Marriage Missions International

The Emotionally Distant Husband

Are you eager to be linked in a loving relationship with a man who cares about you deeply, but it’s just not happening?

Are you willing to encourage him on the deepest emotional levels, but you can’t chip through the ice?

Do you feel that despite your relatively lax expectations (i.e. making few demands), you are being taken advantage of? In other words, does a void exist for you?

In my counseling practice I specialize in treating common emotional stresses that, if left unattended, can turn into major debilitating problems. The hurting people who come to see me are trying to cope with anger, depression, anxiety, and the like stemming from their marriage. Since these issues are usually played out in the home, I often face the task of helping people understand how their emotions relate to their unsolved marriage problems.

Over twenty-five thousand counseling sessions have shown me that the single most common marital problem I encounter is the case of an emotionally eager wife whose husband will not engage with her on a deep, meaningful, and personal level. These phrases are indicators of the problem:

  • “Just when I think we’ve really connected, he does something to prove he never understood a thing I said.”
  • “I think the guy is oblivious to my feelings.”
  • “What does it take to get through to him?”
  • “He cares more about his work [or sports or hobbies] than he does about me.”

As the relationship progresses, or rather, fails to progress, feelings of disillusionment and futility become entrenched, and faulty patterns of communication yield increasing frustration. Failure to progress is not for lack of trying.

As I consult in case after case, I see that many emotionally eager women have good reason to feel disappointed. Most women need strong, growing relationships that are openly expressed, and their husbands fail to supply that need. These wives are living with men who have unconsciously committed themselves to an evasive way of life.

The wives aren’t the only ones hurt by this evasiveness. These men, unwilling to seriously explore the depths of their own emotional needs, perch securely atop their own little time bombs. As frustration and confusion mount, something will eventually blow.

If at all possible, I include husbands in my counseling sessions. You’d be surprised how often these undemonstrative men are looking, deep inside, for a way to jump-start their marriages. At least at an unexpected level, they are begging for someone to show them a better way to relate to their wives. In these cases, the potential for counseling success is very strong. I can show spouses the best method to address their unique relational needs, and the lessons will probably “take.”

When the husband, however, is unwilling to participate in counseling, the wife still has some excellent options. Her spouse may cling to stubborn, evasive patterns of relating, but she can make improvements in two general areas:

1. Have you noticed that in our culture, the burden of a relationship often falls on the woman? The woman is expected to “make it work.” If a man remains faithful, he gets the credit; if he strays, it’s somehow her fault, at least in part. When a relationship unravels, the greater share of the blame ends on her doorstep.

Counseling, however, can help a woman learn what lies behind the scenes of her husband’s personality, what makes him do what he does. With that knowledge in hand, she can come to realize that her husband’s behavior is not her fault after all.

2. The woman can examine the ways in which she reacts to her husband. From there she can figure out better ways of relating that will cause her less stress and personal frustration. Then, even if he never improves his behavior, she can still enjoy improved personal stability. She can be happier.

Identifying Pattern

The first step toward improving one’s relationship is to understand what constitutes patterns in marriages that can, frankly, be emotionally abusive.

It sounds so far as if I’ve been painting the husbands as villains. That’s not true in the least. Most of these men have perfectly honorable intentions and would never try to hurt their wives. But even though they usually do not set out to harm, it happens all the same.

The problem lies in the way most (not all by any means!) men approach life. As a general rule, men are less naturally inclined than women to address personal or sensitive subjects. This isn’t simply fear of pain. They really aren’t as interested. They have a natural tendency to bypass the lengthy processing that is so necessary to intimate personal interchanges and skip straight to the solution.

When the wife seeks greater depth than simply problem-options-solution and presses to explore the emotional side of an issue or its ramifications, the man’s frustration kicks in. “We’ve already handled the problem; therefore, it doesn’t exist anymore; so what is it with this woman?” To him, detailed processing is useless, perhaps even inane.

He then —and this is a key —begins looking for ways to end his participation in his wife’s processing. He may withdraw or try to put her back onto a path of logic or perhaps even explode. The explosion, you see, is a diversion, a distraction —in essence, a change of subject. Changing the subject is another often-used way out of processing. He is guided by the dread of having to spend any more time than is necessary to dwell on her emotional needs, for he almost never sees them as needs.

Women generally experience feelings and emotions more intensely than do men, mostly because they allow themselves to. A wife lets emotions run their course even as the husband is trying to stuff them, to get rid of them, for he sees them as anti-productive. Let me emphasize that there is no right-and-wrong about having strong emotions or even, to some extent, downplaying them. But because she recognizes and even nurtures her emotional side, the wife can enjoy life in its richest, fullest dimension.

Relationship and family connections are the most important ingredients in most wives’ lives. By their very nature, close relationships generate strong emotions. The wife can inadvertently create problems when she so craves emotional connections that she loses the ability to respond with reason or calm. She may become anxious; she certainly becomes angry. Not to put too fine a point on it, but hers is an insistent anger whereas his is a resistant anger.

The woman locked into these patterns can cry and complain that she feels unloved. She has such a powerful need to feel understood and cherished at an emotional level that she becomes greatly disillusioned when external signs of that understanding are nonexistent.

Evasive husbands invent a broad range of behaviors for avoiding the in-depth discussions they see as useless and potentially harmful: the silent treatment, pretended agreement, constant forgetfulness, procrastination, laziness, temper outbursts, work-a-holism, undue attention to a hobby or sport, and in general merely being unavailable. The evasive man may tune out. He might say whatever he thinks his wife wants to hear at that moment, to prevent the boat from rocking, you see, and harbors no intention of actually following through.

To counter evasiveness, the emotionally eager wife will be prone toward responses such as crying, persuading, calling friends for support, acting moody, repeating the same requests, accusing, and giving up. Once the cycle gets going it can be difficult to break.

Factors Behind the Pattern

In my practice, I see seven factors that are very common in marriages affected by the evasive and the emotionally eager relationship patterns. As we examine them, you will see that this tug-of-war is not confined to a few households. It is widespread. I find this tension in the homes of driven, success-oriented people and in laid-back, take-it-easy relationships. Some of the participants have a history of poor relations with others, while some can point to great popularity with others.

If your husband will join you in the awareness process, that’s great! Use the information provided as a springboard for healthy, honest discussion. If he will not, and many won’t, choose to make yourself aware of what’s happening and grow anyway. One person working toward a healthy style of relating is better than no one at all taking steps.

Let’s look at the seven indicators:

1. Communication is reduced to power plays. If nothing else, evasive behavior creates a feeling of power. This concept of control and power-wielding can take some strange twists, and the people involved usually do not see it for what it is.

If the emotionally eager wife responds with her own overbearing style instead of understanding his fear of being controlled, she does the very thing that makes matters worse. She speaks coercively.

Perversely, even a caring husband derives a certain subconscious satisfaction when he witnesses his wife in great emotional distress. The underlying thought: You see? I do have power! I can control her emotions, and that’s not an easy thing to do. My tactics worked.

The more the wife registers anger or futility, the more likely the evasive husband will continue to respond with power tactics. His urgent, compelling need to keep the upper hand is satisfied. And I repeat, this is not necessarily deliberate. Usually, it is all going on in the darkest caverns of the mind.

2. He avoids commitment and personal accountability. A common complaint I hear from emotionally eager wives is that they cannot get a solid commitment to anything. Their man is hard to pin down.

Remember that evasive husbands unconsciously lust for power. They must maintain control. So it isn’t hard to see why they don’t want to be held accountable to specific plans. They have confused commitment with enslavement or coercion and wrongly assume the words mean much the same thing. They see simple requests, then, as attempts at coercion, and they circumvent them by remaining vague.

These men realize that accountability requires a certain amount of vulnerability, and that scares them. Clear communication, self-revelation, and openness: These qualities could boomerang on them, they fear. The evasive person also fears that his good nature will be taken advantage of, so he plays it safe by revealing the least amount that he can about his plans, his preferences, his feelings.

Although these men would never admit it even to themselves, they have made a commitment to dishonesty. Sometimes blatant lying is involved, as when a man says he will do something, knowing full well that he will not. But usually this dishonesty is more subtle. Without openly lying, these men try to create an illusion of cooperation when in fact they inwardly hope to blaze their own trails independently of their mates’ plans.

With this fear of accountability, these men fuel the wives’ worst fears of marital isolation. The men do whatever they must to keep a safe distance —exactly the opposite of what the emotionally eager wives are seeking. The men keep their feelings well hidden; the wives want feelings brought into view. The men think they dare not expose their preferences lest they be denied (in other words, the woman controls the situation through the power of choice). The women want more than anything else to know what their men want.

Needless to say, this factor of poor accountability works against the success of any relationship, for a thriving marriage needs sharing and openness in order to be truly fused into a unit.

3. Leadership roles are confused. With all this control jockeying and poor accountability, the third factor in these conflicted marriages isn’t hard to see: badly defined leadership roles. The evasive husband prefers to hold back and sidestep situations that will bring his wife’s criticism to bear, and that includes certain situations where his leadership would be expected. He may even coyly set her up to take the heat. That, you see, is real control!

Have either of these scenarios happened in your home?

• A child makes a request that Dad knows should be turned down, so he says, “Why don’t you ask your mother?” Let her be the ogre who denies the child’s wants.

• The husband hears someone reprimand his wife. This might be a stranger in public or his own mother in private. Instead of standing up for his wife, he remains silent even though he knows his wife feels abandoned.

These husbands know that the more leadership they exert, the more controversy they may encounter. It works that way in politics; it must work that way in marriage. Notice that the power plays are still going on.

But here we’re talking about open, visible leadership. Being chronic conflict avoiders, these men prefer to lie low and stay out of the fray. In the battle of the sexes, it’s a good way to keep your head from being shot off. They falsely assume that openness invites problems.

It’s that don’t-rock-the-boat thing again. Unfortunately, by backing away from the leadership role, these men are sacrificing the family’s long-term needs —a stable leader —for the short-term goal of peace-for-the-moment.

Interestingly, in many cases, men who back out of the leadership role in personal and family matters are anything but weak in business pursuits or civic projects.

1. Relationship is secondary to performance. Human beings err, make occasional wrong choices, and are occasionally selfish. In healthy marriages, the partners recognize this fact and allow plenty of room for open conflict resolution. Emotionally eager wives would welcome the chance to discuss problems. But because the evasive husband prefers to minimize his own emotional vulnerability, he customarily runs from the threat of having to struggle with emotions. Logic tells us that if a man is running away from something, he is also running toward something else. What is it that men run toward to avoid personal interactions? Performance.

Now, as a very general rule, men are performance-oriented anyway. Whereas women enjoy the process of doing something, men want to reach the goal as quickly and efficiently as possible and go on to something else. (Again, I remind you, there are plenty of exceptions to this.)

Commonly, evasive men will not mind giving time to an activity such as yard work, fishing, a project at the church. It’s familiar turf. They already know how to do those things. They’ll see a nice, neat, trimmed-up yard, the new church fence, perhaps a fish or two.something. But relationships require being not doing, an unsettling concept for many men.

2. Sexual relating is out of sync. Happy, growing marriages are typified by reasonable sexual communication. Although frequency is not the chief concern (some couples are satisfied with twice monthly sex, some enjoy it several times a week), union occurs frequently enough to remind the spouses of their love and commitment to each other. Sex is a means of maintaining secure bonding.

For evasive men, however, sex is intended not for bonding but for physical satisfaction and—here it is again—control. Who’s in the driver’s seat?

At one extreme, the evasive man abstains for long periods of time, showing virtually no interest at all in his wife sexually. He knows sex can bring out tender sharing, something he prefers to avoid. He determines that it is easier to deny the pleasures of sexual relating in order to avoid emotional intimacy. I have heard numerous accounts from women who are eager to be sexually involved with their husbands but are rebuffed for six months at a time, a year, or longer.

The more common extreme has the evasive man showing little tenderness during waking hours. When bedtime comes, his engine turns on, and he gets his satisfaction from his wife. Then he slips back into his comfortable shell. He may even turn on at two o’clock in the morning, make his move, then go back to sleep. This approach to sex neatly minimizes emotional intimacy without minimizing the feel-good experience. The wife’s emotions are hardly considered.

The emotionally eager wife, then, develops conflicting feelings about marital sex. Part of her wants it and sees it as a wonderful communication time, but she is afraid of the hurt that comes as she senses her husband is merely after physical relief.

Often, if this conflict goes on long enough, one spouse or the other may opt for an outside form of sexual satisfaction: an affair, pornography, or flirtations outside marriage. Either spouse can feel such strong disappointment as to be abnormally vulnerable to temptation.

3. Personal insights are unequal. Healthy people not only admit the need for improvement, they welcome the challenge. Growing people are willing to absorb insights and information. They actively seek out truth.

Evasive people are not inclined toward insight and awareness. Apart from the fact that it’s too much trouble for what you get out of it, the evasive husband really isn’t interested in being challenged on the personal, philosophical level. That makes him too vulnerable. He wants the comfortable routine, the level keel, putting little or no thought into the whys of life.

The emotionally eager wives are usually the type who devour self-help books, enjoy stimulating philosophical discussions, flock to seminars. They invite growth. They like being challenged about what can be done to create a fuller life and why they need to make the needed adjustments. Result: They grow and expand intellectually as their husbands tune in still another football game.

This eagerness does not always translate into significant change. Because of the wife’s tendency to play off her husband’s behavior —reacting instead of pro-acting —this woman eventually loses heart as she realizes that her efforts are not being matched by his. She begins to perceive that she’s outgrowing him. I’ve see many of these wives become increasingly agitated or collapse in despair or depression. Either way, the woman ought to press forward, gaining insight, regardless of her mate’s lack of interest.

4. Both sides feel victimized. Evasive husbands subconsciously live with a philosophy of “You leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone, and we’ll get along just fine.” The fewer challenges they encounter, the less conflict they experience, and the better they feel. The problem is that their spouses by nature yearn for a far more intimate pattern of relating.

The wife launches her various attempts to get the intimacy and depth she craves, protesting or cajoling or simply acting unhappy. The husband, turned off by his wife’s prodding, sulks and wonders, “Why do I have to live with this kind of stuff? She’s crabby for no good reason.”

Either unwilling or unable to grasp that he is contributing to the problem, he sees himself as a victim of unreasonableness. Victims are not cheerful people. The feel, if you will —of the household nose-dives as anger and sadness feed on each other.

The emotionally eager wife feels just as victimized. “When is all this misery going to end? Look what he’s doing to my life. It’s sterile! Going nowhere. Emotionally zip. When will he ever wake up, or is it always going to be this miserable?”

In a sense, there is truth to each mate’s feeling of victimization. Both spouses can point to evidence that this marriage has become something of a raw deal. Both can show legitimate ways in which the other spouse is contributing to the problem. Neither sees the whole picture. When either of them places all blame on the other partner, the “I’m a victim” attitude has gone too far.

Once this evasive pattern has become entrenched in a marriage, it is tempting to place full blame onto the shoulders of the husband who resists deep relating. Let’s say that, in certain instances, it’s true. He does need to change his ways of relating to his wife. His evasiveness damages and even destroys his position of influence in his own home. After all, God did not place us here on earth to avoid each other. We were made to relate first to God, then with family and friends.

Evasive behaviors are damaging not just to the wife but to the husband as well, preventing him from knowing the satisfaction God intended for him.

Beginning the Journey Toward Improvement

If you are the mate of someone who is non-communicative, realize that to some degree, the relational problems you’ve encountered are predictable. They show up in a lot of marriages. Also, there are some things of a general nature that you can do to ease them. For starters:

  • Quit assuming responsibility for your spouse’s imperfections. He may well say, “You make me this way with your constant [nagging, whining, whatever].” That’s not true, even though he may think it is. He would be acting the same way if he were married to someone else.
  • Ease up on your persuasive efforts to convince your mate to fit your mold. Coercion will only make the problem worse. This is hard to do when you desperately want change.

Down deep, you probably realize that no person is going to change, at least not effectively, based on someone else’s forceful persuasion. An evasive husband will amend his ways only if given the room to do so in his own will. That leaves the ugly prospect that he will choose not to. For now, it is wise to back off.

That does not mean that you quit doing anything. If you believe that your husband is ducking away from topics you are sure must be discussed, that he is becoming evasive in the midst of emotional exchanges, can you tell him about the frustration this creates without overworking the point or becoming confrontational? Everything will be working against you.

The heat of the moment makes a person say things she would not say at a less emotional time. And most of all, old habits die hard. You are accustomed to addressing an issue in a particular way now. It is exceptionally hard to change your approach. But it will pay dividends if you can do it. Personal soul-searching will help you turn things around and give positive traits to your marriage.

To get a good idea about how ready you are to do the soul-searching necessary for real growth, be aware of your use of one simple word. You. How often is that word spoken as you are trying to make sense of the tensions with your mate? I’m not suggesting that you should never be spoken. I am saying, though, that its overuse indicates that you are not looking inward.

In short, to improve your own satisfaction and happiness, a major step is to put your own house in order. You may find that the improvement in your life is just the catalyst your spouse needs. And even if you do not experience the adjustments in your mate that you have hoped for, you will still be a more stable and content individual. Are you willing to start with your own hard, inward search?

The emotionally eager wife will say, “Yes! Of course.” But then she amends that with a but. “I’m willing to adjust, but my husband needs to change.” Whether or not you are correct to say this, you are basing your happiness and responses on someone else’s behavior.

Your willingness to work on your own issues will be the key for finding personal peace, then potentially, success in that most important relationship, your marriage.

The above edited article came from the great book, Distant Partner written by Dr Les Carter, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. The subtitle for the book is: “How to tear down emotional walls and communicate with your husband.”  As Dr Carter says in the beginning of the book, “I have written this book primarily for answer-seeking wives… I want you to understand why some husbands act evasively and maintain a certain distance from you. Most particularly, I want to show you what you can do to improve your emotional reactions to your husband.” We believe that obtaining this book would be an inexpensive way to start on a road to better understanding and working through issues that could greatly improve your relationship. Also, if you want to read this book along with your spouse (if he desires to do so) Dr Carter explains in the preface of the book the best way to do this.

— ALSO —

For additional help, Dr Richard Fitzgibbons offers insights into this difficult marital issue, as well as some practical tools to help you in the Maritalhealing.com web site article:

THE EMOTIONALLY DISTANT SPOUSE

And to help you even further, another book we recommend is Married…But Lonely (which many of you who have the ability can purchase through this Amazon link to obtain their discounts). It’s written by Dr David Clarke. Below is a link so you can read the first chapter of this book:

MARRIED BUY LONELY

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Comments

368 Responses to “The Emotionally Distant Husband”
  1. Deb from United States says:

    I have read nearly everything posted here in the comments. I have been married to my husband for nearly two years, but we’ve been together for nearly eight. Our relationship has always been rocky but lately I feel like I’ve reached the end of my ability to continue. I look at what it really means to live a life with him for the next several decades, and I’m not sure I can do it. We do not have children yet, we are both 29.

    I want to be loved by him, I want to be cherished and I want him to acknowledge the many things I do for him out of love, on a daily basis. He is emotionally distant, I am emotionally over eager, and we find ourselves in an ugly dance every time we argue and have conflict. He constantly says he feel unsafe with me… though never acknowledges the things he does that hurt me, nor considers where my anger at him stems from. I feel a little less alone after reading others’ stories. Thank you.

    • Jill from United States says:

      This sounds so much like my life with my husband right now. It hurts so much because I have given my all to him and feel like I’m getting nothing except jaded, something I’ve never been before (even after my first marriage ended). My husband left this morning on business and was so grumpy that I barely got a goodbye. He gave me an emotionless kiss, said sarcastically, “Thanks for everything sweetie. Love you. Have a good day”, grabbed his bag, and shut the door.

      I don’t understand why he doesn’t actually appreciate what I do for him. I’ve been trying to do more and more and all that seems to do is lead to more expectations from him, not more love. I can’t seem to build anything with him, it’s very frustrating. He was married before, too, and that ended badly. He’d been married for nearly 2 decades and I think he invested a bit more in her emotionally. He didn’t think that would end so he’s putting up more and more walls of defense against me instead of letting me in.

    • Cassie from United States says:

      I very much relate to what many of us are saying here on this website. I have been through 3 marriage counselors with my husband and 2 marriage classes trying to figure out how to cope. My 35 year-old husband spends most of his time doing things that make him feel good. He avoids all family responsibility aside from his skilled labor job. I work 50 hours a week, carpool my son to all of his childcare, make all the meals, do all the cleaning, pay all the bills, balance the banking, complete all the family paperwork, and organize all of the family activities. My husband literally sits on the computer playing video games and making comments on how we only have intimate time a few times a month (I’m typically intimate with him at least 2-3 times a week unless I’m sick or out of town).

      His distorted view of our marriage breaks my heart and I have become increasingly more parental towards him as a result. Even when I try to be overly compensating on praise and TLC it still never clicks for him that there is a give and a take. I am exhausted, frustrated, sad. When I bring these things up I get a variety of reaction. Over the last few months he has told me he is unattracted to me (that I’m a great businesswoman but not a great wife). He has told me that he loves me but is not in love with me. He has walked away from me mid conversation, or he tunes me out drinking and playing shooting video games on his PC. I have read the love languages, the John Gottman books, etc and I cannot get my husband to make the same commitment. I think it may be ending and no one is courageous enough to call it and allow ourselves to have a happy life.

  2. Sherry from United States says:

    My husband and I have been married for five years (next month). He was previously married to the love of his life, and the mother of his children, for sixteen years. In his mind, second wife means second best. His kids come first, then his ex-wife, then his parents, then his job (he travels so frequently I only see him 5 days out of the month). I come last, always.

    He says he loves me, I just feel like he loves being married to someone who nurtures him, cooks for him, does his laundry, and is his companion at HIS convenience. At this moment, he is out of state visiting his oldest child at college -after I begged him not to go, because his ex-wife is trying to serve him yet another Contempt of Court order (he pays her over $1,000 a month, but she wants more -and she’s a millionaire). He has been in jail six times; she is trying to put him there again. I have dealt with her psychopath drama for so many years that I honestly don’t even care if he goes to jail again.

    He is good to me as far as being a roommate and best friend goes. He is capable of being kind to me. However, the minute his ex, or his kids, or his parents call -even on my birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas, or his birthday -no matter what I had planned, how much money I have spent, how disappointed and hurt I am that he puts his own needs over mine, he will drop me like a hot potato and do what HE wants to do.

    He acknowledges that he has “caused me pain” over the years, and apologizes when he does me wrong -then he turns around and does it all over again the next time someone else (besides me) wants something. I am NEVER first. He expects me to still be there waiting for him when he is finished doing what HE wants to do, after he has stood me up, disrespected me, and hurt me -then he has the nerve to get mad when I try to explain how upset I am, as if it’s MY fault.

    His parents still have pictures of the ex-wife all over their house, including their wedding pictures, and family pictures of him, her, and the kids. I have told them how much this upsets me, and they acknowledged it, but do nothing about it. I have not been in their house in over a year. They send her Mother’s Day, Christmas, and birthday cards, but not me. They have no pictures of me in their house, even though I sent them one of him and me a week after we were married. I told my husband he is a coward for refusing to stand up for me and allowing them to disrespect me. He agrees with me that what they’re doing is horrible, but will not tell THEM that.

    He is very physically affectionate, always hugging me. His love language is Physical Touch. I respect that. However, my love language is Words of Affirmation. I NEVER get what I need from him. He uses the excuse that he is not a verbally expressive person. I am not a physically expressive person, but I suck it up and do it for him because I know that is what he needs, but he will not extend the same courtesy to me.

    In bed, having sex with him is like having sex with the Terminator – human flesh on the outside, but a cold, dead, emotionless machine on the inside. He’s great at it physically, but many times I end up feeling used and resentful, like I am nothing more to him that a live blow up doll.

    I want a divorce, I have told him I want a divorce -and the reasons why -and have even filed for divorce. The only problem, in today’s economy, I cannot afford to live alone. So I have to suffer and live with a man who only loves me as a buddy, not a wife. He is not, nor has he ever been in love with me. I’m to the point that I barely even like him.

    • Lynn from United States says:

      That sounds awful. What a terrible marriage to endure every day. What you described reminds me of my ex. I also stayed with him too long due to financial worries. My family is distant and they do not support me, and it’s difficult for a single woman and especially a single mother to survive out there in the economy.

      But after a while, I started to feel like I would rather be homeless than stay with him. Being homeless would be more peaceful than suffering every day in a miserable relationship. He told me I was selfish and it’s all about me and my feelings because I told him that I’m not getting what I need emotionally from him. He would be completely SILENT during dinners, and he would get angry and yell at me if I asked him questions that he didn’t like. When I tried to work through issues with him, he would hang up on me. I had my part in the problems too, but when he refused to talk to me it hurt terribly. I once cried so hard that my nose started bleeding.

      Satan traps us with fear. I have to remind myself that Jesus is my security, not some emotionally unavailable man. I finally had to step out in faith because I couldn’t take it anymore. I would go without eating for days from the stress and become physically sick. I am sure God doesn’t want that kind of life for His children. It’s hard being alone, and I still worry, but I know that God will help me through it. If He fed the multitudes with five loaves, He can surely help single and struggling women, one day at a time.

      I know it’s hard to see clearly when you’re in the middle of it, but as an outsider and someone who went through similar problems, it’s clear to see that you are being deprived of what you need in your marriage. You seem like a nice lady, and I pray that God shows you the right solution.

  3. Hipster from United Kingdom says:

    How do you learn to live with someone so different from yourself? My husband was loving, giving, caring and my hero until he started spending money we didn’t have, and lying and even texting other women. This behaviour went on for 6 years; we split for 2 years and then with all the promises to change we reconciled. Again he was the person I met and fell in love with but he was still lying and spending up until about 18 mths ago.

    Although I can never be sure if he’s ever not doing anything destructive, I know I’ve fallen into the anger trap because he makes sure I stay there in his comfort zone. I struggle to get out and he pulls me back in. I challenge him more now and it doesn’t go down well. When I sort myself out he brings out his old self and back we go into the unhealthy pattern; he acts like a jerk and I react badly until I get control over myself again. I feel like a yoyo.

  4. Victoria from United States says:

    My husband and I have been together for five years and married one. We have been raising my nephews off and on for four years of our relationship. Their mother is off doing whatever she pleases but this is a stress on us. We have somehow started only having sex a few times a month and I hate it. But on top of that I work a night shift job, not at my choice, and it takes away from my time with my family.

    I feel emotionally detached from him. I’ve tried talking to him but it always ends up in a fight. I love him with all my heart and soul and I know he loves me; it’s just hard for me to just hear it. I want him to show me and he says, I do; we just had sex; lol it’s not funny. But that’s my husband. There are times when I feel I have become content with our life and all it’s crap but I know I haven’t really. We want it to be just us again but we know we can’t have that right now and probably not anytime soon.

    I am only 21 and he is 25 and we live life like we are in our thirties. We are in a rut in life and I need help getting us out. I can’t do it alone. I know this. I’m working on getting him to come around to help me but I need help doing just that; like I could do this and try that or approaching it from his point of view. But I’ve done it all. I’ve tried it all, at least I think I have. My husband is a typical man. He really is I mean. He is what all women say their husbands or their boyfriends are but they really have no idea!

    I don’t know what I’m to do about my family life or my relationship with my husband. I really need help! He will not go to counseling cuz he says there’s no need to pay someone to fix something that isn’t broken. I don’t know what to do. Is it just me or am I going freakin crazy? I’ve prayed and prayed. I’ve asked my mother who is in heaven to help me and nothing has changed yet. Someone please help me, please!???!!

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      Victoria, I’d like to ask you a few questions first for clarification so I (and hopefully others) will know better how to respond to your pleas. First, what country do you live in and are you both from that country? Also, is there any chance your husband is into social media big time, perhaps involving porn or cybersex, visiting chatrooms, or such? And, do you have any other family members that can help you sometimes with your nephews (taking them for a night here and there or so)? If you work nights, what time of the day or night does your husband work –the same time frame or different?

  5. Tom from South Africa says:

    Hi, i read this artile with hopes to learn and perhaps deal better with my family. I have been married for just over a year now and it seems the relationship is just becoming unbearable. I did not know that women get more emotionally eager just after getting married, because we were co-habiting for 2 years before we got married and never had these issues. I guess I was naive to think things will be the same after marriage.

    Now that things are worse I desparately need practical solutions to remedy my new family. I admit that I have been distant from my wife because she seemed to be negative, dragging me to negativity. I thought she only looked at thing that are wrong without acknowledging the many things that are going right. I honestly don’t know how to be that kind of a person. I’m the kind of person who focuses more on possitive things in life because that makes me appreciate life. Turning my focus to negative things will only make me miserable or depressed.

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      Tom, I don’t know what country you live in, but if it’s possible, there’s a good book that I recommend you get on this issue. It’s written by Dennis Prager, and it’s titled, Happiness Is a Serious Problem. This book has really changed my view of “happiness” and being negative because the world appears to be negative. Dennis has a radio program that I listen to each day (when I can) and on Friday’s he has what’s called “the Happiness Hour” where he focuses on different aspects of happiness. As a matter of fact, you can watch a little preview of this book and the subject on a YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8uJQUdR3kc. I hope you (and your wife) will watch this short clip. It might whet the appetite to learn more.

      Now, I’m not talking about giddy, fake happiness (and neither is Dennis). And I’m certainly not talking about the immoral “God just wants me to be happy, so I should leave my spouse because I’m not happy in my marriage.” That’s a crock of garbage. But if you listen to and read what Dennis says about looking towards and focusing on the brighter side of life (there is one if you look for it as gold) instead of focusing on negativity, it’s amazing how much better life can be for all. I learned this BIG TIME! I come from a family of negative relatives. My mom’s side of the family were/are mostly sad-sacks. It’s a whoa-is-me type of existence. And I’ll tell you, you can only take so much of that negativity and you want to run as fast as you can away from them at times. I love them, but enough is enough! We all have problems… that doesn’t mean we have to wallow in them.

      I hope you can eventually help your wife to look towards the brighter side of life, for the most part. It took years before my Dad was able to get my mom to do this and years before I “got it” as far as not focusing on the negative –dealing with it, yes… but not staying there and inflicting it on others with a sour-puss outlook on life day in and day out. We have some BIG problems going on in our lives right now, but my husband and I refuse to stay focused on that, which we can’t change. We look to the Lord to guide us through them and look for the joy that is around us to focus on. I pray your wife eventually is able to get there too. I hope you are able to (gently) help her get there, as well. It will bring you all the more closer together.

  6. Monica from United States says:

    I have been married to my husband for almost four years, but we’ve been together for about seven. We have almost four children together. I say almost four because next week I am expected to birth our fourth. I was a typical daydreaming woman, thinking that having my schooling in order and being married and having a family would bring me everything I had always wanted, a nice close and solid relationship with my children and my husband.

    I am an emotionally eager woman; I have had attachment issues since I was a child due to a traumatic experience in my adoption situation. I have had people in and out of my life emotionally and I have a lot of anger I work on resolving because of it. I’m tired of people not realizing how much they hurt me by not being there. So the only person left I still hold to a standard really is my husband, my life partner and father of my kids. Sometimes I feel very foolish; I feel foolish because I expect him to be more understanding, sensitive, compassionate, more tender and affectionate, and he tells me “you knew what kind of man I was when you met me” meaning he is basically none of those things.

    The thing is that when I met him he was definitely more of those things than he is now. He works very hard, and allows me to stay home with our children, which is something I cherish as a huge gift. Sometimes he makes me feel lazy and suggests I need to be working to help with our income, although all of our needs are met with his income alone. He is climbing the corporate ladder and I’m trying so hard to be supportive of him even though he doesn’t support my dreams or visions. He has told me my dreams aren’t logical, they are unrealistic, and that the scope of them has brought him fear and anxiety in the past.

    I am a dreamer. I have big dreams and goals and was headed in those directions when I met him. I feel resentful that I’ve kind of given those up because I don’t have the support I wish I had from him. He wants this to be our last child, and I’m resentful because I feel that he has never “been there” emotionally for me during my pregnancies. He has always jerked his hand away when I put his hand on my stomach to feel the baby move, saying it felt weird and that he couldn’t emotionally connect to our baby until it was born. I’ve been left to waddle through the hormonal changes of pregnancy myself and felt at fault for being too sick or too tired during or after the pregnancies to amount to his expectations.

    I resent sex with him because I don’t believe in hormonal birth control, and he doesn’t want any more kids yet tells me I run the sex schedule. I resist sex because I also feel that it is fulfilling him physically and my emotional needs are not met. It is very hurtful and hard to be in this position because I love my husband with my whole heart and our family but I feel despair when I think of continuing a relationship like this for the rest of my life. I want my kids to see an energized, encouraged, lively woman in their life who shows them how to shoot for the stars because she is optimistic. I write in a Mr/Mrs journal I purchased a while ago to write openly to my husband and he to me about our issues and feelings, and he never writes in it unless I remind him after I’ve written about an issue I’m upset about. I knew marriage wouldn’t be easy, but I just want to feel loved, appreciated, to have him be grateful for my sacrifices and my efforts to please him. I want to feel cherished and beloved. And I don’t think he’s capable of making those changes on his own. I feel lost as to what to do and frustrated.

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