The problem is not that you fantasise about the ex-lover, this is just a symptom. The problem is that your needs are not being met in this marriage. In desperation you are looking for something outside the marriage to fulfill you.
Very true, and I'm aware of that. Our marriage counselor (we went 5 times to a marriage counselor last fall, couldn't afford to keep going...he barely touched the tip of the iceburg) said pretty much the same thing. I agree. But I can't necessarily fulfill my own needs in the marriage, which is why I'm still stuck in this problem.
What you need to do is create a major crises with your husband. Don't half do it, go all out or it won't work. Sounds a bit strange maybe, but hear me out. You need to let him know that you can not and will not go on with an unfulfilled marriage. You need to be 100% honest with him.
I've thought many times about telling him what I've been going through for ALL THESE YEARS....the thoughts of my ex, etc. Many times I cry in agony alone at night for having left him and having married my husband instead. What would be a major crises, in your opinion? I wonder if telling him these things would be major. I have a feeling that telling him about all of this wouldn't help matters any. I don't think he would care. As he's said to me before (when I told him I felt suicidal), "yeah, you got a problem", I guess he would just react in the same way. We're currently in a crisis. Not talking to each other. He was gone for six hours last night and I don't know where he was. He locked me out of the bedroom the night before; I slept in our kids' room.
I also have to somehow hold to my Biblical beliefs of seeking peace, not manipulating, etc. So I'm not sure I could create a major crisis.
The pursuit of ministry at all costs (neglecting wife, leaving home, being an absent father, always putting other people before the family) is actually an obscene and twisted form of arrogance. Do you seriously think that one man working his whole life could do anything that god could not have done without that man. If you do, you have a very small view of god, and if god is that small you don't need him. Husband's oh so important minsitry is worthless if he damages and destroys those he is supposed to love above all else...his family.
I couldn't agree with you more!! And I can't tell you the many times he's threatened to quit ministry when he and I are arguing. I have so far asked him not to, because each time it has been for pure manipulation, and in no way have I seen any sign of spiritual conviction - not to mention that if he were to quit the ministry, we have no income, and more than that, he is NOT a man of action, and quitting ministry means he really would do nothing. It's not like he would actually spend time or efforts working on our marriage - so I've never seen the point to quit ministry.
And you know what's so ironic? We've had several issues in our ministry with marriage problems right now. My husband's been "counseling" several individuals and/or couples on their failing marriages. Want to hear something CRAZY?! He does not apply it to his own life, and does not see how it relates at all! I keep wondering, and I am so baffled, why is God allowing these marriage problems to come to my husband for him to help them?!! And why oh why and when oh when oh WHEN will my husband, a PASTOR, start working on his OWN marriage?!
The counselor we saw suggested that when it comes to our marriage, my husband is just plain lazy. I believe that's true. And guess what my husband did about it? Yep, you got it - absolutely nothing.
This morning, after being gone 6 hours last night (I assume with church people), I just put my workout clothes on to run over to the gym - but he left first, and said he was going to go help church people with some work project. That leaves me sitting here at home with our toddler son, workout clothes on, now unable to go to the gym (no childcare). He knew I wanted to go to the gym. Church people ALWAYS come first. Always. They always have, these last 12 years we've been married.
Family comes first. For family to come first, marriage must come first.
When we are 100% honest with god, he is free to work in our lives.
I plead with you, do not make the mistake I made. I ignored all the signs that things were wrong and carried on faithfullly, diligently, resiliently meeting my obligations, responsibilities and duties for years and years. I ignored all the signs and symptoms - especially seeking comfort from viewing pornograpy -and tried to pretend that things weren't that bad. The final outcome is that my marriage is so broken that it is a high likelihood that I will be getting divorced soon. I should have seriously addressed the marriage and emotional issues when they first arose and when there was some hope of restoring things. Hindsite is a wonderful thing.
I wish my husband could read this and absorb this. I say read AND absorb, because my husband has read the Bible, has started (but left unfinished) reading Christian marriage books...but absorbs nothing. I'm not ignoring any warning signs...the warning signs are screaming at me in the face. But what to do when it's my husband who ignores and does nothing? I'm so very sorry for your situation...I hope for healing for you, I really do.