~ By an Anonymous Contributor
My husband and I were married when I was 18 and he was 19 years old. We went through school together and went together for 6 months after graduation before becoming engaged. After a one-and-a-half-year engagement, we were married and eight days later he was sent overseas by the Air Force.
I lived with his parents for the next five months while saving up enough money so I could join him. His folks were closer to me than my own. He was their only son and they accepted me lovingly into their home as their only daughter. I thought I knew everything there was to know about my husband when I finally joined him.
Well, I was wrong, and completely oblivious to the really important things a wife should know about her husband and most importantly, herself. I ignorantly stumbled through seven years of marriage. The last four of those years were pure hell for me emotionally. When our first child was three months old, my husband finally confessed (after umpteen million times I’d accused him of not loving me) that “maybe I was right, cause he didn’t think he loved me anymore.”
Now it was at last out in the open and we didn’t know what to do about it. We are both very conscientious people with high moral standards and we decided to seek professional help to determine if there was enough left of our marriage to salvage.
Our minister suggested Family Service Association and so for two years after that, we went weekly to our marriage counselor.
We had another baby 17 months after the first, and shortly thereafter I was critically burned in an auto accident which I know was an answer to my prayers. Dumb? Yes, but I was desperate, emotionally falling apart at the seams, since counseling obviously was not providing the answers to our problems (my problems really). So I prayed every day for help to find a way out, or to take me out of my misery by taking my life, or by making something horrible happen to me so my husband would be jolted into a realization whether he loved me or not. The constant pressure of not knowing was too much for me to go on bearing.
Well, it worked, or, at least I thought it did for while. I lay there in the hospital in intensive care, I heard my husband say, “I love you” for the first time in 3 years. It was wonderful at first and I suffered greatly for that; and that “I love you” is all that kept me going the whole two months I was in the hospital, for I was sure that when I got home, everything would be wonderful and happy again in spite of my scarred ugly face and hands.
Again, I was wrong. Things were worse than ever and the next two years I spent praying for God to show mercy on this wretched human being who was really at the end of her rope. I tried so hard and changed my ways just like the counselor said and nothing helped. The problem definitely was not solved, and I had no emotional control left. I was a complete wreck in every sense of the word.
Last July, my husband was speaking cruelly and disrespectfully to me in front of our children and I thought that was the last straw, so I helped him pack his bags and asked him to leave. He did, somewhat to my surprise; he was ready for it. Merciful peace reigned at last and I truly felt this was God’s answer to my prayers.
Again, I was wrong. For 2 months we were the happiest separated couple the world has ever known. The children made great strides in that short time. The baby, now 2 years old, completely potty trained himself and these two little boys were happier than they’d ever been in their whole lives.
Then, my sister finally brought me the book, Fascinating Womanhood and I immediately began the most intensive study program I ever partook of in my life. I read slowly, thoroughly, and then I thought and thought and then I’d apply one chapter at a time.
An explosive revolution was going on inside me and I was so happy at last to have God’s answers to all my problems, but at the same time, I hated myself with a passion I never knew existed. How could I have been so dumb—so blind—so stupid!
My husband was everything good I’d ever wanted in life and I hated myself for never having understood him as a man. By the time I finished the book, I looked in the mirror and saw myself as I really was—how my husband saw me. I despised what I saw.
Oh, how ignorant and self-righteous I was. I cried for two days after I read about the Russian author of War and Peace, Tolstoy, and how his wife made herself so offensive that he couldn’t stand the sight of her.
I was sure it was too late to ever repair the damage I had caused my husband. He had a wall of reserve that made the Great Wall of China look microscopic!
I followed step by step the principles of Fascinating Womanhood and my husband responded miraculously. I will always be forever in debt to Fascinating Womanhood, Helen Andelin, and God for showing this wretched creature how to make others happy and how to be happy—for just that reason and none other.
This is how it happened:
I called my husband and asked him to stop by one evening on his way to work. I wanted to tell him of my new-found knowledge and tell him all the things the “ice breaker” said to say as a start. He came and I stammered for awhile until I finally told him that in my loneliness, I had been doing a lot of reading and that I was at long last able to see how wrong I had been all the years of our marriage (seven).
I told him that I could never expect him to forgive me for making his life into a hell on earth, but that I wanted to apologize just the same and that I truly and deeply was sorry for the misery I had caused him. I told him I could now see that the failure was my fault and mine alone and he was the best husband a woman ever had. I told him I admired his strength of character and that he never once gave into my nagging criticism and never allowed me to make him putty in my hands. He had to know this for his future happiness for I never wanted him to think our marriage ended through any fault of his. He could rest assured that some day he would find someone who could be the kind of wife he deserved and know that he couldn’t possibly ever cause any problems because he was the greatest guy in the world and I hated myself for not seeing it in time.
All the while I was telling him these things, he just sat there looking alternately into space, not seeing anything and then in blank disbelief at me, and then into space again. When I’d finished I had tears running down my face and the whole house was so quiet. He didn’t move his blank stare and I just sat nearby, waiting, waiting, waiting. That 2-3 minutes seemed like an eternity.
His only words were, “I’m dumbfounded. I don’t know what to say.” I told him I didn’t want or expect him to say anything but I simply wanted him to know how I felt. He left for work still somewhat dazed with disbelief.
I did not leave the house for 3 days, waiting for a call or something and finally he called to ask if he could come over for his weekly visit with the kids and I said “sure.” That night, I admired him in front of the children for his long legs, broad shoulders, manly physique and neat good looks and he just ate it all up. He’d grin from ear to ear and chuckle and tell the children not to believe everything their mom told them. After we put the kids to bed he asked me to a dinner dance a month away and I was once again happy, happy, happy! This meant that there may still be some hope for me to reinstate myself with him and again.
Weekly visits came and went and always the children consumed his full attention, but occasionally he would compliment me on the improvements I’d made in my appearance, homemaking, etc. But never a hint about moving back home to us, so in one of my loneliest moments I asked him over to watch TV with me and he came.
After bedding down the kids, we talked a bit and I told him I wanted him to know that I truly love him and saw the error of my ways; that I felt I understood him as a man and that I thought I could make him happy if he could forgive me enough to move home. I told him I certainly didn’t expect him to, but that I’d love to have a chance to make him happy and to please think about it. I said, “I just want you to know that I want you more than anything in this world and that, if by some miracle, you should want to come home, we love you and would be the happiest family to have you back.”
He said it was too soon and that he was sorry I hadn’t changed sooner. That’s the way it went and the next two months went by without one single word or ray of hope from him that he even ever thought about returning.
It had been 7 ½ years since we said, “I do” and 5 months since our separation when he came to the house with some papers for me to sign. He had just bought a car and needed my signature as it was to be in both our names. I floated around the house for days and days clinging to that first ray of hope that he might be considering giving me another last chance to make good our marriage. I was so happy, but never pressed him about it.
One week later, his refrigerator broke down at his apartment and he brought down all his food to store in ours until his could be fixed. In a joking way, as he was trying to figure out how to work picking up his food each day and plan his meals, I suggested he could move home with us and not worry about all that. He stopped and smiled (to my amazement) and I just waited for his response. When it finally came, I was “in cloud 9” because he said, “Well, I guess I could at that.”
I wrapped myself around him and bawled my eyes out with joy and the only words I could utter were, “You mean it? You mean you would really give me another chance?”
After several moments when I’d calmed down a bit, he sat me down in a chair and said that before he could move home, he had to know how I would be in regard to his new-found and dearly loved freedom. He said that while on his own, he realized that his freedom to be his own self and indulge in his hobbies (wood working, electronics, etc.) and not to have to adhere to set schedules was his most precious possession he’d discovered while on his own and that he wouldn’t give that up for anyone or anything. I told him I understood and I guess he knew I did (at last) and as he walked out the door to get his things he turned and held out his hand. In his hand was a brand-new set of keys for his new car and he said, “Here, I guess you’ll need these now”, and he left, but only so that he could return again, and this time it was to be for good.
That was 3 weeks before Christmas and we had the happiest Christmas any family ever had. Since that glorious day almost 6 months have passed and not one week goes by that he doesn’t comment in a bewildered way that he just can’t believe how much I’ve changed. He used to remind me of how I would have reacted before.
Fascinating Womanhood has been the salvation of my soul, my marriage, and my family, and I will strive the rest of my days to live up to its teachings. I never did one thing—not one thing—right before and I have got a lot to learn yet before my old habits and thinking patterns have been wiped out of existence and replaced by the more mature and proper Fascinating Womanhood way.
Not one Fascinating Womanhood applied principle has failed me and I know it’s the right way to be and even though every day is still a challenge I know it is because my husband can’t believe I have changed so much. I thank God in heaven and you on earth for giving me this last chance to make my family happy. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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