I'm new to this forum, and am in need of some advice. Let me explain, this could take some time... Thank you to those who finish reading this one.
I've been married now just over two years to my beloved wife. She is 32, I'm 31. This is my second marriage and her first. We fell in love and married after only 9 months, back in 06; and since then, our marriage has been a rollercoaster ride.
She has a son from a prior relationship, I have a daughter from my prior marriage. Since our marriage, we've been combatting issue after issue, and needless to say, it's greatly impacted the quality of our marriage; hence the current situation. I will say upfront, I've made plenty of mistakes these past couple of years; we both have, and are both responsible for where we're at now...
1) Blending our family has posed a significant challenge, and we've both had a tendency to priorize our children ahead of our marriage. We're both to blame on this, and it has definitely impacted our relationship.
2) My wife is a victim of childhood sexual abuse. She is in counselling for it now, and is making progress. However, she chose to bury this issue for 17 years, and she chose to confront it last year. It's been tearing us up ever since... intimacy issues, both physical and emotional.
3)I'm in the military and have been TDY/ Deployed for a good portion of our marriage. Last year I was gone half the year, and this really impacted our marriage. I'm getting out next year.
I returned from my most recent deployment almost 10 months ago now, and since then, our marriage has done nothing but deteriorate. We suffered from lack of intimacy, lack of making each other a priority over our children, which has in turn affected our trust... the whole 9 yards.
We talked about all of this back in August, and since then, I have been actively trying to make our marriage my top priority; and I have. However, by the end of the september, not much had changed; in fact my wife's attitude had deteriorated even more, to the point to where she wanted a separation.
By all her accounts, she says I've been a very good husband to her, and a good step dad to our son. But she said she felt burnt out, and really just needed some space. She told me she wasn't ready to "quit", but that she wasn't ready to try either.
So I moved out and gave her the space she asked for. Within a short period of time, things rapidly improved. She said that she missed me, she loved me and she wanted to work on things
We did some activities together, and really seemed to be enjoying each others company.
Well, the past three weeks, everything seems to be deteriorating and falling apart now. Now she barely wants to see me or talk to me. I called her tonight to confront her and find out exactly "where we're at?"
She told me the standard "i love you but am not in love with you". She said that the feelings haven't been there for awhile now; that those first few weeks she was trying to "feel" again, to see if her feelings for me would change, but that they hadn't. She told me that she felt we rushed into the marriage; that she really didn't feel she was ready to be married, and that she didn't want to go on feeling like this for the next 50 years. She didn't say she was ready to quit, but she layed on heavy doubt and discouragement.
I've been doing a great deal of reading/ praying this past month. I am a man of God, and know that the Lord's will for me in this situation is to stick it out through faith, obedience and determination. So I'm not asking whether or not I should quit? I'm asking about how I should approach the future? I did tell her tonight, that 3 weeks of effort isn't going to change a year's worth of discouragement, and that this is going to take time. It took us a year to get this way, it will probably take us at least that long to get better; especially while dealing with other issues outside the marriage as well (her past). I also told her that I'm committed to making this marriage work; that I believe in "til death do us part". But I also told her that if she quits, or strays outside our marriage, then I'm done too. One person can't make a marriage work; so I told her that if she reaches that point, that she needs to let me know.
In the books I've been reading recently, I've discovered that love is a "choice". That we can "choose" to love; that we can lead our hearts; and that this is predicated by our desire to give, and to love. If we are willing to give of ourselves, and to do loving things (unconditionally) for our spouse, then our heart is bound to follow. I've been doing this now for the past month, and my love for my wife has greatly increased. It's also greatly enhanced my spiritual walk with the Lord. I've told my wife about it, and have been trying to get her to embrace these principles; i.e. that if she's willing to try; to give and love unconditionally; that we can rekindle our love for each other. The key is making the "choice" to do so. I know I can't make her love me, she has to choose to do so. I pray she will.
I could probably go on and on, but I think you get the point. I know a lot of the discouragment she's feeling is related to us not making our marriage enough of a priority throughout our marriage, and a lot is due to her past experiences, and also not truly being ready to be a wife when we got married. With that said, I do believe that just because we rushed into marriage, isn't reason for us to rush out. So my question now to the forum, what should I do now? Should I give her space to decide what she wants to do? How would folks on here react to this situation? Would some of you quit? I'm not ready to quit; but am asking for all opinions.
Thank you for taking the time to respond