Ask Ms. Vicki: How Do I Tackle a Tough Marriage?

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Ms. Vicki
Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I know you are an extremely busy individual and I respect you for that, and the advice I have read. Since being in Hawaii I have tried to fill out job applications to no available slots. My husband is a great Sgt and an incredible father. I find myself hating that he has income and I do not. He did not even give me an allowance. My duties are to clean and raise our child. Most women should be grateful, but when you have to beg or nag about needing money it grows tiring. I cannot even buy my husband a gift without telling him what I am using it for and him seeing it beforehand. I have been missing home and my family, where the jobs are easier to come by. I absolutely miss that.

I feel like our whole relationship is not the same. I have tried to be grateful but every time we get on an argument, he says any and everything to make me feel guilty, from things like me being stupid or having no ambition. I went from working 35 hours of retail to bring stuck in a house every day except grocery day. I do not have a car or money to do anything for my family or even for myself. I hate the woman I see -- not even a shadow of the proud woman I used to be. I am trying to be a dutiful wife but just because we have a child together is that a reason to stay and feel hollow. We argue all the time with a few good days but I just cannot keep living like this.

Should I keep being his dutiful wife? I would love to get a job, but my husband will not fill out the child care information inquiring about his work. It keeps getting put off. I have no friends and the only time I can leave the house area is if he is in the mood. I have a bike but it's always too hot to take a three-year-old all across base. I just feel lonely, dumb and useless.

Sincerely,

Useless Wife

Dear Useless,

One thing that stands out in your letter is the way you speak of yourself. It is evident that you have lost your self-esteem and self-worth because you are a housewife or stay-at-home mother. It appears that you are projecting the way you feel about yourself onto your husband because you want his actions to validate the way you feel about yourself.

Let me be perfectly clear though: If you feel bad about who you are, it doesn't give him the right to call you stupid. His words not only validate what you're feeling but makes it worse. As a result, you're in a downward spiral.

Being a stay-at-home mom or dad is an honorable position and a very important one. You should not feel ashamed of this. Many military spouses totally understand your dilemma of wanting to work and earn their own income. In your defense, your husband should not make you feel worthless because you are not contributing financially to the household. He should be more supportive. If you think that he is using your current situation to his advantage and as a measure of control, then that a totally different issue that should be discussed in therapy or counseling.

Living in Hawaii can be very difficult for military spouses and families. If you are not from the West Coast then it can be quite costly and very far from home, so I understand that you must feel isolated and lonely. I see no reason that you cannot complete the paperwork for child care without your husband. You must begin to connect with the military base community and your local community too. Moreover, you have to know that you may have to accomplish this with or without your husband's help. However, you reported earlier that he is a great father. A great father would be willing to help his wife and the mother of his children.

Contact your family services offices on base and ask about educational services, family member employment, child care service and the signup process, as well as volunteer services (for example, it would be ACS if you are Army, Marine and Family Services for the Marines and Airmen and Family Services for the Air Force).

Moving to a new location can be a tough transition, especially when you are moving a long way from family, close friends and a job that you loved. I hope you can gain confidence and accept the challenge of moving forward by connecting with others. Please keep in touch with me and give me updates.

Sincerely,

Ms. Vicki

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