Mrs. Little from The Unhappy Wife book

unhappy-wifeMrs. Little was the second wife that I’d interviewed. Although she’d given me quite a few details about her marriage, what kept resurfacing were small anecdotes and feelings about her mother-in-law. She was voiceless, but in a much different way than either Jasmyne or Gina.

Her comments reminded me of Steve Harvey’s movie, Think Like a Man. In it he approaches how so-called “Mama’s boys” affect relationships, but I thought this was different because the mother-in-law’s actions were subtle, or like people like to say nowadays: petty.

Concept: Her husband, Mark knew how Mrs. Little felt, but she’d never really expressed herself to the mother-in-law. Quite honestly, I have issues with my own MIL that I’ve never shared, so I began to wonder what it would be like if Mrs. Little could tell Ms. Little everything she wanted to say over the past two decades. Then, I thought wouldn’t it be great if she wrote her a letter? Wouldn’t we all like to do that with someone, in a way where they don’t get to respond, but just read?

I also had fun using the epistolary format. It seemed that would break up the monotony of reading traditional narratives, yet still explain the past and present challenges with the relationship.

Commentary: I’ve never been a mother-in-law, but I have one and I’ve talked to a few. What seems to be challenging (sometimes) is accepting that their son is no longer a little boy, but rather a man with his own responsibilities. Essentially, it’s an issue with transitions and change that manifests through marriage. From my perspective, it seems that mothers want to still “mother” their sons, while either not embracing the daughter-in-law, or ignoring her altogether.

That doesn’t work.

And there was a twist for this story. Mark was using his military salary to pay his mother’s bills before he married. The mother-in-law had to not only deal with a new woman in her son’s life, but also not being financially taken cared of anymore. She’d lost a lot all at once. I’m not sure they’d ever discussed a plan for this change.

I tend to believe that conversations can heal all things. People underestimate the importance of sitting down, airing grievances, setting the stage to move forward, and then actually moving forward with a clearer understanding. I’m not saying this always works, but I do know that unacknowledged issues are rarely solved.

unhappy-wifeLet me know what you thought about Mrs. Little and Mark, what I’ve said here, or anything else that you felt was important. Next month, we’ll move on to the next section, The Detached Wife. Thom’s wife signed a waiver that doesn’t allow me to discuss the story in this format, so on to the next chapter we’ll go..

Interested in purchasing a copy and getting caught up to discuss the rest of the wives? Order here.

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Gina from The Unhappy Wife book

unhappy-wifeGina was the third wife that I’d interviewed. By the time I began putting the book together, I knew that she fit into the Voiceless Wife category. At first glance, her story may seem similar to Jasmyne’s. She knew she shouldn’t have married Bryan, but wed anyway and sought counseling through marriage ministry. However, her story is a tad bit different. Whereas Jasmyne seemed to heed advice from people she trusted, Gina never told anyone how she felt. Her mother, father, and best friend never suspected that she knew Bryan wasn’t the man for her.

Concept: Gina began our interview by saying, “I knew I shouldn’t have married Bryan as soon as he proposed,” so I wrote the story around that idea. I wanted to show the reader how we can have a suspicion about a person, and even if they do something blatant, we ignore those feelings and proceed with our own illusion.

With this narrative, I wanted to also illustrate how we keep relationship secrets due to something I’ve talked about on this blog before: shame. Gina didn’t want anyone to know that she’d given up her dog, her weekly visits with her mother, or her relationship with her best friend, simply to please Bryan.

I have to add that this wife’s story is one of my “favorites” because of the bloody kitten scene. I don’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t read the book, but the imagery of the animal gasping for its breath stayed with me for quite a while. This part of her story is true.

Similar to Jasmyne’s chapter, I created the part about her stomach twisting and turning in knots. The reason I continue to use this analogy is because intuition is oftentimes described as a gut feeling. If you’re familiar with chakras, then you know the yellow one is associated with your stomach and trusting what you feel. This is a message I felt important to continue.

Commentary: What stood out to me is the progression of abuse. Bryan slowly pulled her away from her loved ones, including her dog. He never physically hurt her, but rather imposed psychological abuse. He was jealous of everyone she interacted with, but it wasn’t obvious to her until after the experience. This is common. When you’re in a situation with a person who’s mentally abusive, then it might not be as apparent, especially if you’re ignoring instincts.

The other part of Gina’s story that intrigued me was the shame she carried. The shame grew at the same rate as her instincts about the relationship. This fit into another reason I felt compelled to write this book. There are many women who keep the details of their marriages secret because they believe they’re the only ones going through horrible situations. I’m not suggesting that we tell everyone, everything about our unions. I’m just saying perhaps it’s time to be a little more authentic in how we present ourselves to our friends and family. And if those people can’t be trusted, seek counsel that is aligned with who you are and what you believe. There are ways to discontinue the abuse and the loneliness that accompanies maintaining this type of secret.

unhappy-wifeLet me know what you thought about Gina and Bryan, what I’ve said here, or anything else that you felt was important. Next month, we’ll delve into many readers’ favorite character, Mrs. Little.

The Unhappy Wife is on sale here.

The Unhappy Wife: A Book Review

Today’s review of The Unhappy Wife comes from someone that many of you might already follow, my girl Kelley, over at Gray Suede! Her site is super positive in terms of raising Black consciousness. Thanks again Kelley! I appreciate the support 😉

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As you all know, I’m not the best at book reviews, but I had to do it for my fellow blogging sister, Dr. Garland. She is beautiful, intelligent, honest and inspiring. When reading her posts, I often come away with a handful of golden nuggets and a new perspective, so supporting her new book was kind of a no brainer. Although I’m not married, engaged and never have been, Katherin promised that I’d gain something from The Unhappy Wife. And I did. Absolutely.

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Twelve women share one thing in common – the quest for being happily married to the men they chose; however, each one finds herself in an unexpected marital predicament. Inspired by real events and told from each woman’s perspective, these short stories are firsthand accounts detailing the realities of marriage well after each woman said “I do.”

I read The Unhappy Wife in…

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3 Ways You Know You’re an Unhappy Wife

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Did you notice that the example given is “an unhappy marriage”? Aside from this Googled definition, I’ve interviewed and written about twelve unhappy wives and here is what I’ve learned.

Are you voiceless? This is the first type of unhappy wife that I’ve grown to understand. Society quieted her. Sometimes it’s a mother who gave advice based on her own failed marriage. Sometimes there are passed-down, cultural practices the wife felt had to be followed. For example, Asian culture dictates that you marry and follow your husband’s lead. Sometimes the wife silences herself by holding her tongue about things she doesn’t think she can change, such as how much her in-laws are involved. Either way, I’ve learned that you might be unhappy if you feel that you cannot follow your intuition, speak freely or raise concerns about your marriage. Consequently, your mouth is closed, but the energy surrounding your unhappiness festers inside. This wife feels as if she cannot tell anyone about her woes, and even if she does, no one acknowledges or listens anyway.

Are you detached? There are many ways husbands and wives can be detached. The wife could be emotionally disconnected, like I was for a while, thus perpetuating a state of misery. A husband could be physically present but withholding intimacy, thus producing an unfulfilled home life. I’m not saying 100% of the marriage should be sexual, but how can two perfectly healthy people be happy if they’re not consummating their relationship with sex every now and then? Detachment can also come from wives who don’t know themselves. Stay with me as I explain. If the wife is separated from knowledge of herself, then how can she truly connect with her spouse? You might be an unhappy wife if you or your husband is disconnected in some way.

Are you committed? But kg, this doesn’t make sense? How can a wife be unhappy if she’s committed? It’s possible good people; it’s possible. Maybe the wife is committed to a marital situation that she never thought, in a million years would ever happen to her. The committed wife would never think to leave her husband. One reason is because she wants to see the marriage through. Another reason is because she loves her husband. You know? She takes the “in sickness and health” part of the vows very seriously. However, just because she’s committed doesn’t mean that she’s always happy. I mean, quite honestly, it takes some dedication, fortitude and downhill battles to remain married sometimes. You might be an unhappy wife if you’ve chosen to remain married through a specific tribulation.

unhappy_wife_ipadAre you a voiceless, detached or committed wife? Do you know an unhappy wife, if so, then you or she might be interested in reading my upcoming book, The Unhappy Wife. It includes short stories based on real-life events of the above-described types of women. Order the eBook or paperback via my site: kegarland.com