It seems from your letter that you are going through a rough patch in your relationship, which is also a common problem in all relationships. You have got to remember that there will always be ups and downs and you wont always be on the same page. Based on what you have written in your letter about the arguments you and your partner have I believe communication is quite evident issue in your relationship.
“Good communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. When people stop communicating well, they stop relating well, and times of change or stress can really bring out disconnect. As long as you are communicating, you can work through whatever problem you’re facing.”
It seems the “good communication” between you and your partner started to disappear when you were raising your children and always headed in opposite directions. This would be a good place to start in rebuilding a successful marriage. It can start with sharing little things about you day, good and bad. It may even begin with just you sharing and he may be a bit reluctant but soon enough I believe he will join you. The little communication will assist with communicating bigger issues because “as long as you are communicating, you can work through whatever problem you’re facing”. I would suggest questioning and communicating on, why your partner is behaving in a passive method. Best thing to do is have an open discussion with him in which everything is laid out on the table, this way you will be able to figure out if he is having any other problems. I believe it is highly likely that your partner is struggling with other issues that may be stressing him out. There could be many causes to his behavior, especially since you state that you “have always found ways to resolve most issues that have arisen over...[your] 25 year marriage”. I have often released my stress and anger on others, it happens. It happens because sometimes problems are more than a person can handle and only patience will help. Think back to times when something bothered you and you did/could not want to share it with your partner. If you really care about your partner I would suggest asking him if anything is bothering him, I believe that this communication will assist in rebuilding your relationship, by allowing open doors that have been shut for 25years. Communication is key and success. This will also assist with having discussions without feeling “defeated or demeaned”. Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence describes a few