26 responses

  1. Anonymous
    June 2, 2010

    >Thanks for these words Sheila. My husband and I have been going through some tough times lately but I have stuck to my promise of "Til death do us part" and have been reminded by my closest friends to just pray and seek God's peace and guidance. Nothing I do or say can make things better…only God can work in our lives and bring back the feelings of love and "oneness" that we felt when we got married. The way I look at it, we chose to get married, which means that at one time we did have strong feelings for one another. It is only the circumstances around us that have led to negative feelings and emotions and we can either choose to dwell and focus on those negative thoughts or change them to what God would want us to focus on….the blessings we have in one another. My husband may not always say the nicest things to me, treat me well or tell me he loves me right now but I know that if I focus on being the wife that God wants me to be and look to Him for my joy and strength, He will get us through this.
    I agree that I'd rather weather this storm with Jesus by my side than walk away and go against God's teaching.
    So thanks again for these words and the reminder and encouragment to put God first and see what He can do before giving up!!
    K.

  2. Anonymous
    June 2, 2010

    >Thanks for these words Sheila. My husband and I have been going through some tough times lately but I have stuck to my promise of "Til death do us part" and have been reminded by my closest friends to just pray and seek God's peace and guidance. Nothing I do or say can make things better…only God can work in our lives and bring back the feelings of love and "oneness" that we felt when we got married. The way I look at it, we chose to get married, which means that at one time we did have strong feelings for one another. It is only the circumstances around us that have led to negative feelings and emotions and we can either choose to dwell and focus on those negative thoughts or change them to what God would want us to focus on….the blessings we have in one another. My husband may not always say the nicest things to me, treat me well or tell me he loves me right now but I know that if I focus on being the wife that God wants me to be and look to Him for my joy and strength, He will get us through this.
    I agree that I'd rather weather this storm with Jesus by my side than walk away and go against God's teaching.
    So thanks again for these words and the reminder and encouragment to put God first and see what He can do before giving up!!
    K.

  3. Sheri
    June 2, 2010

    >No linky today? I posted here: http://www.theshadesofpink.com/2010/06/wifey-wednesday-as-long-as-we-both.html
    Although it's not overly eloquent (Scooby Doo is playing in my ear and I can't concentrate HA!).

  4. Sheila
    June 2, 2010

    >Sheri–Sorry! I don't know why it wasn't showing up, but I fiddled around with the code and then suddenly it was there! I entered your link.

    Anonymous–I'm glad you took the post so well. I really don't mean to be flippant about those who are in difficult marriages, because I can't imagine much worse (at least in our society). But I do believe God is bigger than any of your problems, and I'm so glad you're trusting in Him!

  5. sarahe
    June 2, 2010

    >great perspective–it is so easy to try to justify what we want or would make our lives "better" but thanks for sticking with the biblical standpoint on this.

  6. Cheryl
    June 3, 2010

    >I agree, a very difficult topic. Such a fine line to walk. It's so much easier when both parties are Christians who seek to follow God's will. Everything outside of that is such a gray area.

  7. Nimmi
    June 4, 2010

    >Sheila, thank you for this wonderful post. About a year ago I heard a radio segment of "Building relationships" with Gary Chapman in which they talked about the Marriage Prayer. Ever since I'm praying this prayer and it changed my life. Here is the prayer:
    "Father, I said 'til death do us part' —I want to mean it.
    Help me to love you more than him
    and more than anyone or anything else.
    Help me to bring him into your presence today.
    Make us one, like you are three-in-one.
    I want to hear him, support him, and serve him
    so he would love you more
    and we can bring you glory. Amen"

  8. Anonymous
    June 5, 2010

    >I know so many women who are in just awful relationships. He pays no attention to her, he's never home, he speaks in condescending tones, he's lazy.

    They're extremely lonely. They cry almost everyday. They've sought out counseling because the marriage is so difficult. They're worried about their kids.

    ****************

    Thanks Sheila.
    I am in thr process rigyht now on planniong on moving out with my 2 children. He is never home, addicted to gambling and he does not love or cherish or honour the girls or I. They struggle with hating men, one daughgter has uttered a suicide threat, that same daughter waa cutting herself.

    There was an incident of physical abuse last year. He has a history of being irrational and angry.

    The girls are getting older and they are out and about with friends, at conferencves, etc. I am alone and lonely SO much!

    A single mom friend of mind said she is loonely too, but I ahve a husband, which makes it sadder.

    He used to be a Christian but fell away from God 10+ years ago. I feel like a single mom. It really is not going to affect his day to day life when one daughter goes off to university in 3 months.

    He provides nothing but a roof. He manipulates and takes advantage of and is not compassionate at all when it comes to my multiple health issues.

    I know what God says about divorce. I will not divorce him.

    It is going to be hard but the scales have tipped for me.

    This is not a life.

  9. Sheila
    June 5, 2010

    >To the last Anonymous commenter:

    I so hurt for you. That is so awful and so lonely, and I want to reiterate that when we're dealing with addictive personalities, which it sounds like your husband is, I do believe separation is often the wisest choice. If your daughters are becoming self-destructive because of his behaviour, and if he is endangering the family with his gambling (which it sounds like he is), then you need to think of them first.

    It doesn't lessen the heartache for you, I know. I wish I could do something to make him change, but none of us can. It is so hard writing a post like this because I do NOT have a husband like yours, and I don't want to preach to those who are in difficult marriages. But yours does sound like leaving is the smartest thing to do (like my friend that I mentioned in the post).

    In James Dobson's book Love Must Be Tough, he also makes the point that many men who are violating the covenants of their marriages will not change until they are forced to–by the wife doing something abrupt like this. So pray, surround yourself with friends, and ask God to build you up and your girls up. And in the process, perhaps God will get through to your husband, too!

  10. Anonymous
    June 5, 2010

    >Thanks for the encouragement and support, Sheila. I really appreciate it.

    I will be sitting down to talk to him about this soon. Circumstances with our mortgage coming up for renewal are forcing me to talk to him about leaving because I will not sign a new mortgage with him. (If we then sold the house shortly after there are huge penalties.) I think it best that the house be sold. This is forcing me to talk to him. I was planning on just leaving while he was on a trip.

    But if we talk about it and agree on things, then I can start packing instead of having to do it in a very short period of time.

    Prayerfully we can be civil and amicable about it. That leaves the door open for reconciliation. My heart is wanting to close the door forever, but I know that is not what God wants. I want to want what God wants.

    But I know that IF he decides he wants his wife and family back it is going to be a LONG road of change.

    I am not sure he does though. He is very much living like he is single. We shall see.

    May I ask for your prayers?

  11. Sheila
    June 5, 2010

    >Absolutely! And I think sitting down and talking about it is a good idea–but you probably need some help first to get your thoughts together. Maybe talk to a mentor?

    I also love what you said about leaving the door open for reconciliation, even though it's hard. Often that reconciliation doesn't happen for years, but I really believe there is nothing more beautiful in this world than a life restored, grace personified, Christ's transformation. It is when it seems the most impossible that it is also the most beautiful, precisely because it is so far gone.

    I really did think Dobson had a lot of good things to say in Love Must Be Tough about how to protect you and your kids when your husband is acting destructively–and how to best prompt transformation and reconciliation (if it's possible). But the neat thing about what Dobson recommends is that even if that reconciliation doesn't happen, you and the children are still in a better place spiritually and emotionally. It's a book specifically about affairs, but I think it's applicable to addictions or to men who just seem intent on getting out of the relationship without thinking it through.

    I have prayed for you, and will continue to do so.

  12. Anonymous
    June 5, 2010

    >Thanks again Sheila.

    I am getting advice from a few select people including an older couple whose wisdom and advice I respect. Just a few people in my home church know. A couple of other friends who do not live where I do know too. All of these people are Christians and some of them have kinown both of us since before we got married in 1989.

    The women at the women's centre have lots of good help and resources and advice. This is what thay do. But I am aware of filtering their advice through a spiritual lens.

    Thanks again for your words ofencouragement and especially your prayers!

  13. Anonymous
    June 9, 2010

    >I am a woman who is now out of a destructive relationship thanks to divorce. I didn't want a divorce — my parents have been married almost 49 years and when I said I do, I expected to stay together forever too.

    But the abuse started shortly after we were married. He hit me and I fought back (thinking this was like wrestling with my brothers). It wasn't.

    I didn't tell people but they knew things weren't right.

    On several occasions (at least three) I know he cheated but I took him back. He was diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder and so we went to the psychiatrist and I made sure he took his pills. But still — you never knew when — I would get punched in the head or the door would get kicked or the wall would get yet another hole.

    After 13 years, it was too much… I had a 7 year old and an 18 month old and one day I woke up and said I'm not going to live like this anymore.

    He moved out and life is 100% better… It's been over 3 years and only recently have I begun to feel the heavy weight lifted from my shoulder. I am free.

    Free to love again. Free to be a good Mother to my children. Free to rediscover my dreams again. And free to forgive myself for getting divorced.

    As one dear friend said, "YOU didn't fail. Your MARRIAGE failed."

    That helped me a lot to put it in that perspective.

    No, I don't think people should get divorced but don't tell women who are suffering in a dysfunctional marriage that the Bible says they have to stay. Unless you've "walked in my moccasins" (as the old saying goes), you don't understand how terrible life can be.

    Thank God he forgives and has a Plan B — and that life can be good again!

    Denise in Saskatchewan, Canada
    writeright@sasktel.net

  14. Sheila
    June 10, 2010

    >Denise in Saskatchewan–

    I'm glad you're doing so well, and that God has blessed you!

    To tell you the truth, though, I don't know very many people in Christian circles who would say that you should stay married if you're being abused. I would say that it's the exact opposite–that most people believe that if you're being abused, you should get out, for your own safety and for your kids' safety. That's certainly what I said in this article.

    I don't think you have to stay in an abusive marriage at all. What I did say in the article, though, is that I think we do have to stay in other marriages, even dysfunctional ones. We're all dysfunctional to some extent, and I think too many people today are looking for justification to leave, instead of taking a good, hard look at what commitment really means.

    It's not easy, but it was God who said it, not me.

    So to reiterate what I said in the article: if he is having affairs, if he's abusive, if he's addictive, you usually have little choice but to leave, and if you leave. It's not those relationships that are in the grey area.

    It's those where you're just not happy that are the problem. And that's really what I was addressing.

    I'm glad people who are in abusive relationships are now able to get out, with the church's blessing, when the truth is known. At least that's been the case in the churches that I have been a part of.

  15. Jamie (@va_grown)
    April 21, 2014

    Shelia–I know this is an older post, but I was reading it from Pinterest the other day and it encouraged my heart yet again. So I shared it at the Salt and Light link up this week. (http://www.becomingagodlywife.com/blog-hop/salt-light-16/) Thank you!
    Jamie (@va_grown) recently posted…Fluffy, Peeping, Houseguests…the Daily Farm Adventures {48}My Profile

    • Sheila
      April 21, 2014

      Wonderful, Jamie! Thank you!

  16. Anonymous
    July 18, 2014

    Hi Sheila….

    I was hoping you can give me some advice… I have been married 17 years and we have two boys 12 and 9. I would say we are happily married with room for improvement. However just recently my husband started debating with the idea of just wanting to be by himself. And as of 2 weeks ago he decided that that he definitely wants out of our marriage and wants to be alone. He wants to come and go as he pleases. However will continue to support the boys and i because we will always be his family and he loves us very much. Soon after his decision he told our boys of what is going to happen and of course they are confused and frightened. He doesn’t have any set plans yet. We still live together except that I now sleep in another room. We no longer wear our rings. Fortunately he isn’t blaming me or is rude. He hasn’t told anyone about his way of thinking. Not sure why. I don’t think he is having an affair. However he fast a female friend he met a year and a half ago. She is separated from her husband with 4 kids. They talk and text everyday all day! When I confronted her she reassured me there was nothing but pure friendship between them and nothing more. However my husband says he does care for Her And I Feel She Does too. Although I don’t think there is anything beyond this it is very threatening to me. My husband and I have always been able to work things out together. But with her in the picture I think it allows him to not confront the situation. He just never wants to talk about it or deal with it. After some researching I believe he is going through a midlife crisis with maybe a little depression. My thing is he is not willing to seek help and everything I read says I should back off and let this take its course but this is so confusing for me and the boys… they are so scared of us getting a divorce. I don’t know what to do. I certainly don’t want wait it out because I feel my boys will only suffer more and needless to say this is very painful. My boys and i cry all the time. My husband hates that he is putting us through this. I really think he is fighting some internal stuff. I don’t believe he really wants to leave. The boys and I have pleaded with him but he doesn’t sway. At this point the boys and i are in limbo not knowing how this will turn out. I pray constantly that God will do a miracle quickly. I plan to seek consueling soon for the boys and I. Any suggestions from you on this matter would be greatly appreciated! And prayers are very welcomed!
    Thanks in advance!

    • Sheila
      July 18, 2014

      Hi there! I’m so, so sorry you’re going through this. How scary and heartbreaking!

      I don’t know what to tell you do because I’ve read of two different approaches, very opposite, that have worked. One woman just pretended that her husband hadn’t said anything at all, and went on with her daily life, and was nice to him, and eventually he came around. She didn’t believe in his heart he wanted to leave, and so she left room for him. I’m not sure that usually works, though.

      Other people let the guy experience the consequences of his actions, and that’s usually the route I’d recommend. The book Love Must Be Tough goes through this in detail, and I think it’s very biblical.

      But I don’t know which route will work best in your situation. I’d talk to a friend and get her to pray with you and really seek God’s guidance. One thing, though: I don’t think it’s fair for your husband to want to keep it a secret. That sounds like he knows he’s doing something wrong, but he doesn’t want anyone else to know it. Well, you don’t get that privilege, in my opinion. But I’d read the book, and talk to a friend and pray. And I’ll pray that God will give you some direct guidance.

    • Alchemist
      August 7, 2014

      I’m so sorry you are going through this. It sounds terrible.

      Does he have any strong male Christian friends you can talk to? Or maybe the elders in your church (if they are good elders and he respects them) or the pastor?

      Sounds like someone needs to kick him under his butt. And it can’t be you. Sounds like he needs a strong Christian man to tell him what’s what and hold him accountable. Men are often quite harsh at dealing with each others bad behavior. And much more effective that a woman can dream to be.

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