Staying Married …want help seeing how I can be better

I’ve been a scholar for for nine months and have heard Brooke tell other scholars over and over that staying married is often times the best thing and that it’s necessary work to bring love to your marriage. I didn’t do a model but rather just want some insight on how I can be better in my day to day. I’ve been married for 14 years and have spent way too much time disappointed in my partner. I buffer every day with thinking about how good my life will be if I didn’t live with him and wasn’t married to him and if I didn’t have him telling me no or being surrounded by what I consider his negative energy. I can see how this isn’t true. If we weren’t married I wouldn’t be able to afford housing and I would only see my kids part-time. I also realize if he were to remarry or have a girl friend then my influence over my kids would be diminished.

So I would like some input on my coping mechanism. Day to day my husband and I are polite to each other, we have sit down dinners with the kids every night, one of us makes dinner and the other cleans up, we don’t have a lot of discussions, our talks are specific to what is needed for grocery shopping and some discussion of how the kids are doing and my husband likes to bash what our politicians are doing and how stupid they are. This has been one of the most helpful things with scholars is realizing he is just saying words, I don’t have to attach meaning to them. I have been working on trying to connect to the feeling in my body when I feel like I’m judging him by thinking, he shouldn’t say that.

On the weekends when the four of us are all together for most of the day, my husband spends a lot of time buffering by being on his computer or playing a video game and I take my kids out shopping. We do a lot of shopping and I realize this is also a form of buffering, I buy something because it gets me out of the house and I feel good at having something new. I know our kids don’t know how I feel toward their dad – we are able to joke around when they are around. I do worry that I’m showing them a fake relationship but being in scholars for 9 months I can now say to myself that maybe nothing has gone wrong here.

Maybe this is where I have a manual for myself that I’m not realizing and I would like some insight on this. I grew up experiencing my parents not liking each other and eventually divorcing when I was in high school and it wrecked my world. What I do know is that I want my kids to be healthy and happy. I’m trying to instill love into their lives everyday and I realize how precious this time with them is. They are 10 and 13 so we have at least 8 to 9 more years together until my youngest leaves.

I know I can take this time to work on believing and feeling that even though I don’t have an intimate relationship with my husband. I can help steer the ship and just focus on each day, trying to stay as connected, positive, loving, and present with my kids. I know growing up how hard it was to live with a mom who was so unhappy and who stomped around the house slamming doors when she was mad. Being in scholars has made me realize I don’t need my husband to be different, I can turn my attention inward, focus on me, and not expect his behavior to make me feel anything. He gets to be himself. When he talks about something I disagree with, these are just words, I don’t have to defend, agree, or disagree. I can just listen and trying to feel in my body where I feel uncomfortable which most often I don’t feel anything.

I also realize by us staying together it allows me to protect my kids from him. It’s not that he is abusive, it’s just like he is unconsious. He didn’t grow up with a dad so I don’t think he knows how to be one. His day to day focus is on getting the kids to finish their food at dinner and get ready for bed. His long term goal is focusing on his retirement. I used to think I needed to show him there was so much more to life but I now realize I don’t get to be in his model. I also realize by staying I get to prove to myself that I’m not my mom.

I won’t leave my kids, I’m not going to have an affair to feel better. I get to live in a house and have my kids full time.

My model for myself: If I wasn’t married then I would be free to do things the way I wanted them. Or maybe it’s that I believed that I would/should love my husband. Maybe our life is enough as it is. Maybe my issue is that I believe it should be different and this is what causes me to struggle. If I see shoes laying around, I can ask them to be picked up, pick them up myself but I don’t have to believe anything is wrong. If I was divorced, something else would be bothering me. By staying, I get time to just feel into where my discomfort is, and just to let it be felt.

Is this correct? Any suggestions on how I can be better at my day to day?