Many people ask, “How can you write a book called The Unhappy Wife, when you are a happy wife?” Well, for the couple of decades that we’ve been married, Dwight’s been a great husband. For some of that time, however, I was unhappy, but didn’t understand why. Here are three not-so-simple steps that helped me and I hope they’ll help you too.
Know your SELF. Knowing your self is an integral first step. For a long time, I thought I knew myself. I knew I liked birthday parties and seafood. But that’s not what I mean. You have to know who you are at the core. For me, the realization came when I did a relationship meditation. One of the reflection questions was what are you afraid of? When I stopped to think about it, I feared that there must be something wrong with me. The realization was a culmination of abandonment from my biological mother, adopted mother, and adopted father. I was afraid that if I were to really be my SELF, then I would discover that there must be something terribly wrong with me. Consequently, I lived half-committed to married life for fear that one day Dwight would leave too, just like everyone else. This just wasn’t the truth.
Love your SELF. Loving your self might sound cliché, but it’s the only way to have a healthier relationship with your spouse. Kind of like birthday parties and seafood, I also thought I loved myself. But, again I was wrong. I loved my identity. My self-esteem was inflated by years of external validation. You’re so pretty. You’re so smart. You’re so witty. Deep down inside no one would suspect that I felt like shit because of the abandonment described above. I was adept at covering it up with my big smile, big vocabulary and big personality. Once I faced my fear, then I took an objective look at my experiences. My biological mother gave me up for adoption because of her circumstances; my adopted mother passed away because of her circumstances; and my adopted father gave up parental rights because of his circumstances. Of course their lives affected me, but I stopped taking each event personally. I learned to love me, irrespective of anything external. Over time, I developed self worth based on simply being a human being. I’m not important because I have three degrees. I’m important simply because I am alive here on this earth.
Be your SELF. I was like many women who have chosen to marry. Because I didn’t know or love my self, I entered my nuptials not being myself. Consequently, my issues manifested through infidelity. What does that have to do with being yourself, you might ask? Well, I knew that I struggled with being faithful before and after I said, I do, but I kept this information hidden for a while because I didn’t understand the root cause: fear of abandonment. Today, I’m different, and subsequently, my marriage is too. Instead of making decisions out of childhood fears, now I’m free to be my true SELF by making conscious choices aligned with who I am in this world.
Interested in reading short stories based on real-life events of wives like me? Order a copy of my The Unhappy Wife. And if you should find that your own life resonates with one of these lady’s stories, then maybe it’s time to work on your SELF.