Marriage troubles - seeking advice
So my situation is mainly a two-part question where I’m not really sure where to turn or what action I should take at this point. I apologize up front for the length of my comments here but I wanted to not only make sure I covered everything for the best answer possible but also to help me focus on my feelings as well. With that, here goes…
I’ve been married now for over 10 years and I’ll honestly state that most of that time has been great! Unfortunately, this all began to change about three years ago and now I I’m uncertain if life will ever go back to the way it used to be.
First Problem – I want a Wife, not a Roommate.
For most of our marriage, we were very close. Our relationship was passionate, exciting, and romantic (even with children trying to burn the house down all the time). For the last long while, I feel like our marriage has become more of a co-habitation with basic levels of familiarization. I don’t feel like I have a wife, just a roommate who I happen to have children with. We don’t do things together anymore. We don’t really even talk much anymore. At night, there is little more than a “goodnight” followed by her rolling over and then silence. I don’t even know the last time she even showed the slightest interest in something as simple as a kiss. Sex in our relationship is nonexistent even though I have made several attempts to spark her interest. I often wonder, late into the night, why I ever even got married. While I see her every day, I have never felt more alone. And, while there are other serious problems within the marriage (explained below), I have tried everything I can think of to try and bring some semblance of passion back into our lives. In each case, I have failed.
I see other friends and how happy they are in their relationship and while I’m pleased for them, I’m also terribly heartbroken. Not long ago I happened to notice a short conversation a friend of mine was having with his wife and it amazed me how much love and admiration they both had for each other. I wish my wife could look at me as my friend’s does towards him.
Second Problem – Health and Fitness.
My wife and I have always been extremely motivated and active people. For me, this comes from being a career Soldier and someone who is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Before we were married, I made it very clear of my thoughts of personal fitness and while I’ll openly admit it’s probably a shallow point of view, I frankly detest obese people. In the military, a commander is responsible for assessing another Soldier’s personal fitness and determining what actions will be taken should they not maintain required standards. In all of these cases I dealt with, these Soldiers held a vast array of excuses which ultimately ended with them either not being personally motivated or simply too lazy. As such, I separated them from military service.
For that reason, it is extremely difficult for me to accept the situation where my wife currently finds herself. She is significantly overweight and as such, is now experiencing a growing list of medical (physical and emotional) conditions which are directly related to her choices. I have offered many times to help her with her training, offered to cook the meals, helped direct her to exercise programs that she would enjoy, etc. In each case, she began the process for a short while and then returned to her previous lifestyle without really ever putting in any serious effort.
Several months ago, she informed me that she had a binge eating problem and began seeking advice from a professional. However, her lifestyle and eating habits have not changed at all. She also began attending an addiction recovery program but didn’t continue with it.
My concern is that I fully understand that people can change due to only two situations:
1. They feel compelled by an outside force and so they make token changes to appease the situation while never really changing the core personality or belief system.
2. They feel a real desire to become more than they were the day before and as such, make a stern determination to change who they are.
As such, people only really change if they WANT to.
As it stands now, I’m tired of pretending neither of these issues bother me. I’ve mostly ignored the weight gain until lately as I simply wanted a close relationship more than a “trophy wife.” I’ve not really said much of anything about either of these issuers to her and have tried to play the role of the always understanding husband as I simply don’t want to hurt her feelings. I have always thought that as intelligent as she is, she would figure out there is a problem and take steps to resolve it. I know she is concerned about her weight as she’s mentioned it several times before but I don’t believe she has any real idea our relationship itself is void of what a marriage should be.
I don’t want a divorce. I just want my wife back again.
I’m tired of living like this.
You'll find your first issue is connected with the second issue. Your wife has an addictive behavior and while she has attended professional therapy, she needs to get back into it but she needs to do this herself. You, on the other hand, and going by your post, want to stay with her to assist and encourage her to help herself but again, the effort has to be all hers.
Rather than try and apply military standards to your personal life, you need to recognise totally that your wife is addicted to binge eating, to food, and that it will take a different approach to get her to seek the help she needs for her illness. Respectfully, it's all OK to drum military personnel out of service because of excuses and laziness but your wife doesn't have a choice at the moment, regardless of her intelligence.
You need to speak to a professional yourself (if you have not done so already) to discuss your wife's issue and to assist you to understand it completely. Once you have done this, you will be all the more better prepared to assist her. You mention that people only ever change because they want to, but it's the case of having the NEED to change that counts. If you can supply that need for your wife, and assist her to recognise it, then you're half way there. Your post also mentions children in the mix and they need you both to be happy and healthy.