Raising My Husband

Why is it harder to raise my husband than my children? I don’t mean this disrespectfully or as a jab to him, but I can’t think of any other way to phrase it. Plus it got your attention, right? I really do think that a marriage should be an equal partnership, built on love, trust, loyalty, and compromise. But I feel like I’ve put my heart and soul into contributing to the relationship this way as much as I can. I’ve pulled energy from every crevice of my soul and body, and put it into the relationship. I’ve exhausted all resources including therapists, books, priests, yoga, and of course talking to him about my concerns and hurts repeatedly in many different ways. I even moved out of the house for 6 months and proclaimed my desire for divorce. I’ve also, in what I now realize was an unconscious effort to soothe my pain and distract myself from reality, tried to self-medicate through many addictions and an eating disorder. Fortunately, these lasted only relatively short stints of time, and I’ve been able to work through them with professional help, self-motivation, and a whole lot of hard work. But now that I’ve exhausted all of these resources – I am just plain exhausted. I just give up. Or at least I want to. I feel absolutely defeated.

I have come to the conclusion that that it is solely my responsibility to raise my children to understand and practice the importance of respect, manners, obedience, spirituality self-worth, the importance of family, delayed-gratification, and physical routines that affect their health like bedtimes, personal hygiene, and healthy eating habits. I expected to have these responsibilities when I became a parent, but I didn’t expect to have to fight my husband on them so much be successful at raising our kids. I feel like a single mom who has to fight a stubborn, lazy and unaware person, who my other children listen to as much as me. I feel like my husband really does have similar ideas of what the goals should be in raising our children, I just feel like a lot of it is pure laziness. It takes WAY more effort to raise a child correctly and successfully than to just provide them with the basics of food, clothing and shelter.

Part of me thinks he just doesn’t get it and part of me thinks he does, but is simply not willing to take the necessary steps to help me (and our children). The ONLY reason I look forward to my husband being here on the weekends is for the physical help with the children. I am now starting to not even look forward to that – because any kind of success I’ve had during the week with bedtimes or discipline is more often than not, wiped out once he takes over. He does not do this intentionally (I don’t think), but he does do it.
My husband and I have been married for 8 years, and of course still reside in the same house, and sleep in the same bed. You would think the sleeping in the same bed thing would go without saying, but unfortunately, that is only a recent battle I have won. Let me start this rundown by saying that my husband’s parents don’t sleep in the same bed. They haven’t since he was a teenager – maybe even longer than that. As individuals, his parents are both wonderful, loving people. But it is hard to watch them together (which isn’t very often), because his father is always making some nasty comment to his mother or snapping at her somehow. Of course she does it too, but not as much and not as harshly. They NEVER take vacations together – ever. Now granted some people don’t take vacations at all, but his father does. He invites us and not her. Not that she would want to go anyway. They are never in the same room at home – and if they are, I’m waiting for him to snap at her. I think they don’t even like each other, but staunchly defends their love for each other. I think he is really in denial about it.

Now, my parent’s relationship wasn’t the model of a happy relationship either, but in my opinion, their relationship wasn’t as disconnected or disrespectful as his parents. I feel that my parents truly loved and respected each other. It seems like they respected each other’s opinions and worked as partners in raising us.

The reason I mention our parents’ relationships is to perhaps identify a bit of the root of the problem of the following example of our parenting conflicts. I fully admit to being lazy about the bedtime routine in our children’s earlier years. But I’ve come to realize how important it is in the past several years. I’ve been trying since then to change it. Most recently, I (and only I) worked to fix up our upstairs and made it into a very nice room for our 2 boys with 2 full size beds. I was slowly but surely making progress. For a few weeks, I had them going upstairs at the same time every night, and sleeping upstairs. Even if they somehow made it into our bed in the middle of the night, back upstairs they went (with insistence from us). And somehow, he slowly undid what small steps I had made. Up until recently, my husband thought it was normal to sleep in separate beds, and do whatever it took on a nightly basis to get the kids asleep. I still think he thinks it’s normal to sleep in separate beds, but is very tired of hearing my talk about how much it bothers me. Anyway, he slept on the couch with both my 4 and 8 year olds for so long. When he didn’t do this he would put them in our bed, turn on the T.V. and hope they would fall asleep. My kids ruled their own bedtime routine, and our house.

The stress of all of this is becoming too much to handle. I feel no desire or chemistry for him because I am so resentful, and I think we’re just two different people now. I’m not sure of what to do. My husband recently said out of the blue, “I wish we would win the lottery so could stay home and cater to our kids”. What the heck? Really? Cater to our kids? He only changed his wording after I presented him with an appalled look and a giant, ” What??!”

I admit that I don’t think either of us really knows how to be in a healthy relationship, and that’s part of the reason I’m starting to think we are inevitably never going to be successful at a relationship with each other. I just don’t think it’s possible. Anyone out there who has tips on “raising” a husband successfully, please offer advice. I in no way, shape, or form want to change who he is, I am only using the word “raising” as an attention-grabber. I just want to figure out a way to be his partner in parenting, love, and life – and not my opponent.

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