I am deeply conflicted about my marriage of eight years. My husband was a struggling writer when we met and we both fell in love very hard. Back then, he said he was close to completing several books in progress and I believed him. Now, it is eight years later and he has yet to complete even one book. Of the ones closest to being completed, he now tells me he has to do a complete revamp to make the book work. Every year he comes up with new excuses for why the books are not even close to being submitted to a publisher. Even more frustrating, this man spends hours editing videos and DVD's from TV and rented media for his own and our mutual enjoyment. I believe that if he spent as much time on his books as he does in creating DVD compilations, he would have completed ten books by now!
Despite being otherwise very happy with this man, I have become very bitter and disillusioned with him and our marriage. I've lost faith in my husband's authenticity, as he does not seem to be accountable to himself or anyone as to how he spends his days and his life. As the sole bread-winner for our family, all of my attempts to get him to set an end completion date for even one book or to get him to take on a part time job to help us pay the bills have been unsuccessful. Over the past few years, I have gained a lot of weight and am having chronic back pain. On the one hand, I do believe in our marriage vows and would like to live like my parents who stuck it out through thick and thin for over 51 years. On the other hand, I have lost respect for him and I am losing respect for myself. I wonder if I am a weak enabler to someone who is living in a fantasy world and who refuses to be accountable. What should I do?
I surely can understand your trepidation and frustration. I feel ya.You've been more than patient and it's high time, someone poops or gets off the pot.
I am also a writer, so I can understand the mechanics of writers block and all the frustrations, that go with the whole shebang. I have a book, untouched but in need of edit, since 1996. Currently, I have a book in the works, my Bio but it seems that the finish is so far away. I'd tried to write it myself but was unable to. In turn, I've turned it over to, a wonderful and talented writer, who is an Attorney/Law Professor and Writing Teacher. He has a full time tenure with a major University so, he is only able to do just so much. Now, he's had some calamity and crisis in his own life and my book, understandably, had taken a back seat. Hopefully, it will begin again and we can complete this work. I tell you all this only because I realize, unlike other "Jobs", it can be the one that sits on the back burner. The Key word here is "Job."
Your husband may very well have the commonly known Writers Block but my intuition tells me he's lost his MoJo, his inspiration and in all honesty, I think it's a plain ol case of lack of discipline. I also get the impression that he has lost his touch on the real world and needs a Reality Check.
It's also interesting to me, that I have a son, who's a stay at home Dad and guess what he does all day? Yes, he burns, edits and complies movies and the lot. It is his outlet but I do realize that it's partly due to a form of depression and it has become his focus, his outlet. Sadly though, as is also the case with your husband, it has become an irresponsible escape.
It may be worth investigating this actual correlation with depression? Your hubby may be battling a form of depression and just can't seem to focus.(I have a test for depression on my sidebar. maybe ask him to take it?) Obviously, he's not functioning, on a level that society would call the norm. Depression unchecked, can run rampant. It magnifies pain, crisis and often times, makes it difficult to deal with life on life's terms. Addiction just lays there, in lurk, waiting for this formula and visits upon people in this exact situation.
Quite often, the more creative people, tend to have problems with depression. We feel, think and love with such passion, it can often be to our own demise. Depression, a baffling and cunning disease, just like addiction, is hard to climb out of. But it does not give license for dereliction of duty. So, I think it may be time for some understanding but tough love. They have really good medications that may make a difference in his life. He just needs to look at the whole scenario. Tell him to step back, look at this whole ball of wax and see if it looks kosher? Does it look fair, to you? Does it appear normal? Is it excuses upon excuses?
My advice to you would be to make a strong suggestion, that your husband go for a psych evaluation. There's no shame in the game, when you do seek help. But to sit on your laurels, while your wife supports the family, is grievous. It's not fair to you, in any way shape or form.
I'm glad you feel the importance of your vows, as we do speak to honor in sickness and in health. Your husband may not even realize it but he is not behaving in a healthy manor. To fiddle fart around in the name of being artsy fartsy and not finish the books, is one of two things; he's either depressed and can't do it or he's shown no initiative, discipline or drive. Either way, he needs to pull his weight and he's not. That has to be a bit disconcerting, in the manly department. But I think it's been going on for so long, it's just become second nature. As I've said before, I think you've been more than patient.
Make him aware, that he must write and view it, as he would a job. Every day he needs to pull up one of the books, pick whichever one and put in some time. As it stands, if it was his job, he'd have long ago been fired. But he has become lackadaisical and just plain lazy. It is what it looks like, now isn't it?Call a spade a spade. It may very well be, he hides behind his so called revisions?
I'm certainly not throwing stones. I can simply recognize the problem. Keep your own demeanor in check, do not be condescending but assertive with a mandatory tone. Sit him down and speak to him about depression. I'd bet my bippy that this is the problem. He may not be willing to admit it? If he won't admit it, you go on to Act II..."Well then, you need to put the books aside, get on with life, since you can't seem to finish them and get a job." Make him aware, that he is not functioning normally and you're calling him on it. A writer writes. You can't call yourself a writer if you produce nothing and it's sure not, sitting on books for years upon years. So, the fact that he's not willing to work on them, shows you his lack of dedication. (Depression may be why)Then, you ask him just how are you supposed to be supportive when he shows you nothing? It's hard to believe in a ghost until you see one, isn't it? Let him know that he must begin to make an effort before you loose all respect. Tell him you want to believe in him but he's proving you wrong. Ask him, if you'd gone all this time and you told him that you were gonna do this and that but never did, what would he think? Then, ask him, what would he do, if because of your medical conditions, you suddenly decided to play such games and not go to work anymore? Then what? All hell would break loose. Make sure you tell him that it's a damn good thing he can count on you to be responsible. Yep, it's time to step up to bat and take a swing...his turn.
Simply put, I would love if you printed this out and have him read it.
Keeping It Real,