The Three Words I Couldn’t Say

A guest confession about one of the hardest parts of marriage.

The Three Words I Couldn’t SayI'm really excited for this Guest Confession by Tammy Helfrich!  If you're interested in sharing a Guest Confession, shoot me an e-mail at nick (at) aterriblehusband (dot) com and get you all the details!  Now I'll turn the post over to Tammy.  Be sure to check out some other places to read or listen to Tammy after the post.

There were words I couldn’t say for a long time in my marriage. They weren’t the three words you’re thinking of. I could say those.

I didn’t really think about not being able to say these words. It was implied that I didn’t want to say them, and my husband felt it strongly. I just didn’t realize it.

Don’t misunderstand. We have had a good marriage. We started dating when I was 18, and we were friends first. We stayed together through college and married after seven years of dating. We had fun together. We were comfortable together. There was no doubt in my mind that we would always be okay. We’d make it through whatever life threw at us. That’s what I always thought. There were no worries about staying together.

Then, we had kids. Our marriage changed. There was so much more stress! We had been used to being a couple for so long, that we really struggled with it. Of course, we wouldn’t admit it. Or, I wouldn’t. Suddenly, the third and fourth person in our family, although full of joy and happiness, sucked the life out of our couple time.

It happened slowly over time. I didn’t see it happening. Just like we often don’t see the fifteen pounds creep on, even though we know we are making bad choices. The boys became my priority. Not my husband. I’m a full time working mother and wife. Between a stressful job, two kids and a husband, someone often got left out of the equation.  That person was my husband. His needs and desires for affirmation were put on the backburner.

He tried to tell me. He’d say it casually, or in the middle of a big fight. But, I didn’t want to hear it. I refused to listen. In fact, when he did say it, I would get irritated and think to myself, “I already have two kids. I don’t need a third.” He was just being childish, in my opinion.

Looking back, it’s so clear to me now. But, it wasn’t then. It took a wrecking ball, hours of counseling, and the actual possibility of losing our marriage to finally break down the wall I had built around my heart.

What did I finally have to learn to say?

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