We don’t have to be relationship martyrs. Love yourself first.

Every now and then, I get bombarded with text messages from wives asking for my advice on their marital woes. The thing is I am not a counselor and I can only speak for myself. The fact that the person on the other end is a stranger makes it difficult for me to reply back with any sort of friendly advice.

You know the most common text messages I receive are :

      1.

The Other Woman

      or suspicions of the latter because of questionable text messages caught in their husband’s cellphone.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

2. Tired of changing their husband’s dysfunctional habits or attitude.

It’s not that simple to say leave thy husband especially if one promised to love and honor till death do us part (except abusive behavior because I don’t believe a wife should be a punching bag). I can’t blame these women because I too was once caught in trying to save my husband from despair. Simply said, my life’s focus was on changing my husband instead of myself. Of course, I didn’t know better. I thought being a martyr was the way to go instead of being true to myself, the feisty and bitchy me.

Rather than focusing on my husband, I reinvented myself.

love yourself

Many of us have gone so numb and discounted our feelings so completely that we have gotten out of touch with our needs in relationships. And this is true for all kinds of relationships. We can learn to distinguish whose company we enjoy, whether we’re talking about friends, business acquaintances, dates or spouses. What do we do?

1. We all need to interact with people we might prefer to avoid but we don’t have to force ourselves through long-term or intimate relationships with these people.

2. We are free to choose friends, dates and spouses. We are free to choose how much time we spend with those people we can’t always choose to be around, such as relatives.

3. We can decide how much we want to spend our days and hours. We’re not enslaved. We’re not trapped. And not one of us is without options.

If you look over at my About Me Page, you will see the journey I’ve travelled and continue to take. I changed a significant portion of my routine and lifestyle. I lost weight, maintained a healthier lifestyle, initiated a grief advocacy, expanded my online business and started blogging. I focused on changing myself instead of my husband. The change encompassed a couple of years and which still evolves to this present day.

We may not see our options clearly. Although we may have to struggle through shame and learn to own our power, we can learn to spend our valuable hours and days with the people we enjoy and choose to be with.

If I had a way, I want to share this prayer that I often say to myself.

God, help me value my time and life.

Help me place value on how I feel being around certain people

Guide me as I learn to develop healthy, intimate, sharing relationships with people.

Help me give myself the freedom to experiment, explore and learn who I am and who I can be in my relationships.

We don’t have to be relationship martyrs. Love yourself first.

The end result is a loving and healthy relationship.

my husband and myself

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1352 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.


About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • amen!

  • Few months before we married, I joined a premarital class with my husband. There, I learned about what Noemi wrote in this article. Marriage is about to unite two different persons…I cannot ask my husband to be what I want, but I should change myself to be a better and finally the best partner for him.

  • @Viona- now if only my premarital class told me that, life would have been simpler. All they told us were bible passages.

  • the more i read some articles of your blog and converse with you guys…the more i felt na i’m married (although not) ihhih..

    i think, i can get serious here..

  • re the photo: naks. 😀

  • Wonderful… I’m so happy for you and your husband sis… i can see the love in your picture together.

    While reading your post, I can’t help but think of my own marriage and muse that I also went through what you wrote here:

    “I can’t blame these women because I too was once caught in trying to save my husband from despair. Simply said, my life’s focus was on changing my husband instead of myself. Of course, I didn’t know better. I thought being a martyr was the way to go instead of being true to myself, the feisty and bitchy me. Rather than focusing on my husband, I reinvented myself.”

    It’s really nice that like you, I was able to channel my interest onto things that were more productive and helpful. Of course, I would say I am also happy that my marriage has improved pretty well, thanks to the marriage encounter weekend we attended in Tagaytay.

  • been reading your blog for a while…& i admire you on how you look things in different way considering the “unusual events” in your life..

    congratulations for such healthy spirit..& its nice to read this kind of blog, learning & refreshing…

  • hi noemi, i’m glad that women, both friends and strangers, turn to you for advice. you may not feel qualified to help them, but it sure means they see you as a positive influence in their lives.

  • Hi Noemi…
    The class was really good to join. I got a lot point of view that very useful for marital life. They give so many case study during the lesson, give some kind of questionaire to find out the charachter type of the couples, even a week before the wedding day they give counselling to the couples to make sure that both are ready for the marriage…But, however class lesson is nothing without practise : )…Right? We’re still keep learning to understand each other everyday.

  • Timely advice Noemi. Got to change myself and get out of the trap of being a relationship martyr (this isn’t too late for an extra 2008 resolution, right?) Thanks.

  • @rodel- might be useful once you get married

    @mhel- most married couples go through their own trials and find ways to help themselves

    @annie- pain is a good teacher

    @lady cess- I am not qualified to be a therapist but I think they got inspired whenever I talk about how our marriage got affected and how we fixed it

    @Viona- it helps that we hear the advice before getting married so we can look back to the tips.

    @amomandmore- never too late to change and resolve something for the year.

  • hehe i felt like reading my own mother’s words!

  • While as you say, and I agree, wives should not focus on their husbands, trying to change them but instead should reinvent themselves, husbands on the other hand should do the opposite, that is, try to focus a little more on their wives and see what else they can provide her.
    Sometimes I see myself as being more focused on trying to earn more, and so I arrive at home tired and unable to provide my wife and kids with some quality time. And while wives who have read your post will gladly acknowledge their gratitude to you for pointing what they should do, I for my part should say, am grateful too for making me realize what I should do, too as a husband.

  • raine

    nice advice! hope I can do it!

  • you are right Noime, women especially wives must really love themselves or in your words: reinvent ourselves