Emotional Abandonment: Shut out by your spouse

Written by Dr. Dave Currie and Glen Hoos

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It’s a complaint I hear regularly from people looking for help for their marriages:“I feel distant from my spouse.” “I try to get my husband to open up, but instead he just shuts down.” “My wife just doesn’t seem interested in me anymore. I feel like we’re a million miles apart.” “I don’t know if I love him anymore.”

What we’re talking about here is emotional abandonment. Instead of physically leaving the relationship, your spouse simply checks out emotionally. They stop investing in the marriage, leaving their mate feeling detached and unwanted. To the outside world the situation can still look rosy, but in reality the relationship is dying a slow, quiet death.

How does a marriage reach this point? Sometimes it’s a slow slide into complacency, and other times it’s a little more sudden. Realize that if it’s a sudden abandonment, there likely is some precipitating event or incident between the two of you that needs to be resolved. On the other hand, if the deterioration has been more gradual, there are probably a lot of little things that have gone unresolved and are taking their toll on the relationship.

Here are some of the specific, primary causes of emotional distance between mates:

  1. Unforgiveness. Emotional abandonment is unforgiveness taken to its extreme conclusion. When we feel that our spouse has hurt us and we refuse to forgive them, we look for ways to protect ourselves from being hurt again in the future. Closing off our heart from the other person is an easy way to do this, but it has deadly consequences. Unforgiveness always leads to isolation. Overcoming unforgiveness requires a willingness to humble ourselves and seek forgiveness when we have hurt our spouse, and it also requires that we be willing to graciously extend forgiveness when our spouse has hurt us. This forgiveness step is based on a desire to re-unite.
  2. Callous treatment. When I am careless in how I treat my spouse, it gets old really quickly. Whether it’s discourteousness, unkindness, or something worse, it creates hurt that may start out small, but can grow into deep wounds as it festers over time. To avoid this, each partner needs to look at their own behaviour regularly and consider whether they are treating their spouse well. A mate, above all people, needs to be treated with gentleness and respect. Remember, your spouse is a gift to you, and they deserve to be treated as something precious.
  3. Lack of effort. Sometimes the problem is a little less obvious than unforgiveness or harsh treatment. It is easy, especially for men, to just assume that the relationship is going along just fine, and so we don’t put in as much effort as we once did. We start to take our spouse for granted, leading them to think that they are not important in our lives. When the marriage slips from being one of the top priorities in the heart of one or both spouses, the other person feels abandoned. This causes them to feel unwanted and then to withdraw into their own world.
  4. Lack of time. Many of us simply try to pack too much into a day. Ruled by the urgent, we fail to make time for the truly important: things like romancing, talking about issues and really developing a friendship with our spouse. We stay constantly busy, erasing quality “couple times” from our schedules. A marriage relationship cannot thrive if our contact with one another is limited to a quick bite of supper or a brief chat before bed. A good marriage requires weekly face-to-face time – both talk and fun.
  5. Fear of talking through issues. Emotional detachment does not just happen out of the blue; there is always something behind it. If one or both of the spouses has an inability or fear of talking through the issues in their relationship, then this kind of disconnect will be the likely result. Usually both know there is something wrong, but they are hesitant to bring it up because they fear their spouse’s reaction. Or perhaps they feel like they’ve been through this before and it hasn’t helped, so why bother? In these cases, there needs to be a clear second look at what it means to resolve conflict in a marriage – how to have a “good fight,” as it were, that really bring things to resolution. Without these skills, and a real courage to step up and deal with problems, the emotional distance will just continue to grow.
  6. Living in denial. A lot of times, when things have started to go a bit sideways in the relationship, we don’t want to admit that it’s happening. Often the person truly needing to make some significant changes is most content to deny the existence of any real issues. We kind of live in denial, as if it’s not really happening, or it’s not that bad, or things will get better in time. But living in denial doesn’t fix things; it only causes the marriage to deteriorate to the point where the couple just does not feel close anymore.

Working through emotional distance

The first step to dealing with emotional abandonment is to identify the root cause and to begin to deal with it. Don’t settle for living in isolation. Ask God for more in your marriage and then trust Him as you faithfully try to make changes. Here are some suggestions for re-establishing a loving connection with your spouse:

  1. Agree to talk. At some point you have to agree to talk about the problems that exist between you. If you’re going to resolve issues, there needs to be a mutual commitment to listen to the other person’s concerns and to work towards improving the situation. Don’t corner your spouse with an unexpected lecture, but set a time and agree to start to work through your issues.
  2. Be prepared. Before you have the talk, take the time separately to think through the unresolved issues that you’ll be discussing. What are your concerns in the relationship? In what areas do you feel you need to improve? What are your expectations of your spouse? To put your thoughts down on paper may be best, but either way, be prepared to be open and honest with each other about the real issues between you. Be sure to take the time to really listen to what your spouse is saying. Give each other uninterrupted time to share your view on things.
  3. Be direct but gentle. Neither of you has anything to gain by holding back your true feelings. Remember: unresolved issues lie at the heart of emotional detachment. So lay all your cards out on the table by sharing your hurts clearly. Don’t allow things to get out of hand. Be committed to talk through things sensibly. Take breaks to cool it if necessary but agree to continue. Ask each other the tough questions, and talk through the difficult issues that have been eating away at your relationship. Regardless of which partner initiated the wrong, you both need to work at resolving the problem.
  4. Begin to meet unmet needs. Often a person pulls back from the relationship because, in their mind, their needs are not being met. A healthy marriage demands that both partners actively work to discern the needs of their spouse, and work to meet those needs. Seek to understand your spouse’s needs and ask yourself how you can start to better express love by meeting these needs. Make your spouse and sorting things out your new priority.
  5. Deal with your own stuff. If I am feeling abandoned by my spouse, I need to ask myself a tough question: What have I done to drive my spouse away? Now it may not be only your responsibility. Nevertheless, you have to find out what you are responsible for and take ownership for your actions. Really listen to your spouse. Of course, there are things that your mate needs to deal with, and they may be withdrawing from you for selfish reasons, but that can’t stop you from taking the steps that you know you need to take. Both parties must be prepared to make apologies and extend forgiveness as part of your recovery from the emotional detachment.
  6. Intentionally re-engage. If you are to re-establish your emotional connection, it won’t happen by accident and it won’t happen overnight. You need to agree to make your relationship a priority and spend some quality time together. Plan a few dates and put each other in your schedules. It’s time to re-enter one another’s lives again.
  7. Act kindly. This may not be a revolutionary new idea, but it can have that kind of an effect on your marriage. You must act kindly toward your spouse. Small gestures of warmth, acts of kindness, and efforts to rekindle the romance between you will go a long way toward renewing your bond with one another. Do this from the heart with real commitment to make the necessary changes.
  8. Love unconditionally. Somebody has to break out of the negative cycle of eye-for an eye, poor treatment for poor treatment. You need to step out of the insult-for-insult cycle and respond differently. You cannot control your spouse’s behaviour, but you can control your own. Regardless of how your spouse responds, you must choose to treat them with love. This is not easy to do when your partner is not reciprocating, but it is what you vowed to do when you promised to love each other “for better or for worse.” And nothing breaks down emotional barriers like unconditional love.
  9. Allow God to work. I’m going to challenge you to ask God to change you. God wants your best and He’ll always be ready to take full responsibility for any life that is totally surrendered to Him. That also includes re-engaging with your spouse and getting attached in love again. God wants that and He will guide you in that, if you’ll allow Him to.

We’ve all got issues to work through in our relationships. Whether your problems stem from bitterness, unforgiveness, dishonesty, lack of kindness, unfaithfulness, or something else, God offers you His power to enable you to live in a way that honors Him. There’s no doubt in my mind that God wants your marriage to work and that you desire to have warmth and a close connection with your spouse. That’s His design. Let’s go after it.

Does God care about your love life?

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186 Responses to “Emotional Abandonment: Shut out by your spouse”

  • trell says:

    my mate, puts me down and belittles me. how do i tell him that i know longer want the relationship. i verbally tell him but he won’t let me go. so i don’t give into him physically. am i going about this the wrong way.

  • Alfred Alfred says:

    Dear Sara, Your spouse seems to love you deeply, but does not speak your love language. There is a book that has helped me and my wife a great deal. It is “The 5 Love Languages”, in which Gary Chapman says that we each have a unique way to want to feel loved! It is very important to learn the language of our spouse so that he / she knows that we care deeply. Those 5 are: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. I encourage you to get that book, both read it, and also realize that there are languages your spouse does NOT like to speak. Blessings to both of you! Reaching out to you from a distance, Alfred.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Sara, I have to say that you use a lot of kind words about your husband and that doesn’t make sense if you want to leave your marriage. Why do you want to end your marriage with him? How does he suffocate you? Have you had opportunity to talk with a counselor about the problems in your marriage?

  • sara says:

    please help me!
    I been married 9 yrs since i was 16 yrs old hes 10 years older. We have 2 amazing daughters… Hes one of a kind husband. Hes an amzing man but not for me anymore… I feel I want out of this relationship… He dosent he loves me to much that he suficates me… I dnt know what to do?
    I want another lifestyle… my children are most important to me.. i dnto wanna scar them for life so does that mean i have to just stay and hope one day it will all be okay…?
    AM just 26 Hes know 37… hes a great person, and father and am scared to hurt him…

  • Bridgette Bridgette says:

    Dear Lyan,

    I think your faith is so strong. It is so true and I agree with you that absolutely nothing is impossible with God. I can’t imagine the kind of pain you are having to go through and how overwhelmed you must feel. But I know that Father God can completely empathize with you and that He will give you everything you need right now. Lyan, you are such a beautiful woman of God and you have been blessed with so much strength. Do you remember the story of Joshua in the Old Testament? Before Joshua was about to take new land for the Israelites, God told Joshua to not be afraid but to be very strong and very courageous. I pray that as you spend time with the Lord and as your true identity in Christ is washed over you again that you will be able to rise up even amidst this storm. That you will be able to rise up and have hope like the wings of eagles. I also pray that there would be a huge shift in your marriage and that your husband would come back to Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

    It might be like baby steps Lyan, but if you decide to spend a chunk of time with God everyday and mentally refuse the negative comments your husband directs at you: You will become stronger. Also, it may be a good idea to even evaluate your situation with another person who is close to you, a counsellor or even a Pastor. While it is so important and necessary to pray and believe that God can do the impossible it is also wise to make sure that you are safe in your marriage. Do you have anyone else near you that you can talk with?

  • Lyan says:

    Hi Bridgette,
    Thank you for praying for me. I believe nothing is impossible for God. He will make all things new, its hard for me right now, as my husband rubs it in so much, even with his wondering eye like he is looking for someone new, but God is able. Pray for me to receive understanding and believe in what God says about this situation so I can give it to Him. Pray for me to walk in the spirit and freely receive healing, the power of abuse sometimes overwhelmes me and I forget who I am in Christ. Pray for my husband to come back to Jesus.
    Thank you and be blessed.

  • Bridgette Bridgette says:

    Dear Lyan,

    We can pray right now. Dear Father God, I thank-you for the truth about Lyan–that she is beautifully and wonderfully made in your eyes. Lord, thank-you for the way that you created her body and that having curves is actually a very attractive feature that you have blessed her with. Father we pray in the name of Jesus that the unhealthy control and the abuse would stop in Lyan’s marriage. We also pray for Lyan’s husband and that your love would soften his heart towards Lyan. Lord we pray for your grace and mercy in this difficult situation that Lyan is in–Father we pray that your love would come down and wash away any fear about her weight and the loneliness she feels in being isolated from her husband. We also pray that the fraudulent idea that being “skinny” is beautiful would be broken down in Jesus Name. We pray for the truth to reign in this house and in their marriage. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

    Lyan, do you want to talk more about this painful situation you are in? Our mentors are free and the conversations are completely confidential. Just click here if you think this kind of support would benefit you. God bless.

  • Lyan says:

    Please pray for me. I have been married 3 years and my husband says he is not attracted to me anymore. He says his ex-girlfriend was better. We met at the church and we are both christians. My husband calls me fat and tells me to lose weight every day. I have tried to lose weight to a point where I look sick. My weight is normal, I do not have any health problems but I am curvy and he says that is not attractive. He met me at the same weight, but even when I lost weight, he did not compliment me, he wants me to be skinny like the models. He wants me to comb my hair a certain way, he picks my clothes and will not walk with me if I wear abit of color, he will not allow me to wear jewellery, he refuses to visit my parents who live in another country because he says, its not important, since we are married already. He has refused to have children, he looks at me with disgust and is upset everytime we are together. I do not know what to do, he won’t let me invite my friends to the house because they are a different race but most of all, he spends more time watching TV and hugging a big teddy bear. If the teddy bear is not in the bed, he will not sleep, he will not touch me, but will caress the teddy bear and hug it all night. I feel so left out. I have been praying, been on so many diets, my body is now all messed up. My focus from the Lord has been diverted to this weight loss issue. My husband wants me to be skinny like a certain race of people, but where I come from women have curves. He tells me that it will be embarassing if we divorce because I refused to lose weight. I have just about had enough abuse, I do not know what else to do but trust in God. Please pray for me and my husband.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Wendy, I am so sorry that your marriage has not worked out the way that you expected. I wish I had some quick solutions to make things turn around for you and your husband but I don’t think there are any easy answers. There are things you can do but a lot of the success of those ideas depends on your husband and what he is willing to invest in your relationship.

    One of the best pieces of advice I can give to anyone who is dealing with marriage problems is to look to Jesus for help. I know that lots of people are going to write that off as religious propaganda but I want you to know that it is true. Jesus doesn’t magically make marriage problems disappear but He will give you confidence to face the problems no matter what they might be, He will give you wisdom and direction so that you can be walking the best possible path in difficult circumstances and He will walk that path with you giving you comfort and peace in all circumstances.

    I wish I could say that I have a perfect marriage but that is just not the case. The biggest reason for that is because I am in this marriage. I know I make mistakes and don’t treat my wife like I should. What we have found though, is that Jesus helps us understand one another better and He anchors our priorities and values so that we are working toward the same goals. And the biggest thing is that He is working on me to change me into the man He intended me to be. You know how people who spend time together start acting like one another? Well, the more I hang out with Jesus and get to know Him the more my life changes so that I start reflecting His character. I know my wife wishes it would happen faster but we trust Jesus to work on us at the pace He knows is best.

    Jesus can change you and Jesus can change your husband. I challenge you to check it out, see if I am telling you the truth or not. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

  • Wendy says:

    hey…. Im having a really rough time with my marriage we decided to live together Bc I got pregnant.. From that point instated noticing how much he liked to drink. He works at a shop owned by his brother and he goes in at 9 ishh and comes home around 9 or 10 sometimes even at 11:30 he says he stays to work on extra stuff or stays to drink a few beers with his friends there but it’s way too much I feel like i get up in the morning see him and cook clean the house spend time with my bby Andy only see her dad at night and by that time his too tired to talk etc, I feel really lonely idk what to do I’m getting bitter and moody me and him
    Fight a lot. Yesterday he drooped me off at his brothers house and left me there and never came back with his brother he claimed he was going to but it was too late I needed to put the bby to sleep so I got his sister in law to take me home.. I am not sure if I love him anymore I think our marriage needs help… I talk to him & it seemed pointless he goes back and does the same thing I’m thinking of leaving him

  • roxie says:

    Bridgette, thank you for your prayers. I needed that support and understanding. My husband is going to counseling. I still don’t understand everything that is going on with him, but at least it is giving me hope.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Danielle, I just got an email from my friend with one more book suggestion for you. She said to also see if you can get a copy of And Baby Makes Three by John & Julie Gottman. This book is all about preserving marital intimacy after the arrival of a baby. Be encouraged, you are definitely not alone in this.

    Ok, true story, just as I was typing this my phone rang and it was my friend’s husband (who also speaks at marriage conferences with her). He says to tell you that another great book is Great Parents, Lousy Lovers by Dr. Gary Smalley (he’s the guy who wrote The 5 Love Languages.) He also said to tell you that you that you can watch a video of Dr. Smalley talking about this topic here.

    So there you go, there are three people who you’ve never met that firmly believe that your marriage can heal. The friends I went to for advice have been married over 20 years and have spoken to thousands at marriage conferences. I know that it is really hard right now, but I promise you that getting divorced is not easier. Getting divorced is like having surgery without anaesthesia. It is incredibly painful and it hurts for a very long time. You and your husband can work through this. There is hope for you.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Danielle, I wonder if your husband is frustrated by your family helping out because he feels that they are doing things that he should be doing, but can’t because he’s overseas? I wonder if he feels like it’s less his house and he’s reacting out of fear that he’s not needed? I know that sometimes when a person says, “If you want to go, I won’t stop you” it’s a reflex reaction, an attempt to make it hurt less by pretending that they are not bothered. That’s not to say that it doesn’t hurt, it definitely does, but I would caution you not to take him at his word on this. It’s really hard to have a conversation like that over the phone where you can’t see the person’s body language.

    Has your husband met your daughter yet? I wonder if he is jealous that you get to spend all this time with her while he is missing out on time that he knows he’ll never get back? How much longer is your husband going to be in Iraq?

    One thing you should know for sure is that you are not alone in this experience. I did a quick Google search on “husband distant after baby” and got 48 million hits. I spoke to a good friend of mine who has been a speaker at marriage enrichment seminars for years and her advice was this: don’t try to communicate, just try to connect. Communication can come a little later. If there’s distance the first thing you need to do is reform that connection. She said to tell you that it is very normal to run into situations like yours, especially after a baby and even more so at the three to four year mark. She said that if you can push through there is a lot of hope for your marriage.

    She also said that many men get distant after the birth of a baby because they feel like they are no longer your #1 priority. When it was just the two of you, you focussed on him a lot. But now that there’s a baby, the baby needs your attention and a baby can’t wait. You can overcome this distance by focussing on connection, even while he’s so far away. (She also noted that this distance is particularly challenging in your situation because with your husband all the way in Iraq you can’t have sex, which would help to overcome the distance.)

    I asked her if there was a book she would recommend to you and she suggested two, both by Dr. Pat Love (we are not affiliated with Dr. Love, and we get no monetary benefit from recommending her books, they’re just fantastic resources):

    How To Improve Your Relationship Without Talking About It

    and

    The Truth About Love: The Highs, The Lows and How You Can Make It Last Forever

    This is not an impasse in your relationship, it’s a season. It’s not a fun season, but I truly believe that there is hope for you and your family.

  • Danielle says:

    Hello Claire Colvin, thank you so much for responding. He’s not in the military, he is a contractor overseas. I have my side of the family that is here and are very supportive with EVERYTHING, that’s a problem with him. He feels as if they try to dictate what goes on in our home, when they are merely helping us out with the maintenance of the household as well as our daughter. The issues as far as the family was there before our daighter was born, it’s just being passed on to her. I recently had a discussion with him, and his attitude was well if you want to leave then I am not going to stop you nor will I ask why, now what caring husband tells his wife the woman he is suppose to love something like that? I just don’t feel appreciated as a wife or the mother of our child. As far as sitting down with his mother to have a conversation, I think that is something that I would do, because it’s getting to a point to where it is bothering me…..What to say?, I pray that God guiudes the conversation, because I don’t want her to disrepect me nor do I want to be rude to her. I just feel as if he has given up on this marriage, and now I’m trying to figure out what use would it be for one person to continue trying if the other party isn’t. It almost makes me feel as if he is choosing his family over me. Not a good feeling at all. You are right I need a BREAK!!!!

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Danielle, I can understand the frustration you must be facing. It’s hard when it feels like you’re the only one making an effort and even then nothing is good enough for the other people. I do not know you, but I would imagine that with your husband gone to war and a new baby at home you’re probably under a great deal of emotional stress. It sounds like you’re feeling rather alone, perhaps a little abandoned with this baby. Babies are wonderful but they are also all-consuming. If you’re single parenting right now it means that everything is on your shoulders and that’s a lot to carry. Are you getting any support anywhere? Is your family close by? Is there any support from the military community?

    I wonder if you might be reading the situations with his family a little harsher than you might usually because you’re under so much pressure? I would strongly encourage you not to think about divorcing your husband. I know that things are really hard right now, but I believe that they can get better, especially if you can get some help. You’re going to need some relief, a break of some kind. I don’t know if there’s a babysitting co-op in your area, if there’s a friend that can trade off babysitting with you? Is your family close by can any of them help out?

    Once you’ve got some support for yourself and you’re a little more rested, see if you can have a conversation with your Mother-in-Law. Perhaps that two of you can come to a better understanding. See if you can talk to your husband, but understand that he is also in a very stressful situation and may have less resources to be able to share with you. You’re both under a lot of stress. There are probably other military Moms that can give you support and understanding because they have been where you are. Also, if you would like to talk to one of our mentors, mentoring is a free and private service. You can use this form to contact a mentor.

  • Danielle says:

    Hello, I’m battling some things right now. My husband is in Iraq and I am in the USA. I just had our daughter 8 mths ago and since then it seems as if we have become very dustant. He doesn’t make an effort to call, and when I call him he says oh I’ll call you back and he never does. About three weeks ago his family had a reunion and I was unable to go, he got an attitude about that, he didn’t display it towards me, but I am starting to see it now. His grandfather passed away earlier in the year, and I didn’t go to the funeral because they never called to inform me of anuything until I called them the day prior to. Let alone his family doesn’t even respect me as his wife, my name wasn’t even in the obituary. He says that I am not supportive while he is away. What pisses me off with his family is that they don’t come to see his daughter who is 20 miles in the city with me. Everytime they have seen her was on the account of me going to the country to let them see her. They don’t even call to see how she is doing. When I say his family I am talking about his mother, grandmother, brother, aunts, and uncles. It just pisses me off how they treat us. Am I wrong for being distant? For those reasons I think that we are becoming distant, lately I have been wanting to just give up and get a divorce after being married fo ronly almost 4 years. What could be the real problem here?

  • Bridgette Bridgette says:

    Dear Roxie,

    It sounds like you are in an incredibly painful situation. It makes total sense that you feel empty, lonely and depressed–deliberate rejection from your spouse is probably one of the most painful things to go through. I am sorry that your 8 year old also has to feel the brunt of this rejection as well. I can see why you are thinking of trying to find a way to be numb to this pain of rejection because your hurt is so great. I may not have personal experience in the marital relationship but I can relate to the desperation of wanting to be numb because of pain.

    May I pray with you?

    Lord, I lift Roxie up to you today and I pray Lord that your healing and comfort would descend upon her like a dove. Lord, you are our Saviour and the One who bore all our sins on the cross. It says in Isaiah 53 that by your wounds we are healed and that you bore all our deep grief and sorrow. Lord, I pray that you would continue to give Roxie the courage to talk to You about her pain and rejection from her husband. Lord, thank-you that you can completely empathize with Roxie because Jesus, you were a man who was aquatinted with sorrow. Lord, I thank-you that healing of the heart is possible no matter how terrible the situation. Thank-you that in your word you promise to bind up the broken hearts and that you will restore all hope. Lord I pray Hosea 2 over Roxie- that you would gently lead her and speak tenderly to her. You know what it is like to be forsaken and rejected Jesus–I pray that Roxie would be restored into your arms of comfort and love despite her situation with her husband. Thank-you that you never leave her or abandon her. All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

  • roxie says:

    I am so depressed and lonely from being shut out by my husband. I don’t like being around him because it just makes me sad and he is usually just mean anyways. I have 2 kids from a previous marriage that he suddenly says are not his and he does not want to deal with. My five year old son adores him and probably cant remember a time without him in his life because he was so young when we met. I know my 8 year old can see and feel his detachment. No matter how hard I try, nothing works. It seems like he doesn’t like me. He hardly speaks to me at all now, even about day to day stuff. I just want to find a way to be numb so his rejection will stop hurting so much. I try not to care and am starting to feel more detached myself, but now I also feel empty and lonely.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi JamieBeth,

    First and foremost, no I do not believe that God is punishing you for what happened in your first marriage. It sounds like you are a Christian, if so you know that God promises that when we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us. You know that the Bible says that God removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west. It’s done, paid for, finished. That’s the work of the cross and the miracle of grace. It’s one of Satan’s favourite lies to tell us that God is angry with us, that we’re unworthy, messed up, broken or inferior. It’s not true, but man it can be a powerful lie. Refuse to listen to that lie.

    The thing that stood out to me the most in your comment was when you mentioned that your husband has a military background and is dealing with PTSD. PTSD is serious stuff and it can manifest in a whole bunch of different ways. I do not know what your husband saw during his service but I know that for many men and woman coming back from war, they saw awful things. I would imagine that it’s highly likely that what you’re experiencing in your marriage is being driven at least in part but his PTSD.

    So what do you do? You’re going to need some resources. Are you in contact with other military families? Does he stay in touch with friends of his from the service? They might have an idea of where to start. We have a sister site Military Lives that is specifically for military families. I’d recommend requesting a mentor through the Military Lives site (you can fill out the form here). There are people there who have been where you are and can help you find additional resources. Mentoring is free and private.

    You can’t force someone into counselling, even when you know that they really need it. What you can do is lead by example. Have you considered going to counselling alone? If you make sure that your husband knows that you would like to learn how to make your marriage stronger and that he is welcome to come, counselling can be an excellent resource. If he sees that you are serious enough about it to go, he may decide to come with you. If not you’ll still be getting excellent resources to help grow your marriage.

    In the mean time, be very demonstrative in how you love your husband. If you’re pulling away he’ll feel that. For most of us when someone pulls away we pull away too. So reverse that behaviour, pull in close to him instead. You said that you don’t want to nag, so don’t. If you’ve mentioned counselling and he’s not interested, then tell him that you are going to counselling and leave it at that. He may be in a place where counselling feels impossible and if the only time he gets to talk to you counselling is the only subject it can be really hard. So make sure you talk about other things. He knows what you want. By going to counselling yourself you’ll show him that this is an issue you can work at together, rather than a problem that is just his to deal with.

    Have you ever read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? It talks about how each of us “hears” love in a different way. One person might needs to hear the words, while another wants time spent together. See if your husband will read the book with you and talk about what your love languages are.

    Just the other day my pastor’s wife was talking at an event I was at. The two of them have been married more than 2 years. She said that one of the rules in their house is that they never say the word divorce. They don’t joke about it. They don’t threaten with it. It is simply not a word in their house. She said that they do that because, “You can’t be tempted by what you don’t consider.” Don’t consider it. Make sure your husband knows that you’re not going anywhere, you’re not looking for an out, you’re only looking for how your marriage can be even better.

  • JamieBeth says:

    I’ve read on here so many stories of monotony and time ruining a marriage. It seems to me thatthose issues stem from becoming bored with each other and yourselves. As to my predicament, I really can’t find resolution.. I’m 27 and this is mytsecond marriage. My first fell apart because my immaturity and age provided lack of knowledge in how to appreciate my spouses needs and my callous behavior. After my divorce at 23 I felt like a complete failure. I knewall of our problems were my undoing. I spent 3 years commiting myself to changing my behaviors, expanding my maturity and really honing my attributes my DNA provided. I did a complete 180 and I truly feel I have come to a place of inner peace and acceptance.

    Tossing around the idea of marriage a second time to a different man seemed like such a hypocritical action.. Was I ready? Would I fall back into old habits of unappreciativeness? No, I didn’t. I’ve remained in interest with him, relentlessly patient with his mental illnesses, and quirky unusual reclusiveness.

    We’ve been married 2 months and there is no connection… I am pulling away because I don’t want to act like the angry nagging wife I was in my first marriage…, but I cant figure out why HE is pullin away. I’ve been on my ”best behavior” since meeting him — how could he not be emotionally or physically supportive toward me??? I know he is suffering from PTSD from his previous employement with the military, but how do i get him excited to go to counceling, or start a mental awareness program, or seek professional assistance.

    Is God punishing me because I was such a young horrible wife and divorced before? I dont know what routes to taketo continue to cater and be patience with my husbands conditions and emotional abandonment — not just towards me.. But to everyone.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear MaMa of B&C,

    I felt sad as I read your post. You have endured a lot and my heart goes out to you. How is your heart? Have you been letting the Lord shower you with His affection and attention? Or noticing it as He does so? I find this so, so important myself. After enduring heartache, rejection and pain for so long, our human tendency is to harden our hearts. We may try to stop feeling or stop caring because that seems like the only way to avoid being hurt more.

    I want to pray for you now: “Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this woman, her husband and their precious children. Thank You for the many good things You have blessed them with. Thank You for continually being willing and able to come into the midst of our mess and pick up the pieces. Help us to trust You more, help us to rely on You Holy Spirit more, help us to really believe that You are taking care of EVERY detail of our lives, and we have not been forgotten. Most especially, I pray for this woman that she would know and see the ANSWERS to her prayers. I know that You have promised to answer, to be our Good Shepherd, and so I firmly stand on that promise. In Jesus’ precious and powerful name I pray, Amen.”

    For myself, I prayed for a long time that my husband would change. It sometimes felt like I was beating my head against a brick wall. I didn’t want to hear and accept what God was saying, so I thought He wasn’t answering. Then one day He finally got through to me… I was crying on the floor in my room and I heard, “I want to change you.” I wasn’t willing, I didn’t see how I should change or why, I wanted to focus on the ‘problem’ and find the ‘problem’, but God was ahead of me. He had the solution and He insisted, “I want to change you.” Only because of how gentle and firm He is, I surrendered. Now, two years later, I can hardly believe how much and greatly He has changed me, and how different my prayers are. The things I used to pray for my husband were more like complaints, but now the Lord has taught me how pray. He is good. His plan for you is good, perfect and pleasing. It may not LOOK that way or FEEL that way, but dare to believe Him anyway, commit to trusting Him through the fire…and how blessed and joyful you will feel on the other side.

    Ultimately, marriage is a beautiful part of God’s design. Many of the hopes and dreams that we have when we marry – for an intimate partner, friend, companion – are truly God-given. He wants to fulfill those hopes and dreams in our lives, and He will – but we can’t, not in our own strength and not when we try to do it our way. As Gary Thomas asks, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy instead of happy?” It is the theme of a great book called Sacred Marriage. Maybe you can get your hands on a copy. Also, “Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs” by Emerson Eggerichs is so, so helpful.

    Maybe you will consider connecting regularly with one of our mentors. Here is the link: http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/

    I will continue to pray for you, and would be glad to hear back from you!

    Kate

    P.S.

    Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.

    (1 Chronicles 4:10 ESV)

  • MaMa of B&C says:

    In need of suggestions.Unable to pinpoint the problem. Husband and I together 16 years and married for 14. Problems of unattached, unemotional and disconnect from bonding on husband’s part started around time of pregnancy of my first son 14 years ago. Husband is great provider for our two sons and myself. Very unhappy and see no way to correct or connect to him anymore.
    I am very attractive and an educated professional, yet fear leaving this unproductive relationship due to minor children. Yet do not want the boys to learn it’s okay to ignore and avoid your spouse. The only physical contact we have is direct sex. No touch, no kiss on cheek or mouth,no nice remark or compliment. Once the act is over there is total disconnect. This is not new and has been going on since May 1998. I frequently touch him, call him handsome, text him something as a nice comment and get nothing or avoidance in return. I get so frustrated and don’t ever initiate sex since pregnancy of first child because of the avoidance and him denying my want/need for connect.
    When in public, around friends, camping, school and work functions, kid’s activities husband races away from the whole family as if we are an embarrassment and avoids eye contact with me.
    He frequently ditches myself and the two boys when he has the opportunity to be with buddies, even after he work Monday through Friday with these same friends. Frequently works away from home since we married so the weekends is the only “family” time we get. I do realize he needs alone time too each week. He includes the family to attend an event with him and his friends only to be ignored, ditched or not included is hurtful and a waste of valuable time.
    My only outlets are my children, playing organ for church, working out, my nursing career, shopping, church functions. Wish my husband could be another outlet.
    Living with bitterness is not my demeanor. No true close friends only colleagues. Fear of failure and embarassment talking to my minister. Past handful of fights with spouse stems from lack of closeness/intimacy. Of course he doesn’t see an issue and becomes aggressive and mad leaves to avoid talking or developing a plan. Gave up bringing concern with him for past couple years due to no change. Miss being touched and wanted as prior to marriage.
    How do I deal with this and how many years do I stay in this mundane, non connecting marriage? Stay till kids grown? Continue on till death? Just find another outlet? Look for someone that will connect better? How do I fix this? Praying for years for change, God not answering or directing me yet.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Rosy, I am so sorry that you have had to go through this. It is a terrible thing to be betrayed by your spouse like that. Are you still together or has he left the house to live on his own? Does your brother-in-law have contact with him and will he help encourage him to stop? What kind of support do you have? Do you have friends and family that are helping you? Let me invite you to talk with one of our online mentors who are great at listening and caring. Just fill out a Mentor Request Form at http://powertochange.com/experience/talk-to-a-mentor and a mentor will contact you by email.

    Let me pray for you and your marriage; Heavenly Father I pray for Rosy as she deals with the hurt and anger of her husband’s betrayal. I ask that You would comfort her and strengthen her for this ordeal. I pray that You would give her wisdom of knowing how to proceed according to Your perfect plan for her. I pray that she would have godly people in her life who can help comfort her and pray with her. Father I pray for her husband and ask that he would come to his senses, repent and return to his commitment to love his wife only. I pray that You would bring people who would challenge him and speak godly advice. Heal this marriage and these hearts. I ask for this according to the promise and power of Jesus Christ, amen.

  • Rosy says:

    My husband grew distance after 25year of marriage and started to see another woman. An 40yrs and he is 60yrs. His brother says that he is having a late mince crises

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Leslie, I don’t think that God is going to answer that prayer because He does not want you and your husband to be content with a shallow love. Your husband’s personality of wanting “new books to read” goes against what God wants for him and for you. To pursue those kinds of shallow relationships will end up taking him farther and farther from God’s best for him.

    His analogy is all wrong because people are not books. You are not the same person that he married. Life has changed you and there is much that your husband will discover about you if he is willing to make the effort to know you and take the risks in being known by you.

    I think a far better prayer is that your husband would awaken to the beauty of two lives growing and maturing together in unity and love. There is comfort in the safety and familiarity of that love but it is not boring. There are new discoveries that will help both of you to become more than you ever could by yourself or you ever could leaping from one new relationship to another. Pray that God would lead you to creative new ways of knowing your husband so that you can see him as he really is and love him in spite of his weaknesses. Those prayers are in line with God’s plan for you and are prayers that He will answer.

  • Leslie says:

    My husband and I have been married for 8 years and we have a lovely daughter. Before we married and about a year after, we enjoyed being together so much. However, when we had our daughter, my husband became distant. He is always busy and comes home very late at night. We have very little time together, dinner once a week and a Sunday afternoon as a family. When we do have the time, it isn’t the quality time–he’s around but he is constantly on his computer or watching TV or sleeping. He can’t even concentrate being present even during dinner. Alot of times he is talking on the phone or chatting/texting. However, there is one thing he’ll always want to do with me every night and that is to have sex. But because of lack of connection, I find it really difficult to make love with him. I am also tired because he would come home when I’m already asleep and wake me up to have sex with him. We used to have fights and try to resolve the issue. When I got sick, he didn’t bother me as much about having sex. But 2 years after that, I caught him having an affair. It looked like the end of our marriage but he was sorry and I forgave him. It still hurts to think about it but what hurts more is nothing in our relationship has changed. He still remains busy and not present in this way and I am very lonely. I tried to cope with it by just trying to fill the time I miss him with other things–spending time with my friends, exercising, watching movies, reading books, focusing on my daughter–so that we wouldn’t fight like last time but the loneliness is driving me crazy. I feel like a single who is still looking for love and wishing I have a special person beside me–the problem is, I already do but he’s never around. Last night we talked about it again and he admitted he realized that he is a person who likes to read new books but doesn’t like to go back to the old books no matter how much he liked it. He said I was like a old book that he was happy to keep but he still wants to go out into the world and read new books. Because he knows what is in the old book, he just finds himself not spending time with it much. He is saying it is his personality and he didn’t intend to desert me. It’s just who he is and if he had known before, he would never have married because he now knows he could never stay fixated on one person long enough. He likes to keep having new relationships. I believe him, because he does that to his friends too. He doesn’t have best friends, just alot and alot of friends and colleagues. He feels bounded when he is one person too long but enjoys freedom when he is with new people everyday. I am the exact opposite. I love to stay with one person and connect in a deep way. I am exhausted when I engage with too many new people. So we are mismatched but we love each other so much. We love our daughter too and it’s great when we connect as family, even if it’s just the rare hour of the week. I pray to God I could be content with just this and not demand so much.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Jackie,

    I can ‘hear’ the pain and frustration in your post. We are all worthy of love, respect, affection and attention. It sounds like you have been running on empty in all of these categories for a long while. My heart goes out to you.

    I want to assure you that there is hope, real hope, hope that is solid, firm, unchanging and sufficient to get you through even this:

    Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
    (Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)

    You are clearly in need, and the changes that we pray to see in your husband – that he would rise up to be the respected head of your household, that he would love you as Christ loves the church, that he would treat you and your children as precious and beloved, his greatest treasure in this life – are not likely to happen overnight. BUT you do not have to wait to be fulfilled. Talk to Jesus, feel His gentle touch, get to know Him, introduce your kids to Him, see how He is endlessly doing everything for you for the sake of His love for you, be changed by knowing that He died for you…

    I think that as you develop your relationship with Jesus you will find (as I found in my own situation) that your heart will soften toward your husband. You may want to scream back at me now “Why should I soften? He is the problem?!” or some other retort — but don’t take it from me, experience Jesus for yourself and see the miracles He will work out in your heart, in your household, in your husband and in your marriage.

    God is with you and for your family. Please post again anytime to let us know how we can continue praying for you.

    Blessings,
    Kate

  • jackie says:

    I’m tired of telling my husband the same things over and over. We’re going on 20 years with two kids. He doesn’t talk to me or touch me. I don’t even know him. The kids don’t like him. I stay because of them. I know life would be harder if we divorced. He NEVER does anything for OTHERS. If he died today I would have nothing positive to say. He only says he’ll try after I get mad but never does. I don’t know what to do. I’m still attractive and fun to be around. He’s really not interested in being a good husband or father. I’m thinking he doesn’t have a soul.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Amy,

    I am so, so sorry to hear about your long ordeal. I have never heard a story of such terrible rejection from day one. How have you coped? Do you have extended family, a church family or friends that have supported you? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Honestly, I cannot imagine the feelings you must have experienced. My heart also breaks as I contemplate the terrible pain your husband must be hiding from. As I picture him, down in the basement, I picture a little boy, afraid and thinking he is unable to cope. O, how he needs the Saviour to pull him up out of the pit, to cleanse him, to dress him in fresh robes of righteousness and clothe him in salvation! (Read Isaiah, especially chapter 61). I imagine him as a child, the good boy and wonderful man and husband that God designed him to be as God knit him together in his mother’s womb…and I wonder what lies, what chains are holding that wonderful man and husband captive? Let me pray:

    Dear Lord Jesus, You know EVERYTHING about Amy and her husband. You see the pain and You see the lists of “impossible” that they have both written in their heads. I pray Lord for MIRACLES in their HEARTS, because You are LORD, holy and almighty and Your word says NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. Give them faith to believe, ears to hear what the Spirit is saying and eyes to see Your resurrection power at work in their lives. With You there is ALWAYS hope, always. Thank You Father for hearing and answering these prayers in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

    Amy, please feel free to request a mentor who would be glad to walk with you, to encourage you and to pray for your needs. Here is the link: http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/

    I will, of course, continue to pray for you and your husband. I especially encourage you to read Isaiah 61 whenever that feeling of ‘no hope’ tries to sweep over you. God is good and He is able.

    With the unfailing love of Christ,
    Kate

  • Amy says:

    I certainly know what Emotional Abandonment: Shut out by your spouse is all about. My husband and I have been married 45 years and he shut me out the day after the wedding. He moved his things down to the basement, and started work a job on the midnight shift.He never took vacation and worked as much as he could. I asked why did he work so much and leave me alone night after night. He said that our wedding night was disappointing, no excitement, it was disgusting, and totally not worth the effort. So to not make that mistake again he moved down stairs. I told him I wanted a family with kids, love, fun times and intimacy. He just said that will never happen. If you want kids and intimacy find a boy friend. I just want to be left alone and don’t talk to me, leave me a note if you need something fixed. I left him a note that I wanted our marriage fixed, in return he said nothing is wrong with our marriage now don’t bother me. Were in our 60s now nothing has changed, I’m depressed, still confused, and totally given up on our marriage, its only a piece of paper filled with no hope or love. He retired now and still cooped up downstairs living like a scruffy old man, no TV, phone or computer totally unaware of whats going in the world.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Joe,

    Thank you for sharing and for having the courage to ask some tough questions. Sometimes fear of the answer can even keep us from asking.

    The first thing I notice is that you said you want to earn your wife’s forgiveness. How about thinking about it from God’s perspective? If you have repented and asked forgiveness, putting your faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, then you ARE forgiven. Walk in that forgiveness, trusting God and what HE says about you and who you are in Christ. Satan likes us to think we have to earn forgiveness, but ultimately we cannot ever earn it because we are so broken and corrupted. Instead God grants us forgiveness freely, totally by grace as we put our faith in Jesus. Similarly, He will affirm you and praise you as often as your heart desires. He will reassure you and comfort you, strengthen you and free you from your chains. Do you have a pastor you trust? At my church we often do freedom sessions, which is really just sitting down with some trusted, mature Christians and then listening to the Lord as He tells you the truth about who you are. It might mean walking back through tough memories, but then you see where Jesus was and how He desires to redeem our whole lives for His glory.

    Second, you ask if counseling can help, even if it is only one-sided (at first). The answer is: NOTHING is impossible with God. He can bring water forth from a rock, He can turn a desert into flowing streams, He can make a path through the wilderness and lead you and your wife right into the promised land… what it takes is putting your faith in Him, trusting Him to do it, to lead you through, to bring about the changes… and what you must do is obey as you simply follow Him.

    There are so many wonderful testimonies on this site and elsewhere about marriages that have been resurrected when they were totally dead. Nothing is beyond God’s reach, not even the grave! That is the testimony of Jesus’ resurrection! You might be encouraged by a video of the Scruggs, available at iamsecond dot com in the marriage section. Another really great resource is a book called “Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs” by Emerson Eggerichs. I think this book would go a long way to helping you both if your wife would consider reading it too. The book addresses the very situation you are in: a wife who says, “I love you but…”. Do not think you are the first to hear this, or that it is irreparable. In fact, “I love you, but” is actually a great starting point. God can teach you how to ignite a fire out of that spark. God loves to take the “but” in our lives and transform it!

    But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    (1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV)

    You can also consider corresponding regularly with a mentor, who would be glad to encourage you and pray with you. You can request one through http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor.

    Whatever today brings, please surrender that skepticism and let your faith lead. God understands that our hearts are prone to fear, worry and quitting, but HE is ABLE and WILLING, so put your faith in Him, obey Him and He will do it!

    Praying for you, your wife, your marriage and your children. Stand up for your household and fight the good fight brother.

    Kate

  • Joe says:

    My wife and I met at work when we’re 19-20. Within months of dating we found out she was pregnant. It has been almost 10 years and 2 more children in this relationship and it is fundamentally broken. I struggle with addiction and for the first 8 years lied to her about my off and on use. It ate me up inside and kept me from my relationship with god. On top of that I seem to always want reassurance that I am good or loved. The addiction makes it worse, when you are lying and using it is not in accurate to feel like an addict/liar. It is a viscous circle I am trying hard to break. I have been getting myself clean for a little over a year. It feels like every time I am making progress I start wanting her praise. When I don’t get it I do something that negates all the good that has been done. She has a very hard time communicating and forgiving. I don’t think she will ever be the warm, doting wife I feel I want but I know god put us together for a reason. I have asked her to go to counseling, she has agreed but only to shut me up. I am skeptical that it can help if she doesn’t want to be there or even in our relationship anymore. She told me she loves me as the father of her children but nothing more. I have hurt her time and time again and I am scared it has been one too many. She has never forgiven me so every new fight or mistake I make brings up all the old ones. I keep trying to talk to her but it just annoys her. I want to earn her forgiveness and become the man she needs me to be but I have said it all before and it hasn’t panned out. What to do? Can counseling help when one person doesn’t want to be there, and guards their emotions so tightly? I want her to be happy as much or more than I want that for myself but I don know if I can or she will let me continue to try…

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Sally,

    How are you? It has been awhile. It is on my heart this afternoon to pray for you and your husband.

    Dear Lord, You are so gracious and merciful to us. Thank You that when we turn to You, though we are a mess, dirty, grimy, filthy, even disgusting in our sin, You do not turn away. Instead You take away our sin and clothe us in righteousness; O the richness of Your goodness! How sweet it is to be in Your presence! (Zechariah 3). Heavenly Father I commit Sally and her husband into Your care again today, trusting You for the fulfillment of the hopes You have placed in our hearts. Father, the last time I heard from Sally she said she was worried about her husband’s heart, and I know that is Your concern too. Thank You that You have given her a heart to pray for her husband, a heart that is soft and willing to be vulnerable because her faith is in You, not in her own strength nor in her circumstances. Lord, I ask again that the eyes of Sally’s husband’s heart would be opened, to see You as You really are, so that he would see himself rightly, and grasp onto the hope that only comes with forgiveness and redemption. Lord, I also ask that he would see Sally with fresh eyes, and that she would see him with new love and appreciation too. By sight all things might be a mess, but by faith all things are possible. We thank You Jesus for this hope that You have given us, hope for things that are yet unseen, and we call them out of darkness and into the light! For Your glory and our good! Father thank You for answering these prayers in Jesus’ name. Amen

    Sally, be strong and work as the Lord instructs, for He is with you, and He will build the house, and He will be the solid rock that sustains you. He is the lifter of your head.

    Love in Christ,
    Kate

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear John,

    You are facing a very difficult situation, but I thank God that you are asking the right questions. With faith I assure you, there is a way. There is a way even when there seems to be no way, take heart:

    “They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out.” (Isaiah 48:21 NIV)

    Have you seen the movie Fireproof? It may be greatly inspiring to you, as it is the story of a husband in a predicament much like yours. The movie also highlights a book that I definitely recommend, it’s called “The Love Dare” and it is full of daily ideas for displaying love.

    I pray that as you go forward, you will not give up hope. What you are fighting for is worth fighting for, the lives of your children, the wholeness of your family and your wife are all worth fighting for. God will honour you as you put forth your all:

    “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6 ESV)

    Dear Lord, please grant John patience and a soft heart. Please help him to navigate this wisely, not with anger, resentment or fear. Please help him to see his wife as You see her, and also we pray that her heart would soften, and she would grow to appreciate her husband. Lord, we ask your blessing upon this family and that Your good, pleasing and perfect will will be done. Guard their hearts and teach them to guard the precious gifts, especially their children, that You have blessed them with already. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

    John, I will continue to hold you and your family up in prayer. I pray you will fight the good fight and not surrender, for God is with you and for your family.

    Kate

  • John says:

    My wife and I had a whirlwind romance, dating only 2 years before getting married. We’ve been married 4.5 years have 3 amazing kids. Last 2 years have been rough with us focused solely on the kids and work. Now she says we don’t have a connection, she doesn’t love me and has filed for divorce. We have a lot of unresolved issues between us and I don’t know how to create the connection with out her being open to it.

    How do you show someone you love them when they want out? How do you show there’s more than the kids when they don’t care to try?

    I know I’ll be ok if we divorce but this isn’t the life I want for the kids.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Darryl,

    I am so glad that you are sharing your thoughts and are courageous enough to open your heart and expose yourself in this forum. There is something so striking about a man who is vulnerable and responsive, rather than hard and self-centred.

    In fact, a lot of what you are saying resonates strongly with me. It was not so long ago that I had many similar thoughts about the plurality of religions and the non-necessity of discerning truth. “Let everyone do as they wish and so will I. We can all pick and choose, whatever works, go for it, just don’t get in my face about it.” That was my thought, not totally unlike yours it seems. What I have come to realize is that in the postmodern era, in which we are said to live, this line of thinking is regarded generally at least politically correct and acceptable, even noble. As long as you say, “Anything goes” you are welcome to say it, but as soon as you say, “There is one way, and it is straight and narrow” you will face hostile opposition. In the face of such hostile opposition, why would anyone in their right mind change from the highly acceptable “anything goes” to the highly unacceptable “Jesus is Lord”?

    Let me testify now that the reason I have made such a dramatic change is because I have encountered the living Lord Jesus. In other words, the reason I testify to faith in Christ alone is because He is the truth I have witnessed. It is not a case of having read a book, but met a person, that is the Saviour. And not only met Him, but come to receive His love and love Him in return. Again, that is to say I am not quoting from a book, I am quoting the words of a person that I know. That is why we are indeed much alike. Just like you, I find solace in the hearts and thoughts of others, in comraderie, well wishes and actions, and I have all of these interactions with Jesus. There was a time when I didn’t know Him, and I too thought this kind of faith was only for “others who believe”…but eventually I came to the end of “ME” and “MY beliefs” (really it was all unbelief!) and found Him. Praise God! Also, let me say that I am not in the least offended. In fact, I am delighted! My Lord can take it all, and He already has on the cross.

    And, one final thought for you and Bob. Why do we all celebrate when a man sacrifices his life to save another during an emergency or crime (expecting and desiring NOTHING in return), but then denigrate the idea of self-sacrifice in everyday life? Is not the most heroic man of all the one who lays down his life day after day, even for a lifetime, for the sake of those precious people entrusted into his care? Most of all his wife and children?

    God bless you! And remember, life is not short, we are all made for eternity.

    Respectfully,

    Kate

  • Darryl says:

    @Bob

    Thanks Bob,you are right, life is too short. And I am doing just that..doing things that I didn’t do becuase of my prior life..finding enjoyment out once losted loves. Looking back now..I see that I lost alot of what made me “ME” ..I sacrificed..hell,,I GAVE UP..pieces of me and got nothing in return. We shouldn’t have to do that..we should be the person who we are..and anyone who is with us, should accept us for who we are, faults and all.

    I won’t do that again..and for now..I am going to do just what you said. live life to the fullest..cause tomorrow..who’s knows whats going to happen.Thanks Bob..Here’s to healing for all of us.

    @Kate
    I know you are trying to be helpful and I appreciate your positive thoughts and looking out for others like us. But quoting from a book that you believe to be the end all doesn’t help ME in particular…it may help others who believe like you do..but for people like myself, thinking that Jesus,Shiva, Vishnu, Buddha, Ra,Muhammad ,Musikavanhu,Lord Xenu, Ahura Mazda,Izanagi and Izanami,etc…my list can go on.

    My point is..I don’t find solace in a bible, yours and anyone’s. I do find it in the hearts and thoughts of others, in comradely, well wishes and actions. I do this all with power of my own mind. I mean this with the utmost respect for you and your beliefs..I know we all don’t believe in the same thing on this planet and I accept that..that’s what makes life interesting. So i am very appreciative of your concerns present yourself.

    So I take what your saying about selfishness to a point…that point ends when it depends on “some” god. I hope I didn’t offend you or your beliefs..these are my personal outlook on life…and I would not say yours is wrong..or what you are doing is wrong becuase I believe differently. I would accept your beliefs for what they are, they are “yours”. And wish you and everyone on this site the best of luck and happiness in their new lives.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Luke 17:33 Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

    Being selfish is never the way to go. There is a lie in this world that says we are here to just live and die, to pleasure ourselves with the world’s wealth – but it is just that, an ugly lie. One day we will meet the Lord Jesus face to face and He will ask us to account for the choices we have made. It is only when we are selfless, when we surrender and die to self so that He may live in us, only then will He alone bring true peace, joy and freedom!

  • Bob says:

    @darryl
    Been there buddy. It sucks. Invest in yourself, do not be afraid to be selfish. Rediscover who you really are and forget the person you were as a married man. Above all, do all the things your wife would never let you do. You will find that you will do things that you really enjoy, but want someone to be there to enjoy it with you. That will pass. I promise. Enjoy the experience of life for what it is, a very fleeting thing.

  • Sally says:

    Kate, thank you for your prayers. My relationship with God has become a lot stronger during this time in my life. I am so thankful for my saviour. However, my husband is not the same person at all. I am worried about his heart. Thank you for praying for him and please continue to pray for him. I don’t even recognize him. I miss my husband and he know longer exsists at this moment in time.

    God is great and is helping me through this rough patch. For anyone going through something similar, turn it over to God and feel his presence and strength. Until I fully did that, I was a mess, but now, I feel much more at peace and God is the reason why. He has a plan. I don’t know what it is yet, but I know it will be great. I have faith in him.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Heavenly Father,

    Thank You for Sally. Thank You for calling her by name and making her Your daughter. Thank You for her faith and for who she is in Jesus. Help her to know with greater certainty, despite all circumstances, that You are real and actual. You are more real than we are, more real than all that we see and more real than all that we deal with. Help Sally to see that You are firm, solid, dependable, trustworthy, faithful and eternal. Increase her faith, that she might be only refined by these trials, but walk away unharmed, without even the smell of smoke on her clothes.

    Lord, You know that it is heavy on my heart to pray for Sally’s husband. Lord, so many men in our culture are suffering dreadfully under Satan’s attack. He knows where we are weak, and if we are not keeping our eyes on You, he gladly comes in to set up shop and wreak havoc. He uses our own selfishness against us, to the point that we feel helpless to undo the mess we’ve made and helpless to start making the right choices instead of the wrong ones. Lord, I pray for Sally’s husband that You would arrange divine appointments, conversations, a song on the radio, just a word from You straight into his heart, that he would get into right relationship with You. We know Lord that there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. We pray that his heart would soften and turn to You; apart from You we will have no peace, no joy, no satisfaction and nothing real worth living for. I just keep thinking that even if he cannot see the pit because of the darkness, he is in a deep, deep pit and we have no hope apart from Your help.

    Lord, I pray for Sally’s children and her decisions. I pray that she would continue to seek You first and follow You closely. I pray that when You speak she would obey wholeheartedly and to the full. Help her to know that You are the One who turns water into wine, and we are only to believe and put our faith in You, not try doing the miracles ourselves. Give us faith and grace to trust You more!

    In Jesus’ name, because of who He is, because of His character, because it is His righteousness that I wear, because it is when You look upon Him that You delight in me, I pray. Amen.

  • Sally says:

    Kate, I want to thank you for all your prayers and concerns. I have had real hard last several weeks. I found out my husband was and is having an affair, living a double life (living with her and me), and telling lies to everyone. I was and am shattered. He is now living with her full time and I filed for divorce. I need to protect me and my children. I just wanted to keep you updated because you were great through this whole process. Please continue to pray for us. Thanks

  • Alfred Alfred says:

    Dear Ralf,
    My heart reaches out to you. After cancer surgery 8 years ago and chemotherapy, my wife has no estrogen and therefore no desire for sex. She refuses to take enzymes (or growth hormones) to correct that for fear of stimulating cancer to re-occur. We have thankfully found other things that we have in common and enjoy together. At age 75 it seems too early for me, but when would be a good time to wind down? Those years of disappointment have been very trying for me, yet the up-side is that I’ve grown closer to my Lord as I spent more time in Bible reading & prayer. Now I look daily for God’s leading as He has a plan & a purpose for my life. Some 25 years ago I, sadly, was looking around for someone else to embrace; and I’m thankful that I never found anyone! God has chosen to lead me to increased Spiritual growth. Oh, there is such a long way yet for me grow.
    Ralf, I found a book that has helped us to appreciate one another. I recommend “The 5 Love Languages” in which Gary Chapman says we have different ways of “wanting to feel loved”. One is looking for a clean kitchen while the other one wants a back rub, for example. Those 5 major languages are: “quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch”. When you have both read if, and strive to learn each others language, it will hopefully feel like the sun has just risen!
    Dear Heavenly Father, I lift up Ralf and his wife for You to work in their hearts. You are the God of all comfort and also the God who heals us. I do not know what You have in mind for them, but I thank you in advance for drawing them closer to you and to each other. Life is so complicated, yet You are able to work in every heart to further Your purposes. We are Spiritual beings, temporarily in physical bodies, and have an eternity to look forward to. As You prepare us for the life beyond today, give us peace, hope, and also joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • Ralf says:

    My wife has always needed much less intimacy, and I have always respected that. Now, sex hurts her and we have a “platonic” marriage. It’s huge to me, but after a lot of discussion, it’s a dead issue. Even the touching and cuddling is pretty much gone now. My father was active into his 80’s — I’m not looking forward to the decades of sexless marriage ahead of me. I don’t want an outside relationship, and fortunately I haven’t gone there, but I think about it regularly. Bummer, dude!

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Sally,

    You and your husband have been continually on my heart. God knows I long to have the right words, to proclaim the truth boldly and clearly, and that the door would be open for His message to be received. All my hope is in Him! Our Lord Jesus is mighty to save! He is able and willing!

    This weekend I have been reading a book called “The Meaning of Marriage” by Timothy Keller. A passage in chapter one struck me as being right to share with you:

    “Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic [of our culture] that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become ‘whole’ and happy. The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person. This assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage. It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person.
    “We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, being [the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary problem is … learning to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married” (Hauerwas in Keller, p. 38).

    Keller goes on to say, “Hauerwas shows that the quest for a perfectly compatible mate is an impossibility. Marriage brings you into more intense proximity to another human being than any other relationship can. Therefore, the moment you marry someone, you and your spouse begin to change in profound ways, and you can’t know ahead of time what those changes will be. So you don’t know, you can’t know, who your spouse will actually be in the future until you get there.”

    The beauty of loving our spouses and they us, even the strangers that we become, is that this reflects God’s relationship with us. His perfect, unconditional, unrelenting, untiring love! His compassion! His grace! The journey with Him as He uses our marriages to bless us, teching us to love as He does, requires us to “makes changes that you don’t want to make” but they are always and everywhere, without exception, for our good!

    It is through the fiery trials, even when they are seven times hotter than we could have anticipated (see Daniel 3:19), we learn that God is nearer to us than we ever imagined, and not only willing but ABLE to preserve us! He will get us through when there is NO WAY we can survive, and He will do so, I only pray for faith to serve no other God but Him.

    I know this is not what you asked me to write about, but my prayer for your husband today is this:

    Then Sally’s husband said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! Sally’s faith erupted into my heart, she trusted in the Lord and defied the enemy who wanted to bring about divorce and was willing to give up her life rather than serve or worship any god except our own God. Thanks be to God, the fiery trial that was set to destroy us has not harmed us, not even a hair of our heads was singed! We have been delivered from the furnace, not scorched and not even a smell of the fire remains! God has made all things new, even our love, affection and appreciation of one another! God has given me new eyes to see my wife, to behold her as she really is in the sight of the Lord, beloved, precious and clothed in beauty! Many women have done noble things, but there is none like her. My delight is in her.”

    Our God is an awesome God and He is with you! Put your faith and trust in Him, and He will do this, He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn and the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

    Blessings in Jesus’ name,
    Kate

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Darryl,

    Thank you for your honesty! I too have struggled with intellectual assent to some scripture passages, but by God’s grace have learned that He can handle all the toughest questions, the harshest accusations, even outright rage and fury, as long we are honest in our hearts toward Him and open to hearing what He has to say about it all, and most especially to hearing what He has to say about us. We often think that what He has to say about us is the last thing we want to hear, since we are perpetually prone to denial and rationalization! However, the beauty of God, as He has made Himself known in the Lord Jesus Christ, is that He acts toward us in mercy. His Word to us, even when it is rebuking, disciplining, teaching, demanding or painful, is always only a word of mercy and truth for our good, because of who He is!

    One thing I have found greatly intellectually satisfying and spiritually freeing is to understand that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a moral corrective. The root problem of fallen humanity is not our morality or immorality (it makes no difference whether I am a morally very, very good person or a very, very bad person, either way I am a sinner who needs the Saviour!). Thus, our root problem is that we are dead in sin and condemned, and yet refuse to grip onto our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. God has done everything on our behalf, for our present and eternal good, only we so often refuse to believe Him. Our Sin, therefore, is our unbelief. Because we refuse to believe God is good and desires only to care for us as our perfect Father, we set about to be lord of our own lives. What a mess we then make! O, the pain we cause ourselves and those we love! Thank God that His grace is sufficient to overcome even this! We need only admit our need of Him, that is the only fitness He requires.

    After all, God is not a set of documents or a series of doctrines. Jesus is a person, your Savior and mine, who desires your heart, as well as your head, and He will never weary or rest in His pursuit of you, nor will He resent questions or rejections or betrayals. After Peter had denied Him three times, He did not say to Peter, “Are you sorry? Will you promise never to do it again? Do you see why you were wrong? Why didn’t you listen when I warned you? Do you understand better now?” No, none of that crossed Jesus’ lips. All He asked was, “Do you love Me?” Listen when He speaks, I pray.

    God bless!
    Kate

  • Darryl says:

    @Kate

    Hi Kate, just wanted to take a couple of min to let you know where I’m at with all this. I want to let you know that I appreciate your advice in this difficult time, but when it comes to religion, I don’t believe.

    I grew up in a Christian home, went to Sunday School, was a Alter boy in my teens,went through the whole conformation process, followed my parents to what ever church function that was happening. Church was a big part of life growing up and I never questioned it.

    Then I moved out on my own and I didn’t have my parents pushing me to go to church and I didn’t feel the need to go. I did still go with my parents when I returned home, but that was about it. At this point I still believed everything the bible had to say, even if I didn’t attended services regularly.

    I guess around the age of 32 I started asking questions, where do I stand in life? whats this all about? I started to look not only at my own religion but religions from all around the world. Am I just a Christian becuase I was born into a Christian family?…If I was born in India, would I be a Hindu? If I was born in the middle east, would I be Muslim? Did I really have a choice of what I was suppose to be? Which religion has it right? With millions of different followers all around the world, they all can’t be right?….but when speaking to the ones i did…each one had as a strong will that their belief was the right one, just as strong as the next…that to confused me.

    So it came down to..what is right for me. I’m an adult now and I wanted to believe in something…So I stuck with what I knew..Christianity. I actually went to a local pastor and talked with him about certain things in the bible that I didn’t agree with. We had a back and forth for almost 2 years before I made my decision.

    In the end, the bible has alot of things that I don’t agree with in regards to how certain minorities are treated,life styles, to the more archaic beliefs like in the old testament, knowing that alot of the people follow the king james version. But alot of the beliefs overlap. Beliefs that I just can’t accept as a good person, I know they are wrong.

    I asked my pastor that if I really wanted to be accepted by my religion, do I have to follow, even the things that I disagree with it?! Know that today..alot of the more modern followers don’t follow some of the older views, such as eating shellfish, the right to slavery, the right to sell you daughter, stonings, etc.

    In the end, its up to the God almighty to deem how fit we are in regards to well we followed his word. Its up to the individual to choose what he or she beliefs…but my question was still steady.”Can I be a true follower if I don’t belief everything the bible says?”. He said in the end..I guess not.

    That was the beginning that sent me on a quest to look more into , just not my religion but others…and what I found were alot of the things I never knew about, verses that alot of people skim over or are rather taboo, more or less understood but not spoken about. Conflicting beliefs even within the realm of Christianity, from Mormons, to Pentecostal, Catholic, each with large variations in their core beliefs. Speaking to different believers, each one said without doubt that, theirs were the right one.

    In the end…I didn’t like any of the answers that people were giving me. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good advice within the bible..but there are some nasty stuff there too that contradicts alot of “being good”. If I have to belief the bad parts of the bible and accept that…I can’t live with myself knowing that..it just doesn’t seem right. Something in me..knows that its not right to be that way.

    It was during that time..that left my religion. So your advice that you give, I appreciate..I really do. But when it comes to believing in a God, or Jesus, or Ali, or Vishnu and praying…I have just as must comfort in believing in myself, that I have the will power to overcome, that my inner thoughts will get me through this. Saying that there is a God behind that confuses me,, since I ask, which God?..how do you know its your god and not someone elses?..perhaps its not a god and its just free will, my own mind inner thoughts, working how it should?

    So I appreciate and I am not trying to minimize your help, but I just can’t seek solace in a God, or Gods, from any part of the world. But I know people believe what they want..what works for someone doesn’t always work for someone else. That’s just life..we are all different..I hope that despite our differences, we can all still help each other and get along.

    All the best to everyone here and the troubling times that we are ahead, but stay strong, think positive, be positive, tell yourself that it can only get better, above all …be happy with yourself and happiness with others will follow.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Sally,

    I have read your latest post and will seek the Lord before responding fully. I want to pray for you now:

    Dear Lord, thank You that Sally is a woman after Your own heart. Thank You for her faith and for her willingness to wait on You. Please continue to give her grace to hear You as lead her forward, and I pray the same for her husband. Holy Spirit I ask that You will minister to each of them and shine light into any dark places, so that the truth might be known and Your will be done! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

    Grace and peace to you,
    Kate

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear Darryl,

    With the Lord Jesus, it is not too late. In John chapter 11 it is written that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days when Jesus called him back to life. Further, Jesus had been in the grave for three days when our heavenly Father resurrected Him from the dead. In other words, even what looks ‘final’, as if it is really ‘the end’, can be transformed. NOTHING is beyond fixing. God can do anything. The questions that remain, therefore, are: Do you trust Him? Are you willing to be humble before Him and obedient to His instructions as He guides you forward?

    Also, is your heart hard? Remember, God permits divorce when our hearts are hard, but it is not right and certainly should not be regarded as the only or best option. Respecting your wife is essential, but it is not ‘all’ you can do. You can seek the Lord and see how He will guide you, shape you, change you, and in the process see changes in your circumstances. It is certainly not about making her do anything, but actually wooing her as the Lord leads you forward in forgiveness and restoration. God is pleased by our faith, and tells us repeatedly that when we are weak, He is strong, so it is not about us becoming ‘stronger’ or ‘happier’ – it is about increasing our faith in Him! He is the source of our joy and peace!

    If we do not want to seek God or obey Him, that is one thing, but neither should we seek the false comfort of excuses. If you are afraid, it is to Him you must turn!!! It is in Him and His plan and His purpose you must trust! Try reading Joshua chapter 1 and see how the Lord instructs you.

    God bless!
    Kate

  • Darryl says:

    @Kate

    I appreciate the kind words. But it is too late, like a wild fire that is outta control, it doesn’t wait around to be put out.

    But I take ease in the fact that we both are in agreement, that it is the end. True unconditional love is wanting my wife to be happy. If that means she has to be without me,…than so be it. Im sure one day I will look back on this and say,” That was the right thing to do, I am a better person for it and so is my Ex” But for right now….its hurts like hell.

    I’ve already started the process of moving out, we are being very respectful of each others feelings and opened to conversation if either of us want to talk a little more. But not about how we can fix it, becuase to her…its beyond fixing…she is done. She does not want too….all I can do is respect that decision. We are in the end, our own people..I can’t make her do something she doesn’t want to do..and I never would think of doing such a thing.

    I’m scared and frighten, and a soup of other emotions flow through me every min of the day. But with each day, its closer and closer to being healed.
    Here’s to all of us being stronger and happier people from all of this, regardless which direction life happens to us.

    Thank you

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