Posts tagged ‘wife’

December 5, 2007

Stay out of control…

by Rod Smith

“I want to save my marriage. Our situation has risen to a new level with issues of jealously and trust. He takes my car keys, he checks up on me, I no longer have friends around, and am no longer allowed ‘ladies nights.’ My brother is not allowed to visit. My husband doesn’t want children. He picks on me constantly. He complains that I don’t give him enough sex. He checks on my cash slips so I don’t spend too much money. I have the urge to run and run. I was independent and a professional artist but he took it away. I am constantly walking on eggshells not to upset him. He turns things around so I look bad. Please help. (Minimal edits for space)

Dance on the eggshells, invite your brother, and make a spare set of car keys, invite friends to visit, go out as often as you want. Initiate sex only when YOU want sex. Take back your power or this will never be a marriage. Control is never love so stay out of it. Get your life back: you are a wife, not a prisoner. His jealousy is HIS issue. Don’t make it yours. Until you focus on your behavior and not on his, this marriage will not improve.

December 3, 2007

Toxic Binds: Is he dangerous?

by Rod Smith

Are you dating or married to a man who could physically harm or kill you, or harm or kill someone you love?

Dangerous relationships are easier to endure than to address, so it is not surprising that the murder of a wife, an ex-wife or lover usually takes everyone by surprise.

Secrecy, cover-up and denial are the hallmarks of toxic binds.

Some women could use a set of criteria to evaluate whether they are involved with a man capable of committing a violent crime against them. Accurate or not, the list could help a woman escape a potentially abusive relationship, or at least eradicate the virus in the relationship before it destroys her.

Men capable of killing a “loved” one often leave a trail of early indicators, like rose petals around an open grave, before they commit a horrible crime. Perhaps someone’s life will be saved because this list, incomplete as it might be, will assist someone toward getting appropriate help:

  1. He tells you how to dress and insists you obey his wishes in this regard. If you resist he becomes irrationally hurt or angry. You are beyond choosing what you wear because your dress is his domain.
  2. When you resist (voice your opinion, appear combative) his “loving” control he goes from calm to very angry to irrational and crazy faster than a speeding bullet. In the “early days” you’d think, “Woah! Where did THAT come from,” but now you’ve become conditioned to see it as just him.
  3. He checks up on you for “your own good.” He wants to know where you are, what you are doing and whom you are with. Time unaccounted becomes an accusation. You find yourself explaining or hiding everything, to avoid the laborious conflicts that inevitably ensue.
  4. Any move toward independence on your part is rewritten as betrayal.
  5. He tells you when you are happy, and rewrites what you feel if you are unhappy.
  6. He tries to keep you from your family, suggesting they are not good for you.
  7. He tells you when you are hungry and what you like to eat.
  8. He says he knows you better than you know yourself.
  9. He is jealous of your friendships, even those that predate him and those that are over.
  10. Keeping peace is second nature to you. Ironically, the peace seldom lasts because he jumps on the smallest issues, magnifying them into major breaches of trust.
  11. His highs are very high and his lows very low.
  12. It seems as if your response to him is inordinately powerful in changing or determining his mood.
  13. He pouts easily. He manipulates truth so you are taken by surprise.
  14. He plays “hurt puppy” if you’re not happy, thereby making your emotions his business.
  15. He expects you to always be glad to see him and to drop whatever you are doing to focus on him.
  16. He demands his own way and has an inordinate perception of his own importance. He shows off his “power” by threatening to “talk to the manager,” when he is not given the service he thinks he deserves.
  17. He becomes irrationally angry at the smallest of inconveniences.
  18. He accuses you of “taking sides” if you suggest he is being unreasonable.
  19. He lives on the edge of “white hot” anger, becoming very angry with children, animals and anyone or anything that doesn’t obey him.
  20. He hides this anger from people outside the “inner circle” and his mood quickly changes if an “outsider” appears so that his anger is kept secret.
  21. He removes your car keys or your purse to restrict your movements and then denies doing so.
  22. In the early days of the relationship you felt like you were on a fast ride on an unpredictable roller coaster. Everything was too much, too soon, but you did not know how to say it. Any comment about wanting to “slow down” on your part was ignored. You felt invisible, as if you were just along for his ride.

For such men, winning is everything — losing control is not an option, even for those whom they proclaim to love the most.

December 2, 2007

My husband ended an affair but I want to talk about it….

by Rod Smith

“My husband got caught up in an affair with a woman at work. Distance made it was difficult for them to see each other but it lasted 18 months. I found out. We moved country. Changed company. All forgiven. Our stable, happy marriage of 33 years suffered but was reestablished. Now 8 months ago, he has been assigned to the same province where she lives although 400 km apart. I suspect that they might be in contact either by phone or email and I suspect that she knows he is in this area and might try to see him. She was really determined to keep the affair going. I would like to know if I will jeopardize our relationship if I ask my husband if they are in contact or if he has heard from her. We have not spoken about her for 4 years nor about the affair. We chose to put it behind us.” (Minimally edited for space only)

Of course this must be talked about. Putting something behind you doesn’t mean never talking about it again — it means stopping the behavior, finding reconciliation, and discussing it whenever one of you needs to. Ask. Talk. Debate. What you avoid talking about will have more power than what you do talk about.

December 1, 2007

Christians and sex…

by Rod Smith

Christians ought to be the most free, most fun loving, joyful people of all, and, when married, ought to be having the very best “wall-socket” (a David Schnarch term) sex on the planet.

Surely, knowing a creative God, being engaged in a dynamic relationship with the very Giver of life, the very source of joy – ought to translate every Christian marriage into a powerhouse of sexual joy and fulfillment?

It seems to me that “sexless” and “Christian marriage” – apart from very unusual circumstances, ought to be next to impossible to find – and an oxymoron if there was ever one. While, as a therapist I know this is not the case (for sexuality has become so very soiled for so very many people) it is not unreasonable to expect that people who claim to know and serve the Living God ought to enjoy and know the best sex and most powerful relationships God and life can offer.

Since equal, mutual, and respectful sex between a husband and wife is one physical representation of the love of God, sex between married Christians is in itself one of many acts of worship – at least with as much importance as reading the Bible or attending church, feeding the poor, or having a “Quiet Time.” Good, mutual, and respectful sex is one way to get closer to God and improve the spiritual dynamic of everyday living.

November 29, 2007

Questions re: What to ask a counselor or sex therapist…. and a digression about sex and Christians…

by Rod Smith

Reader asks: There’s a counselor who works out of my wife’s church counseling center who is a Christian sex therapist. If I decide to consult with him, what sort of questions should I ask him in an initial contact? What might I expect from a competent counselor in an initial visit?

Rod responds: I’d be more concerned about what the counselor asks you than I am about what you are planning to ask him.

Is he (the counselor) focused on CHALLENGE and GROWTH primarily of the individual and then of the couple – or is trapped in the idea of trying to be so empathic that it will take weeks or even months before you and your wife can really get to talk?

Has he studied David Schnarch? Avoid him if he has not.

Is he himself FREE, or is he anxious, and highly-strung?

What does his theology tell him about who women are? Are women COMPLETELY equal with men and if not, I’d avoid him. Fully mature sex is impossible with (perceived) un-equals. If a man perceives himself as above a woman or “in charge” of his wife his very mindset it robbing him of the very joy and sexual fulfillment he is seeking.

November 29, 2007

The power of human love…. is in you…

by Rod Smith

It is in us to love. It’s human. We have the capacity for it. Even hurt and rejected people can love. Once a person accepts that love has more than romantic connotations, as powerful and valid as these of course are, he or she will be able to see its broader power.

Love is unleashed through simple, but not easy, human acts of seeking the highest good both for oneself and for others. Acts of offering unearned forgiveness, of reaching out to the estranged, of welcoming a stranger, of letting go of all prejudice, of rejecting dishonesty – all begin within the individual human heart.

When a person intentionally facilitates others toward finding and enjoying and exercising the full range of their humanity, he or she will know and see and experience the powerhouse love is.

Even people with reason to reject others, having themselves been rejected or treated inhumanely, have it in them to love, if they dare to muster the courage for it. It comes quite naturally to the courageous person, and when it is unleashed, the purposes and the meaning of life surge into the heart of all who have the courage to hear and respond to its powerful call.

If you want a bound edition of all 400+ columns GO TO: www.ToughPlace.Blogspot.com and follow the directions on the right of the page…….

November 21, 2007

Relationships suffer…

by Rod Smith

1. When being right (correct, moral, accurate) is so important, so insisted upon, that it is at the expense of being loving. A healthy person can sacrifice his or her need to be right in order to love.
2. When anxiety and love are confused. “I am anxious about you” is a far cry from “I love you” and are not the same thing. Anxious people often believe true love necessitates worry. “How will he know I love him if I don’t worry about him?” is the plea of the anxious partner or parent. A healthy person remains non-anxious.
3. When love and control are synonymous. “If you love me you will dress (speak, think, see, hear) according to my will,” says the controller, “or I will question your love for me.” Healthy love celebrates freedom.
4. When love means “melting” into each other, giving up individual identity in the name of love. “We’re so close we even think each other’s thoughts,” proclaims the unhealthy couple. Healthy love elevates separateness, space and individuality.

November 20, 2007

We’re engaged but she and her ex still lean on each other…

by Rod Smith

“I met a woman a year ago and we are engaged. She very good friends with her ex-husband because neither has other family. Although he is very good to his daughter, and because my fiancé and he are still close, I find it hard to feel appreciated. They are used to having each other to lean on and help each other. Why does that make me jealous? We love each other but the ex husband is used to helping her and making the decisions. Now that I am there, I feel he should only be involved when it something concerns his daughter. I feel like I have no say in the decision-making for my new family for everything is run by the ex husband so that he will not feel left out. She says they are friends and I do not fear any cheating.”

I’d suggest you place matters on hold until this woman defines herself to her ex and rids herself of her need to rescue him from loneliness. While your jealousy is your issue (something you perhaps might look into), playing second fiddle to an ex, while you are engaged, is cause for concern. I’d suggest you step out until he does, or until something shifts. While you cooperate and compromise yourself and your engagement, nothing will change.

November 17, 2007

Portrait of a successful or enriched woman…

by Rod Smith

The successful, or enriched woman …..

1. Knows she never has to participate in sexual activity that she does not want; and knows that her body is her own and private temple which she shares, even in marriage, only when it is by her own sacred, deliberate choice.
2. Does not lose herself in her marriage, or to motherhood, or in taking care of her family, but who is able to develop a strong, vibrant sense of self even while being a loving wife, mother, friend and professional in her career of choice.
3. Does not allow herself to be taken for granted, to be sworn at, to be victimized by anyone, not husband, children, in-laws, siblings, parents or co-workers.
4. Lives above manipulation, domination and intimidation, and has relationships that are therefore pure and open, mutual and respectful.
5. Is able to articulate her deepest dreams, desires, and fears to those whom she loves, without fearing a response of indifference or rejection.
6. Is a woman, who, in the midst of the pressures of work, motherhood and marriage, maintains her unique and powerful voice.
7. Is able to delay gratification for the greater good of her family and community.
8. Has a playful, open, adult relationship with her mother and/or woman in her mother’s age group, and is therefore free of feelings of jealousy and envy with her peers.

November 7, 2007

I want to end my affair…

by Rod Smith

“I am in an extra-marital affair and want to end it. I never ceased to loving or being intimate with my husband although my relations with another man have shattered some parts of our marital intimacy at times. I told my husband I also love another man and am sexually attracted to the other man. My husband does not find it wrong.. I think I crossed the border because there appeared dark corners and secrets. Could you share your thoughts about ending the affair?” (Minimally edited the portion presented. But a small portion of a much longer letter.)

I am not going to pretend to know what you should do or suggest you cut all ties and go “cold turkey” from your affair. Men aside, you have to decide what you want. Some emotional space from both men (sexual space, too) might be necessary for you to clear the atmosphere and allow you to see (think, feel, assess, process, clarify) more clearly than you are able to do right now.

While I might be legitimately accused of going against my own advice offered in previous columns, your dilemma portrays the complexity and power of human sexuality.

Sexual behavior is ALWAYS complex and this (its complexities) ought never be downplayed.

Your husband, I’d suggest, finds this (your love and attraction and sexual activities for and with another man) not wrong for deeper reasons than meet the eye.

Face your own dark night of the soul. Decide what kind of woman you want to be. This is what is in the balance.