Help me fix my wife's hurt feelings

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
Help me fix my wife's hurt feelings
6
Fri, 08-24-2012 - 9:57pm

I confess I love my wife of 38 years more than the day we wed. We have weathered plenty of storms which would have broken many marriages. Most caused by others especially jealousy from her 3 sisters. When we married she had experienced a terrible marriage two years previously, with a cheating husband during a pregnancy that had already impregnated another. She was a working geologist and fearful of losing her job worked to day before delivery, then returned to work 3 days later. Naturally, her younger sister’s done the “we told you not to marry him” and always did their best to rub it in. Her mother was none to comforting too. Only her father did his very best to support her for the following two years. Essentially she was resigned to forget ever getting involved with men again.

When she introduced me to her family it appeared that all went well. When I drove her home I could see she was trying to hide her crying. I was so concerned being somehow responsible asking what I done. She told me her sister’s had asked her how she had attracted such a nice man implying that she wasn’t attractive enough.

Of course I could care less what they thought my only concern was for her, and told her so.

As a man, I did my best to love her and make her happy, moving her from her mobile home into a new house she choose, buying a new full size van for the family, and when she was laid-off from work offering a choice to seek new work or remain home with her now adopted son and son by our marriage. Working in computers and electronics my income was more than adequate to support our family. When the oil patch dried up she was content to raise the kid and has remained home ever since.

We moved to new homes several times and every respect was very happy vacationing with the boys in Hawaii, several cruises, the National Parks, and trekking around the country doing her genealogy project. I was a Cub then Scout Master and did SCUBA with the boys in the Keys, several Disney World vacations.  

I admit to being clueless when several years ago one of her sister’s, all who have worked since completing college, asked me if I wouldn’t have liked someone supporting me while playing with my hobbies. I know this sounds dumb, no if she’s happy why I shouldn’t. I always felt like a lucky man having her love and companionship. I appears to her sister’s she has been spoiled all he married life, in my opinion there’s a green eyed monster living in all three of them.

Last year I was surprised when she asked me why her sister’s and mother had treated her without any compassion and felt she didn’t deserve a nice husband and family. Frankly it was a question I was totally unprepared for since more than 30 years had passed. If I have control of a situation I fix it, if I don’t then it’s forgotten, why fret over something you have no chance to fix. Women must use a different logic in their problem solving.

My question is does anyone have any suggestions how I can assist her to forget her sister’s jealousy or at least reconcile her hurt feelings?

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Sun, 08-26-2012 - 9:15pm

Hi,

Your wife suffers from the inability to stop seeking approval from a family she will never get approval from. In short, she needs help to see she can and should let her mother and sisters be selfish and jealous and that she doesn't "owe" them an explanation for her life, happy marriage or her economic circumstances...any more than her sisters owe her one about theirs.

I strongly encourage you to keep up the drumbeat of love and saying that out loud to her. I would also encourage her to find either a counselor who can hear her out and assure in as above or another person who can boost her self-esteem. She may also need to learn about forgiveness and forgive her family for being so self-absorbed and therefore mean. That's not easy and forgiving doesn't mean the other people didn't do anything to hurt someone, it means the person doing the forgiving is no longer going to give that disapproval more power over her life than joy.  I strongly suggest you both read "The Art of Forgiveness" by Lewis Smedes. A wonderful book and powerful tool to put in your marital arsenal.

And for you I recommend "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" by Gary Smalley. You'll be amazed at what you learn.

If I were your wife's best friend I tell her this: "Your mother and sisters were unhappy women 30 years ago and they will be unhappy women 30 years from now. Let them own their junk. You go on being the happy woman you are and enjoy your life." 

It's tough when it's family that's the critics. Take good care of her and don't let her go. You both possess riches that can not be written on a balance sheet.

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Sun, 08-26-2012 - 9:15pm

Hi,

Your wife suffers from the inability to stop seeking approval from a family she will never get approval from. In short, she needs help to see she can and should let her mother and sisters be selfish and jealous and that she doesn't "owe" them an explanation for her life, happy marriage or her economic circumstances...any more than her sisters owe her one about theirs.

I strongly encourage you to keep up the drumbeat of love and saying that out loud to her. I would also encourage her to find either a counselor who can hear her out and assure in as above or another person who can boost her self-esteem. She may also need to learn about forgiveness and forgive her family for being so self-absorbed and therefore mean. That's not easy and forgiving doesn't mean the other people didn't do anything to hurt someone, it means the person doing the forgiving is no longer going to give that disapproval more power over her life than joy.  I strongly suggest you both read "The Art of Forgiveness" by Lewis Smedes. A wonderful book and powerful tool to put in your marital arsenal.

And for you I recommend "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" by John Gray. You'll be amazed at what you learn.

If I were your wife's best friend I tell her this: "Your mother and sisters were unhappy women 30 years ago and they will be unhappy women 30 years from now. Let them own their junk. You go on being the happy woman you are and enjoy your life." 

It's tough when it's family that's the critics. Take good care of her and don't let her go. You both possess riches that can not be written on a balance sheet.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 12:00pm

Mostly let her talk about it.  Yes, men and women come at these kinds of things differently.  This is probably something that she's been dwelling on for most of her life.  I don't know that you can find a magically way to fix the problems.  I would suggest that she seek out the help from some books and maybe counseling.

 

Mostly, she's just got to understand that her sisters and her mom (most likely) are jealous.  People who are unhappy in their own lives usually feel the need to put down others.  That's what these sisters are doing.

 

I would really keep talking to her about different things that have happened in her life with regards to her family and let her know that these are not things that she did wrong but things that her family have done wrong.

 

 

Avatar for ribrit
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2001
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 11:27am

She just wants validation. You just need to hug her and tell her they are jealous.

 

I get remarks here and there, not a ton. They all roll off my back now, shockingly. But sometimes, i do repeat them to my dh, just because I need to hear him say "they are jealous" and "we are such lucky people to have what we have" or whatever else.

 

You two are lucky. Or maybe you made your luck. You both stuck to things. When the going got rough, you stuck it out. 

 

So the green eyed monsters are older. They look back over their lives and feel unhappy with what they have done. Their insults might be more intense now than before. BUT..it is ok...because you two have survived so much more than this.