Marriage Missions International

Why Doesn’t My Spouse Change? Functional Fixedness

Marriage Missions Editor Note: The following article is one that is written to wives; however, most of it could also have been written to husbands because a lot of the same principles apply. We pray you will glean through it and learn what will apply in your marriage:

Dr. Melody Rhode often uses a psycho-neurological term to describe a man’s reluctance to change: FUNCTIONAL FIXEDNESS. Men don’t normally change if what they’ve been doing seems to be working for them. When a woman allows her husband to treat her with disrespect, he has no motivation to change —and so it’s unlikely he ever will.

Melody notes, “There’s a simple question I ask wounded women who seek help to endure belittling or degrading treatment from their man: ‘Why does your husband treat you badly?’ Answer: because he can.” This is not, in any way, to blame a woman for the abuse but to develop a new blueprint for a different future.

Melody continues. “If what he’s doing is working for him, why change? He needs a compelling reason to change, and it needs to be more compelling than your unhappiness or private misery with the situation.”

I would think that a God-fearing man would be motivated to change simply by understanding that his actions hurt you. But I’m also a realist. Some of you may be married to a man who doesn’t much care if his actions hurt you, as long as he gets what he wants. In such cases, allowing the behavior to continue while complaining about it won’t change anything. It’s not your pain that motivates him but his pain. You have to be willing to create an environment in which the status quo becomes more painful than the experience of positive change.

Here’s the trap I’ve seen too many women fall into: a woman keeps expressing to her husband how he is doing something (or not doing something) that is hurting her. Even after several such conversations, he doesn’t change —or he’ll change for a few days and then go back to his old habits, at which point the wife complains again.

Still, no long-term change. The wife reads a book or attends a seminar and decides she needs to find a better way to communicate so she can get her message across, but even after this, there’s no permanent change. Her error is assuming that she’s not getting through. In point of fact, she is getting through to her husband—he may fully understand and be completely aware of her pain, but he’s not motivated by her pain. If he likes the marriage as it is, he’ll put up with an occasionally disagreeable conversation now and then.

In such cases, spouses need to make a serious evaluation. There was a point in “Jenny’s” marriage when she realized, based on her and her husband’s parents’ health history, that she and “Mike” could be married for sixty years. At the time, Jenny had been married for just fifteen years, but that left, potentially, another forty-five years of being together —which also meant another forty-give years of a situation that Jenny wasn’t sure she could live with.

“There is no scenario in my life plan in which I want divorce —none,” Jenny told me. “At the end of my life, my fervent hope and determination is to be, unreservedly, a one-man woman. But I also know enough not to overestimate my patience. I could put up with some disappointments at the time, but was I willing to live with this for another forty-five years? At that point, I felt I needed to be more honest about some struggles and more up-front about making a change. It created some discomfort for a season as I stopped pretending that everything was OK — but was a season of discomfort worth changing the course of our marriage for the next forty-years? Without question!”

Without nagging and without pretty recriminations (withholding sex, the silent treatment, a critical spirit, and so forth), Jenny gently but forcefully made her husband see that as long as he acted the way he did, their marriage was going to suffer in specific ways — ways that affected him. It was only when Mike started feeling his own pain that he was shaken out of his functional fixedness enough to change his behavior.

I believe Jenny makes an important point: be wary of over-estimating your willingness to live with a glaring hurt or a gaping need. Don’t pretend that Satan won’t exploit it or that you won’t be tempted by another man who happens to be strongest exactly where your husband is weakest. If, like Jenny, your ideal life plan leaves no room for divorce, you must honestly accept your weaknesses and be willing to create a climate in which your spouse will be motivated by his pain. This is a courageous and healthy movement toward your spouse and toward preserving and strengthening your marriage, and it is an act of commitment, not rebellion.

All this requires a very specific application based on your spouse’s personality, so I can’t give you “five steps to overcome functional fixedness” here — but you’ll receive plenty of ideas and suggestions as we touch on various topics throughout this book. [This is a good reason to obtain this book.] At this point, it’s enough to say that if merely communicating your hurt isn’t solving the problem, you’re most likely dealing with a case of functional fixedness, and you’ll need to be strong to address that issue.

Some women fall into the trap of failing to speak up for fear of losing their man; they don’t want to “rock the boat,” even though it appears that the boat is headed toward a waterfall. But this passive acceptance makes it more likely that the husband will stray; he won’t respect his wife for putting up with his poor behavior, and this attitude will only reinforce his disrespectful behavior. Sadly, many women think their husband’s anger is the great enemy of their security, but, if fact, weakness and the corresponding relational boredom pose a far more potent threat.

If you can stand strong and secure in your identity and in your relationship with Christ, courageously making it clear how you will and will not be treated, you will be amazed to see how to respect and show for yourself rubs off on your husband.

Things Must Change
Here’s the male insider’s view, right at the start: you have more influence over your husband than you realize. When you are a woman of respect, the last thing your husband wants is to lose you. If he things he can heave you and his aberrant behavior, he’ll take both. But if the day comes when he knows you won’t simply turn a blind eye to what he’s doing, when he thinks he might even lose you if he continues down the path he’s walking, he’s going to be shaken out of his functional fixedness and at least consider making changes.

…Dr Melody Rhode sees the threat of a husband’s losing his wife as perhaps the greatest possible motivator for a husband. Of course, we have to place this within the context of a covenantal, committed marriage. The Bible is very specific and very limiting regarding what constitutes an acceptable divorce. Discontentment, seeming incompatibility, and mere displeasure don’t qualify! Melody points out, “A woman’s power needs to be surrendered to God and used for his purposes, not our own.”

She also stresses, however, that most women, because of our culture, don’t realize the power they have to move their husbands. “They feel powerless because of their sex,” she observes, “and this has resulted in a lot of pent-up anger, frustration, and even desperation.” As your brother in Christ, I’m encouraging you to be bold, courageous, and strong. Use the natural and very spiritual influence and role that God has designed for you to move the man in your life.

… Our culture in general —even Christian culture —is on a long slide toward passivity that completely goes against who God made us to be.

Let me be blunt: hope is not a strategy. Merely “wishing” that your husband would change, merely “wanting” your marriage to be different, won’t do anything. The problem is that some Christians spiritualize wishing —we call it “praying.” Please understand, I’m not knocking prayer; I’m challenging a misconception about prayer, namely, that we can merely voice our displeasure and expect our world and our relationships to be transformed. True biblical prayer is about much, much more than that. It involves receiving our marching orders and then acting on them.

A good marriage doesn’t happen by accident, and a good marriage isn’t maintained by accident. I’ve never written a book by accident, and you can’t build a business by accident. These endeavors require deliberate choices and much perseverance. When you start acting instead of merely wishing, when you begin taking initiative instead of simply feeling sorry for yourself, you become an active woman, and active women mirror the active God who made them.

Active God, Active Women
Genesis 1 provides our initial glimpse of who God is. The first thing God wants us to know is that he is an extraordinarily active God. In Genesis 1 there are thirty-eight active verbs describing what God does: he creates, he speaks, he separates, he calls, he blesses, he gives, and much more —all in just one chapter.

Then —and this is the key —he tells the woman and the man to do the same: “God blessed them [male and female] and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground’” (Genesis 1:28).

God made you, as a woman, to rule in this world, to subdue it, to act according to his image. Sin begins with sluggishness, despair, and despondency. People give up on their marriages, give up on prayer, give up on their churches, give up on their kids, and eventually even give up on themselves. They say, “It’s no use,” and start to sulk instead of painstakingly remaking their marriage —simply because their first (or even tenth) attempt failed.

This may sound like a hard word, but readers of my previous books know I’m not one to shy away from that. Your marriage is what you make it. The relationship you have is the direct result of what you’ve put into it, and in many cases, a marriage can rise only to the level of your courage. Initial romantic intensity is unearned; it seems to fall on us out of nowhere. But marriage has to be built stone by stone. We have to make deliberate choices; we have to be active and confront the weaknesses we see in ourselves and in each other.

The above article comes from the GREAT book, Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands written by Gary Thomas, published by Zondervan. There was so much more in this chapter and in the entire book that we would have liked to include in this article. But you’ll just need to find a way to obtain the book to see what else Gary Thomas has to say on this subject (and others). You’ll be glad you did!

In the pages of this book, you’ll find a fresh perspective to help you understand your husband: the view of the marriage relationship through a man’s eyes. Thomas gives you insider information on how men think, feel, and can truly be motivated. Sacred Influence shows how God can bless you with a soul-filling intimacy as you and your husband are shaped into the people he intends you to be. This is a WONDERFUL book that we HIGHLY recommend for you to read. It really gives a new fresh insight into the male mind, along with spiritual help in seeing this from a Godly perspective. It talks about being a strong, godly woman that glorifies God, living out God’s plan for your life, and yet also being a true helpmeet for your husband.


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50 Responses to “Why Doesn’t My Spouse Change? Functional Fixedness”
  1. Eva says:

    (KENYA) Hi, Thank you for such an awakening article. It’s just what i needed to hear. I am married to a nice guy. I choose to describe him, in the opposite to what i feel- I have had major issues in communication. I have tried everything, cold treatment, denying him sex, violence, being nice and all sweet to him, but nothing has worked so far. I was so frustrated and I was done! I wanted to part ways knowing fully well that it wasn’t God’s plan but I have been praying a lot, secretly hoping God will give me the go-ahead.

    I love reading this website, it’s been a blessing. But I have to say this so far is the best blessing. I am willing to work things out. I’ll write down a list of things I NEED TO CHANGE and present to God so that we can work on this project together. I am excited! Things will change!

  2. Dave says:

    (U.S.) Me and my wife have been together for 17 years and married for 14 years. Recently we have been going through some problems, like one of them is me changing my ways. I’ve never seen myself as a bad person, but after the article, it describes me to the tee. I try to change but it never lasts. I have been given an ultimatum and I don’t like it. I understand that she is tired of the same and I have gotten comfortable. I really want to change for me and my marriage.

    • Abhi says:

      (INDIA) Bro, I’m having the same problem during any fight between me and my wife. Somehow I lost control over myself. I really want to change my this habit. And any change I bring in my habit regarding to my bad behaviour does not last long (just because of me. Only I know and I want to say sorry to her for that). I can’t help it… please help if you have any suggestions…

      • Ruth from Malaysia says:

        It’s good for you to know that you know you are at fault. Stop making it look like it’s so hard to change. Do you think your wife would not like to shout and scream like you or hit you on your head or lose control like you? What makes her different from you? She respects people. You have no respect for others so you have no desire to control yourself cos you think you are superior to others and can go ahead and do vicious things and then say sorry and be accepted again. Wake up, would you do what you are doing to the Police chief? You will find yourself handcuffed in a jiffy and put in jail. Always see your wife as a Police Chief and maybe you will stop.

  3. LYNNE says:

    (USA)  This article is great but I do have one question. When it says that men a motivated by their own main and not ours as women what kind of pain are they referring to?

    "Without nagging and without pretty recriminations (withholding sex, the silent treatment, a critical spirit, and so forth), Jenny gently but forcefully made her husband see that as long as he acted the way he did, their marriage was going to suffer in specific ways — ways that affected him."

    How do you gently but forcefully show your husband that his actions are going to cause him suffering without doing any of the things named above?

    I ask because I am currently not speaking with my husband right now. We’ve been growing distant for some time now. Sometimes it seems to get good for a little while and I really believe he’s changed; but then it all falls apart again. I have prayed, read books, sought Christian counseling, and even left for a short period of time. I don’t know what else to do. I feel as if this article is a completely accurate account of my husband. He doesn’t care if he hurts me, and he doesn’t care to make any effort to change things.

    What can you do if your spouse doesn’t think there’s a problem? He’ll admit that we’ve grown apart; he’ll admit that he doesn’t feel close to me, but he says that’s ok. I don’t believe its ok.

    I can’t continue living this way, and I know that God doesn’t want me to live this way. I’ve said that and tried to do everything I could. I’ve given God my marriage and things do get better but my husband always reverts back to his ways. I don’t know what to do anymore. I do feel alone, and unwanted. I am constantly suspicious and doubting of him. He breaks just about every promise he ever makes (not exaggerating). He lies to me about stupid things. There is no trust, and he is disrespectful to me, but I haven’t ever tolerated it. I don’t know what else to do. I have been abandoned and neglected for so long that I don’t even know if I love him anymore, and I am stuck here. I don’t believe in divorce so I am stuck here.

    I agree that because my husband doesn’t care if I am hurting he needs to change because of his own suffering (because he wants to) but if the things above are not the way to show him that his actions cause him suffering, what does? How do you gently but forcefully show your husband that his actions are going to cause him suffering?

    Please pray for me? Love, Lynne

    • Belinda says:

      (AUSTRALIA) Your life and my life is the same. I thought how I feel for you, but you do sound strong. Just keep holding onto Jesus.

      One thing that is different with my life is my husband. My husband says I am crazy. He says I need to see a mental health doctor, and has put me on hold as a wife until I am better. This is making me sick with having been married 19 years. He isn’t a Christian, but we have a 9 year old daughter. Please pray for me. Bel.

      • Tam says:

        (CANADA) Pray for him every night and day that God will change his heart. Read God’s Word and fast and pray and you will see miracles. Do not listen to your husband’s rebukes about the faith and your character. He is the mouth piece of sin right now because he is not saved. But if you keep focusing on Christ your actions and prayers will prevail. There is a promise that a wife saved in a non-Christian marriage can save her husband: 1 Peter 3:1 “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.” However, you must submit to God first if your husband ever asks you to do something immoral.

      • Ruth from Malaysia says:

        I married an abusive man. Everything everyone says about their abusive spouse is found in my spouse, including saying I was mentally disturbed and should check for Alzheimers. One day I gave him an ultimatum and said “say that one more time and see what I do.” That stopped him cold and I never heard that again. But other forms of abuse cropped up. The latest? He tells me “You are the best wife I ever had” (both of us are married for the first time). That belittles me as he is passing a message to me that he has had many other women in his life like a “wife”. I feel such disgust, having come from a loving home where my dad was so honorable. His dad was a mess. But my daughter said she does not care what situation he came from, if he is in Christ he must change, no excuses.

        I have prayed for him continously and told him he cannot do ungodly things. I am not sure if I wish to tolerate anything anymore. Romans 1 says what is known about God has been made known to “all men and they are without excuse.” If God says they are without excuse, why must we, the victims, excuse them? Call a spade a spade. He is a tremendous burden to me and my children. My son asked why did I stay so long with him? In fact his bosses respect him as I too have a good reputation and they respect me. If I leave him, he suffers, not me.

        When he said I am the best wife he had, I finally woke up as it was the second time he said it and I gave back as good as I got. I said yes, and you are the best husband I ever had.” He immediately replied “oh, who were the other husbands?” That means he knew what he was saying to me. I replied “the same as you.”

        I sms him and blasted him. I told him exactly what he was –a wicked and cruel man. He said he was sorry. But it’s not true. He is just pure evil. I intend to leave.

  4. LT says:

    (USA)  Hi Lynne, This article talks about drawing boundaries but to really get the full idea of what he’s talking about you have to read the book (either get it from the library or buy a copy). I bought it and read it. I don’t recommend it for anyone who is in an abusive marriage or who has poor self-esteem due to past emotional abuse because his language has a tendancy to put women down as though all the problems are their fault.

    I think someone who has healthy self-respect would not read it that way at all, but as a victim of domestic violence myself, I read it and it sounded like the author bashing me over the head just as my husband does verbally and it did not make me feel well at all. So I only recommend it to women with healthy self-worth and self-respect (it takes a LONG time for victims of abuse to get that back).

    However, reading your posts, you seem to have a pretty strong and healthy sense of self so I think you could receive the book as it is meant to be received. It will open your eyes and give you insights on communicating in a healthy way and setting up healthy boundaries.

    It’s not talking about making the other person miserable but it is talking about handling situations with maturity and emotional health, and that is something that 90% plus of people I know don’t know how to do and don’t put into action in their everday lives. Most people are immature in most ways, particularly by acting out of anger or hurt and lashing back, and then they resort to pettiness and this book is showing how not to do that.

    The other book I’d recommend reading is the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It sounds like you and your husband have the classic symptoms of "empty love tanks." Your needs aren’t getting met and neither are his but neither of you know what to do. I will say this – the longer this goes on, the more desperate things become and both people become forlorn and become hopeless. This book tells you how to turn that around and it’s really good! It’s good for other relationships, too, besides just your spouse.

    There are SOOO many Christian resources out there that Christ has pointed me to and I’ve done TONS of reading in the last few months or so (more than that really), along with my daily reading of the Bible and I highly recommend reading these books to give you different ideas of how to interact in the relationship that is the closest one you’ll ever have and to broaden your horizons. You don’t want to throw in the towel without really trying a lot of different things, including reading really solid Christian resource books.

    Most of us are NOT taught healthy communication skills and are not given healthy emotional foundations and so it’s something we have to learn when we get older, assuming we are humble enough to admit we need help and wise enough to seek the Lord’s will on obtaining it.

    The book of Proverbs has much to say about wisdom:
    Proverbs 1:7
    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
    Proverbs 2:2
    so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom and apply thine heart to understanding;
    Proverbs 4:5
    Get wisdom, get understanding; forget it not, neither decline from the words of my mouth.
    Proverbs 4:7
    Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting, get understanding.

    The one other thing I will say that I’ve noticed is that people who were in serious marriage trouble, those that were able to turn it around were usually able to do so by a LOT of hard work and they still say that there are "seasons" in a marriage; some dry seasons that have to be weathered.

    I highly recommend those 2 books to you. God bless and you’re in my prayers! LT

  5. Anne says:

    (USA)  We just fought, I cried, I logged on, found this site, and read the post. I’ve reserved the book from the library, hope I get it soon… They just don’t care if they hurt us, do they? We are only 3 years into our marriage, I need to know what to do!

  6. Mandy says:

    (AUSTRALIA)  I tried to do what was advised here, but he still didn’t change his ways, although he did panic about losing the marriage. I think sometimes it is not just a matter of wanting to change, but being able to change. My husband doesn’t want to lose the marriage and can’t understand why he is about to. He resents having to lose his wife, but he also resents having to admit that he is incredibly hurtful. He denies that he is vicious and blames it on everyone else.

    In fact, I noticed this trend at the beginning of our relationship and when I confronted him about it, he would blame it on other things. And if I continued to press him, he would leave and justify it. Then he would get others to agree with him and I got pushed into silence, not just by him but by other Christians and ministers as well. Now I am reaping the result of not really attacking the root of the issue which he denied and convinced me didn’t exist.

    This article says that one can threaten to leave and actually take action if it warrants it. But then what? He has tried counseling and praying, but he is still stuck in his old ways. If the man you are trying to teach how to behave is incapable of changing, then all you may end up with is a broken marriage.

  7. Dottie says:

    (USA)  Thank you for the article. We’ve been married for 32 years, all have not been good, but I have put up with a lot. Divorce has been talked about, but I know that’s not God’s plan. I will let my husband read this article and see how it effects him. Hopefully we can sit down and talk about some issues that have been going on for a while. Again, Thank you.

  8. Francis says:

    (THAILAND)  Hi everyone, I know this article is old but I hope someone manages to get this question and respond. Here is the question: What do you do when your spouse does not pay much attention to whether you communicate in your marriage or not. I have been having this situation bugging me for the longest time.

    Due to work circumstances, I live away from my husband and I get to see him after three weeks or four. During this time I would communicate with him by phone or emails. He is always ok about receiving a call from me. Sometimes, I would ask him to ring me back and he would gladly do so. But what I can never understand in the life of me is why he would not think of just phoning me just to check on me. So, being tired of this behavior, sometimes, I would just keep quiet and not contact him and trust me that would be the end of it until I decide to contact him again.

    This has caused a huge conflict within my spirit because sometimes I would not even look forward to seeing him again because I would feel like he does not for me. I don’t know, may be I am crazy or too demanding to expect my husband to reciprocate my initiatives to keep in touch with him. Sometimes I wonder if I am bothered by this behavior because I am not able to love him unconditionally. I have tried several times to talk to him about it and told him how it is not good for our marriage. I never seem to get anywhere with it because he is the kind of person who likes to shove things under the carpet and pretend like they are not do not matter.

    For me personally, this is not just about him not calling me or wanting to pull the strings, at least I hope. This is a just a manifestation of what is happening in our communication life in general because if we were able to communicate successfully, I should not be writing this note, trying to seek counsel on the issue. Because, we struggle so much in that area, most of our (could be small) issues are magnified. I am so tired of trying to keep things together. I realized that at some point, I did the communicating or calling because I was afraid of losing what I wanted from it, closeness and all that goes with it (call me selfish).

    Perhaps, you could say, I have enabled him to neglect his duty because I was forever willing to play that part. Now, I have gotten to a point where I am too tired, I decided, enough is enough, so I called it quits, no more phoning him at all and it has been about a month now and he has never asked me anything about it. When I go back to see him we just talk about other things and do not even mention the fact that we have not been communicating for a month.

    Now dear people, help me out. What do you do in this situation? I know I have already taken my stand which I am not sure where it will lead me but either way for me there is no winning. I was wondering then if the article above was referring to situations as these where it suggests that, creating an environment that is uncomfortable to your spouse, so that they could be motivated to change.

    Right now, I am hopeful that he will come around. The decision of not contacting him for me, is just to give him an opportunity to look at the situation and see if he likes the picture. It’s more like saying to myself, OK then, let’s just operate the way you want and see if you like the consequences.

    At first, I was not too happy about this decision but now I am believing it to be the right way forward but you can never be too sure, can you? Am I playing with fire? Anyone, please share some thoughts?

    • Discerning says:

      (THAILAND)  To Francis: I had to respond because 1) I,too, am in Thailand, and 2) I, too, have communication issues with my husband. It sounds like you really need to have a sit down, heart-to-heart talk with your husband to find out what’s going on with his thinking.

      Does he really, truly, feel that it is okay not to talk to his wife for a full month? Does he not worry about how you are doing? Does he think about you or miss you when you are gone? Asking him in person and seeing his responses/body language will help you gauge how he is feeling. A shrug, no eye contact, and body language that is withdrawn are not the best signs.

      My first thoughts after reading your post were, I was wondering if he is really okay with you being out of town for 3-4 weeks at a time? Maybe he is feeling neglected and being passive-agressive and subconsiously doesn’t like you gone for such a long time. Maybe he doesn’t realize his resentment is communicated as nonchalance?

      Or, and I apologize for mentioning this, it could be that he really is feeling noncommital and is delving into other ‘situations’ since you are not available. I’m not saying that that is an excuse, or okay, or anything. I’m offering possible reasons as to why he is not responding as he should as a loving, caring, considerate husband.

      First off, I would take a hard look at your work life and see if you can change things around so you are with your husband 3-4 weeks and gone only 1 week. Choose your husband over your work. If your marriage is in trouble because of this communication issue (and/or others), take time off and work on the two of you. It depends how heavily you weigh your relationship vs. work, but it seems like a reshift is needed. Him not even raising an eyebrow if you haven’t called him in a month is really not a good sign. I would recommend trying to get him back emotionally, and you should start by being physically present for the majority of the time. Hope that helps.

      • Nams says:

        (INDIA) Hi Francis, This looks very old post but I could relate with it. My husband does not call me frequently even if we are away. He does all things normally as a good husband should be doing, but never shows that he ever remembers me or thinks that sometimes I may need him, without reasons. We are staying together but it still feels like we are apart. Did you find a solution to your problem over these years?

  9. Mark says:

    (USA)  I am a Pastor of over 20 years and a husband of 23 years. My wife has had a real problem with anger and anxiety for the past 15 years or so. She has tore so many wounds in my heart with hateful words and outbursts and cursing over the most ridiculous things. I do what the Bible says. I forgive 70 times seven.

    She knows she has a problem. She eventually apologizes, but when the climate is right she turns to Mr. Hyde and tears my world to pieces all over again. For years she would say “When this or that is different, my life will calm down.” All those things happen and she does not change. I ask for counseling, she makes excuses to delay it.

    I am tired of having to be in a constant state of healing from her wounds. If romantic love were like blood in a marriage, our love has bled out a thousand times. I patch up the wounds and my spleen resupplies the blood. But this year I feel like the spleen is wearing out. It’s taking me longer and longer to get the good feelings back.

    For the first time in my life I am starting to imagine life without her. I hate that. I have seen God perform so many miracles in my lifetime… yet if marriage is so darn important to him, then why is he not giving me more help? I have been recently telling my wife what I have secretly been thinking. When she lays into me I say, “You and I are going to need to go get counseling or you’re going to be alone in 5 years.” That shuts her up.

    Why is it that some people won’t change until they fear losing everything? I have decided to start Christian counseling on my own if she won’t go. It’s so ironic. I have preached on marriage and have been a blessing to many people down through the years by helping them build better relationships, yet here I am. I treat my wife good. She tells people how good I am to her and how romantic I am. Everyone thinks she is the sweetest person on earth, but I and my two college age kids know the other person that people don’t get to see.

    • Steve Wright says:

      Mark, I’m so sorry you feel hopeless. And I believe the fact you found this web site is one of God’s ways of answering your prayer for Him to give you more help. We can’t “fix” the problems; only God can do that. But He can use different people and circumstances to get your wife to the point where she comes to the end of herself and starts “listening” to you, and more importantly, to God.

      Cindy and I think it would help you if you got a copy of Dr. James Dobson’s, Love Must Be Tough: New Hope for Marriages in Crisis. You can read the description of it in the “Save My Marriage” topic, within the Resource Descriptions. This book can give you practical (though tough) principles to use in your situation, Mark.

      Please know that sadly, it’s not out of the ordinary that you are a pastor who has helped many, and yet you find yourself now needing help. Recognize that as someone who is a leader –particularly in the church, you have a bulls-eye on your life, put there by the enemy of our faith. Your marriage problems entertains the enemy and gives great hope that even more will go down with you. But that doesn’t mean that your marriage has to fall, just because you’re being targeted. It just means that you have to recognize the danger and rely upon God all the more, to fight this onslaught.

      We believe you’re right in recognizing that you need to get help in this. This is not the type of situation where you can just sit back and ride this one out. When disrespect and contempt come into the marriage, it chips away at any life it has in it. Your wife needs help for herself as much as for your marriage. Obviously, left to her own ability to do this, it won’t happen. Prayerfully, she will eventually participate in the process. It sometimes, can almost be like a drug addict who desperately needs help, but they can’t seem to get it left to their own devices.

      If you don’t somehow draw a line in the sand, MAKING this happen, I’m afraid that in “5 years” you won’t have anything in you to continue on in your marriage commitment. NOW is the time to put things into place to draw that line, and I/we believe, the “Love Must Be Tough” book can help get you to that critical place and time.

      Please don’t draw the line during a time when you’re angry or she is… you need wise help with planning this, almost like a type of intervention, except without family gathering around. And you need to approach this with meekness. Notice, I didn’t say “weakness” but meekness, which is strength under control. Jesus said that those who are meek, “inherit the earth.” If you haven’t done a Bible study on it, you may find it helpful.

      You’re also wise to find a counselor, if for no other reason than to help YOU to figure out how to do this and how to continue. What’s critical is that you find the “right” counselor. It has been our experience that just because someone says they’re a “Christian” counselor doesn’t mean they’re good at counseling marriages, to help bring them to restoration. We’ve witnessed too many marriages torn apart AFTER people go to a counselor. The counselor may have been good in counseling in other areas, but their approaches to marriage matters actually tore the couples apart, rather than helped them.

      You need the right type of “Marriage friendly” counselor — especially with you being in the pastorate. We have several articles posted on our web site in the “Marriage Counseling” topic that can help you to know what I mean by “marriage friendly” and also what to look for in finding the right kind of counselor. We’re all for marriage counseling, but it needs to be the right kind, to best help you, in this difficult situation in your marriage.

      We also urge you to go to, a web site by Focus On The Family that is dedicated to helping pastors and their spouses. They have a number of resources available there that can help you and could be good in finding this type of counselor for you (but you may want to first, prayerfully read the book and read the articles so you can approach the help they can give with more wisdom). In particular, check out “Pastors in Crisis” and “Dysfunctional Marriage.” These are recorded sessions with several counselors. They also have a “Pastor Help Line” at 877-233-4455 where you can call between 9:00AM & 4:00PM (MT) and talk with pastoral counselors.

      I also want to share something I read today in a devotional I have from A-W Tozer (and I paraphrase): He was talking about John 14:27 when Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Then Tozer commented on the fact that the kind of “peace” we get from the world is based on circumstances. If we seek peace from the world’s ways, it will have to come only when circumstances change to what we want. Jesus’ peace on the other hand comes to us no matter what our circumstances are. But it requires us to trust Him completely, even in the worst of situations (like yours).

      I hope you’ll keep leaning into Jesus, Mark, and not give up. Let Jesus take your pain and turn it into peace. I don’t know how He’ll do it, but I KNOW He can do it. Keep us posted on this Blog. –Steve Wright, Marriage Missions International

    • Karry says:

      (USA)  Mark, what you describe is a Borderline Personality Disorder. Of course I don’t know everything, but your wife fits the profile perfectly. Get the book, “Walking on Eggshells”. It is written by a man that went through what you are going through with his wife. You are being damaged right now by your wife. Pray hard and ask God to give you strength.

    • Kristal says:

      (USA) Brother Mark, Reading your comment made me feel as if I was hearing myself. The only thing is I am a woman. My husband has anxiety and it has taken a complete toll on our marriage. He has outbursts of anger and he belittles me in almost every way as his wife and as a woman. I also treat my husband good, with respect and love…

      I feel really hurt but I’ve been constantly taking it to God and asking Him for help, like you said, it’s like I am in a constant state of healing from his wounds. I have tried to put up a gentle wall to block the hurt from his words and actions, but I end up more miserable than before because I find myself also putting up a wall with my love towards him and it scares me. It’s a vicious cycle, he knows he is wrong too, but he eventually tears me apart again. I don’t want to lose my love for him and I don’t believe in divorce as God’s plan for our marriage…

      We are both going for ministry in our church, and like you said, everyone believes he is such a charming, loving and playful man; but only I know the other side at home. I am really tired of it. The only one who knows in details about this is our Co-Pastor, and my husband has now cut him off because he believes he can change and get out of anxiety on his own with God, but things have only gotten worse…

      I am afraid to walk away because I keep thinking that maybe this is God’s way of allowing me to be molded and love unconditionally as He loved the church, but at the same time I also don’t know if this is the kind of marriage God intended for us… I have only been married for a little over a year. He was not like this when we were courting, it wasn’t until I lived with him after marriage that he started to show this other side of him… Is his anxiety really the one to blame? Or is it his will to change?

  10. Mark says:

    (USA)  On another note, I have given a lot of thought to the environment modern marriages exist in. There is so little accountability for the behavior of spouses because the nuclear family is gone. We are isolated and the privacy of our home becomes an environment where the worst behavior goes unrebuked.

    In the old days if a spouse was out of line, family members would set them straight and shame them for bad behavior. A mother might tell her daughter, “You have a good man and you have no business talking to him like that!” or if a man was mean to his wife, her brothers could pay him a visit and set him straight without the fear of the law getting involved. Do you see how the inhibitors of sinful relational behavior are fading from our modern life?

    Marriages need intervention when one person begins behaving badly. Many people cannot afford professional counselors. The family should be there to correct ungodly behavior and that should be a backstop to keep marriages functioning in proper parameters.

    • Kathleen says:

      (US) It was soooo encouraging to read the comments. For the first time in 28 years, I don’t feel alone. There are actually other people who understand what I have been going through. This is hard to write without crying. But I have carried such a heavy burden. I gave up my career that I loved because I felt God wanted me to be fully committed to my family. We now have 8 children -ages 28 to 5.

      My husband is a VERY DIFFICULT person to live with. He is hot or cold, up or down -nothing in between. I go through periods of lonliness when he shuts me out, wondering what I did wrong (and fearing), then hoping he doesn’t “explode” when he finally lets it all out. Then there are the times when I think “it’s going to be okay. Maybe we will be a happy family afterall.” I try so hard to take care of everyone -along with our business with him. But he’s so critical of everything what I cook, where I go, what the kid are doing. I get to where I don’t want to talk about ANYTHING controversial. I just can’t handle the fighting. I’m tired.

      I have secretly cried inside while in church with my children for years without him. He thinks if he goes now and then, since he is busy working that’s good enough. Not for me! It’s a sin to miss mass, whether he believes it or not! I have given him over to God. I just don’t know how much longer I can watch my life waste away. God bless you all -thank you!

  11. Jay says:

    (U.S.)  You say the things you say without any regard to the fact that the problem may be the female in the relationship. What can you do when you are a man who has a wife who does not want to give up her selfish ways? I come from a VERY broken home. Both my mother and father have been married several times. I do not want something like this for my son. My wife seems to think that the things that bother her (however trivial they may be) are more important than making our life a loving and caring place for our son to grow up in. I need help to make her realize her outlook on life may very well be tearing our family apart.

  12. Ann says:

    (USA)  The postings that I have read are old; but if someone can, please help me. We’ve been married 35yrs, 1st and only. Husband comes from a “wild” mom, dad is okay.

    We were madly in love w/ one another. I was raised in a Catholic, loving family. My husband, with no religion is a very hyper, active hard worker, has always provided for our two children, now married. He (Dave) has always taken the lead his way or no way; he’s self-employed, with no employees. I worked with him in the office while he was out doing the work. The children, house, laundry sometimes till 3 am, errands etc. I did. I could not get back fast enough from the bank w/o Dave complaining.

    After 8yrs I took my first trip with mom and sis and took along our 3 yr old at the time. Dave complained about the ticket being 20.00 more, which my sis paid. My weight was 110 lbs. He would call me a pig in front of my friends and family if he felt there was too much on my plate. “Are you going to eat all that?” He would yell across the way “you stupid s.o.b.” because I was planting flowers where he thought they would not grow (but they did).

    I could go on and on and worse!! But, I was taught that “silence is the best thing for ignorance.” He complained over an empty glass of tea my friend left on the counter before she said good bye. He would say “what have you done all day?” The house could not be any more spotless. Okay, after 25 yrs we moved out of state, away from ALL family. Our children are now married and they saw what he did to me verbally, and mentally. I am at fault for letting him treat me this way. The 15 yrs of being away from family does not stop him; he started again. Yes I have gained weight, tension? “Are you going to eat ALL that”, “You ate more than I did.”

    He is home on weekends now so he takes us to get a breakfast sandwich,” yours was $2.00 more than mine”, (yes we have money) or “I’m not that hungry, I’m just have a little hamburger.” That’s a hint for me to order somthing smaller. I never order before him because I don’t want a complaint.

    By the way I told Dave this some 20 yrs ago and made him tear up. 15 yrs later I still have it in my guts. Once in a while he will say order what you want… but I don’t know when the attack will commense again. We were out of state visiting mom and he called me “lazy” in front of mom because I did not finish drying some clothing. We were too busy catching up talking. He does this for attention …I rule around here… I own her… I’m in control???

    Ok O’ll finish up; Just today… our house is spotless, I was sitting on the sofa talking to my mom; Dave comes into the house to wash his hands not knowing who I was talking to; could have been our grandchildren. He blurts out “get off the phone.” We didn’t have plans, places to go or anything to do. My stomach cringed; it brought back memories. He has apologized one time in 35 yrs. Before he left 2 hrs early, I asked him why he demanded I get off the phone. He could not give me an answer. He never has given me an explanation. It’s shut up and take it. NO!! I cannot dish it back. To the phone incident he said “ever since we have been going to your mom’s.”

    Please explain, what does talking on the phone have to do with my 88yr old mom? Nothing bad was said. In fact, there never is. I was listening to mom and not saying a word when Dave came in. If I calmly have a discussion with him he’ll say what, do you want a divorce??? Now Dave says he believes in GOD almighty; he knows right from wrong. He carries the blessed Mother in his truck. He always says that God has been good to him/us. WHY? WHY? -Ann

  13. Raelynn says:

    (USA)  Ann, Like the above article states… “Men don’t normally change if what they’ve been doing seems to be working for them. When a woman allows her husband to treat her with disrespect, he has no motivation to change — and so it’s unlikely he ever will.” ALSO “Melody notes, “There’s a simple question I ask wounded women who seek help to endure belittling or degrading treatment from their man: ‘Why does your husband treat you badly?’ Answer: because he can.” This is not, in any way, to blame a woman for the abuse but to develop a new blueprint for a different future.”

    I would suggest that you get the book that the article came from and read it. Also the Love Must Be Tough book for marriages by James Dobson.

    I hear the pain in your heart and I will pray for you. Just remember that life on this earth comes with many sufferings and if Jesus is your savior… keep your eyes on Him and the hope of glory and you will have many rewards waiting for you in heaven. Keep reading the Word of God for He is your strength to endure when you are persecuted unjustly. And remember to return blessing for cursing. ~Raelynn

  14. CONNIE says:

    (PHILIPPINES)  I am a government official, 54 years old. I’m very impressed with this website. I’ve searched so many websites about infidelity and cheating issues since November 2008, the start of my very devastating life. This was when my husband committed infidelity to our 30 year marriage. Prior to this year, I felt like I was in a cage of being with a very possessive and zealous husband. I’ve sacrificed for the sake of my little two kids.

    In 2008 our kids were all finished in college and are living on their own far from us -the start of a nightmare. I was caught unaware because he is a shy guy… but due to prayers everything done in the dark are now open in the light. I’ve discovered his infidelity followed by denials, and violence. Since that year we still live under one roof but things are different. I was a victim of emotional violence, distance and just being there to show people we are together. But actually, we live like boarders. Slowly I accepted the fact, and I’ve learned to pray a daily rosary… sometimes wake up at midnight as I felt terrible pain in my chest. I sensed as if nothing happened to our marriage.

    I again sacrificed a lot though. We are always in fights with each other as the past always rekindles in my mind and I can’t avoid opening up as there was no real and sincere forgiveness being asked. He is very violent when I can recall and ask many things about his other woman. He doesn’t like me to always ask him about the past, but I cannot avoid it because my heart is very pained. I was not satisfied with his answers and there has been no good dialogue since.

    Daily, my emotions were tortured and my strength was only God and Mama Mary. Even my children don’t believe me as they did not witness how cruel he was to me… verbally, emotionally and physically. He’s a great liar… and violent. He was a church lay minister prior to 2008, the reason I was blind because of full trust before. Another woman came along the way after November 2008, but I believed they were flings… until April this year. I’ve discovered other lies, not a woman at first; other family issues, that stabbed me in the back. I’ve discovered he committed lies again to me.

    Now I’ve realized that a liar will play in everything and every issue, not only womanizing but almost all… I was hurt and days passed by. I received text messages positively from women again… I hired someone to monitor and I’ve also seen him but he denies it that they were just friends… it muddled our rocky relationship. For the second time I cried, yelled, can’t sleep, cannot eat, it affected my work until I vomit blood because of stress and depression. My doctor advised me to stay calm.

    Then… I found out that he cannot change. I sensed he was happy seeing me in pain, lying, etc. I sensed he would be happy if I would die in pain. Because I cannot change him to just be honest with me and value my feelings… I’ve decided to step down from our house and live at the house of my late mom, far from our home. I’ve hated our house since 2008 because I learned he brought his woman there when I was at the office.

    My life is less stressed in the house of my late mom. I’m doing cleaning activities in our farm to unwind… during weekends. During office hours I’m renting a space near my workplace. Now, he keep on seeing me during week ends and i hate him… He also slept in my house with the sons of my nephew who are living with me…

    At first, my mind just allowed him to go there but days and months have passed. I hate to see him and I frankly told him to stop going to my small house. He got angry… he said that he will commit suicide… and he also told me that we will meet in the hell. I kept my poise calm when I heard this, but deep in me I was terrified of this person who became a lay minister before and could say words like this. I also noticed that he did not go to church anymore.

    I have not stepped back in our house since June. I went there last June to get my plastic cabinet. We had heated arguments until he twisted my arms in our metal gate. That pushed me to report to the PNP and I have a medical certificate.

    That was the last time I saw our conjugal home. I’ve hated that house since 2008 as I learned that he brought along his woman there. Every 3:00 a.m. I wake up and raise hands to God for His direction in my life. I’ve prayed that my heart will be as hard as a stone for him, that God will take him away from my heart and my mind. I’m frank to say that it’s very painful and not easy to live alone… but I’ve survived slowly through prayers… My prayers for now is to find a place away from this place… away from him. Can you share some thoughts? Is my decision fine with stepping down from our home? Thank you.

  15. Alicia says:

    (USA)  I love my husband. We have known each other since the age of 5 years old. We started dating at age 15 years old and have been married almost 6 years now. This article describes him but the blame is me also. If I am hurt by what he does I lash out at him or when I have had enough I don’t say anything because I don’t want to speak out in anger. I was a partying teen with him but grew up after we became serious and thought he would follow me after all these years and our four children. We are so different. I keep waiting for him to catch up but it’s killing me in the meanwhile.

    If that’s not bad enough it affects the family as a whole. I try to do as much as I can to make a fairy tale life for my kids but end up angry and depressed and yelling a lot myself. Drinking plays a huge problem. I quit drinking before I became pregnant and he doesn’t care to stop. He just tells me that I used to drink and if I didn’t like the way he was why would I marry him. I usually tell him that I figured he would grow up to. I don’t like waiting games or games of chance. What do I do? I love and want to stand by him but how long is too long?

  16. Thank God! says:

    (USA)  I have been married for 25 years to my second husband. My first husband was very physically abusive for the 10 years we were married. I commited adultery with my current husband and actually thought God had sent my second husband to me because of the abuse. Since my spiritual walk with God that started this year (2011), I recently asked God for forgiveness for my adultery because now I know by reading God’s word that he does not reward sin, nor cause you to sin! Praise God!

    For 25 years my current husband has been accussing me (each time we are in a agurement) of cheating on him because I went back to my husband during my adultery years… a few times. Because of the early abuse I have become very passive, even when my husband calls me the vilest of names.

    In 2009 I accidently discovered my husband was having an affair with an ex co-worker of his. I have since learned that the affair started years ago while they were co-workers. While he did not confess right away, when he did, he told me he had taken an AIDS test and I need to take one too. Thanks God it was negative. I forgave him because I once committed adultery. I thought all was fine.

    In January I discovered not only were they back together, but had been back together the entire year of 2010. I went and took another AIDS test (negative). Call me a fool!! My trust were shattered but he came crawling back the next day after I put him out the house. I took him back…again.

    August 2011, I caught him in the act of speaking with this woman because he had two cell phones. He tried to deny it but he could not spin how he had his regular cellphone in his pocket and holding the second cellphone in his hand. He confessed. He admitted to me that he loves this woman!! I took him back!

    October 2011 he and I went on a cruise and he told me the cruise would be a second honeymoon for us. Imagine my suprised when the cellphone company contacted him (November 2011) via text message (he let me read it) to inform him of the bill being $650.00 from the week of the cruise. He explained that it was roaming charges.

    I asked him to pull up the bill in the internet so I could see what the charges were (I do not have access to the phone bill). He went crazy… ranting that he does not have to prove anything to me. I told him this marriage was OVER! I asked him to leave but he will not. He is not hiding the fact that he is still seeing her as I am writing. I asked him if he loves her, why is he not living with her since she is single and committed to no one. It is diffucult living in a house where your spouse is seeing another woman!

    Now let me tell you the power of God! The Holy Spirit revealed to me after the second time that my husband was still cheating on me. But he told me to wait on him to reveal it. I did not. I did things my way by trying to spy. Nothing happened. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that my husband had another cellphone. However, this time I stepped out of the way and allowed the way for God to work… and he did!! I thought I was stuck in this marriage because now that I am walking with God, I want to do what is Christ-like. Praise God… I was in his word when he revealed to me that he does allow a provision (adultery) for divorce.

    God has revealed to me that I cannot change my husband. He has to open the door to his heart, as I did, and allow God in. My husband is a lost soul and I pray for him daily for God to convict his heart, but also let his will be done. I am in the process of getting a divorce and a heavy burden has been lifted off of me. Keep me in your prayers. Thank you God for coming into my life!!!

  17. Blanca says:

    (USA)  I came across this article because I am seeking for some answers. This article describes my situation by the t! I’ve been married for almost six years and we are at the point of separating. He is a good person, but he also has his flaws. Lying is one issue. He lies about our finances and truly feels he does not have to let me know what he spends. I am very good with money and how to manage and he is not.

    When I question him on what what he spend and why he felt he had to charge it, knowing that we both had agreed we would no longer charge, he answers with, ‘I’ll pay it back when we get paid.’ But he doesn’t. He then gets very defensive and accuses me of being controlling. Is this ok?

    I recently found something out that really made me want to quit our marriage. To make a long story short, he had pulled ten grand from his retirement to put up for a down payment on a house in a couple of months, but I figured out now there is only seven grand. This not being our first argument about money. He tells me he doesn’t have to explain anything to me. I alwys threaten to leave him, and because it’s a threat and have never followed through with it, he says to me, why does he need to explain? I’m going to leave anyway.

    He has admitted to me he does have a problem and that he is very stubborn and selfish and that he wants to change, but it only lasts a while and then goes back to his ways. I don’t want to live like this anymore. It’s emotionally draining. To make matters worse, we have a two year old and since then, he no longer treats me the way he used to before her.

    Granted, I know things change after a baby, but he has admitted to me that our daughter is his world and all his time is for her and he doesn’t give me time, because I will always be there. When I do complain about him not taking me out like he use to, he tells me that all of that requires money. But now I question, if we don’t have money, where did he spend almost three thousand?

    I am in a bad place right now and we both have been talking about the process of splitting up. He talks about it, but I don’t think he believes it will happen. I am now at my breaking point. Just like the article says, why would he change if he could have his pie and eat it too? I told him I would help him pack and he said it was fine. We have been talking calmly and communicating.

    But today, I bought some bins and actually packed all his close and re-arranged things. When he got home today, he brought dinner and we talked normally. We talked about our day, but had not told him what I did. When he got up to go shower, I broke it to him. You could see the shock in his face. I know he did not see it coming. He got in the shower and I went to the room and found a typed letter on the dresser.

    He had typed up a letter to me telling me how he hates the person he has become and that he doesn’t want to hurt me and that he’s selfish and that he wants to change. Stuff I have heard before. I folded it up the way it was and went back to the living room, so he doesn’t know that I read it. I think he felt that we were acting cordially with one another, that things were looking up, but that wasn’t the case for me.

    I am accepting my reality and have told myself that I do not want to live like this for the rest of my life. He has not mentioned the letter and it still lays on the dresser. I think the reality of it all is sinking in for him. This is where it will affect him. I know he doesn’t want to lose me, but He really has never had a reason to change.

    Help, what do I do? I want to go through with it, but I have such my emotions. I need to read this book. Thanks for your time, whoever reads this.

  18. Camille says:

    (USA)  I saw this blog and I thought I would share my story. My husband and I have been married for 15 years and I am 30; you do the math. My husband was charming. He had any girl he wanted and I feel for him too.

    Early on I should have known I went down the wrong path. I smoked weed, did drugs and paid for it! I grew up in church and I knew what was right and what was wrong. I cheated; he cheated –basically tit for tat, when it comes to you did this, I’ll do it back over and over.

    One day it stopped. He got locked up. I moved on, and found my life with Jesus. I’m not perfect and I am not bashing my husband at all. But I’m not sure why any woman WOULD LET THERE HUSBAND RIDE AROUND DRINK AND DRIVE WITH A COWORKER AND SAY I’M A SUPERVISOR I HAVE TO GIVE THIS CHICK A RIDE. HE USES HIS POSTION FOR EVERYTHING. HE WON’T ASNWER THE PHONE AND HE HAS COME HOME LATE EVERYDAY. IT TAKES HIM AN HOUR AND A HALF WHEN HE WORKD 20 MIN AWAY.

    I have confronted him. He brings up the past, “I can do what I want because you did this in the past.” It’s like he’s programed or something. He calls me names. I’m ugly, nobody wants to be my friend, that’s why when they make plans they don’t come over. It’s kinda true cause I don’t have any friends, not one. And I don’t have a mom or a dad. My mom’s mentally ill and gave me up as a child.

    The point is, I feel like all the sin I have done has made my life miserable. Even though I changed my ways it’s like we are not on the same page. He has a picture of his coworker. He said he has pictures of all his workers on his folder but does not have one of me, and he married me. He used to lie and tell people he wasn’t married.!

    I’m just like, really, is this what I deserve? Probably. I have faith and all but not in humans. All the people I have ever known hurt me. I have hurt people too, so I can’t complain. But what I can say is I FEEL ALONE AND I FEEL LIKE THIS LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT. BUT I FEEL LIKE EVEN THOUGH I HAVE 3 BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN, THAT I HAVE SINNED AND THINK MY WHOLE LIFE IS A JOKE.

    • Pavrone says:

      (USA) That it what emotional abuse turns you into. Rejecting Christ is the only thing that can keep us out of Heaven but we must repent and that means not only be truly sorry but stop.

      As much as I wanted to get my husband back for cheating, that is unforgiveness. Not feeling pain still. It doesn’t matter what another does, I am responsible to God for what I do and he will not hear “but my husband did it first” not to mention, that is defiling God, myself, my kids, my integrity. I can’t do that and looking at the shame in my husband makes me glad that I stayed true to God.

      I cannot even drink off another person’s straw. Sex with an acquantaince or stranger blows my mind!

      If anyone had a multitude of reasons for cheating, it was me. Just to hear a kind word. He hated my guts and I didn’t know why. He had a heart full of adultery and was after anything. I had not enjoyed sex for 9 years and 2 months. He was on the couch, no ring and carrying on laughing at me, all claiming to be a Christian and teaching in Church. He had the nerve to say we hadn’t had sex in 10 months! Nothing for me for almost 10 years! You would be shocked to see her at all but then next to me. The bailiffs even comented on how she looked like a dirty guy. He now explains his self-loathing, the grip the devil had on him and resenting me for seeming to get better at all God had gifted me with while he was sinking.

      Age has many issues to do with everything but you cannot gauge yourself by another’s life. You make Christ the center of you life. Eyes on Him and live as He instructs. You will not only be setting examples with your testimony, you are planting for His Kingdom. I promise it will help you begin to heal.

      You are NOT all of those horrible things, Satan sets us all up for failure. He hates us yet we love doing what he tells us to because sin has it’s savor for a season. It is very brief and always leaves behind much regret, painful wreckage and often disease.

      You are made in God’s image and He gave His son’s life for you to live in Eternity with Him. That is something special INDEED! You matter to the LORD, If He is for you, who can be against you? God says to resist the devil and he will flee. My husband not only let him in but held us all down while he violated us. My kids included. Love and prayers.

  19. Belinda says:

    (AUSTRALIA) I am 52 years old. I have been married for 18 years. I am a Christian. I am very hurt with my husband. He isn’t a Christian. He knows about Jesus, but hasn’t given his life to him. So when I said, I want to leave you, I cannot live with you treating me with hurtful words and no respect, I said the thing that worries me. I hope the Lord will forgive me and when I die he will still let me into heaven.

    I said to my husband, aren’t you worried? Don’t you to think about this? Doesn’t this worry you? I want to separate from you for a year and this will give you some time to think. I know you don’t love me anymore. I bug you. He said I am tired, he is fine with this. We have a 9 year old daughter. I said I will move out. He said how can you afford that? I said I will be fine.

    He was told once by a doctor that he has bipolar. He won’t take any meds. He said he never had it. But when I said you have this bipolar, he didn’t say this time he hasn’t got it.

  20. Haywood says:

    (USA) This didn’t help much. I’m trying to find out why my wife of 3 years and been together for 8, is all of a sudden wanting anal sex and likes it as of about 2 weeks ago? When she wouldn’t dare go near the area since we’ve been together almost a decade. Not that I don’t like it but I’m curious as to why she does now.

    • Payrone says:

      (USA) If you are Christians, do you understand what God thinks of that and the health risks? I too, would wonder what has made her desire this now.

  21. Netty says:

    (Australia) Hi, my husband and I have been married for two years now. Our problems started straight away and have not stopped. I have been imagining a life without him and it’s not easy, I just want to be happy as a woman as a mother. I have given him many chances and I feel like a fool. In the beginning, it was the fact that we were sharing a bed that I had first experienced sexual intercourse (which I am in no way proud of, I’m merely being honest and just need help). He constantly verbally and mentally abused me making me feel like nothing. It was so hard to accept especially being pregnant and living with my father, I felt as if I had no choice but to pretend our journey was going great in front of people who knew me the most! We moved from my father’s home into his mother’s house due to my dad overheating, my husband verbally abusing me and shouting. My dad tried to attack my husband, resulting in our move to the home of my husband’s mother. From there, nothing changed and he told me the reason he treated me so poorly was due to the pressure of living with my dad and the constant reminder of my past right where we slept. He convinced me it was my fault for not getting rid of the bed… the room we used was mine before we married. My father insisted we use my bed as ours as I’ve had ever since I was 15 and it was of sentimental value to my father. The truth is we couldn’t afford a new bed!

    Living with his mother and siblings was fine; it was the way he treated me no matter who was there was what killed me inside. I became pregnant with my second child by this point and nine months and three weeks into the pregnancy we had an argument that had everything to do with my mother’s partner (not my father). My husband invited him over for nye (the son of my mother’s partner is who I had lost my virginity to… please don’t judge me, I have learned my lessons from the wrong I have done). My husband started an argument with my mother’s partner and to his defense my mother turned to my husband and shouted ‘please stop we want to go home!’ I went outside, heavily pregnant, to try and calm my husband down (he is heavily intoxicated). I’m in front of him asking him to stop, he turns to me and pushes me out of the way. This made my mother react straight away standing in front of him and shouting ‘how can you do that, she’s pregnant?’ He pushes her and swears. I run to my husband’s side yelling ‘how dare you disrespect my own mother?’ I push him at this point, he then turns to me and slaps my face shouting what he usually would call me (dog crap nothing fat). I screamed and cried and couldn’t say anything.

    That night was the second time, while intoxicated, he put his hands on me in a violent manner. I have also justified it with defending myself and my pride in a way. I know now I don’t have the right to no matter the situation; I don’t want him to feel how I felt when he put me down and acted out violently. We are still trying.

    I know this story sounds confusing but its almost 4 o’clock in the morning here, my six month old is awake, and I just need help. Days ago we almost parted ways though I felt I needed to try again. He does too and this time I’m praying he changes. We argue so much I just cry everyday at some point because I can’t get over everything and pretend it doesn’t hurt. I know I need to turn back to God for our marriage’s sake and for our children especially.

    From now you can tell my whole world growing up I can remember my father beating my mother. We did go to church and we were, as a family, I remember being happy. Things changed not long after and alcohol and violence took over yet again. I don’t want my two kids to go through what I did. I know God is the only way. Please, I don’t know what to do I just need my husband to change. Recently he’s been verbally abusive because I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family. One night he ran up to me and pushed me so hard into the refrigerator it moved out of its usual spot. In no way did I provoke him, the other times I did by yelling and swearing. I’m not perfect nor is my husband. I am desperate and am at a crossroad at the moment. Do I go on? What if he doesn’t change? My kids and I will be put through a lifetime of pain all because I didn’t leave? Is it worth it? My heart is telling me to sleep. I’m going to ask God to forgive us and help us heal the pain and anger that has multiplied over the two years. I just wouldn’t bear the guilt if we stay married and my kids have to be put through so much. I love my husband. I just realized this year I have ended up believing everything he has called me and I feel like I’m not good enough. He acts like he doesn’t care but when it suits his needs he’s the sweetest person. Please someone help me! I don’t know what to do now! God hear my prayers; I am lost and getting further away.

  22. Netty says:

    (Australia) By the way, I am 21 years of age and my husband is 23 years of age. Does age make a difference to your opinions about our problem? I thought it would help you understand a little better? Just wanted to know.

    Thank you and if anything in my previous statement was at all offensive or disrespectful. I am deeply sorry, please know that’s not at all my intentions, I’m sorry. And thanks again for taking the time out to read my story, I appreciate it!
    Im so glad I found this website. I felt like sharing my story was the right thing to do for myself & hopefully others.

  23. Carly says:

    (USA) Netty: I will keep you and your children in my prayers. It sounds as if your husband is very angry and taking that anger out on you. This web site has a section called “When Anger Bcomes Abuse” which contains guidance and even prayers.

    God does not want your life to be about chaos and turmoil (for you or your children). Ask for God’s help and guidance. He never turns away his child… he made you perfectly and loves you so much. May God bless you and provide the guidance you need.

  24. Anon says:

    (UNITED STATES) This message was a great read. Currently, I am not talking to my spouse and am currently contemplating divorce. I am only 23 years old and not even 3 years into this marriage… I’m tired of being disrespected by this emotional terrorist who believes that having emotional infidelities is ‘no big deal’. I have my whole life to live… why waste it being depressed?

    We live here in the US but we are from an an African culture where there is accountability… but he STILL doesn’t care. I can’t keep going to his family… which I’ve stopped a long time ago, and I can’t allow my son to think that this type of maltreatment is appropriate. I’m so tired of fasting and praying and praying and fasting and crying and begging… I’m a human with needs too.
    As a last resort, I will try to get the book on iBooks… thank you for the article and the comments, at least I know that I am not alone.

  25. Michelle says:

    (USA) Wow I can relate to you all! Bless all your hearts. My dilemma is I have been married 2 years. My husband and I were friends first. I got married because I didn’t want to fornicate. Well, that was the worst mistake ever; no one ever explained the seriousness of marriage in God’s eyes. Imagine being in a relationship with your ex boyfriend who is passive aggressive, a father who is a passive aggressive, and now married to my husband whose parents are both passive aggressive. It’s one hit after another, one abuse after another.

    I’m tired of begging and pleading and yelling and crying. I am the one trying to raise my family as a Christian; I’m tired of the fights. My kids cry seeing this. He is not trying to get help. Everything makes him angry.

    Lord what is it you want me to do? I don’t want to be married. I’m all for glorifying God but not for the sake of being a robot. Jesus I need you. I’m not the best disciple but I still need you! Lord, help me before I break down with either a heart attack or worse. I’m only 26. Thank you Lord.

  26. Ashley says:

    (USA) Hello, I am very young & I am going on my second year of marriage. We have a young son that is a few months old. My husband feels that since he contributes to family needs & is faithful that he is a great husband. Although those are qualities I admire, I want more. I feel as of I am pulling teeth when I raise concerns or even slight modifications in our day.

    As of recently, he’s ex-military & uses that as reason to be so stern & short with emotions/words. As mentioned in the article, I can express needs/wants/concerns until I’m blue in the face & will receive the “I’m tired; what do you want me to do?” response. I cannot go through a marriage where my husband fails to hear or reason with me & uses energy level as a concern, considering the fact that he attends the gym for 2 plus hours at night. I feel as if I have been dealing with this issue for some time now. If anyone has any advice I would appreciate it greatly.

    • HDW says:

      (USA) Yes. You are on the right track by complaining to your husband. Because you need to communicate clearly to him that you are unhappy and your needs are not being met.

      I suggest you read His Needs, Her Needs by Dr Bill Harley. Also if you visit there is a form you can download for free that surveys your emotional needs and how well they are being met. You and your husband could both complete separate forms and then share with each other.

      Hang in there. This is a common problem but if you follow a detailed plan like marriage builders then you will both be more in love than ever.

  27. Yolanda says:

    (UNITED STATES) Hi everyone, I am so relieved that I have not lost my mind. I was beginning to believe that I was the only one. You see I have been married to my husband for 20 yrs and sad to say I have been the one keeping it together with the help and grace of God. So many times I wanted to leave. But I really do love this man, I am just tired of feeling like a doormat where he gets to wipe his feet on. Things must change and since I am the only one who is seeking God for our marriage right now I need all of the help I can get. It hurts, Our cry. He changes for a few days and next thing you know he is being cold hearted all over again. I have gotten to believe that God does not want to see his children suffer like this. So I will check out the books you guys recommended. Thank you and God Bless you all.

  28. Jeannie says:

    (USA) My problem is my husband gets attached to other women emotionally. Last year we met a woman that was being abused by her husband. We helped her get out of that situation. She wanted to start a homeless ministry. We helped her set up a nonprofit. She always wants to drag my husband away from me. They even went on a 13 hour road trip together. They spend many hours alone together and when I say anything my husband says I am “hating “on her.

    My husband now punishes me if I say anything against this woman. Twice in the last 2 weeks he has driven past a place he was supposed to take me too because I have spoke the TRUTH about her.

    My hubby got on and is helping her to meet men. The problem is they are not getting HER they are getting HIM. HE fills in the stuff for her. One of the gentlemen is a manager at a local restaurant. He earns a good living and has a beautiful home. THEN she met another man that has SIX houses. He has bought her a computer and 2000.00 earrings. I talked to her the other day about this and told her money isn’t everything. She told me she wanted the security the man with 6 houses would give her and she didn’t want KFC, which is NOT the real place I am talking about as he wouldn’t go anywhere. After she told me this she said to my husband she wanted to go for a ride with him and talk. I told my husband what she said to me. I told him she is vain and shallow and he gets upset with ME!!!

    She puts me down all the time. She tells me my hair looks nasty and flat and she also bad mouths the very people that help us with the homeless ministry. I am heartbroken over all of this and at this point don’t know where to turn. My husband also has a pic of me and her with him in the middle on his laptop. I am in a dress and she is in a VERY skimpy bathing suit. It has been on his laptop as his background pic since July. I see it EVERY day. She is a knockout, a very beautiful women.

    I do want to note I have NOT let myself go. I am fit and work out ALL the time. I also am not bad looking. I take very good care of myself and have lots of friends. My husband is always saying how beautiful she is and he always says I love you sis to her. He keeps getting attached and I am tired of being hurt all the time.

    • Dani says:

      (USA) Hello Jeaannie. First let me say I’m sorry for what you are going through. I too am having a tough time communicating to my husband how his actions are effecting our marriage and feel frustrated. For your situation, of course pray first that your husband sees the wrongs he’s committing and that he changes but secondly, you have to protect your home. That means that woman does not need to be in your home or going on rides with your husband. That is YOUR husband and there are certain things you should step up to and say you will not accept. His actions are disrespectful to you and your marriage.

      Again, I understand how you feel. Although you can’t change a person, you can just pray that God changes them, you can tell them what you will and will not accept. If your husband has a problem ending that relationship with that woman, then it’s up to you to decide whether you want to continue dealing with this but pray first about it. Ask God how to approach your husband. I know it’s tempting to try and do things our on way but seek God first and wait. I pray things get better for you and your husband.

  29. Mariah says:

    (USA) Hi, I’m in a relationship and the whole two years in this relationship has been hell. My boyfriend disrespects me on so many levels. He call me names like stupid, curses me out on a regular basis and I’m tired of it. I left him once before and he told me he was gonna change but it lasts only a week and he’s back to the old him …I don’t know what to do!!!

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Sincerely, Mariah …you don’t know what to do? Do you want a lifetime of disrespect, name-calling and such? And what if you have children? Do you want them to learn this type of behavior from their Dad, and to pass it onto treating their spouse like he treats you?

      You aren’t married. So why do you put up with this type of treatment? “Love” and believing empty promises can only continue so far. Every additional day you subject yourself to this type of behavior is troublesome. Your boyfriend has shown you his level of how much he respects you as a person of dignity and worth. If you continue to put up with this, you continue to allow yourself to be devalued. Think and pray about this… I think you can figure this one out.

  30. Audrey says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA) I am 55 years old. This is my second marriage. I’ve been married 28 yrs. My husband is abusive verbally and physically. Last year was so bad that I laid a charged against him for six months. Now we have been going for counselling I’m not sure if it’s helping as he swears, says very nasty things at me only when he’s drunk. When he’s sober he says he does not remember?

    I left home last year. He begged for me to come home –that he will change. He forever sleeps out, comes home drunk, then blames me. I am always being accused of sleeping with everyone from the pastors (he does not go to church), to my bosses. Our children are all married and out of the home. I pay for everything in the home so financially I’m bound to the bond on the home so I don’t have the finances to move out. But I am just tied of this life. When I look at my children I feel so embarrassed that @ my age to still having a rollers coaster marriage.

  31. Lizzie says:

    (USA) I have been married nearly 15 years. My husband works long hours, and I truly am ok with his not being interested in sex, but he won’t even cuddle anymore.

    And he is always making plans to do things with his life that he never follows through with. The big one being schooling. Years ago, early in our marriage, he signed up for distance learning courses, never finished them, giving the excuse that he was too busy at the time being a stay at home dad, despite the fact that it was me who was still doing most of the housework.

    Now he has once again signed up for schooling, through an online university, to take courses, which will cost him $15000–mind you, he still has over $8000 in loans from the last college courses he signed up for, and never finished.

    I am thinking that it will be the same again, that he will sign up for these classes, and after a few weeks or months make his excuses for why he can’t finish them, and we will then owe MORE money on student loans. Of course, this is IF the school even agrees to loan him money, I would think that they can find out about his outstanding loans that he hasn’t managed to pay off after 10 years, and not be comfortable loaning him anything, then he will simply borrow from his company savings plan to pay for the courses.

    He comes home from work and immediately goes onto his computer, spends the time that I am talking to him busy reading his email or playing a computer game, making me feel like he really isn’t paying the slightest attention to what I am saying.

    I am frustrated and depressed and feeling trapped in this marriage. We have kids, so I don’t feel that I can leave. I feel more like I have a room mate than a husband.

  32. Teri says:

    (USA) Everyone, Sorry for all your confusing predicaments. It is amazing that you all have held on with strength, faith, and sometimes just plain gusto. This article is a great one; it’s eye opening. As it states: Don’t forget to live your physical life while focusing on the spiritual!

    I think it’s important to remember that sometimes a person’s actions might be due to physical problems and nothing more, as well as spiritual problems. This does not discount the reality of God and soul, but please visit a psychiatrist or doctor as well as your pastor because it’s occasionally possible for problems to originate from the brain and nervous system and nothing more.

    Many of these stories heavily resemble couples who are victims of such disorders that reduce a person’s self-control, for instance ADHD, borderline personality disorder, or perhaps bipolar. Faith and strength and wisdom go a long way, but these disorders are something of an invisible rock chained to the sufferer’s leg. Lightening this load with treatment lets the spiritual gifts of strength and wisdom be used to fuller effect!

    Please try to keep a balanced perspective! While it is true that worldly and material things are distractions from the true Kingdom of the Lord, it is also true that we just live in the material world and Satan is a mind-bending wily one. That true and pure attitude of eschewing the material can be used to evil ends just as easily as turning a person to eschew the spiritual.

    Keep a balanced and middle path. Consider that cause and effect sometimes just plain happens in the material world regardless of Jesus or Satan or anything of that nature, even while your inner life happens with the guidance of God. Then you might develop more clear sight than before, enabling you to take the proper steps to heal the victims: yourself, your family, and yes, even the one causing the damage might just be a victim. Good luck and peace to you all!

  33. Webannie says:

    (BANGLADESH) Men and women both try to be on their best behavior during the dating phase of their relationship. But when it progresses to marriage, the actual comfort zone often decays as both partners reveal their true colours.

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