Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage.
― Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary
Ever since we had our son 2 1/2 years ago my wife Trina treats me like a business partner and not like a husband. We used to have a happy marriage but now she is totally focused on our son to the point I’m not sure she’d notice if I weren’t around.
Children come first and I know that’s the natural order of things but it has become ridiculous. We cannot go to dinner, on vacation, etc. without him and I’m continually ignored.
Don’t get me started on the sex, because we’ve gone from once or twice a week to every-other-never.
I’ve tried to express myself to her but she gets very defensive and accuses me of being jealous of my son, which I think is a weird thing to say but maybe I am.
I love my wife, I really do, but lately I feel like I could fall out of love with her and I do not want that to happen.
Any advice on how to get my marriage back on track?
Drew in Denver
This is a wonderful question because I think millions of people out there feel the same way. If not millions, at least a few dozen.
Let’s start things off by quoting Nietzsche, because I always like to quote Nietzsche on Throwback Thursday. It increases my eruditeness and makes me look clever, edgy and cool!
It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.
Ain’t that the truth? That Freddy was a smart guy.
Forgive me if I am repeating myself, but men and women cannot quit their job as a spouse when they become parents. Having kids constitutes a promotion, not a career change.
Unfortunately, many women (yes, I’m making a generalization because it’s true) become so wrapped up in being a mom that they forget keeping the marriage happy and intact is not only their duty to their spouse and their vows, but also to their children.
After all, if children come from divorced moms and dads they can end up as messed up as me, and we certainly don’t want your son to become a neurotic lawyer-turned-advice-blogger.
You said “children come first” and that’s generally a good rule, but they should not be the sole focus of either parent because the marriage will suffer and once the kids get older and more independent, the spouse who feels ignored will start to realize that divorce is most certainly an option.
The good news is you want to get your marriage back on track.
The bad news is Trina thinks you are being a jerk and a bad father.
More bad news? She wants three kids.
While I commend your attempts to discuss this important issue with your son’s mother, your past efforts may not have been successful due to your delivery.
In other words: you can’t communicate for shit.
When we messaged you admitted you wait until your anger has reached the boiling point, and then you pick a fight with her and whine about being ignored. You usually follow that up with a threat to “get a girlfriend” so you can “remember what it feels like to fuck someone.”
Oh man, Drew. I’m not surprised your wife has closed the taco stand down for a while.
Shouting and whining and complaining might work for a toddler but it won’t work for a grown-ass man, so listen up and follow my AskDesCamp Advice-by-Numbers™ instructions below:
How to Get Drew’s Marriage Back on Track
- Get a babysitter lined up and take her to a romantic place for dinner. Not the babysitter, you pervert – your wife. Take your wife to dinner.
- Wine. Always wine.
- Bring two photos with you: one of you both on your wedding day and one of your child. Bring some cheesy, sexy letters/texts/emails the two of you exchanged when you first fell in love.
- Put all of your items on the table and make the following speech. You may need notecards but do at least try to memorize because it will come off as more sincere:
Trina, take a look at these love letters. Look at this picture of us at our wedding. These letters led to that wedding and that wedding led to our son. Here’s a picture of him for emphasis and dramatic effect.
I still love you as much as I did on our wedding day and I love our child, but if things do not change I fear we may lose what we have.
I need my wife back. I need you to remain my best friend, my lover, and my confidante. I know I haven’t expressed myself in a voice you could really hear, and I’m sorry for communicating with you on this issue like a hangry (that’s a word!) baby who missed his nap. I’ll do better from now on.
Not only do I need my wife back, but I need to be your husband again; not simply the father to our child. I love loving you, Trina, in both the physical and emotional sense. Please don’t take that away from me.
Can we work together and find ways to continue being great parents but to also be dedicated and loving partners again, like we were when we wrote these crazy notes and on that incredible day when you and I stood before everyone and promised to love each other forever?
That’s some romantic shit right there. You’re welcome; that will be $26.00. I’ve decided to start charging because this advice is so damn good that I can’t simply give it away anymore.
Drew, if nothing changes your next step is marriage counseling, and if nothing changes after that you have some thinking to do about your ability and willingness to abandon your much-loved job as a husband and settle into a lifetime of being Trina’s business parter and co-parent.
Best of luck and please let me know what happens.
PS: Until your marriage improves I strongly suggest you use birth control.