Marriages are like a different language. You live in a house with a stranger. So does she. Neither one of you is the person the other dated.
She’s so different, you barely recognize her. You still love her. You always have. But you wonder what happened to the woman you fell in love with, and if she’s ever coming back. The woman she is today is a pale shadow of that woman. So snide, bitchy, disrespectful. She still has her good side, but for no reason at all, she seems so hell-bent on being self-destructive. On burning your marriage to the ground. What kind of person treats the people who love her most this way? It’s insanity. She’s insane.
She feels the same way. She loves you, but she’s not in love with you, and it’s your fault. She loved you so much for so long, but in her eyes, you never loved her back as much as she loved you. Sure, you went to work every day at a job you hate so that she never had to, and when you got home, even though you were exhausted and just wanted to sit on the couch, you helped get dinner ready, played with the kids, washed the dishes, and cleaned up around the house, because you love her. But two weeks ago was your 29-month anniversary, and you got her a card and some flowers even though 29 isn’t a multiple of 12 or 6 – in fact it’s a prime number – but you didn’t take her out and wine and dine her and make her feel special. And then you tried to have sex with her that night. In fact, the only time you ever want to touch her or express any interest in her is when you want sex!
Of course you want to have sex with her! You’re a heterosexual man with no physical or chemical abnormalities, and she’s your wife. And you’re not teenagers. You’re not interested in making out then going to bed with blue balls. Kissing just doesn’t do it for you. If you start touching your wife, you’re going to eventually want that to lead to sex. Sure, she’s not quite as hot as she was 29 months ago, but she gained that weight and those stretch-marks carrying your children. Those are war wounds. You love her more, not less, for sacrificing her body to do that for your family. Sure, she ought to lose the weight and try a little harder with her appearance, but she’s with the kids for much of the day, and you realize that. But the fact that you want to have sex with her is normal. Husbands are supposed to have sex with their wives, aren’t they? And wives are supposed to want to have sex with their husbands, right? If anything, she should be reassured that after all this time, you still desire her sexually. It makes no sense that she’s offended at the very notion of having sex with someone who loves her as much as you do, and who does so much for her.
She’s so angry all the time. Back when you two were dating, you used to try so hard. She wanted to have sex anyway, but the fact that you were willing to go to such great lengths to win her over made her feel good about herself. Like she meant something to you. Now you don’t do any of that. You’re so thoughtless. You just go through the motions. You don’t love her any more. She has to tell you to do every little thing around the house and practically beg for your help with something. You never take initiative and just do something that needs doing without being asked. It’s like a switch turned off the second she married you, and now she’s your mother. And she’s so tired from doing every single thing, and managing you to make sure you do everything right. She’s just so angry, and then you want sex when you’re so oblivious to how she feels? How distant you’ve been?
You feel the same way. It’s like a switch turned off the second you married her. Now you’re just her meal ticket. She used to dress up for your dates because she wanted to look good for you and wanted you to want her. She was playful, flirty, she smiled, she made interesting conversation, she wanted you to want her and made the effort. And the night always ended with sex. You could have dated that woman forever. You thought marrying her would be exactly that. You try to show her that you love her, but the last time you invited her to meet you at your office so the two of you could go out for lunch, she showed up in sweats, a T-shirt, and flip-flops, wither her hair in a 5-second ponytail, and wasn’t even wearing her wedding ring. Your coworkers were too polite to say anything, but she reflected poorly on you. They wonder if your marriage is okay, especially your female co-workers, because they know something you don’t: the way your wife dressed that day was your fault. You let your marriage get to that point, and she shows all the signs of a woman who’s just not trying any more, and you’re blind to it because you’re a man.
Now she’s confused. Her heart tells her she doesn’t love you any more, but her mind tells her to stay in it for the kids. But while you were at work yesterday and the kids were at school, she was sitting down watching The View, and what those very wise ladies said made a lot of sense! The kids would want her to be happy. No kid wants to be in a house where mom’s unhappy and just going through the motions. She needs to get out. For the kids! And for herself.
Something’s different about her. She’s smiling, making you dinner every night without complaining like she usually does, she’s dressing nicer again, she’s been hitting the gym with a vengeance while the kids are at school. She’s chatting amicably with you again. Those ladies at the neighborhood book club she’s been going to meet every Thursday night must be rubbing off on her. You’re starting to see shades of the woman she used to be coming back. Your sex life still sucks, but maybe that’s on the way back, too!