question #6

I am married to a kind, thoughtful, gentle guy.  He is a good man, earnest to do and be good.  I am grateful for him and I love him deeply.  But our marriage started out pretty rough, and I am having trouble healing from our first few years together.

We got married quickly. Each of us brought with us the dysfunction of our own families.  My husband was verbally and emotionally abusive, controlling, and perfectionistic.  (Nothing I did for him or us, or even for myself was ever good enough.  He usurped authority over the kitchen, the shopping.  He instructed me on how to fold laundry and how to drive.  When the washer backed up and flooded the basement, he told me I would be a terrible mother, that I would have let the children drown in it.  

I let him do it.  His insults were often subtle and I was the type to take criticism and try to change and be better.  But it took a heavy toll on my sense of worth, and of course my happiness.  I stopped doing just about everything, out of fear that he would berate or complain or correct me on it.  I descended into a kind of premordial sludge and barely existed at all.

I found that I was at the point of "change or die", so to speak.  So I went to see a counselor to work through the dysfunction on my side of the family. the counselor really helped me and I began to stand up a little more.  I was able to see more clearly what my husband was doing and I pointed it out to him.  To his credit, he eventually heard me and decided to change.

And he has changed.  We've been married for ten years and have five awesome kids.  We're both very busy.  He has felt remorse for the way he treated me.  He has learned what not to say, and he tries to be encouraging and grateful for the work that I do.

I think if we had started right here, we'd be ok.  But those early years ingrained a deep anxiety in me.  I don't fully believe that, if we were to start over, he would choose me over anyone else.  

We're friends.  I love him. But minor incidents really throw me back to where I was seven years ago.

I feel like I've come a long way, in that I'm confident with myself and with others, and especially with God.  I'm not confident in my husband's approval or esteem.

Is it possible to not care what he thinks of me and still have a relationship?

If he doesn't actually like me that much, how do I deal with that?  If he does choose me 100%, how do I trust that and believe that?  I think he would appreciate any advice as well.

Addition to the question:  Recent conversations with my husband have been enlightening...

He mentioned that this idea of not being able to love and accept someone else if you don't love and accept yourself rings true for him.  He has struggled for years, doing what he firmly knows is right, but lacking the feeling behind it.   He comes from a family which places high personal value, maybe all personal value, on performance.  Failure is not an option, and no excuses.  So seeing me struggle makes him feel like he's failing at his most important job.  But he also just doesn't know what to do about it.

If I take myself out of the equation, I'm heartbroken for him and how he must be suffering.  And I want to help.  And my suffering seems very small in comparison.  

Are there things that I can do for him that would help both him and our relationship?  What are some things he can do to overcome his lack of feeling, and come to have joy in himself and others?