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Three marriage killers

Discussion in 'Marriage and Relationships' started by Michael Douthat, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. I don't know how detailed to get here. My wife and I are both retired and this should be a time in life that we enjoy but I find myself asking if I should divorce my wife and be done with the frustration. There are always two sides to marriage problems but I'm going to stick my neck out and say, in this case, that my side is NOT so bad that it's wrecking the marriage. On the other hand, my wife has four behaviors that I feel are killing our marriage. I've come to the point where I told her that she either needed to go to a counselor and work on these behaviors, or I may have to break my commitment to God and leave her. It should be noted that three of these behaviors have continued through about 5 of the 5 ½ years of marriage.

    #1 – Soon into our marriage I realized that my wife was a spendaholic. She had no concept of living on a budget and had a lot of credit card debt. Once I found out about the debt I started realizing that she was an habitual liar about her money spending and debts. When we were first married she told me that she had spent $30K to build an apartment in the basement of her parents' home so that she could take care of them. I found out from her mother that She had put up the $30K dollars. Her mother was an invalid and her father had Alzheimers. Along the way I discovered that she was taking money from her mother's checking account and even went so far as to take out credit cards in both their names. Her parents are dead now but she continues to max credit cards that she has no money to pay off. We decided that she would get an allowance but that allowance now goes towards paying minimum payments on the cards. I can't trust her to tell me the truth. She lies when it's convenient for her. Just recently I asked her to give me a list of all her credit cards and she conveniently left off the newest one. This is typical of the behavior.

    #2 – My wife claims that she has always been “driven” to constantly be moving and working around the house. She also has what I call a “Martyr Complex”. She wants me to feel sorry for her that she has so much to do even though she has no more to do than any other retired person. I've complained incessantly about this behavior and have asked her to spend more time just relaxing and being with me. She absolutely has ignored that request and almost makes herself sick with this constant drive to be up and moving. She has insomnia but refuses to start winding down her mind and body in the evening and going to bed at about the same time every night.

    #3 – Early on in our marriage because I was incapable of normal sex, she decided that it was not important to have sexual contact of any kind. Again I complained a lot but finally had to just give up because she was as cold as ice when it came to this. She doesn't seem to understand the concept of being close physically without having to have sex (at least normal sex). She also refuses to come to bed and just cuddle even though I've asked her many times.

    #4 – The latest and newest behavioral problem has to do with her 40 year old son. He has been an alcoholic and drug addict since his youth and now has the mind of a 15 year old. His wife left him and the house was repossessed, so my wife let him move in with us. From the beginning, my wife has enabled him and coddled him even though he has been abusive to her over the years. I set boundaries, he ignores the boundaries. When I get angry with him, she calls me “mean”. When he was given until March to save enough money to move out, he told his mother that he didn't trust us with his money and would save the money aside. In December I found out he had spent all his money on booze and drugs and had nothing. I wanted to kick him out right there and then. She called me mean and we kept the March date. She now says she will back me up when March comes. I plan on kicking him out but I have the feeling she will turn on me again.

    It should be noted that I left my wife twice. The first time I just planned on getting a legal separation so I moved to Colorado. We reconciled and I came back. The next summer the behaviors continued and I decided to divorce her. Went back to Colorado in my RV. I did file for divorce but had sent the wrong type of paperwork so was going to have to hire a lawyer. I prayed a lot and felt like this was a sign for me to go back and accept my wife as she is and learn to live with her.

    As you can imagine, with all of this there is a lack of depth to my love for her. I've told her that I love her like a sister in Christ and am willing to stay and keep it together. Since then I've been doing better and letting a lot of things slide but now with the situation with her son and her attitude in that matter, I have become depressed and frustrated. When I have talks with her about changing her behaviors, she gets angry and resentful that I am saying “it's all her fault”. I try to explain that there are always behaviors that I need to work on but hers are the ones killing the marriage. Never in these discussions does she admit to the severity of her behavior and keeps trying to turn it around by saying that “love should be unconditional”. She claims that her love for me is unconditional and she's not asking me to change anything. I try to show her that if I was exhibiting behaviors as serious as hers, her love for me would diminish.

    So here I am once more with a decision to make. I could leave her tomorrow and it would probably be a relief...but I made a commitment to God to try to love this woman as she is. I've told her that I am NOT going to ask for a divorce unless she just makes life so miserable that I have no choice. On the other hand, she feels that because I am asking her to change some behaviors that I am controlling and not willing to love unconditionally. She wants to know why I would stay if I think “she's so terrible”. I try to show her that she only needs to “try” to work on the behaviors with a counselor and then maybe we can grow back together with even more love for each other. We are scheduled to see counselors individually but I'm curious if you think I'm over-reacting and/or asking too much of my wife?
    zegreentreeee likes this.
  2. Her behavior is completely out of line.
    Uncondtional love (among humans) is a fairy tale for suckers. Even God has limits on how much nonsense He tolerates.
    I will not give advice as to what the right thing to do is, but, you got yourself quite the situation there.
    Get the kid out, he's a bum, and can be a bum on his own time.
    Either she has to be honest with you or you are wasting your time. You can't base a relationship on lies.
    Put her on a budget and scrap the credit cards.
    Some people can live without intimacy, others can't. It's up to you how important it is.
    SparkleEyes and Michael Douthat say Amen and like this.
  3. Hello.

    If I were not saved, nor have known the grace of our Lord, I would say, divorce and be done with her. But yet, what makes a marriage work, may I ask? Who is the center of the relationship, God, or otherwise?

    Actually, even despite this, the Bible is clear you should not divorce unless the wife or husband has committed adultery, as in
    Matthew 19:9 - "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

    You cannot make the relationship happen, or work for that matter. What defines a marriage is a couple trying to 'out-serve' one another in the Lord, and with God as their major figure. The first thing to fix marriage is to appreciate God, love Him. And that is easy, because He has loved you with an everlasting love, enough to give His beloved treasure for mere dirt.

    I recommend Pastor John McArthur's sermon if you are still curious.
    Michael Douthat likes this.
  4. Um. Question.
    You say her son. Is this not your son as well? Was she married before?
    Why cant you have normal sex.
    Why did you marry her in the first place?
    I dont quite understand. If you love her like a sister, as we meant to, love our sisters, why did you marry her? Like I love my brothers but do not feel the need to marry them. I could cuddle a baby or a pet. Man and wife are meant to have relations. I thought that was the whole purpose of marriage. That God can bless that union and so your children would be holy or at least know who God is.
  5. I dont understand how you can break a commitment to God. God never breaks his commitment to you.
    If you are saved, theres just no way except through Jesus. You need to pray instead of blaming your wife for everything. She needs Jesus too.

    You made vows. Stick to them, or consider if you lied making those vows in the first place. If you did, repent and ask God for a new start. You cannot change the other person. Only God can melt her heart. Start with yourself first, working out your salvation. If God is working through you, and on your heart, you will see a change. let Him.
    christianbacktobasics2 and Michael Douthat say Amen and like this.
  6. I don't know your age but things are a bit different for us who are in our 60's. My wife was married several times but her sons came from her first marriage. The husband before me died. An adult step-son is different from children who live at home in younger families.
    I can't have normal sex due to medicine I take and prostate problems. I still have a need for close physical touch.
    At our age many people marry for companionship, as did I. It's not that it couldn't be a somewhat romantic marriage but her behaviors and refusal to be physical have stifled romance.
  7. While the behaviours of hers that you mention are certainly nothing to be scoffed at and need to be addressed, it is always imperative to remember that all relation is a two way street. Perhaps some self-reflection is in order; while there is no silver bullet to salvaging a marriage (and I am a firm believer that divorce can at times be the best option,) I find that often when one spouse has vices, they are in some way related to vices of the other spouse.

    And I don't want this to sound accusatory or targeted, as it is important to be introspective and strive for virtue in all walks of life, not just in your specific case.
    SparkleEyes and Michael Douthat say Amen and like this.
  8. I'm short of words and sincerely don't know what to say cos any action taken will have a ripple effect... i suggest we all pick a day to fast on the issue, there is nothing too great for God to change. What better period than this while entering lent? I move a motion to fast on the issue, who seconds?

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