Meg and Robyn,
thanks for your words of advice. No he is not physically abusive to me or the children, and I am confident he never will be. He is also not manipulitively abusive, ie he does not try to control my every move, who my friends are or make me feel like I am worthless. I agree if it were to ever get to that level the kids and I would be out of here! He has an explosive voice when he is mad and he says unkind words, really unkind words occasionally (like once every few months) . A lot of times it's more his tone of voice than what he actually says and when I speak to him about it he truly doesn't seem to understand why it was not ok to act like he did. Robyn, you are so right about romancing him and getting time away from the kids. Grandma is taking them next weekend! We try to get out once a month or so and I make sure I often spend time with him after the kids go to sleep. He started a new job last month and it's been very stressful for him. Unfortunately his stress comes out as anger. I would like to help him to manage that a different way, but I don't know how. He hasn't actually been mad at me or the kids lately, he just gets so angry about things in general, like the neighbors' barking dogs or the fact that someone started mowing their lawn at 8:30pm, or the loud, partying teenagers that moved in across the street lately. I'm not saying he doesn't have a right to peace and quiet or a right to say something to the neighbors or call the police or whatever, but he obsesses about it and he has angrily confronted the neighbors on several occassions. Different neighbors, mind you. He yells and swears at them and he thinks they are idiots and he doesn't need to treat them with respect. This has caused me a great deal of anxiety as you can imagine! At the end of the day I just pray that there are no disruptions. I am always hoping noone will connect me to the raving maniac that banged on their door the night before.
My brother passed away unexpectedly in January and I feel like every day is a gift. I feel like my dh is still not getting that! Life is too short to spend yelling at my neighbors IMO. My DH is a good father and husband in many ways and I don't think we'd be better off without him, although when he's at his worst I have thought about it. Meg, I like your suggestion to tell him "I'm not willing to put up with you in this mood" and to walk away. I think I'll try that. I tend to make matters worse by going on and on about it and that's never helped anything. I've always thought we should go to counseling at some point, but he seems to be open to it only as a last resort. I'm hoping that a marriage workshop or something similiar will come up in our area. I think I might be able to convince him to do something like that. I just started reading a relationship book that a friend of mine recommended so maybe that will help. Thanks for listening to me ramble. I really appreciate it! If anyone else has suggestions for me send them my way. Thanks!