I guess a lot of women - myself included - always blame men for everything: they aren't sensitive, considerate, and kind. I suppose we all tend to be blind to our own flaws, and sometimes we commit costly mistakes.
I married my second husband, 'Ted', at 32, and he was the complete opposite of my first husband who had been a harsh and controlling hard drinker who had put me down and cheated on me constantly.
'Ted', is a quiet, loving man who patiently worked through my fears and won me over. We had been married for 3 years when he first told me he was unhappy, he needed things to change. I thought he was being unfair, but I told him I would try.
Six months later, 'Ted' told me again that he felt that things had not progressed and that he was depressed and no longer believed in our marriage. I listened to what he said and promised him I would be more proactive and constructive. We had fabulous make-up sex and I was sure everything was back on track again.
Then 'Ted' came to me and told me he was leaving me. He didn't tell me he was unhappy, or needed changes. He said he was leaving because he knew there was nothing to talk about. There was nothing to build on, and though he loved me, love was not enough.
I was shattered. I couldn't believe he meant it. All through our time together he had been the patient, nurturing one, the strong and steady one. I cried for days, and I suddenly realized that he was right. He had been patient, loving, accepting and kind; and I had taken it all for granted.
I had been demanding, possessive, irrationally jealous and controlling. I had seen his tolerance of my bad temper and unkindness as proof of his love, and I had tested him constantly. I had hurt him needlessly with my criticism, my sarcasm.
I had lost a wonderful man who had really loved me through my insecurity and my unresolved anger about my past. I realized that if I loved him, I had to fight for him. I had to win him back.
I made a list of all the things I now knew I had done that had been destructive and cruel, all the things that had hurt him and pushed him away. This was what I had to change. Not who or what I was, but the way I treated him.
I called him, asked him to meet me, and I opened my heart to him for the first time. I told him I realized now what it was that I had done. I apologized to 'Ted' for all the pain I'd caused him. I thanked him for his love, his kindness, and his patience. I reminisced about some of the sweet and funny moments we had shared and left with a smile.
Then a few days later I asked him out on a 'date.' He was hesitant but finally agreed. I was the one wooing him, showing him how much I wanted to please him, romancing him.
I took him dancing, made him dinner, wrote him love letters. I did all that he had done to conquer me, all the sweet and loving gestures which had meant so much to me. Finally, I asked him if we could try again.
We are now together again, but I am as proactive as he is, as loving, and as attentive. I no longer take him for granted, and when my temper sometimes snaps and I find myself saying harsh and unkind things, I now stop and apologize. Love is a two-way street, I've learned.
I hope my story encourages more women to take a chance and work on their marriages. So ladies, remember we are not perfect either, so before you head for the divorce court, fight for your happiness.
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