In the movie The Vow, a married woman suffers a brain injury in a car accident. When she wakes up in the hospital, she has no memory of her husband. She had lost two years of short-term memory wiping out the period where she met, fell in love with, and married her husband. The movie is based on the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. Their story is even more compelling than the movie. Two months after they were married is when the horrific accident took place. Both were injured, but Krickitt went into a coma for four months. During that period, Kim never left her side. He was overjoyed when she finally woke up but that turned to disbelief when she had no recollection of him. She even told the doctor she wasn’t married. The next several years were difficult. Not only were all of the memories gone, but her personality had changed. She didn’t like Kim and didn’t want to be around him. Her eyes which used to brighten when looking at him were cold and distrusting. In the midst of the difficulty, Kim and Krickitt remembered their vow, “For better or worse, in sickness and health.” They both made the decision to commit to one another no matter what. Twenty-two years later, their love for one another is stronger than it’s ever been.
Marriages tend to die slowly. People gradually drift apart. Hurt feelings lie unresolved below the surface, distrust creeps in and grows. Eventually, the love in someone’s eyes or in both people goes out. If that is the case, think back on your promise. There is hope to change things. If you desire to go from “my wife hates me” to “my wife loves me,” perhaps you need to make the first move. Here are some moves to make.
Find Out Why
You already understand your point of view. It’s learning the other side that gives you the most correct perspective.You may know the reason(s) already, but if not the most important thing to do is find out. You’ll never be able to address it otherwise. If you are anything like me, you will immediately gear up to defend yourself and throw back counterclaims. Stop for a moment, take a breath, and let those emotions go. Pride and hurt can blind us from the truth. She may actually have a good reason for being upset with you. Try to at least see it before you dismiss it. You already understand your point of view. It’s learning the other side that gives you the most correct perspective. In the end, you’ll make her feel understood. It’s a good basis to move forward.
Double Down on Your Commitment
When things were at their worst, the Carpenters affirmed their commitment to one another. There were many times though where Krickitt would push Kim away. Kim remarked that no matter how mad his wife would get, he knew he had to keep trying. When faced with fire, it’s easy to turn away. Let her know you are committed by making intentional decisions to move towards her. One of the things I love about the character Forrest Gump is that he was faithful to his friends, even when they weren’t. While there were times he was taken advantage of and even walked over, he stayed true. In tough times, marriages need that type of faithfulness. Even when, just for a time, it is one person.
Consistent and Understated Thoughtfulness
Save the grand gestures for later. Bigger things tend to get bigger reactions. If her general disposition towards you is negative, you’ll probably draw a large negative reaction. She may react well, but it is a big risk. Grand gestures also tend to be viewed with skepticism like we’re looking for a quick fix. It’s better to make consistent and understated acts of thoughtfulness. Pick up her favorite dessert, do that chore around the house that she doesn’t like doing, fix little things around the house, make sure everything is working properly with the car she drives, or call or text to let her know when something made you think of her (in a good way). Love strong in the everyday things. In the beginning, it will feel like you are swimming upstream. Gradually the current will lose its strength before finally flowing with you.
Huddle up with your wife and tell her one reason you are thankful for her.