Wow, you guys, those discussions in the comments of my last post were exactly why I write here. Thanks to everyone who shared their story, advice, and support. I can't even tell you how comforting and eye-opening it was to read through so many "me too" or "this is what worked for us" or even "well, my life is very different" comments.
Of course, the one downside to asking for relationship advice is that you are presenting only part of the story---your part. As much as I try to get inside my husband's head, I don't really know what he's thinking or feeling about various things. And most of us like subconsciously gloss over own faults in any given situation. I bet its sort of primitive protection mechanism, since we don't like feeling guilt or shame or remorse---much easier to see yourself as the wounded innocent party.
There are definitely things I need to work on myself that are negatively affecting our marriage. I am terrible at being direct about what's bothering me or what I need. Even when I try to be direct, its very round-about and unclear. I absolutely hate to rock the boat and have a primal fear of confrontation. I will avoid talking about something tricky for days to weeks because the thought of having a tough conversation makes my heart race and my stomach hurt and my brain just want to RUN AWAY. I know this isn't healthy, but its where I am right now.
I say that he doesn't get it when I ask for something from him, but I'm pretty sure there are some things he's asked for that I never did because...why? I didn't think they were important, seemed silly, so ignored & eventually forgot? Or I tried, once or twice, still didn't get it, and stopped. I still interrupt him when he's telling me a story, or let my thoughts wander when he's explaining something, and every once in a while, I find myself pulling out my phone & checking email at 9:30 pm when we are trying to hang out & chat.
When he gets home in the evening, I mean to give him a hug & kiss but almost always, at that moment, I am at the stove, hands dirty and the kids run in first and want me and the next thing I know its 15 minutes later and we haven't said a word to each other. And he ASKED me to do this. Or he tells me repeatedly that he loves movies and wants to share that with me and can we watch a movie together and I thought "how is watching a movie together really quality time? that's dumb" and went 2 years before finally giving in--and it made him so happy! I still don't get it, but I do it once every few months.
I can be wound up pretty tight. I get fixated on the time and the schedule and what needs to be done, and even though he always does his share of the chores and more, I get annoyed & snippy if he doesn't do them on my time line. I am terribly impatient. I get snappy when he's taking too long to do something or when I have to explain something again that I've already told him, or when he just isn't catching on as quickly as I'd like.
Sometimes I am so tired that all I do at night is fall asleep after the kids are in bed. I can do that for days/weeks at a time, and we never can hang out together. I don't feel lonely or isolated during those times, because...I'm sleeping. But on days that I have energy to hang out and he wants to do work or goes to bed early, I feel rejected. Sort of hypocritical?
I'm not trying to run myself down or make myself feel guilty, but just to remind myself that while I'm asking him to do more for me, there are plenty of things I can work on myself. Be the change you wish to see and all that.