Okay, I've hesitated to respond to these messages because my initital reaction is to want to smack around these selfish wives, but that would not be constructive. Plus I have to admit that I have at times been a selfish wife - not to this degree, I can honestly say. But there have definitely been times when I put my self before my husband's needs. And I regret that so much now. I've cried over it and asked his forgiveness, and have assured him that when he's able to "perform" fully he's not going ot know what hit him.
Daveed, in one of my earliest posts you responded to me, I believe it was the day after you'd had your catheter removed. At the end you made a comment about
your wife, "my wife can go more than a couple of weeks without (sex) so no loss to her right now." It stuck out to me because so many of the wives on the board were anxiously awaiting their husbands' return to normalcy in that area.
While I was doing my housework yesterday I kept thinking about
your predicament. You mentioned that your wife welcomes the weight of the world on her shoulders, and thrives on helping others - but she's not doing that with you. I would guess it's because it doesn't get her as much attention helping you than others. I'm not saying that she doesn't have some desire to help others, but a lot of times when someone really "needs" this, a lot of the motivation is because of what it does for them and their ego. I would guess that there have been plenty of times in your marriage where she has sacrificied for the needs of others at your expense, especially in the area of time and emotional attention. You see, she's SUPPOSED to take care of you - there's no glory in that. But to take care of OTHERS, that's a sacrifice, and everyone notices and thinks how wonderful you are.
I'm not suggesting that to belittle your wife. It is very easy for any of us to slip in to that. We're human, and we like to look important. My husband and I are very involved in our church, and there have been times that we each have put too much focus in to ministry and not family, and we've learned through the years to balance that.
The problem is, this is who your wife is, and I'm sure it's been that way for years. This is the dynamic the 2 of you have established and lived with (maybe even comfortably?) for quite a while. A leopard doesn't change it's spots - at least not without serious help. We're dealing with that with my dad. My brother has been frustrated with my dad not being more proactive in his fight with cancer. Finally I told him that our dad has been that way all of his life, choosing the path of least resistence, just walking away if it gets too tough. You can't expect someone who's been a turtle all of his life to turn in to a lion.
I know that sometimes people have some kind of epiphany in a dire situation, step up to the plate and change for the better. But the truth is, these kind of situations usually just magnify what we are - good and bad. There's a saying I heard that says "Circumstances don't make us what we are, they reveal what we are." Your battle with prostate cancer has shown a bright light on some negatives and weaknesses in your marriage, that have been there all along, that you have been willing to live with and have contributed to, at least passively. I think it would be unfair of you to expect your wife to turn from a turtle in to a lion in such a short time.
I do, however, think you should be painfully honest, and let her know that you are aware of these failings, and are not willing for your your marriage to continue this way, that her willingness to ignore the situation is not an option you can live with if she wants the marriage to survive. It doesn't matter if she's private or not. A divorce certainly wouldn't be private - I'm sure she doesn't want that. Do everything you can to get across to her that you mean business. If she is as emotionally stunted as your descript
ion implies, you're probably going to have to really push it for her to crack.
You said you believe in the power of prayer. Find a counselor that will be honest and counsel you from God's perspective, and go without her if you must. Let her know that you are going to share EVERYTHING. Perhaps she will be worried about
her own reputation enough that she will want her side of the story to be heard!
But just as you prayed over the cancer and your treatment, you need to pray that God will break her and soften her heart, and
open her eyes to her selfishness. It may take a while, but He can do that. (And wants to!)
Okay, enough of my preaching on that.
Raheeb, I have no idea what religion your wife is, but I would have to say that pretty much any religion advocates compassion and servanthood. And while I'm not an advocate of throwing in someone's face the fact that they may be being hypocritical in how they live out their faith, I think maybe you could put it in such a way to make her stop and really take at look her actions and motives.
For instance, you could sit her down and say you're concerned with how this situation in your life has affected her faith, as evidenced by her worries over your choice of surgeons. She'll probably deny that. Ask her if her God is so small that His abillity to heal you can be hindered by your choice of who did the surgery. Did her God say, "Oops, I missed that one - Raheeb picked the wrong guy and now I'm powerless"? Does her God not hear HER prayers because of who YOU picked as a dr.? That's ridiculous. In that kind of thinking she is insulting her own God - no matter who that is. You said that she wanted to hold up a successful surgery as a testament to her religion. If that's the case, using the wrong surgeon really puts her God to the test, and will make Him look even more awesome when He heals you!
I think you could also say (ina very gentle way), "Honey, I know how important it is for you to emulate the actions of (Jesus, Jehovah, Mohammed, Buddha, etc.) You seem to really be struggling with accepting the whole incontinence and intimacy thing. How do you think He'd handle it?" (Hopefully her God would be nice about
it). Hopefuly that will get her thinking. IF NOT, I would get extreme. Tell her that you feel that this is bringing to light some weaknesses in your marriage, and that you 2 need some help to get through it. Then tell her you are willing to go to a counselor of HER religion. Make sure it's a guy, so he'll be more sypathetic to your plight. I can't imagine a man from any religion who wouldn't encourage a woman to be sensitive to her husband's needs during prostate cancer recovery.
If she gives it enough thought, she may be convicted enough about
her behavior that she wouldn't want another believer of her faith to know she'd blown it, and will changer her behavior accordingly. (Let's hope).
I know this is a long post, and these ideas may be totally stupid. I read an article the other day about
how stressful situations inhibit healing. When we get in to a conflict, it releases a chemical in our body that causes inflamation, which hinders healing. It said every conflict sets you back 1-2 days. You 2 living in a state of conflict (or at least angst) can't be good for you. I hope the comments and ideas from everyone help.
husband Jeff 45 years old, diagnosed 8/25/06
PSA 2.1, 2 of 12 samples at 3% & 4%, involving 1 side of prostate
Gleason 3+3=6 in both samples
laparoscopic radical prost. 10/17/06
cancer in both sides of prostate, positive in one area of margin
first PSA in 1/2007
Post Edited (2busymom) : 1/20/2007 9:47:26 AM (GMT-7)