21 Year Marriage Going Away? Need Advice.

Discussion in 'Marriage and Relationships' started by wagonwheel69, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. I could really use some thoughts, advice or especially past experience if anyone has it to offer. My wife and I are staring down divorce of a 21 year marriage. I am a Christian man, I am of course not perfect and have made many mistakes in life but I do love the lord. My wife says she is a Christian and I believe she believes but she often does not live like it unless it is an issue she can use to benefit herself. She does pray, she says she has prayed often for our marriage but I honestly cannot see where she makes any effort to engage in a Christian marriage. My wife says she loves me and does not want to get divorced but in years past has bragged to friends about how she can't wait to be rid of me. I honestly still love her and likely always will but the pain of this relationship is tipping the scales past any love for her I have.

    A little background on our relationship: When Mary and I first got together she was very demanding and jealous of my time. She really didn't like me going out with friends or doing much of anything that was without her. If I would want to go out with guy friends for buddy stuff she would typically counter with lets do something together instead or can I go even if it was more of a male type thing. Eventually friends fell away and it was me and her. There came the time she wanted to move in together, I didn't feel like it was right or the time but she was very persistent and unrelenting. I gave in. So it went for us getting married at 19 and 22 years old and the timing of our two sons. All these things I didn't feel I was ready for but I gave into her with no real regret because I did know that I loved her very, very much and ultimately wanted to make her happy. This type of behavior is still very predominant today. My wants and needs do not matter. If I express that I am feeling unloved or I need things, often simple things, she dismisses my feelings. If she doesn't deem them necessary or legitimate than neither should I.

    Mary comes from an abusive home. There was no real love in the house. When we were dating and I would spend time at her home I was often horrified or turned off by the behavior of her family. Her father was sometimes physically abusive to her mother or others but there was almost always shouting, cursing, screaming, disrespect and fighting. This was constant. It was almost like white noise before it was all over. If they were communicating it was very often with hurtful, belligerent language. I expressed my concern to Mary and her answer was that this was just how they love each other and the way they do things but it will never be that way between us. Being young and feeling that Mary really loved me I believed it. I felt good in that I could give her a much more loving environment than she was raised in and felt she would appreciate it. Within about a year of us being married it started showing up in our house. Fighting over stupid things way too often, she was yelling on a daily basis and profanity was part of how she communicated to me. I hated it, it was often like torture. I made my views very clear but it continued until it was just a part of life being married to her. As time went I would often withdraw myself because I would rather be alone than be involved in a bunch of yelling.

    When things started to really change for me was after we had kids. We had a conversation where I said I thought we should go out and spend some time alone together as a couple. She acted almost horrified at the notion and expressed the sentiments that she would miss our son too much, that she didn't believe in pawning kids off to grandparents and that once you have kids, the husband and wife relationship disappears in lieu of a family relationship. She also told me in that time frame that a husband and wife "didn't have to do 'things' to show love, that being together was enough" She didn't understand and was hostile to the notion that a husband and wife should work on their relationship or really even have one. This person who fought so hard for us to have this ultra close relationship was gone, morphed into someone who didn't think we should have one outside of mom and dad. I understand these feeling sometimes come about after children but this was such a radical turn around it was breathtaking. I felt completely abandoned. She has since expressed that she was wrong for feeling this way in those years but her behavior really hasn't changed. While she enjoys us going out for dinner or drinks sometimes, she still largely refuses to put any work into building, growing or maintaining a relationship. Through the years I increasingly expressed that I do not feel real loved and that my wants and needs don't matter but there is no response from her outside of how ridiculous it is. This may sound exaggerated but honestly, I can not think of a single time I have ever expressed a want or need or expressed that I was hurting and she took it seriously.

    One of the real low times for me came about 5 years ago. I had a bad blood clot in my leg when I was a child and have had circulation issues with it through the years. I got to a point where my leg was agonizing. It would swell to the limits of my pant leg. It was solid dark purple and cellulites scarred between the ankle and knee and I had large open, bleeding, oozing ulcers all over it that would not heal. One four inches long and wide. The doctors told me the venous structure in my leg was badly damaged and that my options were to get off my feet or complicated, risky surgery to replace the primary deep vein in the leg with a synthetic one. I was working 10+ hour days standing on concrete as a mechanic. Mary was extremely apathetic to the situation. She was not helpful and was even hostile to me changing jobs where I could work 40 hours a week for good but less money. She later said she didn't know it was bothering me that bad??? In that time I had horrible depression. My leg for a couple of years was getting worse with leaking, infected ulcers that were getting bigger not healing, I was very scared for my future and thought I might loose my leg, my marriage was falling apart and everyday I was in agony getting up and working 10 to 12 hours on my feet. One morning I was sitting on the edge of the bed and we had a brief hostile exchange. I lost it and started crying like a baby, I broke down. I told her with tears in my eyes that I was falling apart, don't you even care. She replied "I care but I'm not going to help you wallow in your own self pity" To this day she contends that this was justified and that I was making things hard on myself by being a drama queen. I eventually applied for and received Social Security disability which literally saved my life.

    Fast forward to today, our boys are 15 and 18 and Mary and I live largely separate lives. She still wants to control and keep track of my life but doesn't want to be a part of it. I have had questions about infidelity on her part which she refuses to take seriously despite very serious indicators. I have swallowed more abuse than I want to discuss. I am not perfect but honestly feel that by a 10 to 1 ratio I take it over give it and usually have to be provoked very badly. Our most substantial conversations are our fights and she refuses under any circumstance to talk about or work on our marriage. I ask and ask her to talk, bring things to the table to make our marriage better, work on things, try to come together with me but she will not and is full of excuses as to why she wont. She says she doesn't know of anything to talk about or anything to do. She says whatever she does isn't good enough so she's not trying. She usually turns her back and walks away from me while I am talking if we get into an exchange about working on our marriage. She tells me she doesn't want a sex life with someone with as much baggage as me. If we have a big, ugly blow up fight, I am beside myself upset and hurt. Five minutes later I hear her laughing and cracking up at things on TV. She says there's no point to allow herself to get too upset. We have been to counseling twice and she has been to counseling for anger issues and such twice. I have been once for depression. None of which made any improvement. I'm honestly willing to leave the past in the past and look forward but she will not talk, much less work on building a marriage. I HONESTLY have done everything I know to do. I cannot think of anything. I have tried being very easy going, giving and understanding, I have tried being tough and used the submissive wife approach, I have expressed pain and agony over our relationship and racked my brain for any words to use. I hate divorce, but I have spent a decade in depression and pain over her refusal to build a marriage with me and I see things still deteriorating not getting better. The bible's says many different things of divorce and means different things to different people. I think divorce is wrong and isn't supposed to happen but I can't do this pain anymore and if it's going to happen eventually I'd rather it happen now while I still have a few years(I'm 43) I crave someone to love and love me like oxygen. I am trying to get an appointment with a divorce attorney to gain some understanding of the legal process. The only(worldly) hope I see for our marriage is to try a separation and see if she decides what is most important to her. But I understand the chances are that separation will lead to divorce. My first choice is for her to want to build a marriage but I can't keep doing what we've been doing. The pain is overwhelming I'm not a quitter but this is no longer a rough time but rather a decade or more that I haven't been myself and clouded in deep depression. Do I resolve myself to move on or face living till I die like this.
  2. Hi there, sorry for your predicament. I can slighly relate. As I am reading I can't help thinking of an ex-girlfriend.

    Here are my random thoughts. Petty arguments = carnality. Not caring for your injuries plus other = selfishness. Bad upbringing does not go away unless someone has a life changing encounter with Jesus, which is not what you describe of her. Her upbringing has made her hard. Selfishness and carnality = Good chance that there has been infidelity.

    As a Christian the real reason that you stay married is because it pleases God, God does not want divorce (Matt 19:6). God can restore broken relationships. With Him in the picture there IS always hope!

    If I were in your shoes I would.

    1) Sit down and have an in-depth discussion with her. Get her in a 'moment' where the she will open up. Ask her to be honest about if she has ever been unfaithful. Try your best to see the ''depth'' in what she says. Example, if she gets upset = no depth. If she tries to sooth you for your mistrust = some depth.

    If you doubt her, get a PI. As a Christian you must not even think about divorce unless she was unfaithful! Abuse = selfishness = infidelty most times.

    2) Make sure that God feels like a partner in the marriage. If she has not been unfaithful, start including the Lord more in your marriage!!! He joined the two of you and you need Him back before it crumbles. Marriage cannot survive without the constant anointing of the Lord!

    3) Put your foot down. Because of her upbringing she is tough nut. You have to become tough too!!! (you don't sound tough from your post, no offence). No more crying from arguments, ever! Demand the vacation together! You HAVE to take back your say in the marriage relationship! No more pushed around by her!!!!!! You are not in prison! No need to escape, just 'kick the door down'.

    4) Get a hobby. It is going to take a while for your wife to be softened by the Lord and come to grips with you not being pushed around. You need to take your mind away from her and her issues as much as possible until she is ''worth'' being mindful of. Ignore her yelling at silly things.

    Lastly, trust the Lord! If your wife is unfaithful and truly bad for you, God will remove her! You keep your eyes on Him and trying to become the spiritual leader in the house.

    Good luck, praying for you!
  3. How very sad. How very very sad.
  4. Just a thought… it is possible that

    Your wife really loves you, and she is helping you to be more of the man you can be
    · Not what she expects you to be…. but what you can be.
    · Not what impossibly you can be… but what you can possibly be.

    Also, there is a big “?” at the top of my head when you mentioned you are looking for someone “to love you like oxygen”.....that sounds like a “parasitic love” that you are looking for?

    What I believe is as human beings to love, the purpose is to nurture the other person spiritual growth.

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