I finally realized that I have been such an idiot!
I have been praying for my marriage for months, years even. I was constantly upset. I felt unloved. I wanted it to change, but I didn't realize that what I needed to change was me!
After reading this post on Little Catholic Bubble I bought the book that Leila suggests. I read it. I was guilty. I started to change, but started backsliding. I felt unloved again. Dr. Laura was right on the money, but she presents the material in such an unloving, scathing way that the book is a little hard to read and re-read. I felt chastised enough the first time.
Then I stumbled across Peaceful Wife's blog. I love the way she presents the same ideas in such a peaceful (true to name!), loving way! I love the way she uses the Bible to lead women to the truth about marriage and respect. Through her blog, I stumbled across another book that helped me immeasurably: Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.
This book. This book. I never knew that I knew so little about men. I kept trying to gain Oliver's love by loving him more, but I never understood that my disrespect was undermining all my efforts and that when men do not feel respected they do not feel loved. I started dating this man when I was 16. I'm 29 now. And I didn't know!
I have started to understand what disrespect looks like to my husband, and boy am I guilty, guilty, guilty. I had to be in control. I saw my husband as a big kid that I had to take care of instead of the responsible, mature, loving man that he really is. I was completely blind to the good things that he does and his areas of expertise. It was all about me, how he wasn't treating me as I wanted to be treated. I have tried for the last month (if that) to give those feelings of being unloved to Jesus, and focusing on respecting my husband regardless.
Sometimes it feels almost painful to keep my mouth shut, but I'm really trying, with God's help, to be respectful to Oliver no matter whether his words or actions feel unloving to me. I have already failed at this many times. There have been moments when he said something to me, and I caught myself in the motion of rolling my eyes and had to abort that action right in the middle of it. I just pretended that I had the uncontrollable urge to look at something on the ceiling and then complied with what he asked me to do!
Things have already improved. I've felt more loved lately than I have in a long while, and my eyes are finally seeing the little ways that he tells me he loves me! I've been pouring myself out, trying to build him up. I'm letting him know that he is a wonderful father, and a wonderful husband. That I appreciate him so much for working for us so that I could spend a year being a stay at home mom to my Lillian. I thank him any time he does anything for me. Cooking dinner, watching the baby, mowing the lawn, burning wood from our tree trimmings.
I have started to view his actions with less suspicion, really striving to see the good in every little thing.
I am so thankful to God for opening my eyes to this. For pulling me away from the ignorance and darkness of New Age beliefs. He certainly has had mercy on me, a sinner!