Avoiding divorce
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Avoiding divorce

My husband and I have been married for 12 years. Nine months ago he went abroad to work. A few months after this our relationship started falling apart very quickly. When he came back for Christmas vacation he told me wasn't sure if he was in love with me anymore, that things no longer felt right and he really enjoyed his new life. He told me he wanted time and space to figure things out. I asked him if he was involved with anyone else and he said he wasn't. I'm not sure if this is/was true.

Between Jan-April we exchanged a few, short, friendly emails but had no other communication. Three weeks ago he came home for a short visit (due to work reasons). We got along well, he agreed our problems weren't that bad and that I had made a lot of positive personal changes. However, he is still very emotionally withdrawn and, when I suggested going to visit him for a month or two, he said he would resent it if I did. Although I thought we had turned (however small) a corner, since he went back he has again pretty much stopped contacting me.

Since the whole crisis started I have been doing a lot of thinking and self-reflecting. I understand what went wrong, how I feel and why I have acted certain ways in my marriage. I completely accept that throughout my marriage I have often misplaced my priorities, have been immature, self-centered and thoughtless and have taken my husband and my marriage for granted. In order to try help and improve things I have been focussing on ways I can make positive changes within myself, trying to keep myself busy with work, hobbies, friends, exercise etc and trying to develop my relationship with God. I have read countless self-help books, visited a few different counsellors and confided in a close friend.

I don't believe in divorce for various moral, religious, social and practical reasons. I have been praying to God to heal and guide my husband and I. I'm feeling, however, that I'm stuck and am no longer sure how I can reconnect with my husband.

Any PRACTICAL ideas or success stories on how I can avoid a divorce and heal my marriage would be welcome. I know that part of me needs to accept that my husband may decide to end our marriage, but I'm not ready to give up on our relationship yet until I know I've done everything I can so please don't just tell me to move on.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Avoiding divorce

It might seem counter-intuitive, but

1) Back away. He spent what sounds like substantial time away from you and enjoyed it. We are not talking about a weekend; this is more like he was trying on a whole new life for size.

Forcing the issue of time together is not going to endear him to you. Instead, let him know that you want the marriage to work and you would welcome his genuine attempts to communicate.

2)Work on making yourself a better person. If you can do the self-analysis, figure out what may have driven him away and what you might be able to do.

Pining for him does nothing for you. In fact, you could argue it works against you by draining you of enthusiasm and energy you may need to deal with this issue productively. Do anything else to keep yourself busy.

There are resources like the Divorce Busters book and the Marriage Builder's website you can check out. I strongly dislike them because I disagree that preserving a marriage at any cost is a good idea except under extraordinary circumstances.

But you seem to prioritize saving your marriage, so I mentioned them. Note: both assert you need to not complain about him or give him reason to complain about you. You must convince him to stay as you cannot make him. If he's serious about leaving, you must be accomodating until he decides to stay and at some point becomes open to meeting your needs.

The issue then becomes one of boundaries. I imagine there is a point at which you would no longer pursue this marriage (like if he had an affair, for instance). I would encourage you become comfortable with your boundaries, so that you can enforce them when needed. I've read Boundaries in Marriage (Cloud and Townsend) and think it does a great job of making the case for boundaries, helping someone figure out what is a good boundary, and help someone stick to them.
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Avoiding divorce

Thank-you for the replies.

Yes, I completely agree that working on 'me' to make myself not just a better wife, but a better sister, daughter, friend, person is key and something I am doing.

I've been trying to respect my husband's request for time/space. Apart from mentioning it during his visit, I haven't asked him to think about us spending anymore time together again, and, unless he brings it up (which I doubt), I won't. I do email him every 5-7 days, but the emails are light-hearted and short. Perhaps though I should stop contacting him completely and only respond when (or if) he contacts me.

I've read Divorce Busters and have visited the Marriage Builders and Focus on the Family websites. I've found Divorce Busters particularly helpful and, at times, reading it does give me some hope.

I'm at the stage now where I don't know if I should just back off completely or if I should still contact my husband once a week or so, keeping my emails upbeat and 'newsy' but also trying to somehow work in a compliment or positive comment about my husband in an attempt to start trying to build up his 'love bank' again (after reading Chapman's 5 Love Languages I think my husband's love language is Words of Affirmation).

I'm finding the physical and emotional distance incredibly difficult. I'm continuing to pray but, as I'm quite a practical and proactive person, I'd also like to come up with some type of 'action plan' that will help me focus my thoughts and emotions.
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Avoiding divorce

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Originally Posted by twl142 View Post
Thank-you for the replies.

Yes, I completely agree that working on 'me' to make myself not just a better wife, but a better sister, daughter, friend, person is key and something I am doing.

I've been trying to respect my husband's request for time/space. Apart from mentioning it during his visit, I haven't asked him to think about us spending anymore time together again, and, unless he brings it up (which I doubt), I won't. I do email him every 5-7 days, but the emails are light-hearted and short. Perhaps though I should stop contacting him completely and only respond when (or if) he contacts me.

I've read Divorce Busters and have visited the Marriage Builders and Focus on the Family websites. I've found Divorce Busters particularly helpful and, at times, reading it does give me some hope.

I'm at the stage now where I don't know if I should just back off completely or if I should still contact my husband once a week or so, keeping my emails upbeat and 'newsy' but also trying to somehow work in a compliment or positive comment about my husband in an attempt to start trying to build up his 'love bank' again (after reading Chapman's 5 Love Languages I think my husband's love language is Words of Affirmation).

I'm finding the physical and emotional distance incredibly difficult. I'm continuing to pray but, as I'm quite a practical and proactive person, I'd also like to come up with some type of 'action plan' that will help me focus my thoughts and emotions.
Does he seem to appreciate the e-mails? Does he read them and respond? If yes, does he come back in the same light-hearted nature? If you get no response (or only a cursory one) I would consider asking him to confirm whether he appreciates them or would rather you go no contact.

I cannot over-stress that you cannot save this marriage by yourself. It takes only one to ruin a marriage but two to make it work. Ultimately he has to make the choice to return, regardless of how much you kowtow to him; also, it's not reasonable that you are going to constant supplicate yourself to him to make the marriage work.

While it's great that you are giving 100%, I would also like you to get to a point where you are not going to beat yourself up or be guilt-ridden if he decides to stay on his own.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Avoiding divorce

Yes, my H does read my emails. His replies are generally also quite friendly and polite, however, it will often take him around two weeks to respond.

I actually find his lack of communication one of the hardest things to deal with. Throughout our marriage he had always been the one who would call/text me 3+ times during the day. He is the type of person who can't bear to leave a ringing phone unanswered and always returns calls/emails almost immediately. I did mention to him once how hurt I am by his lack of contact, and how uncharacteristic it is of him, but he didn't really answer or say much.

I do know it will ultimately take both of us to want to rebuild our marriage to make things work. I just want to make sure that I have tried everything possible and given our relationship enough time to heal so that, if he does choose to end our relationship, I can hopefully get to a (relatively) peaceful place where I do not feel guilt-ridden, and know that I gave it my all and didn't just fall at the first hurdle or take the easy way out.

While I'm not taking a "tough love" approach at the moment, I'm not completely supplicating myself. I have told him that I'm not willing to continue as we have been past this coming September (once his summer holidays finish).
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Although I've suspected it for a while, I confirmed my H was having an A with a co-worker on Monday. Rather than choosing to spend his May vacation with me, he is going to Thailand with her and some other co-workers. During the conversation I asked him what he wanted from me and, again, all he said was he needed time and space.

I told him I was still committed to trying to make our marriage work. He replied that, he still loved me and didn't want to hurt me but, had been thinking about it for several months, and, thinks he is as certain as he ever will be, that he doesn't even want to try. He says he's afraid that if he does, he'll find himself back in an 'unhappy' and 'unhealthy' marriage in 5 or 10 years time.

I told him I was willing to give him time and space for another three months (until he comes back for his summer vacation) and then in the summer we would need to look at what happens. I also said that, if he felt it was acceptable to become involved with other people, perhaps I would start dating too (although I really have NO interest). When I asked him if he wanted me to stop contacting him he said no, he doesn't want me to hate him or cut him out of my life. He also, for the first time, said if I sent him any self-help articles or books to read, he would look at and consider them.

As I've stressed, I do not believe in divorce. If anyone instigates one, it is going to have to be him. In the meantime I'm willing to try to save my marriage. I just don't know what to do.

I don't at this stage want to give him an ultimatum that he needs to decide between his A and working on our marriage NOW. By deciding to go on vacation with the OW rather than me his current mindset is clear.

Other options I'm thinking about are:

1) Exposing the affair: This is very tempting but, I'm worried that our relationship is too far gone for it to have any effect apart from potentially alienating my husband from some of his friends/family. I'm pretty sure his employer and most of his co-workers already know. Honestly, I am also worried that exposing the affair would also make me look somewhat desperate and needy.

2) Do a '180': Write him an email saying I still want our marriage to work, but as long as he is involved with his co-worker and isn't willing to commit to working on our marriage,
that isn't possible and I need to start moving on with my life. I would also tell him that I am looking at making plans of my own this summer and he can stay here to look after our
house, horses, dog etc until he is due to return abroad at the end of August. I think though that he has built so many barriers and is so emotionally "checked out" of our marriage that doing a 180 would have little effect.

3) Wait out the affair and hope the "fog" will eventually lift. (I'm not sure if I have the strength to do this.

4) Contact his co-worker and tell her I'm not willing for her to just continue being involved with my husband while I quietly look on. I am worried that this would backfire and he would become quite protective of her. By physically rejecting me during his last two visits and choosing to spend his vacation time with her rather than me, he has shown me that his current loyalty lies with her...

6) Continue sending him emails every 5-7 days, trying to show him how much I appreciate him and am still committed (although at the same time show him I'm not a crying wreck
sitting at home waiting for him). Also send him some reading material to try to show him there is hope that marriages can be healed.

7) Email the one close friend my H has confided in and try to encourage him to support my H to at least try to work on our marriage (arguing that this would help my H's peace of mind if he did still wish to end our marriage after.

8) Contact my H, tell him to have a nice time in Thailand but that I have booked a flight to see him once he gets back from his holiday. In a lot of ways I feel that, by backing off the last few months, I've actually allowed his relationship with the OW to develop and, the only way to stop it would be to end the physical distance.

I feel I have to decide what type of action I need to take soon and think my indecision has contributed to this whole thing escalating.
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Avoiding divorce

I realize it has been about a month since your last post and while I would like to believe things have worked out, it is far more likely that they have not yet. Have you considered standing for your marriage? There is a wonderful website that I have been going to and it is filled with testimonials, restored marriage success stories, and spiritual guidance on each aspect of separation, divorce, and committing to your spouse.
My humble opinion is this:
Do not give him any ultimatum whatsoever. Your husband is clearly going through some sort of internal battle if he has yet to file for divorce and is trying to live a life filled with sin.
Turn to your bible and remember that the Lord can and will move our mountains. Continue with the self-reflection and use this time to grow spiritually. Pray that Jesus will turn your husband's heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
WELCOME - Rejoice Marriage Ministries
I am praying for your restoration.
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by twl142 View Post
I feel I have to decide what type of action I need to take soon and think my indecision has contributed to this whole thing escalating.
Don't do anything at all! Psalms 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."
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Old 05-24-2012, 02:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Avoiding divorce

While I do agree with Noelle, I also think that at a certain point you have to realize that this is not up to you. Not completely. You cannot save a marriage if the other person is not interested, and I fear that's what your situation is.

I'm sorry. Good luck.
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sadly, things haven't worked out. My H hasn't been in touch with me for several weeks and in the last contact I did have with him he essentially told me he thinks our marriage is damaged beyond repair, he has no desire to work on our marriage, wants to 'end this chapter of our relationship' and plans on continuing to work abroad for the foreseeable future.

I do still want my marriage to work, however, I also feel that I have reached the stage where I need to prepare myself and make plans for moving on without my H. I am still praying that God will help us find our way back to each other and our marriage, but also have to accept that perhaps God wants me to love my H selflessly and just let him go.
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm sorry, TWL. Apparently God has a different plan for your life. I wish you well.
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Sadly, things haven't worked out. My H hasn't been in touch with me for several weeks and in the last contact I did have with him he essentially told me he thinks our marriage is damaged beyond repair, he has no desire to work on our marriage, wants to 'end this chapter of our relationship' and plans on continuing to work abroad for the foreseeable future.

I do still want my marriage to work, however, I also feel that I have reached the stage where I need to prepare myself and make plans for moving on without my H. I am still praying that God will help us find our way back to each other and our marriage, but also have to accept that perhaps God wants me to love my H selflessly and just let him go.
You also need to consider that we are, above all, agents of free will and God will not force anyone to do anything, regardless of what His will may be. If your husband has it set in his mind that he wants out, nothing at all will change that.
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Avoiding divorce

twl142,
Keep up the faith, and keep up the prayers. I love that you are completely committed to marriage.

You cannot change your husband as you know. God could change your husband, but that is contrary to what your husband wants and would be going against his God given free will (as mentioned by DTO). You may continue to pray for your marriage, but also pray for the strength and courage to do whatever God would have you do in this situation. You may not find understanding with what your husband has done, but you can still have peace as you continue to turn to God.
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Avoiding divorce

twl142: I'm jumping in here, although I'm new to this forum.

Prayer is a game changer! Only God can change your husband, but that doesn't keep you from praying for him.

My situation is SO similar to yours, only my husband IS a Marriage/Family therapist who thinks he wants out.

I would encourage you to read the book by Dr. James Dobson called Love Must Be Tough. It specifically touches on "opening the cage door" for the spouse who feels trapped in the marriage and specifically targets infidelity.

At present, I don't think my husband is in an affair but it struggling with PTSD from several military deployments. I sent him the letter I described above that basically says "I love you and don't want to think about living with out you; if you want out, you're free to go." That was a month ago, and I've received no response. I basically put the ball in his court. It's something for you to think about!

One thing I've learned is "the harder you go after him, the more you push him toward her." All of this is counter-intuitive, and I need you to know that I'm healing myself by writing this to you.

There are several ezine articles online that are excellent, and I would recommend doing a search for Leslie Cane. Her articles are very pointed and address some of what you're going through.

Pray without ceasing. He needs it; you need it; we all need it!!

I'm certainly not a counselor, but I am a military Chaplain's wife. I've listened to many wives over the years and never thought I'd be in this predicament. If I can help you, I'm glad to.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Avoiding divorce

Hi guys
How are you everybody ? Dear friends avoid divorce because divorce end your marriage according to me if there is end of marriage then there is end of the good life. Life is so beautiful if you are live with your life partner. Divorced hurts you and your children.
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