Taking the Actions of Love
Whenever I get grumpy and sad about my disappointments in "shalom bayis", I whine, feel sorry for myself, whine some more, eat some cheese with my whine, and then get sick of it and finally slap myself out of the trance only to discover that love is all I can really give! I can't do any more for my wife than love her.
And the program taught me that the truest definition of love is not a feeling, but an action. Loving my wife means telling her that I love her and will do anything I can for her, put her needs first for me above those of anyone else's (including GYE!), listening to her, being where I say I will be for her and the kids when I say I'll be there, letting go of my complaints about her, and supporting her.
It doesn't mean becoming the gadol hador, always being "right", being more of the handsome, strong and silent type, being romantic, nor does it mean "helping" her to finally fulfill all my fantasies and needs so that I'll finally be happier with her... nope.(Ouch that hurt me.)
This "growing up" did not come easily to me. Maybe whoever is reading this harbors some of these grandiose expectations......"naw, not me!" I say: think again. (What do you have to lose? More disappointments?)
Though my gut told me those things were exactly what we needed me to do in order to make things work out in the end, in the end it was complete hogwash.
The only stuff that matters is the only stuff I can really do: Take the Actions of Love. I do not have, and will never have, power over how my wife reacts to me. All I can do is love her. All those years of hiding, lying (for shalom bayis, of course! ) and manipulating her, were garbage.
And it is working out 1000 times better this way (don't tell anyone!). Throwing the outcomes to Hashem (or at least just not hanging onto them!!!) is the only way for me.