§ We came to this world to LIVE OUT LOUD!
I made a HUGE mistake
I have spent the past seventeen years angry with my husband. And I just realized that it was all a huge mistake!
As I write this, I realize that this post is really personal and it may push some buttons. Some may think it’s sexist or that I’m generalizing the differences between men and women too much. I’m going to share this anyway because this has been a HUGE, relationship-altering realization and I just can’t keep it to myself. Perhaps it will stir something in you and help you too.
So here goes.
Somehow in my formative young adulthood years, I got the idea that my life partner/husband should be my best friend, my soul mate, my biggest supporter and confidant, the person I trust the most and turn to for comfort at all times. All while also being the person I have the most fun and adventures with while experiencing the depths of rapture in our creative and amazing sex life.
A tall order to fill. Yet, society as I experienced it and all of my progressive and enlightened friends seemed to want and expect the same thing from their life partners. It all seemed normal.
It actually pretty much was that way when I met my husband in my early 20’s. We traveled the world together and embarked on a personal growth and healing journey that had us whispering our deepest, darkest secrets to each until late into the night. We thought that we hit the jackpot. We were different from our parents and our marriage would be different. And we were going to create THE POTENTIAL, our name for how connected and amazing our soul mate relationship could be.
And then somewhere along the way, things really went awry.
We bought a house and acquired a mortgage, started focusing on our careers more than on each other (or at least, it seemed to me, he did), had three kids and were so exhausted and busy all of the time. We started bickering about the stupidest things and we were constantly keeping count. Who was doing more? Who was more sleep deprived? Who needed a break most.
I started to feel angry and resentful. There seemed to be more and more distance between us.
He was moving up the career ladder, getting promotions, raises and accolades while I spent over a decade pregnant, nursing and nurturing small children. Sure, I had my business but to truth to tell, my true priorities were my family and maintaining my sanity during years of what felt like constant hormonal fluctuations.
I stopped feeling like he really understood me. He always seemed so distracted when I tried to talk to him and I definitely got the sense that he would rather be watching some game on TV than listening to how I was feeling. It seems logical now looking back, given how little energy either of us had, but IT HURT SO MUCH AT THE TIME and I felt so alone.
As the kids have gotten older over the past five years, my husband and I have reconnected. We go on weekly dates, make it a point to really check in with each other daily and go on little getaways. Our relationship has improved greatly. I can even really see the possibility of getting back to THE POTENTIAL now.
And yet, up until last week, I was still holding on to some major resentment. I believed that he had abandoned me when I needed him most. I held on to painful memories.
Memories of a couple of miscarriages I had. So devastatingly painful for me yet he seemed to have moved on quickly and never wanted to talk about it.
Memories of him asking me to let him sleep until my labor was further along because he needed his rest when I was giving birth at home to our second daughter. I was so pissed and felt so abandoned.
Memories of being in serious pain laboring in the hospital with our third daughter, who was breach. As I struggled through the contractions, my husband walked into the room with a coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other, looked out the window at the river and said, “Wow! Did you see that beautiful view?” I wanted to kill him. (He later said that he was just trying to make me laugh and take my mind off the pain. I have never let him live this one down).
I held on to these memories and concluded that he didn’t care, that he wasn’t there for me, that he had changed and wasn’t capable of truly being the supportive, loving man I married. I started to doubt whether this marriage could ever be fulfilling again.
We went to couples’ therapy. We worked with a coach and a healer. We worked on our marriage and allowed healing and forgiveness to take the place of all that resentment and anger. Things improved.
Then last week in the middle of my Havening session with my amazing healer, all these memories came flooding back again. I felt the rage, the fear, the sadness, the grief. Such deep, deep grief.
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.
The deep, deep grief that I was feeling was the absence of a strong, experienced wise woman to accompany me in those years of pregnancy, childbirth, nursing and raising young children.
The warm and nurturing earth mama I desperately needed to show me the way, to teach me what to do, to allay my fears, to comfort me, to tell me that everything was going to be ok. A woman I could believe because she had lived through it all herself and really knew how I felt.
I wasn’t raised by that kind of woman and I wasn’t surrounded by those kinds of older women when I was younger. So I looked to my husband to fill those needs and he couldn’t.
He couldn’t because he wasn’t a wise woman who had already lived all these stages of a woman’s life. He had no idea how to be there for me.
He tried to make me laugh when I needed somebody to empathize with the pain of childbirth and give me strength and assurance that everything was going to be ok.
He focused his energy on providing for the family when I needed him to be truly present and support me emotionally during the long winter days when I spent hours pacing with a screaming, colicky baby. I had been up all night with her for the better part of a year while he slept in the guest bedroom because he needed to be awake for work.
He tried to solve my problems when I desperately just wanted him to just listen and be there.
Nope, he wasn’t a wise woman. He was a man. A man trying to find his way in his role as father and do the best he could at what generations of men before him have done, try to provide for their families.
He provided us with a beautiful and comfortable home and all sorts of support and amenities.
He created the stability and safety that allowed our life to unfold as it did.
He rushed home during his lunch break to walk with our colicky first daughter so I could take a much-needed nap. And then he rushed home after work to relieve me in my pacing.
He wanted to make sure he got enough sleep that night I was delivering our second daughter at home because he was terrified that the midwives wouldn’t make it there in time and he would have to help deliver the baby alone. Plus, he would need to take care of our three-year-old regardless of how little we slept that night.
He supported me in my desire to birth at home and to deliver a breach baby vaginally, even though it scared him to death.
But in my anger, I couldn’t see the love and care in any of that.
BECAUSE IT WASN’T HOW A WISE WOMAN WOULD HAVE DONE IT.
How unfair I have been to him expecting him to be a wise woman. How unappreciative of what he has been giving to me and our family as a man.
With this realization, everything began to shift.
I started to appreciate him more and more.
Love began to flood my heart.
I feel deep gratitude that he has stood by me through all of these years, even in my seething and critical resentment. Even through the ups and downs of my hormonal fluctuations. Even when I wanted to give up on us.
He isn’t a wise woman. He is a real man.
So what about you? How has your life partnership or marriage shifted through the years? What have you learned in the process?
I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment below.
Wow! Natalie, thank you SO very much for sharing this. It sounds so very familiar. My husband and I have 3 children – 7, 3 and 2 months. He caught our second son at home because our midwife didn’t think I was in labor. He was determined not to let that happen again for our daughter. A different, amazing midwife caught her (though just barely). My husband actually missed her birth because he was trying to get our boys to sleep and let his parents in to help. He stated that he labored harder making the snow cave with the boys earlier in the day than I did in my labor. (It was very fast and intense for maybe 10 minutes). But the seeming lack of compassion from him – made me sad. He went to work the next day after giving birth to our daughter and second son and didn’t take any time off (he owns his own small company that is totally dependent on him). He has made the business very successful and the rest of his family (us) have really benefited from that. But it’s so hard not to see much of him.
Your post brought many tears. I feel like I do the same thing – my husband should be my everything. I harbor such resentment that he doesn’t/didn’t take time off and help and care for me and our kids. But he is truly doing the best he can. He is providing for us and he is truly an amazing/present father to our children. He lacks energy for me and I lack energy for him.
I too lack that strong, nuturing wise woman in my life. That is what I needed/need. Our society just doesn’t do that…and my mother didn’t do that.
With such great love,
Thanks for sharing so honestly and from your heart. Our needs as women to be mothered and cared for while we birth and mother and care for others are so strong and so valid! That’s the way humanity has done it for millennium and it’s still the way it is done in many countries around the world. In Colombia, where I now live, women are expected to basically stay in bed resting for 40 days after giving birth while other women take care of them and help them care for their babies, other children and households. All this has sadly been lost in many cultures today and this lack of care hurts not only us as women but also our partnerships/marriages. It’s so hard to be a woman or a man these days, trying to balance everything. I am so happy that my post gave you a cathartic release in the form of tears and has helped. xoxo, Natalie
Natalie, I find myself weeping reading this, so it really hits home. So many years of loneliness. I didn’t have my mother in my life much since my early 20’s. I tried to make my marriage meet every need, and it couldn’t. It didn’t. I left my husband, and it was the right move, but still I’m learning to not try to make every boyfriend be the entirety of my relationship life. I’m learning to find the sweet spots in relationship and not merge every part of my life. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Thanks so much for getting in touch and sharing so courageously and openly. We so need loving, supportive women in our lives! I too have had to learn in many incremental steps to not have my marriage meet my every need. I thought I had done a good job at it until the realizations I had about all of my resentment around the childbirth stuff. It’s a process and a journey… xoxo, Natalie
Thank you for sharing. So beautifully said, and so courageous!
It has been generations of lonely women, and it is now beginning to change. We are building our circles and tribes again. 🙏
I am going to Chile for a 10 days women shamanic retreat with Marcela Lobos (Alberto Villoldos’ wife) this September/October…. Wanna come?
Thanks for sharing Anne. It is indeed wonderful that we are rebuilding our circles and tribes again. And the Shamanic retreat sounds amazing! xoxo, natalie