One year ago today, I published a blog post called 16 Ways I Blew My Marriage. It was a post I wrote from a place of complete insecurity, I assure you.
Since then, more than 14,000,000 page views have been recorded on that post. Debate has ensued, many people have found strength in it for their own relationships or for their own futures, and many people have even been aggravated by different parts of it. All for a post that I thought would be forgotten and buried a week after writing it.
I’m truly thankful and humbled by the response it’s gotten, and I assure you it’s surreal to know that so much of my dirty laundry is waving in the wind of millions.
As its title indicates, I shared 16 ways (and later 15 more) that I blew my marriage. It was my role that I recognized in it all. My confession. Things I know I could have done better and should have done better in both marriages. It was what I realized when I had no “make it work” advice for my sister on the eve of her wedding; only “don’t botch it” advice.
As I wrote it, I remember thinking it would be a good idea to follow up with a list of things I wish she (either or both wives I’ve had) would have done better or differently in our marriages. A list of things that hurt me, pushed me to react in unhealthy ways, things that turned me off, things that caused resentment, and more. I remember thinking that that list would be completely different than the list I was currently writing.
Why? Because… Every success and failure of any relationship is two-sided. No matter how thin, the pancake always has two sides. Yes, I blew my marriages. And so did they. And while their personal lists of ways they blew it (and that they may feel I blew it) may be completely different, I wanted to share my own perspective.
I hope that by better understanding me in my failed marriages, some of you might better understand yourselves and the people you are with now and in the future.
So, here is my list. It is so many of my own needs and struggles that I wish I would have recognized and discussed with her while we were still married. Like with the first post, I won’t specify which wife or marriage I’m referring to (it really doesn’t matter).
And please, know that my marriages were full of good gestures, wonderful times, and lots of functional communication. Both women I was married to were good women. I don’t want to forget that as I focus on the “needed improvement” part of it all.
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Maybe you should have said you were bi sexual before you got married or that you didn't believe in the lds faith, especially since you met on lds singles .com..
Would you prefer it though if she told you "someone's been eating too much lately" or "perhaps it's time you hit the gym" as you got fatter? I mean, you're getting fatter, but your woman tells you you still look sexy to her and you're upset about it? Or all you can think of is "never mind your taste, I bet other girls don't find me attractive anymore"? I honestly don't get that.
I am surprised I don't do any of these things. At least not that I know of anyways. I'm a dreamer too and always get my dreams stepped on by my husband. Need to send him all of these links see what I'm doing wrong and don't realize and show him how I feel because you word it perfectly! Especially the fitness thing! I don't want to be told I can't do it even if it's true I want to try and fail on my own.
I know a man who is married to someone who has most (if not all) the negative qualities that is on this list. And I have always wondered, people can for only so long when you are dating them pretend to be some thing they are not (from what I have read the limit is 3 months) before that someone shows you their true colors. My question is: when the author's wife (girlfriend at the time) started to show all the negative qualities she possessed (and she did, like all people do after you have known them a while) why did he continue to date her... then eventually marry her? The red flags, I am betting, were always there, they always are, so why did he and others like him (women, are included in this) ignore red flag qualities in the people they date and then eventually marry? Then they act shocked and disappointed when their SO constantly shows them their negative qualities which were there the whole time. I will never understand this. Also the friend I am speaking about his wife turned out to suffer from NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), yep she is a narcissist, but my friend didn't know it. So I also wonder if the author of this list, if his ex-wife, is also a narcissist. Narcissists are really good at being charming at first to draw you in to their world and then once they do they let their guard down and show you their real selves, which is not pretty.
For a while I have sensed the need of having a some sort of a list, in order to know what is in a relationship normal and what's not. Thank You for Your list. It is hopefully making everyone who reads it do their lists and discuss the matters with current partners before the life takes separate ways.
I have only the opportunity to learn from my mistakes, in hope of helping my children not to make the same ones. Childhood, parents, siblings help a lot to a person's development. I would not stand on one side of the road and point my finger towards my partner, or lower my head while swallowing the blame alone. We all have invisible bags with us, when we enter the new life as ''together'' so two are in the relationship and hopefully only two go out of it if ever necessary. The best part and the dirtiest spots in ones personality come out when children enter the picture of ''happy togetherness''. Years sleepless nights, days fulfilling necessary tasks, demand on being shiny and happy, parents in law making sure you feel unpleasant in your own home etc does not play a helping hand in keeping the ''happy marriage'' on the road. I must say I sensed no love in the described marriage You happened to experience. That is, I sense as much love in this as in my own. Things made by Your wife were as if her age was under the limit of the right of getting married. She needed guidance from You and strength as a man=father, but not as an equal partner. From my behalf, I have not done the things You have listed :D. I encourage my husband in everything he wants to do and does. To Support an other is a normal part of my nature. Never the less, the first lesson I take with me now, 13 years later is - speak up and in some things there can be no compromises.
In all that happens in life I think, is the positive note that one should never forget - we learn from mistakes. Only (!) mistakes/problems/hard times show who we are. Who we actually can be. So You have at hand grate opportunity to grow so much more spiritually into so much more confident and strong person. I wish You all the best on this road.
I am a woman who is married and I think this is great...a relationship is 2 sided and you make me want to be better for my husband. Thank you.
Ummmm, this is so great. As a woman I only look at things from my point of view and since I have a "non fighter" I take silence as something else like, he doesn't care so I must push more. This really put me back into check and think this is great!! If we both can't look at ourselves and see what we may be doing wrong then it is doomed. :)
Why am I just now seeing this... Epically truthful and enlightening. I wish all men could convey this level of honesty. All the best to you. P.S. The format reads like an easy-to-use primer and I loved it. Book worthy.
this is AWESOME! number 16 is my favorite! I couldn't agree more with it! I love to laugh! when you have someone that you can be crazy, silly, goofy, and have fun with it makes life so much more fun!
I think this is amazing. It is great to hear what a man really thinks. As awesome as I think I am I unfortunately relate to quite a few of these. My relationship is really struggling and I have been so good at pointing my finger when I guess I should be turning it around and looking at my flaws as much as his. Thank you for sharing. -Dawn
Having read this post and the one about you... my heart hurts. I've been married for 6 years, we have 2 kids, and my husband has put me through a lot. He has done some things that could have very easily broken us apart but I worked really hard to stick it out. Now, a few years later, we have hit more bumps in the road and I find myself asking "how much can one person take?? At what point do I say 'enough is enough'????". I feel our marriage crumbling and I don't know if I have the strength to hold it together. That is probably the problem, most of the time I feel like I am the only one holding it together. I am constantly amazed at how completely oblivious my husband is to, well, everything. It's a bit like being married to a really handy robot. And he blames it all on how he was raised, which is a bit 'blah blah blah' to me. It feels like his way of not taking responsibility. I think I feel that way because he has recognized the issue and never once taken any steps to address the issue, which ends up hurting me even more in the end. It feels like he doesn't really care.
I'm scared to take the steps that I'm certain I need to take. I'm scared to explain to my kids why mommy and daddy live apart. I'm afraid of being alone all the time. I'm scared of how vicious my in-laws will become when they are my ex-in-laws (They are already quite vicious). I'm scared of feeling my heart break more. I don't know if it has ever fully recovered.
This feels a bit like a rant. It doesn't relieve the lump in my throat or the ache in my heart, but I guess it does remind that i need to take care of me. I don't want my babies to grow up thinking that misery in a marriage is the norm.
this is my failed marriage in spades.. only opposite.... he was def she in this piece......thank you for verbalizing this .. great read.!! I was certainly not perfect by any means.. 24 years to screw things up or get them right.. we both finally just stopped trying.....
Dan, you are incredible. I just love everything you put out there. Thanks for being so transparent. The truths you have discovered about life have helped more people then you could fathom just by you sharing them. Keep doing what you do my dear!
As a person i agree with everything you've mentioned. NOW, as a wife i'd like to disagree with two: periods and the language of love.
periods are not just gross for a man, women hate it too! knowing all the way that its the most healthy, natural thing to happen to a woman. yes, it happens every month and its been happening for a while but that does not make it easier, its ok to find it gross but i find myself wanting to talk about it, its a way to cope. i know my husband finds it gross, he even says so, i don't care if he makes faces when i do, i just want it out of my system so i suck it up, "be a woman" and let him be grossed out anyway. now he's used to it and probably just pretends to listen but i'm ok with that.
secondly, the fun part of relationships are the different ways we express ourselves. language is for communication, if i need to be understood, i will say it the way you understand and not force you to learn my language. it works both ways off course. mine is touch, my husband's is verbal and acts of service. we took time to warm up to this but found our way around it. the key i found to this is simply asking, i dont expect to be mind read. if i am feeling blue and need a cuddle, i will just ask for it, i have also communicated the different non verbal cues at which point he is meant to just be there physically, at first it may seem insincere but once you see it transform the other person's mood you see where they're coming from. what is the point in me cuddling him when he is upset about something at work when all he wants to hear is, "you're good at what you do, they are lucky to have you"
i feel like given the premise, everything else that worked against your grain made it impossible to handle things that normally you could tolerate. i am sorry, not trying to tell you how you feel or that its not equally real.
everything else for me is bang on!!! so far i have not made any of these errors, at least i think so. you've inspired me to sit down with my man and ask him if i am doing alright , coz he is doing great as a husband and here i am assuming i am too. thank you for your honesty.
Thanks for posting this. I am married, and in Nov. we will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary. I read the whole series, and I definitely see things he does in the 16 ways I blew my marriage, but I definitely see things I do in this article as well. Good to think about these things.
As far as Aunt Flo goes, I agree with what you said. I do tell my husband when Aunt Flo is here, just so he knows I may be irritable, and in serious pain for a few days (I get bad cramps, and will complain about that to him, but that is it). However, I would never ask him to appreciate, or have long talks about it. That is what I have my girlfriends for. And though once he did buy my product for me, because I had to go to the bathroom at the store, and so he was nice and just went through the line anyway (which was his choice as I didn't him expect him to do that), I would never ask him to buy them for me. First off, due to a severe allergic reaction, I have to use a specific brand only, and I like a specific type of that brand. He would not know what brand or type to buy anyway. And just because he is lucky enough to not have to go through it, doesn't mean I should force him to go through all the specifics with me. As I said, that is what I have my girlfriends for. The only thing I ask is that he be a little more patient with me then due to my irritability that I really can't control.
Again, thanks for your post. It made me see both sides!
Wow. This post went straight to my heart. As a wife in a long term marriage how many times have I done the things you list? I don't want to be that kind of person ever or anymore. Thank you for your courage and vulnerability. Your post made me want to be a better person. I hope things are going well for you now. I too am seeking blogging as a way to be authentic to me, inspite of what I think people want from me. It's life-changing isn't it?
You are a Genius, I must say. The self-realisation and self-discovery process you have gone through will really help you not only to be a perfect partner, but will enable your future partner to become one themselves.
Can I just add to this that a lot of people talk about understanding. Sometimes, it is impossible to understand. The things that our partner may do may be incomprehensible. I'm not talking about the illegal stuff that can cause hurt to themselves and to others, but those that we just find weird.
It's okay NOT to understand. We can ask in an attempt to understand, but still, it's just not reachable.
Just accept. If it's not a deal breaker, then accept, because it is still the person you loved.
thanks for reminding me that i fell in love with my friend, and if i do it right we get to become better friends... and that even more important than being in love is being in like. i would rather be happy than right ~ and i think a good relationship is 60-40, both ways.
This is awesome!!!!! Seriously! Being a woman, I don't understand why women don't get it. Granted, I was the only girl of 4 (and an army of neighbor kids) so I believe I think more on a man's wave length, but common sense has to figure in there somewhere and there are some woman that are just clueless. When you at least attempt to understand the opposite sex, it truly opens so many lines of communication and doors. Men aren't built like women and to force them to see things the way we do is just down right foolish, and quite frankly selfish. It's just human decency to understand other people. Excellent blog, sir!!!
I just wanted to express my gratitude and appreciation to prophet salifu for bringing my husband back to me,I was married to my husband for 4 years and all of a sudden he started seeing another lady (his mistress).he started hailing at me and he was abusive.. and he hated me , but I still loved him with all my heart . the situation made me unsettle and not to focus at work .so a friend told me about trying (prophet salifu )spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to him ? i did not listen to her and hoped that my husband will come back home . after 9 month of seperation and depression , it got out of hand and my husband came back home to break the news to me that he want a divorce that he is getting married to his mistress .Hmmm it was so shocking to me ,i felt sad and more depressed ,so i contacted my friend again and decieded to try to use spiritual means reluctantly..although I didn't believe in all those things? I never thought in a million years that i will get my husband back to me a again. but I was proved wrong.after 24 hours, my husband came back and was pleading..he had realized his mistakes..i just couldn't believe it that we are back together. I am deeply satisfied and thankful with prophet salifu work .if you also want to fix you marriage or relationship email him at [email protected] or [email protected] , his work is for a better life .
This man is a genius. I'm 22 years old and am engaged to be married. This has taught me a lot about myself and my fiance. Although I am a female, I can relate to his point of view perfectly. He made me reflect upon myself and my actions and how they may or may not be making my fiance feel.
I absolutely love this because not only does it give me insight in marriage and what to do to better myself as a future wife, but he tells the pros of what could have happened if things were different.
I'm happy to see that he has come to peace and has the acknowledgment that it was not all his fault and that there's two sides and two people to blame.
Um...What the hell is 'love language?" I am afraid I have never heard that term before. Please explain. I am not married (never been) and this may come in handy.
I think this guy is pretty sweet. He is definitely in touch with his feelings and doesn't want to fall into the same unhealthy patterns (his & hers) with a new partner again. We are ALL perfectly imperfect! This cute guy looks like he's learning from the past and moving forward with a sense of humor! That's the best we can do! I wish him lots of love and happiness in his new relationships. If I were single and twenty years younger, I'd give him a call. lol
Reading this made me value my relationship with my sweet hubby even more. He's amazing, and I'm a very lucky woman. I'm also amazing, and HE is very lucky, as well. Neither of us are perfect ::: small chuckle::: We both know this. Second time around for both of us. ;)
I feel like a lot of these things are things that should be talked about before you get married, for example your religious beliefs. I'm in the same boat for religion and I even broke up with someone because I felt our beliefs differed and didn't think it would work out. The whole period thing annoyed me, I'm very private about mine mostly because I find it unsanitary and a pain and there is no way in hell I would want to make someone else feel the same way. And I think that's what it should be for everyone, no one needs to know that but you, if you have to talk about it then talk to a girlfriend or your mom. What really grossed me out were the zits. Seriously?! Why in the hell would you want to pop zits on someone? And why would you like it? I mean eww. That would have been a deal breaker right there if I were a dude.
This was hard to read, but kind of amazing. My husband of nearly 17 years and I are in the process of divorcing and it has been awful. I see myself in most of what you wrote. Wish I would have read something like this sooner. Wish he could have communicated something like it when it could have helped. I guess we move on and hope to do better next time. Thanks for being so honest.
Thankyou, whilst I am not a guy, this was extremely informative to me as a wife. We are coming up on our 23rd anniversary and its great to hear from someone's experiences. A great reminder that men have very real emotional needs that have to be met. Thankyou again.
I am not married, but I do have something to comment on this. I understand what he is saying about in most of these. I don't feel comfortable talking to people about "Aunt Flo." Because let's be honest, it's disgusting. Don't tell me it's not. I also have horrible pains, worse than most people, because I have something medically wrong with me. I still do not go tell everyone. Also, I am currently trying to lose weight and have been for a year. I hate hearing from guys I may be seeing at the time, that I don't need to lose anymore weight. In all honestly, for me, it is not about getting to be sexy. It is about getting healthy. This man has a point.
This was actually really helpful! Thank you! I am struggling with a relationship right now which I hope will be long-term and fulfilling for both of us. Reading through the things you didn't like in your relationship(s) I actually saw several things which I do! I'm so glad that you are putting these posts up because people just don't talk about this kind of thing. They try to say you'll know if you find the right person and that it'll work out if it's meant to be, but really we're all just human and we all make mistakes. It's often very difficult to figure out what to do to make a relationship work and sometimes you don't even know what you're looking for in the relationship until you're past the point of caring about it anymore. I am very sorry that your marriages ended, but I am so thankful that you have decided to share your own experience with them. I have read both your posts and have appreciated both very much.
As someone who has actually read the previous blogs, I think this is a wonderful addition. People love to forget there is two sides to every story.
All of the women on here calling him an immature man child should be ashamed of themselves. We constantly demand that men be more sensitive and in tune with their emotions and when we get it, we don't like it. Why is that? Because then we have to take responsibility for the part we've played in our partners feelings. It really shows how one sided we are as a gender and it's pathetic.
Dan, I hope if you ever get married again it works out for you! We all have things we can fix, but you seem to have great perspective! Good luck to you!
I could go on and on about how awesome it is that you shared how YOU felt she negatively impacted the relationship, and how you could have handled those situations positively.
I'm going to go ahead and comment on the Aunt Flo one, like every other woman has. Except, a response to them, rather than you.
I don't give a great rip if he buy tampons, examines used ones, or turns green when she explains the volume
and consistency of her current cycle. Somehow women use their menstrual cycle as a golden ticket to Ego-land.
You are bleeding. You are in pain. You have life dying inside of you (how much more dramatic can we make this).
But if it makes a guy uncomfortable why they hell do you feel compelled to force him adapt. It's awful. I know. I
have one. And I have endometriosis. So they are quite a bit more painful than the normal cycle. Luckily for me my
man understands that I need comfort and attention when I'm in pain, or tired, or PISSED THE F*CK OFF. He
doesn't also need to concern himself with the hazmat details, unless he wants to. In which I would share if it were
some how important to, though I can't for the life of me think what would be so important and I why I would want a
man who isn't a physician or gynecologist to troubleshoot with.
MEN: When my man and I were first together I noticed how patient he was with me when I was PMS'ing. I thought
it was awesome, but also was curious how he had developed an appreciation for it. He said his sister once told
him that pms'ing (the bitchy part) was pretty much like trying to quite smoking cold turkey. Which he had done. He
recognized that you're constantly irritated, can't get it to stop and wish everyone around you would just walk away
before you hit someone. And that's pretty much it. I've never smoked or had to quit so I thought it was pretty before
awesome there was some tangible correlation for some men (obviously only smokers) to grasp.
I'm praying you maintain your humility and are able to find a person who understands that sacrifice is what relationships depend on. You seem to have taken and experience that can sometimes crush and cripple a person and let it be a teaching season. Good job being a student of life. This is me cheering you on to continue being a student.
Thank you for this post. I am recently engaged and to be frank, I can see myself doing quite a few of these things to my fiancé. Made me stop in my tracks to realize how I made HIM feel and his perspective on the situation.
Wonderful insight- this was a game changer for me- THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a very insightful post! A lot of the times when marriages fail or get into really bad places, people are left wondering how they got there. It's the little day to day things that matter. Also, it seems like there is a quickly growing trend of women belittling men. So many women complain and nag about everything they want their guy to be doing. Reading this was a good reminder, as a wife, that my husband has things he needs or wants me to be doing. Thanks for sharing!
Oh and in skimming the comments I thought it was funny that the one most women disagreed with was the Aunt Flow one.
All of these are so great to read, I love reading your perspective, being from a male, it makes me get a sense of what my fiance may be feeling on some items. I'm getting married in 11 days and I can't tell you how much I appreciate this post!
Thank you so much for this. I have been married for a year, with an 8 month old son. (Yes, if you do the math, that means we got married while I was pregnant, but no, we did not get married BECAUSE I was pregnant, we were already engaged #endinsecureneedtoexplain) I want more than anything to make our marriage work because he is my very best friend. I always love to hear what is important to men in a marriage, and store the precious information in my head to keep from making any fatal mistakes. Keep on writing, you're kinda good at it. ;)
I am in my early 20's and I realize that so far I have done these things in all my failed relationships. I would like to thank you for opening my eyes to my mistakes.
As a wife of 21 years I realize I am doing a few of these. This post opened up a beautiful convo with the hubbs and we are the better for it! Thank you for this one!
This made my heart hurt but at the same time it made me happy, they're all very good things. Also - number 3 and number 8, HYSTERICAL!
Some of them are really good lessons for us all to learn although some of them are equal as far as the two of you go. A big one is love language-touch is obviously hers and both of yours matter. Compromise is key. I will also say that when it comes to the whole period thing, you kind of need to get over it. I don't mean to sound harsh but in my experience, a period is a gross and very painful reality and it makes it so much better to be able to complain to my partner about it (even a little). It's happening to half the population and just because you're lucky enough that it isn't happening to you doesn't mean you shouldn't be sympathetic. Other than that though, I think this is a pretty sound list. I hope that if you marry again, you two will be able to work things out better and communicated your needs.
You made me realize so many things I'm doing wrong without even realizing I was doing them. I'm going to start making these changes in my life right now! Thank you so much for this.
Wow. A few of your items really hit home. They echoed things that my partner has tried to express to me that don't really work for him or are hurting our relationship, but hearing them from someone else made them easier to hear without becoming defensive. I do those some of these things. And they are shitty. And I love him so seriously why do I ignore him when he tries to ask me to stop? Thank you for the insight and for giving me another perspective.
We women love to overthink and analyze things from every point of view we can think of...and often it doesn't include a man's point of view. Thank you for your insight into ways that we might be messing up because it allows us to fix it.
Thank you for your courage, and your advice to both men and women.
The 5 love languages is a book by Gary Chapman. Let me tell you it is spot on. Here is a focus on the family link that will help you understand. Mine are acts of service and quality time. My husband's are physical touch and words of affirmation.
@SheriRusso There is a book called The Five Love Languages and the book addresses the fact that there are 5 main ways that humans feel loved and the fact that different people have different love languages and that all five of the love languages have their time and place in a relationship so with that being said the love languages are, physical touch, gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, and quality time. The book is written by a Christian therapist but it holds a ton of truth for both Christian and non-Christians alike even if you're not in a romantic relationship.
@SheriRusso I believe what he means by love language is the way you feel loved. Verbal? Physical? Body Language? Favors? What does someone do that lets you know they love you. I like when my husband gives me hugs while I'm doing dishes, or kisses me goodnight and goodbye. More so kisses me for no reason. Makes me feel loved. This guy didn't necessarily get the feeling of love from that stuff. He felt most loved when his wife made him a sandwich, or told him she loves him, or probably even told him that she appreciated something he did. Some people like little notes left around the house, or like sex a lot. Different for everyone.