The Emotionally Distant Husband

Emotionally Distant Pixabay man-1150037_640Are 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, you are being taken advantage of? In other words, does a void exist for you because you have an emotionally distant husband?

In my counseling practice I specialize in treating common emotional stresses. if left unattended, They can turn into major debilitating problems. The hurting people who come to see me are trying to cope with anger, depression, anxiety in their marriage. 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.

The Emotionally Eager Wife VS Emotionally Distant Husband Who Will Not Engage

Over twenty-five thousand counseling sessions have shown me that the 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 of being emotionally distant and disconnected:

  • “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 fails to progress, feelings of disillusionment become entrenched. And then faulty patterns of communication yield increasing frustration. Failure to progress is not for lack of trying.

Good Reason to Be Disappointed

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. Unfortunately, their husbands fail to supply that need. They are emotionally distant. 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 are unwilling to seriously explore the depths of their own emotional needs. As a result, they 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 emotionally distant, undemonstrative men are looking, deep inside, for a way to jump-start their marriages. I can show spouses the best method to address their unique relational needs, and the lessons will probably “take.”

Options are Available in Dealing with the Emotionally Distant Spouse.

When the husband, however, is unwilling to participate in counseling, the wife still has some excellent options. Her emotionally distant 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.

The Emotionally Distant Identifying Pattern

The first step toward improving one’s relationship is to understand what constitutes patterns in marriages that can 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. They 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 doesn’t see himself as being emotionally distant.

Ways He Evades Processing

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. It’s 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, and to get rid of them. That is because he sees them as anti-productive. Let me emphasize that there is no right-and-wrong about having strong emotions. It is not wrong to even, to some extent, downplay them. But because she recognizes and even nurtures her emotional side, the wife can enjoy life in its richest, fullest dimension.

Insistent Anger and Resistant Anger

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. This happens 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. So she becomes greatly disillusioned when external signs of that understanding are nonexistent.

Evasive Behavior

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

To counter evasiveness, the emotionally eager wife will be prone toward responses such as crying. They try to be 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 this emotionally distant interplay.

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 emotionally distant 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 to her emotionally distant husband.

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 emotionally distant, 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. The emotionally distant husband 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 emotionally distant 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 emotionally distant 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.

The Emotionally Distant Fear of Accountability

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. This is exactly the opposite of what the emotionally eager wives are seeking. The men keep their feelings well hidden. But their 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. 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.

Has Emotionally Distant Preference to Lie Low

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 as 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. That is 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 they are rebuffed for six months at a time, a year, or longer.

Slipping into an Emotionally Distant Comfortable Shell

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. This is in the way of  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. They enjoy stimulating philosophical discussions, flock to seminars, and invite growth. They like being challenged about what can be done to create a fuller life. 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. 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 then, 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. She does this by protesting, 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 by her emotionally distant husband.

“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.

Don’t Quit

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.

Work on Your Happiness

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

This edited article came from the great book, Distant Partner. It is written by Dr Les Carter, and is 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 read this book along with your spouse 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. He also gives practical tools to help you in the Maritalhealing.com web site article:

THE EMOTIONALLY DISTANT SPOUSE

Here is another article to read that you may find to be helpful in dealing with this issue:

HOW TO RELATE TO AN EMOTIONALLY DISTANT MAN

And then lastly, here is another article for you to read:

WHY DOESN’T MY HUSBAND ADDRESS PROBLEMS DIRECTLY

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Comments

584 responses to “The Emotionally Distant Husband

  1. Interesting article. I can only speak from personal experience and the waste of years in therapy for what was a no win situation. The great but sad option is there is divorce, I wasted so many years not knowing that emotionally dead men existed – I dated a guy who was divorced and had moved to the furthest state away from his 5 year old adopted daughter. He left a slew of unfinished relationships (albeit sexual/shallow relationships behind) and then I walked into his life – he swore there was no one else he was serious about as I didn’t really want to date – I wanted a full on relationship that would lead somewhere.

    Ladies don’t have sex with men who aren’t going anywhere, who fake emotions, who have no friends and whose family has no connection with each other who cheats with others, who flirts openly to make you feel badly, who thinks intimacy is penetration. If only I could go back.

    I wanted to love him as he told me on those first few dates how his mother had died in childbirth and his father remarried only to have that pregnant wife number two fall down in the snow and die; then he died on the side of the road in his car a few years later. Honestly, it read like a tragedy and I felt I could love him and make him happy…IMPOSSIBLE. My husband was sent off to various foster homes and made a ward of the courts. He was mistreated by his foster parents who were mostly alcoholics. My heart went out to him but now I know though his story was true he really was so shallow in all his feelings. He really, as the years went by had no empathy at all and hated being touched. He drank a lot so the sex was usually drunken sex with me his sober wife-I began to dread his touch.

    I don’t know how I lasted 15 years (call me an imbecile) but in the end I had nothing because he destroyed his career and his life with me and our children. I know even now I try not to blame myself for his idiocy and for my not knowing the red flags. I did meet his family; they were pretty abysmal and I had nothing in common with them though I tried at the beginning. Most were addicts and one, a brother-in-law who tried to rape me. But I always justified all his flaws; I mean who wouldn’t be screwed up if their parents died so young, if they were molested, if shuttled between various foster homes. But then in a moment of clarity I thought why me? Why should I be this girl who got lumbered with a horrible sister and brother-in-law; with a bunch of hillbillies (partly because I was a foreigner, a fashion model fresh over from London and our culture was very different. I grew up in an era where my mum taught me to look out for the underdog – be kind – go out with a guy who asks you even if you aren’t attracted to him; it was all very sacrificial, Catholic if you will.

    Finally I divorced him and though we have two lovely children there are times when I wish I had had children with a man I adored, not some weird Romanian orphan style inability to love type of male. I can no longer have babies. I am probably not going to meet a man in this lifetime. Though I am open to love but I have such enormous school repayments for my children that its unlikely. So, for everyone else out there…if it feels wrong and you seem to be the one doing all the loving – if his family is weird and if he never seems to really connect at all…Run! Run! Run!

    1. I’ve been living with “The Stepford Wives” except it was the Stepford husband. I’ve been on anti-anxiety for 11 years, thought it was me. Off meds., and was illuminated. I will proceed with what I have left. I’ll find a peace. Have some of that already.

  2. This is the most up lifting spot on article that I have ever read. It hits on both aspects of a relationship without placing blame on one party or the other. I have went to counseling because I thought I was to blame for my evasive husband, feeling as though he wasn’t interested in me and it was my fault. I learned to accept him for his inability to connect to anyone, now knowing it isn’t me. I will not give up inviting him to do things, knowing the answer will probably be no, but hopeful the answer might me yes. Learning how to communicate effectively without anger/ frustration/ hurt is where I struggle. If there are any tools for effective communication and prayer I am all ears :)

    1. Brienne, I’m so sorry that you find yourself in that place within your marriage. There are some spouses that just aren’t very good in sharing deep emotional feelings with their spouse. Many times it has nothing or very little to do with the receptivity of the other spouse. It is just who they are at that point in their life (given what has happened to them in the past, plus personality tendencies) as to whether or not they can or will eventually share with their marriage partner. Some spouse’s eventually change, and others don’t. I hope your husband will. He is losing out big time if he doesn’t.

      But I love the attitude you have now arrived at–to keep inviting him, don’t put the blame upon yourself, but always being hopeful and inviting. I don’t know you or your husband so I can’t say what’s happening here. It is probably not about you–but rather more about him as far as his not sharing. Just do what you can to be emotionally healthy, pray for him, and see where God takes you. I recommend that you look through the Communication and Conflict topic to see if there is something there that could help you on this journey. Just prayerfully glean through the articles you read, picking up what you can use, and leaving the rest there for that, which helps others.

      Our relationships are not created to be equal. What works for one couple or one spouse, doesn’t work for another. One “size” does not fit all, just as one piece of advice does not fit all. Pray, read, glean, and be open to what you can learn. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Here is a link to the Communication and Conflict topic: https://marriagemissions.com/category/communication-and-conflict/. Just go into the ones you feel will help you. And then here is the Communication Tools topic you can peruse through to see what you can use there:https://marriagemissions.com/category/communication-tools/. I hope this helps.

    2. I just wanted to share where I am at with my husband. And give hope to people with distant husbands. We are at a much better place now though not perfect. I don’t have romantic lovey, dovey feelings for him right now because of all the hurt and rejection I felt the past 2 years. But I do ultimately care about him and love him. It stinks but I believe that God can bring those passionate feelings back.

      He has changed though it has been very gradual. I honestly thought my relationship would never get better after the lows we hit. At some points I didn’t know what to do and even thought about ending the marriage and at one low point my life. I thank God that he never left us and was right by our side and still is.

      How it was after we got married… At first it was a gradual distancing. He kind of just started to do his own thing. He didn’t seek me out all that much and I waited for him to do so. I finally got upset enough I would tell him that we didn’t spend much time together. Then he would remind me that when we met he told me he was an independent person. I would get upset time and again because I felt alone and pushed away. He would tell me I was over emotional, irrational and or needy.

      When he got home from work he would greet me and then go on the computer to play games and he would drink alcohol usually getting pretty drunk, because he needed to relax. Sometimes we had dinner together and sometimes he had it at his computer. I felt like I was competing with his video games. Thoughts like,”He should have just married his computer.” Would run through my mind. I remember seeing the amount of hours logged on his games and it hurt. To think of the hours spent with me and the hours he spent playing the games.

      Then I would go to bed around 8, 9 and he would stay up till 11-1am. We rarely went to bed together. This was the norm for most days. We did hang out together for or go out together a couple times a week for a few hours. He would ask what I wanted to do but usually not want to do the things I suggested. I pretty much just started to suggest things I knew he would want to do, even if it was something I didn’t want to do. However, a week or two could go by with hardly any together time. I had so many emotions and he thought I was ridiculous and needed to go to therapy to get help with my unresolved issues.

      Fast forward to now with lots of prayer for help and guidance. He stopped drinking alcohol. He comes home and gets settled and talks with me while playing with the baby. We have dinner together. We have regular Friday night dates. He has more compassion and empathy toward me. He is doing nightly devotional readings with me. He goes to bed with me at night and we watch a TV show together or just talk. He is much more likely to do or try things that I want to do. He tries to remember to ask how I am doing. I don’t feel all over the place emotional wise. He usually seeks me out to do things. He is still an introverted person but much more open to me. He waits for me to ask him how he is doing usually.

      1. I also noticed that he is more aware of what he was doing before and he even said if he was me he wouldn’t have been happy either. We are both still learning to better communicate and be open with each other.

        At some point along the way I became emotionally unavailable because I didn’t want to keep being hurt. I think that is partly why I don’t have those in love feelings, even though he has changed so much. But I know there is hope as God brings us closer together. It has been a hard hard journey.

        1. Keep looking to God to give you the feelings that He knows you should have. I had lost those “lovey-dovey” feelings for my husband for quite a while earlier in our marriage. But in looking to God and showing love, even though I didn’t feel it inside, God eventually helped to restore those feelings–even stronger than ever before. We have now been married over 47 years and I love this man more than I ever thought possible. By giving him God’s love, my love was restored and strengthened. God is amazing! I pray God does the same for you. Thank God your husband has changed his negative behavior. I pray God encourages him to keep going in this positive direction.

          “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

      2. Thank you Kacey for sharing this. Too many people believe that spouses never change. Yes, that’s true with some, but not all. Your testimony will help those who need encouragement that marriage miracles DO happen. Pray, believe, look for God’s wisdom, and do things God’s way and who knows where it will take you. I can guarantee it would be A LOT better than just fixating on that, which YOU cannot change. I rejoice with you over the positive direction your marriage is going in right now. Keep looking to God, and seeking guidance–applying the wisdom you are given and God will bless you in ways you never thought possible. Thanks again, for sharing your testimony as an encouragement to Brienne, and others who read what you have written. May God continue to bless your efforts to encourage those around you, including your husband :)

  3. This was very informative and helpful. Alot of the issues, in my marriage, and the negative effects it has had on me was addressed. I Thank you for sharing. God bless you

    1. The story was encouraging indeed Kacey, thank you for sharing your story. I have been through a lot in my 14 years of marriage (infidelity, alcohol and constant disappointments). I even have the last girlfriend sending me photos of them together on holidays whenever she feels like it, which brings so much pain. I always feel like I take so many steps forward in my healing and when that happens I take 100 steps back.

      The joys have been so short-lived and yet the pain so much. I have been wondering if it will ever get better or if I’ll ever enjoy my marriage. I got to a point where I started telling myself that my marriage is an assignment from God and I have to pass it regardless of what happens.

      I am relying on God each day to give me the strength and wisdom to do what is right in His sight. Marriage has not been easy, I even wondered at times if I was meant to be happy in my marriage; but I have faith that God will turn things around. There is always a blessing in doing what is right in God’s eyes.

  4. I am mystified by this continued assertion that men are biologically predisposed to being evasive, when in fact, this is modeled and learned behavior. I am disappointed by the continued message to women: the onus is on YOU. YOU react differently. YOU stop doing X, Y, and Z. The emotional labor falls perpetually on women to stifle themselves and their needs; to be more understanding of men’s alleged biological limitations.