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My husband wants to end our marriage (faith section)


38 replies to this topic

#1 justbreath

Posted 13 July 2019 - 07:21 PM

I have posted in a few areas but I would like to start an ongoing thread for support and this seems the most logical area to do that.

2 months ago my husband declared that he didn’t love me any more and didn’t know if he wanted to work on our marriage. We have been married 15 years and have 3 children (all under 8, eldest with additional needs).

Things have been deteriorating since our youngest was born 2.5 years ago. He became depressed but wouldn’t seek treatment and this has now all been blamed on me. I am not faultless (it’s been a difficult few years and I had actually just arranged some counselling for us to go to after we returned from a family holiday... he beat me to that with his declaration of “I don’t love you, we should never have gotten married, we are not compatible, I don’t think I want to work on it” etc).

Since then we have seen a counsellor 3 times. He has hurried his head in the sand and refused to make any decision about if he wants to work on it and locked me out of his life by avoidance/silence etc. Last week we went to the counsellor for him to give an answer on whether he wanted to work on it and he admitted that he’d not really thought about it and still didn’t know... 2 months on!

For me I couldn’t take any more avoidance/silence and rejection from him in our home while he buried his head in the sand and I asked him to move out while he worked out what he wanted.

I’m sad and heartbroken and lost and just can’t believe this is happening. That after 15 years he would be ready to throw it all away without so much as attempting counselling.

I’m struggling with the fact my Christian husband seems to think love is just a feeling and not an active commitment. I’m hurting that the life I thought we had has been pulled out from under me and that he’s said so many hurtful harsh things since this all started (he doesn’t know why he married me, he thinks it was a mistake from the beginning etc).

I am clinging to God in my heartbreak and hoping that this is depression talking but I can’t see how there could be a way back from the damage that has been done. I know all things are possible but right now the pain is so so huge.

I would love prayer that I would trust my heart to him, that I would focus on the now and not fear the future and that I would give control to God and not try to fix everything my own way. I am also praying my husbands heart will change and that he will seek me and come home with a renewed commitment and that our marriage can be healed.

#2 Ivy Ivy

Posted 13 July 2019 - 08:23 PM

I suspect that “I don’t love you, we should never have gotten married, we are not compatible, I don’t think I want to work on it” actually really means "I'm not getting my needs and wants met, so I'm leaving", but he probably isn't at the stage where he can even admit that to himself.

Lots of people go to marriage counselling having already decided to exit the relationship.  Nobody but your husband knows if he is doing this now.  Silence and avoidance imply he has checked out, or doesn't have more productive coping strategies.  Hopefully counselling improves communication between you two, if nothing else.

I really feel for you.  I have next to zero respect for anyone who fractures a marriage when there are young children involved just because "they aren't feeling it", so you're a better person than me for hoping he will turn it all around.  It would be wonderful if everything could improve, but I think you're going to have to prepare yourself for separation and divorce.

You see it as him throwing it all away.  He might see it as something very different; he might not value, as much as you do, the things he is throwing away.  That's because he has different relationship wants and needs than you do.  It'd be great if he could tell you what they are, and then you could decide whether to supply/accommodate them or not.

#3 justbreath

Posted 13 July 2019 - 10:12 PM

Oh I definitely agree that he feels he isn’t getting his needs and wants met (I also feel the same). I guess where we differ is that I am committed and willing to work at how to meet each other’s needs and wants.

I think you are right that it’s mix of checked out and not having better coping strategies (in part due to the depression and in part due to his personality).

We discussed the week to come and kids arrangements etc. I wish I could stop crying. It’s so humiliating to not be able to control the tears when I see him.

#4 cabbage88

Posted 13 July 2019 - 10:21 PM

I'm so sorry. It's so much harder when you're meant to have a shared faith.
I found a wonderful analogy in a book they read on my husband and I were separated. It was written by a Christian woman in pretty much the same position you are now. She explained how when a lion tamer is taming a lion, they would use a three legged stool because if they still had three legs a lion didn't know which one the focus on and would get confused and not attack the stool or the lion tamer. When you going through a separation, it can be a lot like looking at a three-legged stool in that things are always changing, every day you think you've got your head around it and you don't, and you fall apart again and the next day you figure out something else and have a different perspective and it just keeps changing. The point is to focus on the lion tamer which is God, I just found it really helpful. There's a lot of great books and podcast and the blogs of Christian women who've gone through this too. And I know we are the odd ones out, but our story had a very happy ending. I desperately hope the same for you

#5 justbreath

Posted 13 July 2019 - 10:47 PM

I’d love to know the name of that book if you remember :)

#6 Ivy Ivy

Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:34 AM

Justbreath, is there a pastor/priest/minister at your church who you can talk with at a semi-regular frequency at this stage?  Religious groups have different socially acceptable codes of behaviour, and if you and your husband are religious maybe the minister can sit with both of you and help solve the problems?

#7 Chamomile

Posted 14 July 2019 - 10:06 AM

Does your husband have male friends at church he can catch up with? He could get some insight from talking to them.

#8 justbreath

Posted 14 July 2019 - 12:18 PM

View PostIvy Ivy, on 14 July 2019 - 08:34 AM, said:

Justbreath, is there a pastor/priest/minister at your church who you can talk with at a semi-regular frequency at this stage?  Religious groups have different socially acceptable codes of behaviour, and if you and your husband are religious maybe the minister can sit with both of you and help solve the problems?

Yes I have met several times with our pastor/minister and he has also met with my husband. It isn’t “acceptable” for him to leave but of course that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. The minister is also trying to tread carefully given the depression. He can’t force someone to make a decision to be committed. The church is supporting me well but there is no one else in our congregation in a similar position. I have spoken to someone from one of the other congregations that went through a similar situation (although infidelity was involved in her case) which was helpful.

#9 justbreath

Posted 14 July 2019 - 12:19 PM

View PostChamomile, on 14 July 2019 - 10:06 AM, said:

Does your husband have male friends at church he can catch up with? He could get some insight from talking to them.

Yes he does and they are trying to keep close but he is avoiding and pushing people away and he also said he feels people are “harassing” him. I don’t think this is the case (they aren’t trying to push him to sort this out or come back, just trying to care for him and let him know they are there to listen etc) but he still feels it is harassment.

#10 justbreath

Posted 15 July 2019 - 08:01 PM

Today has been a good day. The boys all went to bed without fuss, the house is tidy, things are in order and I am managing. I know tomorrow might be different but today is ok.

#11 justbreath

Posted 16 July 2019 - 07:46 PM

Today was mostly ok. I’m having trouble getting the kids to sleep but all in all I survived.

I hate when he calls to talk to the kids each night. I know it is good for them but it hurts because it just feels like another rejection, like once again I’m just invisible. Talk to the kids, ignore me :(

#12 cabbage88

Posted 16 July 2019 - 09:49 PM

It's broken heart on hold Linda Rooks.
I am sorry the rejection is so painful. How are you supposed to not long for acceptance from your partner of 15 years?
I'm so sorry. Whatever happens, I took hope that God never wastes a single tear I shed. He never intended us to suffer like this, but he promises our suffering isn't wasted. Truely he used it for my good, he used it to grow my faith, and my joy most importantly. A truth I learned in that, was there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning. It did and it always has so far. When I came through that and could still have joy and realised my faith was held by him not me (it was so hard I wanted to walk away from my faith but I simply couldn't) I found a security I never knew before.
I don't know what you'll learn through this. The truth is you should never be facing it. But he's with you even when you feel utterly alone and can't see it. Husband's may break promises but God never will.

#13 The Little Engine

Posted 16 July 2019 - 10:23 PM

Hi - I'm so sorry you are going through this.  I have a long running thread in this section (and I had a previous one under a different user name which had to be deleted) Totally different scenario but still having to leave a Christian marriage and the difficulties with that.  I will be praying for peace at a difficult time.

Feel free to PM me if you need. :)

#14 just roses

Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:58 PM

Thinking of you, OP. I’m glad it was a good day x

#15 justbreath

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:48 AM

View PostThe Little Engine, on 16 July 2019 - 10:23 PM, said:

Hi - I'm so sorry you are going through this.  I have a long running thread in this section (and I had a previous one under a different user name which had to be deleted) Totally different scenario but still having to leave a Christian marriage and the difficulties with that.  I will be praying for peace at a difficult time.

Feel free to PM me if you need. :)

The little engine, I am a long time member (under a different name) and I followed your thread right from the beginning and prayed for you many times. I know how heartbreaking it all was for you (& still is in many ways) and how much you clung to God during it all x

#16 steppy

Posted 17 July 2019 - 02:11 PM

View Postjustbreath, on 16 July 2019 - 07:46 PM, said:

Today was mostly ok. I’m having trouble getting the kids to sleep but all in all I survived.

I hate when he calls to talk to the kids each night. I know it is good for them but it hurts because it just feels like another rejection, like once again I’m just invisible. Talk to the kids, ignore me :(

How often is he seeing them? You don't have to allow nightly phone contact, it becomes very inconvenient over time. I'd arrange a couple of set times that he can call between visits.

#17 Melbs2010

Posted 17 July 2019 - 03:36 PM

View Poststeppy, on 17 July 2019 - 02:11 PM, said:



How often is he seeing them? You don't have to allow nightly phone contact, it becomes very inconvenient over time. I'd arrange a couple of set times that he can call between visits.

Agree with this.  I recall in the early stages of separation phone calls just made my son distressed because it was a confusing time and he didn't understand why Dad wasn't just at home to talk in person.  Which led to 30 minutes of calming him down post phone call before eventual refusal on my son's part to do calls at all.

Not to mention how unsettling it is for you because of the up in the air situation.

#18 justbreath

Posted 18 July 2019 - 07:24 PM

He sees them midweek and then weekend (dinner midweek and one weekend day mostly). So 2 days between visits generally.

#19 justbreath

Posted 22 July 2019 - 08:29 PM

Just an update (which isn’t really an update).

It’s 2 weeks tomorrow since he left and 9 weeks since he told me he I didn’t love me or feel anything for me. He is still “undecided” on whether he wants to work on things or whether he is permanently done. Obviously his actions don’t give a lot of hope but he hasn’t yet “finalised” it verbally and is still coming to the (very infrequent) counselling sessions with a marriage counsellor.

Day to day things are up and down. I have the boys 7 nights but he does one dinner/bed routine and takes them for one weekend day. Overall they are doing ok. They are much worse the day after he has them and they say he yells a lot. The 2yo has stopped sleeping through at all and often cries for daddy at night which is really hard. The 8 year old seems to have stopped blaming himself and has been fairly settled. The 5 year old doesn’t say much but I think is more affected than he lets on. He has the least relationship with his dad so I think there are probably lots of thoughts going on.

Practically I am doing well. I am managing the boys, the house and work and things run very smoothly, probably more smoothly than when he was here. I can see that I can manage this on my own, I know there will be really hard days but all in all I know I can do it. I am proud of how I an managing. I still cry most days (actually pretty much all days) and I’m still scared of a future without him and the life I had hoped for. Not because I *can’t* do it but because it isn’t what I want or dreamed of and that hurts.

I find it really hard seeing my friends families and husbands and sometimes I feel really angry and ripped off at where life is. I know that is normal but it’s hard to manage day to day.

Tonight I am sad and lonely. I don’t want the situation I was in a few weeks ago back (with him here physically but not emotionally or relationally) so I know that was the right choice in that sense but I also fear that there is less chance for us to reconcile or work on things without any contact beyond kid drop off/pick up.

The limbo is hard because I don’t want to let go emotionally completely and move on without knowing whether he is willing to work on things. If I do that I am scared I will never be able to connect again. But at the same time, giving things some finality and being able to move on would potentially help contain the emotion and give direction. I’m trying to cling to God in the waiting and trust in him to provide the comfort I need. It is hard.

#20 CallMeFeral

Posted 22 July 2019 - 09:44 PM

You're doing amazingly OP. Thinking of you.

#21 justbreath

Posted 23 July 2019 - 10:41 PM

It’s crazy how emotions change so much day to day. One day I’m ok, the next I am sooo angry and then I’m just heartbroken.

The reality that no matter what happens I am going to have to have regular contact with him and how much harder that makes everything hit today. We have a 2 year old (and a 5 & 8 year old), that is a LONG time yet of shared contact/discussion etc. That makes moving on in any way so much harder. This whole situation is so wrong. No 2,5 & 8 years olds should go through this.




#22 Jersey Caramel

Posted 24 July 2019 - 05:52 PM

I think the rollercoaster of emotions is probably completely normal,  OP. Are you managing to see a counselor on your own regularly? Could be helpful,  regardless of what your DH decides to do.

#23 justbreath

Posted 25 July 2019 - 07:53 PM

Yes I have been seeing a counsellor. It’s been helpful somewhat. I have good days and bad. Uncertainty is really hard to manage.

#24 just roses

Posted 25 July 2019 - 09:16 PM

Thinking of you, OP.

As far as certainty goes, your DH doesn’t seem to be able to give you any. But that doesn’t mean you can’t set some limits.

Set a timeframe. Decide when you’ll move on. Tell him, but matter-of-factly, not as a threat. If there’s a chance he’ll come back, it might just prompt him. But if he’s just stalling because he wants to end things but doesn’t have the guts, he wasn’t going to come back anyway. And you’ll have some certainty.

You’re doing really well.

Edited by just roses, 25 July 2019 - 09:17 PM.


#25 Ellie bean

Posted 25 July 2019 - 10:15 PM

View Postjust roses, on 25 July 2019 - 09:16 PM, said:

Thinking of you, OP.

As far as certainty goes, your DH doesn’t seem to be able to give you any. But that doesn’t mean you can’t set some limits.

Set a timeframe. Decide when you’ll move on. Tell him, but matter-of-factly, not as a threat. If there’s a chance he’ll come back, it might just prompt him. But if he’s just stalling because he wants to end things but doesn’t have the guts, he wasn’t going to come back anyway. And you’ll have some certainty.

You’re doing really well.
Thinking of you OP.
I think this is really good advice.



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