if only one sees need for change

brazjazzMarch 27, 2006

Hello and here's a question....Have you experience with only one partner seeing or recognizing or thinking or being willing to admit that there are improvements that could be made in a marriage? How about if nothing is really going wrong at all, but one person feels it important to put the marriage high on the priority list and the other is, well, just not that interested and thinks things are going fine as long as there isn't any conflict, as longs as everyone seems happy? How about if any indication that one partner is not happy, or would like to see more in the marital interaction translates immediately into a feeling of being criticized, thus turning the tables on the whole issue.

We've much, much to be thankful for and I feel I have to make a choice between letting things be so keeping busy with other things and other people and trying to encourage our marriage to seek what I believe is our potential for love and lifelong happiness.

Patience is important and I'm trying to structure my own behaviour in such a way as not to turn him off, while at the same time keep myself from feeling turned off by lack of interest and participation.

all ears for comments and ideas!


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It sounds like your husband has adopted the position of "if it isn't broke, don't fix it". If he's happy with how the relationship is, then perhaps you should be the one getting proactive about making the changes you'd like to see happen. Instead of expressing your discontent at the current lack of interaction (focusing on the negatives generally just adds more tention to a relationship by putting people on the defensive), consider showing him what it is you're looking for. Everytime you find yourself focusing needs that you feel aren't being met, focus on meeting his needs instead.

If you're wanting more physical contact consider giving him a hug and kiss whenever he comes through the door. Everyday. Let him know you appreciate him. Eventually the expressions will be *naturally* reciprocated...he's start greeting you with a hug and kiss when you walk through the door.

If you're wanting more conversation or interest in your day, greet him with a hug and a kiss when he walks through the door and then ask him how his day was. Everyday. Eventually he'll start asking about your day too.

Want to go on dates again, spend more time just being together? Do things *he* loves, even if you don't. (You may not be able to go out everyday, but you can sit down on the sofa with him while he's watching TV and give him a back rub or snuggle...Everyday.) Plan a day date for a round of golf, a fishing trip, whatever. If it's something you both enjoy, great! If not, put on your best positive attitude, and *decide* to have fun with it, knowing that your partner will appreciate the gesture all the more, because you're doing it just for him. Eventually he'll realize that you're still fun to hang out with (like when you first started going out) and (just because you kissed that slimey fish to be a good sport, or hacked your way around the golf course with a smile on your face and a score of 500 over par) he may decide to take you on a date that he knows *you'll* love.

I heard a quote once, goes something like this:

Men only need two things in life to be happy. "If I'm not horny, make me a sandwich." ;o)

Best wishes.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 2:30PM
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This is an especially interesting post as I am having the same problem and have been having for several years now. I can appreciate your pain and confusion, braz.
Our problems are similar to a point and yes, I've tried taking an interest in things he enjoyed. Before I say anymore, I would like to read more posts with some more ideas. My MIL lives with us, so I'm limited with "things" I can do at home. In short, we have NO privacy at all unless we go out in public, which we can't do often. Please keep braz and I in your thoughts. I'm fighting to hang on to a 37 yr marriage with little help it appears. He, too, doesn't seem all that interested in anything but his best friend.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 10:06PM
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I think some, I said some, men in long marriages such as the one mentioned for 37 years tend to take their wife for granted. Maybe they think well she's been here 37 years she's not going anywhere so he peddles along and refuses to think just maybe he could improve in some areas. Just to give him a little credit some men are married to women for that length of time and the wife allows him to give only 20% while she's been giving 80% then after doing that for 20, 25 years she wants him to change. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Set the standard in the beginning ladies and he will have to live up to that or keep it moving. On the other hand if things were good and as I said he just decides work or other things are more important to him after a 37 year marriage you just might be in trouble if he just refuses to see the error of his ways.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 2:57AM
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Brazjazz...Can you take a trip alone? I have noticed that if I go on a trip alone (for me, it is visiting out of state parents on my own) I notice that my husband is much more affectionate when I return. I believe the saying is that distance makes the heart grow fonder. He has taken a few rare business trips alone, and I notice that I become more attentive to him when he goes...and when he returns. I suppose at some level I realize that things can happen on a business trip and I feel less secure and want to remind him that yes, I really do care, and want to connect with him.

The second thing I would try would be to take a good hard look at myself in the mirror. Have you ever watched those shows where they do a make over on someone, and watch the husbands expression when he sees his wife walk out looking totally different? She has a fresh new look. He is excited and grinning ear to ear, because there is his wife, only she looks totally new. I guess he sees her in a new light, and he also sees how others respond to her and it shakes up the status quo a bit. Since they say men are visual creatures, perhaps this would get his attention.

Perhaps you could also take a trip with him, only do not do things the same old way. For a car rental...rent a convertible! Try driving out in the country, or better yet, along the coast, or the awesome east coast or you could try Canada. Play your favorite music-or perhaps play Jimmy Buffet or something that melts regular life away with all of its responsibilities, and try to capture that awesome feeling of when life was simpler, and felt great! Just have some fun together!!! Laugh and let things happen naturally instead of talking about it...which men generally hate...and see how he reponds as you start changing a bit, without saying a word to him.

Anyway, I woke up thinking about your situation and this was what I was thinking this morning.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 7:29AM
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