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Hi Friends – I am glad you are here for Coffee With Clare – every Thursday!  

Dear Clare:

My problem is I am tired! I’m tired of being married. My husband is not the man I married. I do not expect him to be exactly how he was when he was 21. I’m not the same either, and I don’t want to be. I have grown tired of being so nice, being so compromising, holding my tongue. I’m tired of doing things, like cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. while working a full time job. I am the bookkeeper, the banker, the housekeeper, the decorator. I take care of all the business things, the list is long.  I don’t know what to do. I am not happily married, but it is not easy for me to move forward. I am struggling.

I know we are supposed to hang in there, stand by your man. But if your man has gained over 100 pounds & has several health issues & watches way too much TV, what would Jesus do? What do you do when you’ve been married for a long time & you feel like giving up? When the passion is no longer there. When you don’t look forward to spending time with your spouse. When you are no longer attracted to your spouse. As a Christian, I have hung in there even though I have not been happy. My husband literally gets on my last nerve. Please let me know what your opinion is. I’m sure everyone has an opinion on this one. Christian counseling has not worked. Therapy has not worked.

He is like a bipolar person, gets mad at me & doesn’t speak to me & then a day or 2 later he acts like nothing happened.  I am a very forgiving person, but when someone acts like a big baby … being treated badly is not how God intended marriage to be. I don’t feel like we have anything in common.  Our children are grown. Should I move on? I have no desire to be in this relationship anymore. He drives me crazy! I don’t know what I am going to do. I have been thinking about this literally for years. I don’t think anyone sees him the way I do. I guess I am just afraid of being alone or afraid of starting over now that my children are grown.  

Signed – Fed up in Philly

 

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Answer:

Dear Fed Up:

First and foremost, as you know, only you can be the one to decide whether you should try to stay in your marriage or not.  And this is a tough one, indeed!  Marriage is often packed solid with ups and downs.  I can certainly relate as I am in a long-term marriage myself, and there have been more than a few not so sunny days and seasons in our marriage….  

Let’s consider the pros and cons for a moment.  I would suggest you get out a blank piece paper and draw a line down the middle and write the things you like and don’t like about your marriage, and advantages and disadvantages of staying or leaving your marriage.  Would you have to sell a home?  Can you afford to live as a single woman? 

Also, I am not so sure your husband shows you the respect you deserve or realizes how seriously unhappy you are in your marriage. Have you actually sat down with him uninterrupted and had a discussion about these serious issues?  You need to have “that conversation” before you move on to anything else.  Go out alone with him for this purpose, uninterrupted, and tell him what’s on your heart and that you are quite unhappy with the current state of your marriage.  And please ask him, “Are you willing to work on our marriage with me and seek help?  Or do we call it quits?”  It takes two to tango and it takes two to make a marriage work.

Also, address the weight issue.  Goodness, as a “large” girl myself – I hate people trying to tell me to lose weight, or HOW to lose weight.   Bring up your concerns about his “health” and that you are concerned for his health and wellbeing in the future.  You can say you two can try to work on this together – eat lighter meals together and offer a light walking program to start with.  Let him know you are concerned he may die young from a heart attack or stroke.

You mentioned that you wonder if your husband is bipolar.  Depression and mental illness can cause lack of interest, moodiness, and weight gain.  Sometimes the signs are similar to what you have described about you husband. 

And, I think you must give him some time to “digest” all of this.  Ask him if he is willing to work to save your marriage. Then, please tell him you want to re-address these issues in two weeks and get his thoughts on his decision.

Although you said you have had some counseling, I think you have not exhausted this area.  If your husband says he wants to give your marriage a serious try, I think you need to try to find another counselor that is neutral and offer counseling for both of you.  Ask for referrals from someone you respect and/or your pastor.  If I may suggest – go to someone that neither of you know.  You can get a referral from “Focus on the Family”, a Christian organization known for Christian family values and help.  

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/emotional-health/counseling-services-and-referrals

If you don’t want to get divorced, please don’t give up hope!  Hope is a powerful tool!  So far, you have decided to stay all these years – it sounds as if you may believe there is a reason you have decided to stay.

Whatever you decide to do, remember to take care of yourself.  You need to seek ways to keep yourself happy, social things with friends, Church, a women’s group, and outings.  Please make sure you are getting enough rest and are eating nutritiously.  In stressful times, we women often forget to treat ourselves gently.

Although you mention that you have sought counseling in the past, consider seeking counseling for yourself once again.  You might try obtaining a referral from Focus on the Family above or the American Association of Christian Counselors – find a counselor at:  

http://www.aacc.net/resources/find-a-counselor/

Our relationships with counselors, like doctors, are unique to the individual.  If you don’t “click” with your counselor, consider trying a different one.  The counselor you ultimately select is one that you feel you can be honest with, and they are really listening to what you have to say.  (Please remember, this is not the same thing as saying what you want to hear or agreeing with everything you say.)

As a Christian woman, I can say – without a doubt – now is the time to press into God and go to Him every available moment for truth, guidance and to get the support you need!  He will guide you through this.

God Bless you.  My prayer is for you to get the help you need. 

 

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I would love to hear from you!  I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at: lifeainteasystreet@gmail.com

~Clare 

 

Author
Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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27 Comments

  • This is such a tough one. I think only you know if you have given your all and still, it doesn’t work. If you can say you did everything you could, and it’s still not changing, it’s time to leave. Sadly. But beating a dead horse is just wasting time. Then again, only you know how dead that horse is.

    • Clare says:

      This is a tough one for sure, Carol, and no easy answers! I agree that only YOU know when you have given your all. Thanks for your insightful comment!

  • Nance says:

    Beautiful answer sis Clare. I think this one will help your friend too.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/three-ways-to-love-your-imperfect-husband

    I kept that link for my counselees too.

  • This is sad. I would strongly encourage this reader to get Sacred Marriage written by Gary Thomas. It is a great resource. Also follow him on Facebook. He gives some of the most sound marital advice ever! http://amzn.to/1MBGEpT

  • Shann says:

    Wow. This is a hard one, but you’ve given her some great advice. Marriage is hard work, but both parties need to be willing.

    • Clare says:

      Yes, Shann, no easy answers here and yes it certainly takes two to be working at a marriage! Thanks for sharing your comments!

  • Beth says:

    Great post! Really tough topic to cover! I can completely relate to the same frustrations though. Although, I have only been married 7 years, I have been in that same place. It is TOUGH! May I recommend a book? The book Boundaries in Marriage written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend saved my marriage. I’m not saying things are perfect, we are both still humans after all! However, I decided I was going to do what I could to make sure I was doing everything I could to save the marriage, have my heart in the right place and glorify God in all that I did. If the marriage unraveled, it was NOT going to be for lack of trying. I have read and re-read this book several times over the last few years, and to be honest, I learn something new every time! My thoughts and prayers for this decision. I pray you are able to find that peace, joy and spark you once had with each other!!!

    • Clare says:

      It is tough – thanks for recommending that book – getting some great suggestions for books and resources which should help “Fed Up”! Glad you gave it a second go….. and thanks for praying for “Fed Up”, too! I know it is greatly appreciated!

  • Robbi says:

    I *love* your heart to help Clare! I am a little disappointed that for all the talk of Christian counseling, no Scripture was used.

    Dear FedUp,
    You cannot fix you marriage. God is the only one who can. With Him *all* things are possible! Mark 10:27
    My heart aches for you, and you will be in my prayers. I mean that. You are written down on my prayer list.
    Marriage is hard. While I am not in your exact situation, I can say I have had times where I have felt like I do it all. Without support or thanks a lot of times.

    There are days where I cry out to God because it is so unfair. Then He gently reminds me that I have lost focus. I am not doing it to serve man, but God Himself. (Colossians 3:23-24). If I am doing it looking for man’s approval, I will be disappointed.This letter is pointed more at me on those days than it is at anyone else!

    I would encourage you to first pray and seek the Lord. James 5:13-16 says we need to go to Him when we are in trouble. We need to ask God for Wisdom and search out His Word. James 1:5-8, James 4:1-3.

    Pray that God would work in your heart. Ask Him to pour out His Spirit and Love on you so that It overflows onto your husband. Ask God to give you His eyes and love for your husband.
    1 Peter 4:8 Ecclesiastes 4:12 Ephesians 4:2-3, 32 1 John 4:7-8 Colossians 3:12-13 1 Peter 4:9-11 Romans 12:9-13, 16-18

    Love isn’t just a warm fuzzy feeling or something we can or should fall in and out of. 1 Corinthians 13’s definition of love says nothing about feelings. Satan has tried (and fairly successfully) to warp our view.

    We live in a me-centered society where we are told to do what makes us happy or feel good. This is not Biblical. Our lives should be about bringing glory to our Savior.

    Ask God to transform your mind and see things as He sees them. Romans 12:1-2.
    Jesus said that the desire for divorce is from hard hearts, ask God to soften your heart towards your husband, giving you a heart of flesh. That He would changes you view on things and that it would be a joy to serve Him in Your marriage. That you would not grow weary in doing good. Ezekiel 36:25, Philippians 2:14, Galatians 6:9

    I pray that you would refocus on Christ, seeking first His kingdom and let Him take care of the rest. That you would refocus on things above, not on earthly things and take heart in the fact that you are serving our Lord Jesus, not letting the wind and waves distract you from the prize. Matthew 6:33 Colossians 3:1-3 Colossians 3:23-24 Matthew 14:20

    Go to the Lord for rest. The Psalms are full of verses I have prayed over my life and family. Matthew 11:28

    Scripture tells us as Christian wives that we are to follow our husband’s lead. Sometimes that is hard. It also says that if our husband is not walking with the Lord that you are to let your actions win him over. Ephesians 5:23-24, 1 Peter 3:1-6 1 Corinthians 7:13

    Pray for your husband. That the Lord would revive his heart and draw your husband close the Him. Pray for your marriage. That God would bind Satan’s plans for you marriage and they would not come to fruition.

    You cannot do it on your own. Only through Him. In our weakness He is made strong.

    I would encourage you to talk to your husband, but do the above first.

    Men are not mind readers! Yes, it is so infuriating when they get mad and then act like nothing has happened! But that is the way God designed them. I am personally kind of glad, if men wanted to hold grudges or hash it out like women do, we’d be in trouble!

    Some wonderful books that have helped my husband and I better understand each other are For Men Only and For Women Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn.

    Please know that this is not meant as a pointing finger, but as a boost and encouragement to hang in there and not give Satan a foot hold in your marriage. Satan wants to destroy the church. If he tries to break the whole church it’s much harder, but if he works on individuals, it’s so much easier.

    Surround yourself with *godly*, Scripture reading/preaching/believing women and ask them to pray with you.

    Marriage is to be honored. Hebrews 13:4

    This letter is my prayer for you, but so is 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.
    Much Love and Prayers in Christ

    • Clare says:

      Thanks for the wonderful scriptures! Thank you to you and all readers for your prayers and support for “Fed Up” in this extremely difficult season.

  • Robbi says:

    Also, have you tried doing little things for him? Do you know what his love language is?

  • Robbi says:

    Last time, I think.
    I was reminded of books that taught me so much. It’s Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist. We all have a God shaped hole. Are we seeking our men to fill that hole when we should be seeking God?
    Lady in Waiting is meant for singles, but I learned a lot from it as a married woman.

    • Kelly B says:

      Robbi,
      I love your response. This is truly great advice and wonderful direction to specific verses that apply well. Would you mind if I use all or parts of your response in a future blog post on my site at The Unplanned Mommy? I sometimes discuss marriage and relationships from a Christian perspective. I would be happy to credit you for anything I used. Thanks! I enjoyed reading your reply and hope this woman is able to see it and take it to heart!
      Kelly B.

  • kristen says:

    wow, this is heavy. I think your response was wonderful and very compassionate. But I think the decision to end a marriage is something she has to dig really deep to determine.

    • Clare says:

      So true, Kristen, and it’s so difficult – any decision press on or to end the marriage has to come from “Fed Up” and thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts!

  • Alonda says:

    A woman under the counsel of God can have such a powerful impact on her husband. Before doing anything seek God. Bring everything to the table, tell him how you feel. Share your frustration, your hurts; everything. And before asking Him to change your husband, ask Him about you. Ask Him how you can be a reflection of Christs love. How you can show honor and respect in a way that your spouse receives. How you can communicate in a way that encourages relationship in His eyes. I know this puts a lot of responsibility on you, but often when we take responsibility and focus on becoming who we were called to be as husbands and wives following after Christ, radical change takes place in both people.

    God leads us in this direction using 1 Peter 3:1&2 – “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, MAY BE WON BY THE CONDUCT OF THEIR WIVES, (2) when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.

    My encouragement to you is to continue to seek God first. His love is life changing and can not be overcome. It’s not easy but God will see you through. Cling to Him.

    • Clare says:

      Yes, to seek God first and for “Fed Up” to be straight with her husband about how she really feels and communication during all this is key, too. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement!

  • andi says:

    BOTH people need to be involved in the marriage – God, too!

  • Rhiannon says:

    I agree with Clare. Go after God even more in this hard season. He is your hope and joy. Don’t force anything on your spouse, but maybe present things/ideas as suggestions. Once you’ve put it out there let him think about it and be sure to get an answer.
    I pray your situation works out and divorce doesn’t happen. I pray love can be found again and God will bring complete restoration!
    Be blessed!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks Rhiannon, yes pressing into the Lord during this very rough time is so critical. And I think like you said presenting things that are bothering “Fed Up” to her husband and getting and answer. Thanks for praying for her! That’s key!

  • The column is interesting, but I LOVE the responses submitted. Yes, trying to breathe life into a marriage can be the equivalent of “beating a dead horse …” but God seemed to work powerful miracles in that valley of dry bones, eh?

    • Clare says:

      Yes, the responses should be helpful to “Fed Up”. Lots of good books and resources which hopefully will help! We do see miracles around us every day and thanks for your comments, Dennis!

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