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When You Feel Very Alone in your Marriage

In the Christian wife/Mommy blogosphere, a lot of patterns are evident.

Many of us who write give very similar advice. Rely on God. Focus on being the best wife you can be, not on changing your husband. Care for your marriage & kids first. Create a nice home. Etc. Etc.

These things are all true, and I hope that people can come here for some encouragement in doing the most important job in the world!

I think most of you who do come here come to get help around the edges. In general, things are going well, but they could always use some tweaking!

Most of my posts, I think, are written with these types of readers in mind. You have a family you're committed to, and you're trying to work the kinks out. You love your husband, even if he does have faults (which you can obviously name!).

Sometimes, though, people live in a much more desperate situation. I was talking to a friend who finally ended a very dysfunctional marriage last year. She said that sometimes she would read my blog and feel so sad, because it didn't matter how much she did what I said, nothing every changed. The typical answers and typical advice weren't cutting it.

A lot of women out there feel very alone in their marriages, and if you're in a marriage where you have found your soul mate, try to put yourself in these women's shoes for a moment. Here's a comment that was left yesterday, during my Wifey Wednesday post:

I still can't get myself to accept things. My husband does not have a physically demanding job. The past 4-5 months especially have been easy. He is admittedly not doing anything at work.

I cook, I clean. I care for the kids when they're sick, no matter what time of day or if he's off work. I run our special needs child to his three-days-a-week appointments; One of those days my other son has an appointment at the same place so of course he goes as well. Sick or not, I take care of the kids. I had the flu 2 years ago and the first day I was sick he dealt with the kids, but after that? He was pissed that I was still laying around and not doing anything so he got to slamming our bedroom door when he'd go out, not shushing the kids if/when they got loud, etc. That's one of many times where he's been less than considerate.

Of course if he has a headache and stuffy nose he's swearing he has a migraine and he take several different types of medication and sleeps for 10-11 hours straight, yelling if the kids are getting loud.

We're supposed to move and our house is nowhere near ready to put on the market. It should have been on by now but while he had 3 months to lay the new flooring in our house, he didn't finish. One room still needs to be done. I, on the other hand, have all of the daily issues on top of painting every room in the house, getting the outside painted, repainting our kitchen cabinets, painting the cabinets in the hall and bathrooms, redoing the tile in our hall bath, rebuilding our master bath shower that he gutted 2 years ago and never finished, tiling both bathroom floors, decluttering and organizing so that the movers know what is storage and what goes.. I don't have the money to hire those jobs out so I have to do it.

He occasionally mows the yard, and when our kids start a sport he's gung-ho in the beginning but by the 2nd week in he's sighing and rolling his eyes when I ask if he's taking one of our boys to practice. Inevitably they'll have at least one practice or game per week that coincides with the other's practice or game, and I count myself fortunate if they're in the same park or building. Many times they aren't and because he's oh-so-worn out and has computer games to play, I'm running like a headless chicken. Throw in an active toddler and I'm busy, worn out, worn down, and just plain beat.

Yes, I'm bitter and resentful,not to mention completely jealous of women who have husbands who help out even when the husband has a busy work schedule.

Don't suggest I have a talk with him because I have. Many, many times. And many times he's sworn he'll change and help out. The only reason I'm still with him is because when I left him a few years ago I couldn't get a job anywhere and began having anxiety attacks. Not to mention lack of support from family and being made to feel like we'd worn out our welcome and I needed to quit being a child and just go back to my husband. So here I sit.

I can feel this woman's pain. Can you? Honestly, what would you do if you were married to a man who did not care for your kids, played computer games all day, and didn't lift a finger to help you? Now, admittedly, we're only getting this woman's side of the story, but I have talked to women who are living something very similar. It happens. Very frequently.

So what would you say to her? I'm going to take a stab at it now, but I invite you to answer in the comments, too. Perhaps we'll have different approaches to it, but hopefully we can offer something that would be helpful.

First, let me say that To Love, Honor and Vacuum was written exactly for women going through this. In fact, I based the book on two women I was close to who were experiencing virtually exactly the same thing. So I know from whence I speak.

And let me tell you what I told them. You cannot change him; you can only change yourself. But you have a lot of power within you to change. God is there to help you create a godly home, where everyone respects each other and grows closer to Him. That is what He wants. Your job is to ask God to show you how to build respect and godliness within your home.

Part of that job may be to stop enabling others to act in an unChristlike manner. It sounds like you do all the housework, and he does very little. That means that you do a lot for him. You don't have to keep doing this. You could sit down and tell him that you are exhausted, and some things are going to have to come off of your plate. Offer him alternatives. But show him that some of these things will directly affect him. (Laundry, for instance, or making the kinds of meals he likes. If you can live on sandwiches & cereal, it's a lot easier to make, and it's still nutritious!). Then take some of that time that you save and use it to do your devotions, to have a bath, to knit, to relax, to do what you need to do to rejuvenate. Don't do it to punish him; do it to create a new dynamic so that you can keep going.

If you're busy running the children everywhere, and he won't help, ask him what it would take for him to start driving a child to soccer. Ask him if this is possible. Don't ask him when you're angry; ask him because you simply want help. If he can't give it, you're no worse off than you are now. But ask him what is keeping him from doing it? Is he not getting enough sleep?

Or take it from a different perspective. Ask him what are the most important goals he has in life. Share with him yours. Write them on your fridge. Now ask how he's meeting them. If he wants to be a good father, then ask him how you can help him engage with the kids during the week. Does he want to take soccer? Bathtime? Bedtime? If he doesn't, and he'd just like to play computer games, then ask him how he'd like the kids to think of him. Does he want them to remember him always being on the computer, or does he want them to remember him cheering them at games?

But if he just won't (and many men won't), you have a decision to make. Can you keep living like this? If you were a single parent, you could not do it all. You could not run a house and keep the kids in all kinds of activities and hold down a job. You couldn't. You would get help, or you would cut things out. So if your husband won't help, you basically are acting as a single parent. What will you cut out? Even if your husband has abdicated responsibility for the family, you can't. And you can't abdicate your responsibility to your marriage, either. I would suggest getting the kids out of activities as much as possible and making your schedule as easy as possible, so that you don't burn out and you can keep going.

Finally, make family fun. Cut down as much as you can so you can get enough rest and sleep. And then use that energy to make your home fun. Play games. Go for walks. Laugh a lot. When family is fun, he's more likely to want to be involved. When it's all chores, he won't. And the more unhappy you are, and the more you nag him, the more he will retreat.

Some people are just plain selfish. He very well could be one of these. Your job is to find peace and fulfillment in God, and then find ways to transfer that peace and fulfillment to the rest of those in your family. Don't always resent. Don't let yourself get bitter. Change your family life so that you do have more energy and things do get done.

Oh, and about the house: stop it. Don't move. Stay there. Don't put it on the market. So you lose money. I know that's tough. But if you are always stepping in and doing everything, he never will step up to the plate. Talk about what's reasonable for both of you to do, and then you do your part. If he doesn't do his, then you can't sell the house. Don't nag him about it. Simply do your part. Whether or not he does his is up to him. And if he starts to suffer financially for it, then maybe that will inspire a burst of energy. Right now, he's probably waiting for you to come through, like you always have in the past. Don't enable irresponsibility.

One other thing about how to act biblically in marriage: there are two sides to the Proverbs 31 woman. First, yes, she did a ton and cared for her family well. But second, she had help, as someone pointed out in the comments yesterday. She had servant girls, but she also had a husband who was engaged in the family business, too. He was in the public square, transacting business, where he praised her. Yes, we're to be the Proverbs 31 woman, but it's difficult to do all of this without at least some help. If you don't have that help, I think you need to readjust what's expected of you so you don't burn out.

God designed marriage to be a genuine partnership. Sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's very lopsided. Now if your spouse isn't much of a partner, that doesn't absolve you of the responsibility to live up to your partnership. We're to care for our homes and our kids and our husbands regardless. But that doesn't mean it's easy, and it doesn't mean that we should do everything for those who persist in laziness, enabling very unChristlike behaviour.

So that's what I've got to say. What about the rest of you? Any thoughts on how to help her? Am I being too easy? Too harsh? What do you think?

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At 7:58 AM , Anonymous mcProdigal said…

I'd like to address this from the perspective of an enabled husband ... don't be a hater.

There are "cleaning things" that my wife does that I do not understand and she doesn't volunteer to inform me about. I can see a spill, for example, and she'll swoop in and clean it up in the time it takes me to find a towel. I know what you're thinking, is a towel the right cleaning instrument for this spill?

If you want to understand how your man thinks, then first understand that he cares less about using the correct cleaning instrument and more about completing the task, i.e., removing the spill.

If there's a better way, then consider strolling by on your way to some imaginary destination and saying: "If you use so and so, that sometimes speeds things up." The genius in this approach is that your imaginary stroll gives your man a chance to check you out (a man thing) and your advice is given in his task-oriented vernacular. It's not about the best cleanup method, it's about the completion of the task.

For all those who are now shaking your head at our willingness to use an imperfect solution to complete a task, congratulations! You don't get it. Keep enabling, how's that working for you?


At 8:49 AM , Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said…

This comment has been removed by the author.


At 9:29 AM , Blogger Llama Momma said…

I am weeping as I read this post. Oh my goodness. My heart breaks for this woman.

I agree with Sheila's advice to stop enabling, and I'm thinking this woman will need a lot of support if she chooses to take steps in that direction.

Is there someone she can turn to for support? A counselor or friend?

If you're reading this, know that I hear your exhaustion and your pain. I'm praying for you this morning.


At 9:47 AM , Blogger Mrs W said…

Courtney, you do know don't you that it doesn't make you any more spiritual to enable a lazy husband who has never had to lift a finger in the house? In fact, I've found it makes the wives miserable and the men abusive.

And if you are going to use Proverbs 31, you need to use the whole thing, properly, and have human servants that are paid to do that work for you while you go out buying property or working a job to make income.


At 9:51 AM , Anonymous Michelle said…

Wonderful article Sheila. I'm not in a bad marriage, but I do have to handle EVERYTHING at home. It's frustrating at times, but I've learned to just let it go sometimes and try not to be so "perfect".

@mcProdigal, I get your point...I think that my husband may agree with you. However, I don't feel that it sums it up.

Sometimes it just all becomes too much. And through it all, we are expected to "just do it" and we do! But it's exhausting, physically and mentally.

@Courtney, great advice!!!


At 9:56 AM , Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said…

I apologize for commenting here. I removed it. I love what you are doing here Sheila and I see so many marriages are touched and changed - praise the Lord!

Forgive me for offending. I sensed I might and yet still hit the button to post my comment - I regret it now and hope you and your readers will forgive me.

Love you all so much!


At 10:07 AM , Blogger Sheila said…

Ack! Courtney, you deleted it before I could comment on it! I didn't think it was offensive at all. Go read what I just said on the Wifey Wednesday thread.

Here's what I think: some of us are in difficult situations where our husbands really don't do very much, and we do feel very alone. We have two choices: we can get bitter, or we can find our peace in God and try to make the best of it, embracing our lives as they are. I get the impression that the latter is what you have chosen to do, and I think your marriage will be better for it.

I do think that Mrs W has a point in that sometimes we can enable laziness, but no one can comment on whether you yourself are doing that (which is why I get very uncomfortable when comments get too personal; no one knows what is going on in another's home). I think the main thing is that you have learned to go beyond bitterness to peace, and that is commendable.

To me, the problem comes in marriages in general (I'm not talking any particular person's) when the husband really isn't involved with the kids. That's the red flag to me, because children so need their father. If we, as women, can find ways to encourage our husbands to be involved, we do everybody a great service. Part of that, I think, is making home fun and making family activities fun, rather than just nagging. But it's difficult, it needs a lot of prayer, and we need to work through our own motives.

Now, Mrs. W., please watch your tone when you comment! You have so much to add, and a perspective which is really important, but I don't think accusing others is the way to go about it, and sometimes you come across quite harshly which can be hurtful. I don't think that's your intention, but often in computerland things seem harsher than they really are, so just watch your tone!

You're right about the servants, I think, and you're right that sometimes we can overdo Proverbs 31, trying to make it fit where perhaps it doesn't. But if God has taken people through a difficult time and they have found peace, I don't think that's something to criticize, either.

Just my two cents!


At 10:10 AM , Blogger Kelly@Tabitha's Team said…

This woman needs some flesh and blood support in the form a friend and a counselor (as someone already noted).

All of the advice is good. It is just hard to work through when you feel alone. Sometimes the feeling of being alone is harder than the amount of work itself.

I have been blessed with a husband who has always been helpful, but there have been times in the earlier years when we were both working full time, opposite shifts, with opposite days off. He just couldn't physically be there.

I felt like a single mom many nights when I left work, picked up the kids, made dinner just for us, drove to any activities, and did bath and bedtime before my husband even got home. The work was hard, but the feeling of being by myself was harder.

The good thing is that when God asked me to go through this time, he also gave me extra emotional support. I had a friend at work who was a single Christian mom, and we had lunch together often, discussing our parenting challenges. I was in the medical field at the time, and our doctor was also an ordained pastor who had spent 8 years as a missionary in Africa. He was a great resource for counsel and wisdom. His Africa stories often put life in proper perspective.

When God disrupts one area of life, he will provide what we need to get through it. My heart is also breaking for this woman, as I can remember those weary nights. I am praying for the right friends and counselors to be present in her life to provide the "flesh and blood Jesus" that she needs.


At 11:14 AM , Blogger Mrs W said…

Sheila, I'm sorry and I'll try to watch my tone better. That said, I react that way on these kinds of things because the kinds of self-righteous answers that a few were promoting on here was all the "help" I got even when I was trying to do all that. They told me that my marriage sucked at the time because I was just a wicked and rebellious woman, no matter how hard I was trying!

I am now at peace, got rid of bitterness but sometimes bitterness is still an everyday thing for me that I have to give to the Lord. But, as I lose some of the bitterness, my husband is more open to me because I'm nicer to be around. Although, now we are in a different church that doesn't just shove crap off on to women and tell men that they are awesome and entitled to not lift a lazy finger around the house, my husband is changing.

The preaching in our new church is getting to him, and he's realizing a few things.

So I guess I overreacted because I have been hurt by people just throwing Proverbs 31 and all that kind of stuff at me in the very recent past. These are women that will no longer talk to me, because of course the reason we left the church, according to them, is that I am a wicked and rebellious woman that refuses counsel. Actually, there were many reasons, one of which was that my husband started to realize what was happening and how he was acting towards me and wanted to be in a church where they taught him to how be a REAL man that could help his wife and listen to his wife's input once in a while.

It's a breath of fresh air. I apologize Courtney for reacting so strongly to you. I am not trying to excuse it, because it's wrong. I do want you and Sheila to understand where I am coming from, though.

My marriage is slowly getting better, and it's not because of how much of a doormat I let myself become.


At 11:43 AM , Blogger Sheila said…

Mrs. W: That is awesome! I'm so glad you've found a church where you can be yourself, but perhaps even more importantly where your husband can feel REAL, as you said, and where he can feel that there are perhaps real solutions from God for the everyday things you face.

I know you've had a hard road recently, and I'm glad it's getting better, and I'm glad that you have some support around you.

If I can give just a little more encouragement, I found myself, in my mid-twenties, utterly exhausted. Three babies close together. Little sleep. Husband never home because of work.

Fast forward ten years and I have two girls who can both make dinner. I can leave for a walk with my hubby and don't have to tote them around. They baby-sit other people's kids now! They know how to clean. And I'm not responsible for getting them to sleep.

In short, the hardest years of your life you'll likely ever go through are right now. It won't always be this exhausting. But, at the same time, the hard work you put in now raising great kids and working on your marriage will pay such great dividends later!

So even though it's hard, keep slogging, and surround yourself with godly counsel and with God Himself. He can give you the strength to get through this, and then you'll likely find yourself smiling as you look back on these years and remember!


At 11:44 AM , Blogger Megan said…

I think Kelly's comment about having a flesh-and-blood support is spot on. A friend can't replace the support a husband should be giving (at the very least, emotionally), but they can certainly help with the loneliness. I am blessed with an amazing husband, but right now I'm really, really missing having a close friend. With grad school and living outside of town and having two babies, I neglected to build close female friendships in the six years since we moved here. And now, when my husband is feverishly working to finish his PhD and we're selling our house and moving across the country and I have a newborn baby...well, there are many times a day I just cry and wish there was someone who could/would step up and help. But I don't have anyone to call (that is, if I had a phone line at home). I still haven't figured out how I'm going to do some of the things that must be done before we move, by myself. How do you bathe a horse and trim his hooves with a newborn in tow?

Ack, anyway, my ordeal will only last a couple more weeks and then I can focus on building relationships. Surely I will survive until then.

Truly a great article today, with a lot of insightful comments.


At 12:13 PM , Blogger Kelly@Tabitha's Team said…

I'm going to go ahead and post this link to my page on women and teamwork, because it addresses this conversation. I started writing because of conversations like this:


At 1:05 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Megan, I have no idea how you trim a horse's hooves, let alone doing so with a toddler in tow! I didn't know they needed trimming.

Like I said to Mrs. W., this too shall pass. And I do pray you find good girlfriends! I know what you mean. We do need that support.

Kelly, that's an awesome post you linked to. Everybody go read it!


At 1:40 PM , Blogger The Happy Domestic said…

Wow, Sheila, your post today really dug deep into your readers. Thank you Courtney and Mrs. W both for sharing your own personal journeys.

I know I also often react strongly to messages that emphasize submission - sometimes before allowing God to speak to me on these very issues. Like many women, I believe, this is because of past encounters with religious leaders and groups who promoted an abusive version of authority... like a church I attended where one leading woman pushed a book called "Me, Obey Him?" on all new brides. Ugh, don't get me started.

It makes me sad that there are so many people who get trampled on by those who ought to love them and care for them. I only am able to exercise biblical submission in my marriage because I have a husband who truly loves me in both word and deed. Being so young in life, I don't have much wisdom to offer, but my prayers that God will provide for all these women's needs. May Jesus truly be your bridegroom!


At 2:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I keep trying to post my response but the box says "Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters."

Trying to edit what I have to see if that helps.


At 3:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Trying to respond to suggestions, so forgive me if I leave something out. I appreciate everyone's opinions and advice.

mcProdigal, Where did that come from? LOL I appreciate a man's opinion, truly, but that sort of comment has me thinking that one of us missed something somewhere.

We have to move. He's in the military. He COULD ask to stay where we are, but he doesn't want to. I've wanted away from this post for years but for so many reasons I'm at the point where I feel that the move will do more harm than good. And whether we sell or rent, the things that listed before are things that NEED doing.

As far as talking to him, telling him I can't and shouldn't have to do this on my own..I have. Many times.

Housework is done by me alone. He doesn’t care if the house is clean or dirty. It’s a mess right now. An embarrassing mess. I do the best I can but I’m so overwhelmed. There is too much stuff in this small house. It’s a constant battle. Two steps forward, 3 steps back. Laundry: I rarely wash his stuff, period. I have reasons for that but only so much space to type. And he doesn’t care.

Meals. He's a picky eater and if I were to stop cooking all together I don't think it would bug him. He prefers fast food to anything.

For fun, when we go somewhere his expression and attitude make it seem as if he'd rather be elsewhere. I think he feels obligated, maybe? A pretend smile would be good for the kids' sake, but he's just kind of "eh" about most things. At Sea World last summer he was as much fun as dragging a sack full of bricks.

I’m not sure he thinks about the example he’s setting. Or maybe he thinks nothing is wrong with it. He didn’t have a great example when growing up, and the cycle is continuing. That bothers me most about all of this. I don’t want my kids thinking that this is how it should be.

We have talked about dreams and goals. He has said he supports me and whatever I want to do but the actions don't line up with the words. When it comes to the future I was getting different stories from him than what he was telling others. That has changed lately. What he wants is something that he knows won't work with what I would like. It COULD but not the way he wants things. Like with so many other things he's only focused on what he wants and I feel expected to go along no matter what. He's gotten frustrated when I question his plans and how they differ from what he said a few years ago about helping me achieving my goals. I get the "I've been away with the Army for X number of years and it’s been my dream to do this and I want to do it when I get out of the Army!" speech.

I've told him I feel like he just thinks of me as a replacement for his mother, with an added perk or too, and he smirked and said, "Yeah pretty much." He may have sounded as if he were saying that just to irritate me, but the way he acts that's how I feel. I want to slap a 'Return to Sender' label on him and send him back to her.

Emotionally I'm spent. I have no respect left for him. I have no desire to stay in this but feel like I have no alternatives. I hate feeling like ALL of this has to be on me. I don't get why I’m told to work on myself and everything else will be fine. Why? I am flawed but am I the only reason we have problems? When this sort of thing has been brought up between the two of us, he gets a smug look on his face like he totally agrees with me just accepting things as they are. Why should I be okay with this? I don't trust that he'll make more effort because every time he's said he would it's short-lived and never a full effort. I have no reason to think anything will improve. I love when people say a woman should change herself and not worry about the husband. If I have to make changes, why doesn't he? If he doesn't truly want or try to change, then why should I? I can't wrap my head around that.


At 3:19 PM , Blogger Sheila said…


Thanks for coming back! Glad to see you here again.

PLEASE don't read from what I said that it's all your fault, or that you are a very flawed human being. Not at all! I'm not even saying that MOST of what you are suffering is your fault.

What I am saying is that, no matter what you do, you can't actually change him. That's something he has to do himself. You have to control over that in the least. The only thing you do have control over is how you react and how you act. That's why I say to concentrate on changing yourself; not because I think you're to blame, or because I think he shouldn't change, but just because, practically, that's really your only alternative. You either change, or you continue living in exactly what you're living in right now.

Do I think he should change? Sure. But he's not reading this, and even if he were, I don't know if he'd take my advice. You are. You're the one who's hurting, and you're the one who's looking for answers. That's why I say concentrate on yourself!

As for your relationship issues, you are in a very difficult and lonely position. I totally see that. The main things I can say may not sound that helpful, because what you really want, I think, is a magical way to make him into a different person. But since that can't happen, here's what I would say:

Splitting up isn't likely to make you any happier. Studies show that most of those who split up end up being less personally happy than those who stick it out. And over time, most people do change and become more in sync with each other. It is no picnic raising kids with shared custody, etc.

Splitting up also is horrible on the kids. Kids' welfare is based far more on whether their parents stay together than on whether their parents are personally happy. We like to say that "as long as I am happy, the kids will be happy", but it's not true. So you have to think of the kids, even in your loneliness.

God is also big enough to help you through this. It is often at our lowest when He does come through the most. It sounds like you could really use some close friends or mentors. Pray for those, that God will give you people to comfort you where you are right now.

And finally, sometimes an attitude change does wonders. Again, I am not saying that you are to blame; I am only trying to say what can help. But if you can bring yourself to not be bitter, and challenge yourself over the next few weeks on how to show him love, whether or not he does it in return, you may find your feelings returning. Concentrate on what you're grateful for, rather than what you're bitter about.

It doesn't mean that any of the other stuff I said about not enabling him isn't true; I still believe it is. And just because you have to move because of the military doesn't mean you have to do the house. Why can't he bear the responsibility of not having the house ready, rather than you? I know it has repercussions for you, but personally, I'd let him experience the consequences of his actions!

Through it all, just try to love him. I know it's hard. Read the other Wifey Wednesday posts to get more thoughts, but just try. Ask God to help you. And you just may find that ten years down the road your marriage looks very different.


At 5:09 PM , Blogger Yvonne said…

Wow! I'll have to add that this was a timely post for me. I have just come out of bondage that I put on myself about this very thing. My husband comes from a family where his mother did everything that involved the home or kids. Of course, she was a stay at home mom and I work full-time, but that doesn't prevent my hubby's expectation that I will keep house "just like dear mother".

What I had to do is what this post suggests: trim it down. The first priority in my day is my quiet time with the Lord. I have to get up early (my co-workers kid me regularly because I get up at 4:45), but it is sooooo worth it. I spend some time in prayer and in the Word with my wonderful dark roast coffee. It quiets my soul and centers me for my day. Then I check out my calendar and see what I have for the day, check my email and facebook. Then I do a few chores and start getting ready.

I am fortunate in that I live close to where I work so I can come home at lunch. This has been a God-send situation for me! I usually eat a sandwich while working at my desk so that I'll have my entire hour of lunch free. I get so much done in that hour when I don't have little people underfoot or hubby beckoning me to the television to see something on the History channel, LOL! Although I know not everyone has that luxury, I would say to moms who work in the home and outside the home to give yourself a break, put time with God first, do small nuggets of chores and teach your kids to help! The last one is the hardest for me because it does take time initially, but the rewards are great! My 10 year old can make a cake, cook a meatloaf, homemade mac & cheese and a few other things, fold and put away laundry, sweep and dust.

What I am trying to say in too many words here is: look to God for your joy, put Him first in your life and your day and He will bless you.



At 5:10 PM , Blogger Yvonne said…

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At 5:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I suppose ideally he could help with the house, but he is gone and won't be back until a couple of weeks before we're supposed to actually get on the plane. Since we may be flying out of a different state, that means we'll be leaving here within days after he comes back. That makes things more difficult. It took from February until literally the night before he left (May 15) for him to put flooring down in our hall and two of the bedrooms (it's laminate that locks together..not difficult). He still has to do our bedroom. Knowing him he won't be jumping to do that as soon as he comes back.

Any time someone says for me to work on me then I feel as if they're saying that if I do that then everything will get better. My mom used to tell me just that: If I work on myself then everything will get better. Her opinion was that I needed to have a better attitude and just accept everything how it is. Then again, I've begun rethinking the advice I take from her. Latest: she thinks it's ok and normal to be lied to by your husband. I love her dearly but anymore I take her advice with not just a grain but a whole shaker of salt.

I know that splitting up is not easy. I've done that. But my children - especially my oldest - notice how different I am when my husband isn't around. My oldest has commented on how I seem "happier". I worry about them all but he stresses and worries about me and can tell how I'm feeling. I try to hide it but he knows. He's very intuitive.

I'm a child of an ugly divorce followed by even worse custody battles for nearly a decade. I know what it does to a child. I also remember realizing early on, based only my own observation, that it was best for my parents to be apart. It hurt and I wish things had been different, but I think had they stayed together to avoid hurting us they would have hurt us even more. What kept me from going beyond just a separation was knowing how a divorce would rock my children's world. Of course, not being able to provide for them (couldn't seem to get a job anywhere) didn't help. It makes me feel as if I have no alternatives to this situation. I'm stuck. I'm stuck because I fear the repercussions on them. Then again, I have a dear friend whose mother was in a similar situation and who chose to stick it out because it was best for the kids. My friend's mother tried to hide how she felt but the kids still knew. She committed suicide shortly after the youngest was out of high school. I've been to the point where I was considered nearly suicidal. I've had anxiety attacks and dealt with depression. Where the suicidal point is concerned, I forced myself away from such thoughts simply because I couldn't bear to think of how it would affect my children. Anxiety and depression were dealt with through counseling and some low dosage medication. I now deal with both of those on my own without medication, but it's not easy.

I know I can choose to let go of bitterness. I have actually done that a lot over the past few months because I have way too much to deal with and bitterness takes a lot of energy. I don't like the mind set. There is a mostly underlying bitterness left, though. It doesn't stay gone. I've cried many tears over all of this. I don't think I'll stay like this forever because I can't stand this way of living. But for the time being I am where I am.

I had doubts about getting married at all, and regretted it within weeks. There were red flags but I was too immature and in a hurry to see. Hind sight.


At 7:23 PM , Blogger Kristine said…

Absolutely ask God to change you, your heart, do what you can in a loving spirit, and pray for your husband. Ask God to help you love him and to help him to see how selfish he's being.

I don't believe anyone has a perfect marriage, a perfect husband...we all go through times of selfishness, busyness, and difficulty. My husband and I had to work through a lot of stuff, let go of a lot of stuff, and ask God to change each of us to get to where we are now at 22 years.


At 8:24 PM , Blogger Megan said…

Anonymous - It sounds like you've completely lost hope, and somehow you're going to have to find at least a glimmer of it again before anything or anyone can change. I know it won't solve everything, but when was the last time you had a break? A real break, just for you? I suspect it has been years. I seriously recommend, as soon as you move, even before you have the dishes unpacked, sending the children off to visit grandma or grandpa or a dear friend and going somewhere completely by yourself. Even if it's just for a weekend, but honestly I'd try for a week. Do it, even if it means giong into debt or selling your hair or your husband's gaming computer. Maybe a minute to breathe will help you find hope again.


At 3:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Oh, so familiar to me! I have such a husband! Lovley, isn't it LOL Especially part of not taking care of sick spouse; I know it very well, slamming doors, pretending to be even more sick...
I have cried a river, I talked to my priest for long hours, prayed, trying to leave him, I had fights, I feld lonley, misserable, desperate... and it helped me to grow spiritually and humanly so, so much. I am so much better, happier person, I have developed empathy, found great friends that I never dreamed I could have, I dare to reach for my dreams. And all in my life, my mohterhood, the way I do things around the house is easier, slower, fullfilled with empathy for people, for suffering that is so real for all of us.
Before I found myseld married to my husband I was very strick, judgemental, I had millions prejudices about that and those people, their life, way they dressed and talked... and now all I can see in people is their heart, their situation, their strengts and weaknesses - and all I can do is to help a fellow human being in a way he needs now - not trying to explain to her that she should change man, job, hair... And of course - relationships made in such honest way are giving me the real support, love and help. I have never had that before. And although I had it all - I had nothing. Now, with that husband, in a lonley and slavery-like marriage I have it all. Happiness, friendships, peace, love, success, support, laughter...
So, God always knows what He is doing when He puts us in a certain situation.


At 3:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

pt 2
No, I don't say our husbands are okay for doing what they're doing - oh, no! It's Oh, so familiar to me! I have such a husband! Lovley, isn't it LOL Especially part of not taking care of sick spouse; I know it very well, slamming doors, pretending to be even more sick...
I have cried a river, I talked to my priest for long hours, prayed, trying to leave him, I had fights, I feld lonley, misserable, desperate... and it helped me to grow spiritually and humanly so, so much. I am so much better, happier person, I have developed empathy, found great friends that I never dreamed I could have, I dare to reach for my dreams. And all in my life, my mohterhood, the way I do things around the house is easier, slower, fullfilled with empathy for people, for suffering that is so real for all of us.
Before I found myseld married to my husband I was very strick, judgemental, I had millions prejudices about that and those people, their life, way they dressed and talked... and now all I can see in people is their heart, their situation, their strengts and weaknesses - and all I can do is to help a fellow human being in a way he needs now - not trying to explain to her that she should change man, job, hair... And of course - relationships made in such honest way are giving me the real support, love and help. I have never had that before. And although I had it all - I had nothing. Now, with that husband, in a lonley and slavery-like marriage I have it all. Happiness, friendships, peace, love, success, support, laughter...


At 3:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

So, God always knows what He is doing when He puts us in a certain situation. just that we are the one who must change to a life circumstances, and not torture ourselves - so that we have a Martha Stewart house, have all cleaned up, great lunch etc. We need humility to say - I do not have that. My hubby leaves us in dirty and not finished, that is how I live. And let others see our pain, it's okay. We must show we're week. It frees others from hidding and spending energy on trying to make up truth.
And for the husbands - they are wounded, and sick.
Things they do are a steps of a wounded person, of emotional or spiritual invalid. I've embraced my man as I would embrace him after a car crash, broken and in invalid chair. You never know what's inside his soul, what pains and sufferings he's been through.
And you can only understand that when God opens yours eyes to see how weak, how wounded and sinfull you are. It took many talking and praying before I've realised that I am too cognitive, and that I keep my guts, my body outside the marriage. I made love by my ratio, with control, not letting go. My yes wasn't simply - yes, I love you, let's do that. It was - I should because it is said, written. Or - no, because this and that.... Likewise, all my relationship towards him was mediated by my intelect, I never reacted honestly and truthfully, but calculating what it means, what do I get by this or that...
So, can you imagine trying to live with someone who is constantly having lists, and laws and goes around marriage like some inspector, showing what's right, what's wrong, when, how, why sholud everyone behave... I had idea about everything, and I tried to make conversation in terms - yes, or no. And had fits I he didn't reacted in my frame.
Huh. So much my sins of pride, anger, gluttony (in terms of home decorating)... that I don't even have time to think about him. He is to love; I am to grow.
It is not easy... but you must do that.
you never ask yourself - why is he such a man... always ask yourself - how is he doing, and look at me - who I am!!!!
I could write book on this.
But, basicly, we constantly judge others and never look honestly into ourselves.
Each time you face with misstreatment from your husband, ask yourself - how come I choose him? It is probably out of your fear, weakness, sin, pride, desperation or so. So, cure that, and things can get better.
Sometimes real conversion and healing helps spouse to do his own growth. Sometimes it doesn't . But it is not up to you. You should pray pray pray for your husband, and let God do His work. When you surrender to God, you will be happy no matter what others are doing.
And very important - do your job, sancitify yourself in your situation... imagine people in concentration camps, in hunger and war - we all wish them to be strong, never surrender, and guard their soul. So should we. Do your job, make yourself more Christ-like - redeem your husband by your love and loving sacrifice. Let his evil not touch you; just transform everything in good, in peace and love - by giving all your pains to Christ as a gift, as a worship. Do not return wound; instead love the one who is doing evil. That way you are blessing marriage and world by transformin hatred into love, fight into peace. Such a big thing to do! That is a real meaning of christianity and our love - by strenght of Christ be stronger that evil.
I have to go, my children are jumping like monkeys...
Best wishes, God bless.
Let us all pray for each others!
I pray for this fellow-woman :)
And Sheila, and all readers of this lovely blog.


At 11:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I did get a break once, actually. The day after Christmas I went to my brother and sister-in-law's - sans kids - to spend the night. We went out and had a good time. I was back at my parents' house by around noon the next day. It was rejuvenating but I have longed for several years to get away by myself for a few days to just 'be'. I remember telling my Mom that a few years ago and she told me that it (stress from marriage, kids) is part of being a mother and I'd have to grin and bare it. Thanks Mom!

As for that break, my husband was deployed at the time or else I wouldn't have been able to go. I can't trust him to take care of the kids and going with him would have defeated most of the purpose. Whenever I talked about taking a break by myself, he would get offended that I didn't want to be with him. I have trouble telling him he's as much fun as dragging a sack of bricks so I stopped saying anything.

We're supposed to be moving overseas so there will be no leaving the kids with grandparents.

I have made more effort in the past year or so to focus more on enjoying my kids, in spite of the other issues. It has paid off in some ways, which I'm glad. Instead of being uptight and saying "Not right now" or "Later" all the time, I try to do more with them. Whether my husband comes along or not is not important to me. I worry about the kids' feelings but I'm not going to twist his arm. Many times the kids just get angry and frustrated anyway, with my oldest saying more than once, privately, that he "wishes Dad hadn't come!" It's his loss if he can't see what he's missing out on. It does make me sad for the kids but they at least know that I'm here for them and I'm interested in them and the people they're becoming.

As for the rest of way or the other it will work out.


At 11:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

As the grown child of parents that stayed together, I have to say that sometimes divorce can be a blessing. Granted, my mother's enabling of my father was not just that he didn't help and wasn't involved and was being a selfish jerk - he drank, did drugs, stole from his own children, gambled, and oh yeah, abused. And I used to pray on a near-daily basis that my mom would divorce him. That he would get arrested for drug possession. That he would hit me in the face so a teacher would notice and call child protection services. Something to get him out of there. My oh-so-Catholic grandmother (read: not fans of divorce) offered to give my mother money for a lawyer to divorce my father. I wish she had taken it. Sometimes, the situation is so negative and has been that way for so long and is so far beyond change that divorce is actually a mercy. Think about the message your kids get when the marriage is in such a horrible situation: it's OK to treat your wife like crap/for your husband to treat you like crap. This is what marriage is like. Etc. These kids are not going to have healthy ideas about relationships when they get older and they have their own. I still have distorted views, I think, and I'm 31 now. I don't want children and the #1 reason why is I'm afraid I would mess them up because I have no idea what good parenting looks like as I have never seen it.
As much as it's great when things can be worked out, and yes, I agree there are going to be tough times that couples can often work through that less-strong couples too often walk away from, sometimes, you just have to stop the madness. It's unhealthy and unsafe - for you AND the kids.
Now I don't know how bad anyone here's situation is; no one has mentioned outright abuse or anything, but the "for the sake of the kids" argument is sometimes not a valid argument... as the kids may be suffering more with the marriage intact.
Just a different perspective, I hope I didn't offend anyone, but the conversation seemed to me to be rather one-sided. :) Blessings.


At 8:57 PM , Blogger PWSMommy said…

That comment could have been left by me. I keep trying things, keep praying, keep keeping on. Keep hoping. I tell myself so long as there is life there is hope.

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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