My marriage failed because my ex-husband and I are 100 percent incompatible but of course, it goes deeper than that. I know the role he played in our failed marriage, and I know mine. I had enough marriage counseling, and time and distance to not only see the writing on the wall, but to learn from it. When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter to me what my ex does in his next relationship, but it does matter for me what I do in mine. If I don't walk away from divorce with the goal of making myself not only a stronger person but also a better partner, then there's no point in ever getting back into the intimacy game because all I will do is fail again, and I'm sorry but there is no room in my life for the kind of unhappiness I went through in my marriage ever again.
When I got married I was utterly clueless because I hadn't had any long-term relationships before him, but now I have something to work with and so I have decided to make a game plan.
I call it, "How to Be A Better Wife."
Step #1: Confidence
There were times in which my ex's actions seemed cruel. He apologized, but it didn't matter after a while. The words wounded and I was easily wounded. When I met him, I was just gaining some self-esteem but I had miles to go. There were times when I was needy, especially in the beginning, and insecure. Even though I had friends and a full life, my core happiness radiated from him. That's a real big problem.
As the marriage started to have problems, I became not only less needy, but I also grew distant in some aspects. This ended up helping me in the end though. I found happiness in my friends and passions. I found happiness in myself. My heart wasn't attached to whether he loved me or not, and in the end, he didn't. I am 5,000x the catch today than I was back then. Being confident and secure means I can take care of myself and not make my partner feel as if he is caring for me. Being confident means if I meet a man who is harsh or bad for me, I can eject him from my life for good and not feel mortally wounded by him.
If I want to be a better wife, I have to rely on myself and look to a partner as a bonus in my life and not as my sole life.
Step #2 Nag No More (Mostly)
There were times I nagged a lot as a wife. Mea Culpa. Sometimes though when I didn't nag, my ex would forget and then be mad I didn't remind him. It was ironic. But the fact is, nagging doesn't make a man or any person for that matter do what you want him or her to do any faster. I grew up listening to a lot of nagging and persistence on both sides of the fence in my family, and so my marriage survival strategy mimicked what I saw. The strategy was if at first the person doesn't do what you need, ask, ask, and ask again! And that strategy tanked, big time. I realize if I want to be a good wife, I have to strategically choose what to "nag" about and drop the rest of it. And if it is something I can do myself if my partner doesn't do it after I've asked once or twice, I can do it on my own.
Step #3 Push, Push, Push
Internally, I'm incredibly driven which is amazing professionally, but on the flip- side, I can be incredibly pushy which is not effective in a romantic relationship. I figured out that the pushiness is both a learned skill from childhood, as well as a poor coping skill. I "push" at times because I want my anxiety to be minimized...and I want to be validated. One of my life lessons is learning when to be pushy and when not to be. To manage my anxiety and feelings of validation internally. Half of the battle was seeing the problem and eventually, I will master this lesson and be a damn good wife. I'm getting better.
Step #4 Make Me Okay
I was still so fragile when I met my ex-husband after numerous issues as a teenager and young adult. He was calm, reliable, and predictable, which soothed me. Despite attending a nice Ivy League school, working, maintaining good friendships and snagging him, I still felt I wasn't good enough. There was a large part of me that believed he was better than I was and I was simply lucky enough that someone decided to put up with me and choose me as if I were a nothing. He fed into this feeling from time-to time.
To be a better wife, I must realize I am a something. A something wonderful. And never ever feel as if I am lucky someone chose me because one day, a "better for me" man will believe I am wonderful as is and that he is lucky too.
Step #5 Choose Wisely
To be a happy and better wife, I have to pick a husband who roots for me. Who knows my flaws and weaknesses, but doesn't hold them over me. To snag a guy who stands on the sidelines and cheers for me while I'm succeeding.
To be a better wife I have to pick a husband that loves me.
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