When you are over forty and find yourself in an unhappy marriage your stress level increases constantly. You know you feel crummy but you may not realize the toll all that deep unhappiness takes on your health and well being.
I know because I stayed in my marriage ten years too long. It is not as though I was just hanging around wishing and hoping for something to change between my husband and me.
I did everything I knew. I worked on myself because I knew the only person I had control over was me. I could not ask or expect him to change.
I also knew if I changed then he had no choice about changing, at the very least, in how he related to me. Realize this is someone who was disturbed by all my changes and one day proudly announced to me that he didn’t like change and doe his best not to make any changes.
Well, during those last ten years of our marriage I not only worked on myself but I also invited him to step out of the box. Nothing I consciously did worked. However the Universe guided me – and him.
One day he was driving my car. Understand I am addicted to learning – everything! That day my Car University lesson was John Gary’s tape (back then we had cassettes players not CDs) Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Very much to my surprise he started making statements that clearly showed he had listened to the recording.
I was shocked – and delighted. I became so hopeful that I managed to get both of us into couples counseling. Unfortunately he saw that program as way to make me wrong and him right.
Back in those days he thought I was responsible for his happiness and he blamed all his unhappiness on me. Not that I did much better in that area. I knew I alone was responsible for my happiness but I still felt I needed outside validation from him (when it came from others it just didn’t matter) that told me how great I was – just because I exist and not because of anything I do.
See the problem? He could not give me what I thought I needed. Nor could I give him what he wanted. Frankly both of us spent those last ten years in sheer misery.
The stress of such unhappiness landed me in the hospital needing surgery to prevent a hemorrhage situation. To my horror I saw a photograph of myself and realized that I had gained 30 pounds. I got fat! Me, a health fanatic!
Stress does that to you—makes all your hormones crazy.
I could explain all the wellbeing issues but really all that matters is when you live in an unhappy situation you slowly kill yourself. Consider this your wake-up call to action.
Act now. The longer you put it off the steeper the climb back to happiness.