Q: I don’t know where to start. I have been married for 17 years and have 3 children. I hope to use the right words so you can get a clear picture of what I have been living with. My husband is relentless with lecturing, nagging, yelling. He has problem with keeping a job, although he has been in the same job for the past 4 years, but can’t get promoted. He has a college degree and claims to be so educated, but has a problem dealing with life. He doesn’t have new friends. The only friends he has are from grade school (that was over 30 years ago). For him, the glass is always half empty; everyone has it better than us. I’ve asked him numerous times to seek counseling and he has always refused. I am so tired of hearing his negativity; I can’t stand being around him. I worry about the damage it will do to the kids. He is continuously pushing the kids and I feel belittles them when their grades aren’t A or B and in their sporting activities. I didn’t grow up in a house like that; as a matter of fact there was no yelling. If my father had to yell you were in trouble. I definitely had to grow up in a house that had its problems though and I turned out fine. I try not to argue, because it is a hopeless cause. I just keep my mouth shut and bite my tongue. I worry all this stress in the long run is going to give me health problems. Sometimes I think he has tourette’s. Words just flow out of his mouth, he can’t control himself. Let me tell you he doesn’t sound so educated then. It is not always swearing, if there is swearing it isn’t bad swear words, if there is such a thing. This is not something that happens once in a while – we are talking every single day. I know I should seek some counseling even if he won’t go. I don’t know why I am having such a hard time making that step. He does have some good traits. He is a very supportive dad (does not miss any of their activity). He does not go out drinking – pretty much does not go out at all and is home all the time. I don’t have to worry about him cheating on me – I trust him a great deal, he has very good morals. How do I approach him or just what do I do?
A: You already know what to do you just have to do it. If he is unwilling to get help that shouldn’t stop you from getting it. Sometimes marriages can really be helped by just one person going and by them changing their behavior. You are also then role modeling positive behaviors for both him and your kids. I would just find a therapist you can relate to and keep encouraging him to go too. In the end, if things don’t get better you can at least say you tried everything you could. It may be that you can learn some different coping skills that will allow you to deal with him in a way that doesn’t bring you down. It also may be the case that you come to realize that if he isn’t willing to change and try to improve himself, you will be better off without him. I’m certainly not pro-divorce, but I don’t believe we should go down with a sinking ship if we can save ourselves. You have a responsibility to yourself and your kids, not just the marriage. I wish you good luck and hope things get better.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Mar 2007
Counts, H. (2007). How do I handle the stress in house from my husband?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/03/20/how-do-i-handle-the-stress-in-house-from-my-husband/