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Organizing my thoughts...need input!

Old 08-18-2011, 08:32 AM
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Organizing my thoughts...need input!

My RAH and I had a fight last night - for the first time in months - over something that has been a very sore point in our marriage...values.

I am curious to get input here from the wide variety of backgrounds of us participating in this forum as a way to better understand and articulate my own values and boundaries.

So this morning I am asking for your personal opinion on what a "traditional" marriage means today. Doesn't have to be what you ended up with - but what you would describe the term to mean.

Thanks all...I am having a really hard time defining myself for some reason, even though I have a good idea in my head...the words just don't seem to coherently make it from my brain to my mouth.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:39 AM
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Hi Tuffgirl,

Do you mean what a traditional marriage should include? Stuff like honesty, integrity, commitment to each other, trust, etc? or are you looking for things you don't want, like extra-marital affairs?
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:43 AM
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I don't think the term has meaning any more.

In the old days to me "traditional" meant that the man goes to work, earns the money and the woman stays home to raise the children/keep house.

In today's economy so few people can live in a household with one supporting income that there doesn't even seem to be a reason for comparison.

Is this what you are looking for or something different?
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Alone22 View Post
Hi Tuffgirl,

Do you mean what a traditional marriage should include? Stuff like honesty, integrity, commitment to each other, trust, etc? or are you looking for things you don't want, like extra-marital affairs?
See I think this stuff is a "given" traditional or not. I know plenty of people who have honest long term (15 years and up) commitments with no cheating, lying or affairs who aren't even married AND they have children.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:53 AM
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For me, a marriage means a partnership where each person is working towards a common goal. Though the division of work may not be 50/50... each person puts in 100% of their effort!

What I look for from a partner is respect, compassion, and honesty. I don't need a hero because I don't need to, or want to, be saved. I want to be myself - an individual responsible for me. And I want a responsible partner who will pull his weight as well. I want someone who will respect me and my ideas. Who doesn't belittle my feelings or thoughts, or desires. Someone who accepts me "as-is" and doesn't try to change me or mold me into what he wants/thinks I should be.

The funny thing about the last part (the whole unconditional love!)... is that I am realizing more and more that is the biggest thing missing from my marriage... on both of our parts. Neither of us loves the other "as-is". We each have a laundry list of conditions - things we want different... and then we can love that person better.

Thanks for posting this... it's good for me to think about what I want from a marriage versus what I'm actually putting into it. That whole "You get what you give" adage... if I want respect... give respect! It's so simple, but when there are resentments and bitterness on the table... it's SOOOO hard.

TWYLALTR!!!
Shannon
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:24 AM
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Thanks all - I really am looking for others ideas as a way to help me to articulate my own. I know what I want, but saying it out loud without getting all tangled up in expectations versus just plain old values...that's been challenging.

Plus, like Shannon says above, I'd like to clearly identify my values on marriage and then make sure I walk that talk everyday.

Guess I am doing sort of a personal inventory on what marriage means to me!
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:35 AM
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And for a little bit more clarification on why I am thinking of this today - last night, in the midst of this argument, my RAH stated "I am not financially responsible for you". It hit me pretty hard. I thought that was part of the marriage deal. We would be financially "responsible" to each other. It felt like a big value violation for me...I mean...why be legally married if there is no financial benefit to it?
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:40 AM
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Walking into a room filled with people, and knowing that I am the most loved woman there. (referring to how her husband made her feel.)

This comment has always stuck with me, thought it said it all.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
And for a little bit more clarification on why I am thinking of this today - last night, in the midst of this argument, my RAH stated "I am not financially responsible for you". It hit me pretty hard. I thought that was part of the marriage deal. We would be financially "responsible" to each other. It felt like a big value violation for me...I mean...why be legally married if there is no financial benefit to it?
hmm.. this can be a catch 22. If the marriage is wonderful, then it can be what once was mine is now ours state of mind. Share and share alike. But if it turns out bad.. say one spouse is abusive, and that spouse makes more money or is the sole income to that marriage.. then, yikes, the dependent spouse can literally be "trapped" financially.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:23 AM
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Sounds to me like you two could benefit from a level setting conversation over financial matters. Basically state clearly all the things you each might have taken for granted?
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:29 AM
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Good topic and something to ponder because so often we just go on with our lives without honestly re evaluating our relationships. It was one of the things that our counselor suggested we do but I think it was too hard for both of us.

Our values in our marrage were always honesty-I believed every word he said. I had no reason to doubt him.
Trust-he was a man of his word and could not believe how many people did not take their vows of fidelity seriously.
Partnership-we always talked about how to spend the money- money that was always in one bank account we both had access to.
Support-encouraging each other in our endeavors and in doing things individually.
Communication-saying what we meant-when the other's behavior was hurtful and saying I love you often. And not just in those words.
Compatibility-even though we often disagreed on political issues or music choices we could set these aside and enjoy each other's company, making each other laugh. I wanted to spend time with him and he with me.
I know I was not perfect in any of these values. But I expected forgiveness and compassion from him as much I forgave him. I did not expect him to be perfect because I was not perfect either.

Its funny how so many of those values went out the window towards the end of our marriage. I found out he was dishonest about certain things- not just the drinking.
He became verbally abusive, belittling my feelings when I did not agree with him.


What I look for from a partner is respect, compassion, and honesty. I don't need a hero because I don't need to, or want to, be saved. I want to be myself - an individual responsible for me. And I want a responsible partner who will pull his weight as well. I want someone who will respect me and my ideas. Who doesn't belittle my feelings or thoughts, or desires. Someone who accepts me "as-is" and doesn't try to change me or mold me into what he wants/thinks I should be. He became distant and did not want to talk about anything-unless he was drinking and then it was overwhelming to me to hear all the emotional stuff he was going through.

What I look for from a partner is respect, compassion, and honesty. I don't need a hero because I don't need to, or want to, be saved. I want to be myself - an individual responsible for me. And I want a responsible partner who will pull his weight as well. I want someone who will respect me and my ideas. Who doesn't belittle my feelings or thoughts, or desires. Someone who accepts me "as-is" and doesn't try to change me or mold me into what he wants/thinks I should be.


Looking back I think this was a good summation of what I thought was important to us. I think we had this for a long time but I know I wanted to change him. His drinking mostly but then other things as well. That was not fair to him. Ultimately at counseling he brought up the fact that he felt I had belittled him all through our marriage and made him feel like a second class citizen. I was aware that I could be sarcastic and lash out due to my frustration about his drinking but did not know it had affected him so. And when he finally made me aware, he was not willing to let me change my ways. He was done and wanted out. I even considered doing things outside my value system just to keep him around. If he wanted an open marriage I would consider it. But I knew that would make me resentful because it would have not been true to who I am. I could live with the drinking. I could not live with him not being the partner I once had.
I still am not sure how much the alcohol had to do with his change of heart.

The first step in getting what you want is knowing what you want.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:37 AM
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Well, I can say for now - I won't be having another conversation about any of the tougher marital issues anytime soon. He may be 9 months sober, but he is not ready.

What I'd like to do is be very clear on what I value and expect in a marriage so when the time does come to have this talk again, I can be direct and concise. Last night I got too emotional and hurt and was fumbling with trying to describe my values.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:45 PM
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Financial responsibility/division is something that should be discussed before the marriage, not after the fact.

Me, I have always taken care of myself financially, I have never been into comingling funds. My spouse and I would have one joint checking account that we each deposited into. The shared expenses were taken from that account, beyond that, we had our own investments, credit cards and so forth. I never expected a man to take care of me.

In the final analysis, for me, it was the best decision. When I read around this forum and others, it is obvious that too many women are too dependent on a man to support them. When the marriage ends the women are left destitute and have no clue as to how to support themselves or their children. When one is married to an addict, it is even moreimportant to have seperate funds, as an addict will strip one clean out of money.

Just my thoughts based on my experience.
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:12 PM
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My value regarding finances is that I do not want/feel like my husband needs to be responsible for me but he needs to participate as an equal - be responsible to the family unit.
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:16 PM
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I will have to say...i just watched a movie and i was thinking...this movie is goign to be a comedy but it made me think more than once...re-evaluate my life and really made me think differently when the movie came to a end...its Tyler Perry's "why did I get married too" I remember the first one but this one shows us how we need to live and love in our marriage...I am not married anymore but I will realize we never know when our last day on earth will be and some times it takes something drastic to happen before we figure it out and by then its too late...try watching that if you dont get the answers you are looking for. Its a family movie and is really good I think...my opinion though.. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It wont hurt I will pray for you and your husband...marriages always have disagreements...its how you handle it and communicate in the end that matters the most. LET GO AND LET GOD Is the best motto EVER!! He is Awesome and the only one that can help us. Prayer works.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
My value regarding finances is that I do not want/feel like my husband needs to be responsible for me but he needs to participate as an equal - be responsible to the family unit.
Yes - as far as the idea of responsibility - my thought was in a marriage, it would be a joint responsibility to the family unit (I like those words, thanks!) and since we both have careers, like Dolly describes, covering joint expenses together while maintaining our own financial identities. That's what I mean by a responsibility to a spouse. I also think of the same responsibility toward other things aside from financial...like the other big decisions. Do we have kids? Do we get another dog? Do we paint the living room green? Do we go to your family or my family gathering for Christmas?

I know I had a very dysfunctional marriage because of the addictions and the chaos that ensued. I know I am asking too much to have the conversation now - he is still too defensive. More than anything, I am learning my own priorities now that we are living separately and questioning whether or not these are things I can live with in the long run.

He says he always wanted a traditional marriage - but he can't define what those actions to have one would look like. *SIGH*
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Old 08-18-2011, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by GettingBy View Post
For me, a marriage means a partnership where each person is working towards a common goal. Though the division of work may not be 50/50... each person puts in 100% of their effort!

What I look for from a partner is respect, compassion, and honesty. I don't need a hero because I don't need to, or want to, be saved. I want to be myself - an individual responsible for me. And I want a responsible partner who will pull his weight as well. I want someone who will respect me and my ideas. Who doesn't belittle my feelings or thoughts, or desires. Someone who accepts me "as-is" and doesn't try to change me or mold me into what he wants/thinks I should be.

The funny thing about the last part (the whole unconditional love!)... is that I am realizing more and more that is the biggest thing missing from my marriage... on both of our parts. Neither of us loves the other "as-is". We each have a laundry list of conditions - things we want different... and then we can love that person better.

Thanks for posting this... it's good for me to think about what I want from a marriage versus what I'm actually putting into it. That whole "You get what you give" adage... if I want respect... give respect! It's so simple, but when there are resentments and bitterness on the table... it's SOOOO hard.

TWYLALTR!!!
Shannon
Oh, GB,

WILL YOU MARRY ME?!! :rotfxko

Ok, no, I like men, but I also like what you said!! Exactly what I want!!
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Old 08-18-2011, 06:43 PM
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TG,

I'm glad you posted this. I just had a discussion with RABF recently. He is considering moving back to town. I don't know when he and I will be ready for a discussion like this, but I also feel we need to talk about some of these things if we're talking about getting our household in order together. I hope lots of people add to this thread.
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:42 PM
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I am not financially responsible for you, is what he said to you...

To that I would say, hmmmm, You did move out right?
and You still have a mariage certificate?.....
I was kind of in the same boat
A very hard position to be in, thats for sure!

Traditional marriage, like where the man stays home, the wife cooks
and cleans, gives birth every 9 months, and Waldo reads the morning paper
with a cup of hot fresh coffee his wife poured him and the
entire family wakes up every morning with big fat smiles on their faces
including the family dog...

Tell him that Bobby J said,
He watches too freaking many Saturday morning cartoons!!!

I have never read back on your post. How much did your Alcohol did your AH consume?

I know mine after drinking a fifth a day and still drinking that, his mind
does respond like a 18 year old kid...Big Dreams and Very Off the wall with reality!!

The doctor that I am, LOL, would say....Take it for what's it worth!! and consider the source!!!

Sometimes I believe "WE" want the magic cure and being females we want it "NOW"

Since we were little girls, our hopes, dreams & fantasys of love & marriage
will always be different than the normal man's thoughts..

Stop, Look & Listen,,,,He is still early into his recovery!!

If it doesnt get better, you might have to DROP & ROLL.....

Only you know what you want and what you can take in this crazy life!
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Old 08-19-2011, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by skippernlilg View Post
Oh, GB,

WILL YOU MARRY ME?!! :rotfxko

Ok, no, I like men, but I also like what you said!! Exactly what I want!!

SURE!!! :ghug3

Come to NY - Gay marriage is legal here now!!! OH wait... I'm still married... nevermind.


As for the whole traditional marriage idea - I had to laugh at BobbyJ's post regarding the wife staying home, pregnant every 9 months, doing all the cooking, cleaning, etc. I have had the same conversation with my AH about how he envisioned a "traditional marriage" much like that. I told him that his vision/plan had one giant fatal flaw....

he married me.

I am not a stay at home mom/wife, I have no interest in being pregnant every 9 months, and I am damn sure not going to do all the housework while he parks his ass on the couch sipping coffee and reading the paper! We have had the conversation over and over and over again. He will help out if he absolutely has to - but his naturally state is to not do much of anything.

I am learning that it is what it is - and our needs/wants don't match. We just aren't a good match and no amount of MC is going to fix that.
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