I have been married for 10 years and have two beautiful kids ages 9 and 7. I had a rough childhood and early adulthood due to being sexually abused from the age of around 7 up into about 16. I didn’t value myself and strayed from my faith in my late teens and most of my 20’s. I then came back to the Church and tried to value myself more. Then I met my now husband and he was very nice to me. He was Catholic also but not practicing but I did make bad decisions again and had relations before we were married (I didn’t really want to but I was very insecure and thought I would lose him). We actually got married with sin because we never went to confession for this (I was just scared and insecure). I never thought I could have horrible feelings towards him, but it all changed after we got married. 2 months after we got married I got pregnant. It’s like a light switch flipped and things totally changed. He was lazy, was very mean to me because I was sick my whole pregnancy and was annoyed that I was sick. He worked for my dad for a year before we got married an afterwards, but started to have conflict with him as well. I was miserable but we had a baby on the way and we said our vows before God and was married in the Church. I was also hoping that he would “grow up” along the way. When we got married I was 30 and he was 27.
Basically the whole time we’ve been married, I’ve been miserable because God has never been first in our marriage. 8 years into the marriage I finally got him to go on an ACTS retreat because he did something that hurt me so bad that I told him he could do that to make it up to me. When he got back, he said he actually got a lot out of it and was glad he went. Things changed for a little while but slowly went back to the old ways.
I then went on my first ACTS retreat last spring with hope of getting clarity and guidance on what I should do about my marriage. At this point, we had grown far apart, our kids didn’t like him (not because of me but because of how he treated them). My husband and my son fought all the time and my husband would get too rough with him. So on my ACTS retreat I confided with a Deacon and he said basically that our marriage was not a marriage with God or as God would intend it to be (I’m not finding the right words he used so I’m trying to get close wording). Then when going to confession on my retreat I spoke with the Priest about it, I was given basically the same advice. So I prayed endlessly about it and several months after my retreat, I filed for a divorce.
At that point I was done, I never thought I could have feelings for him again and I was just disgusted with how he treated me and our kids and how selfish he was. After a few months and big changes in his behavior, I decided to try to reconcile (I never wanted our marriage to fail or divorce and didn’t want my kids to have divorced parents). But now I’m here again seeing all the old patterns coming back into play.
We’ve been to counseling through the Church several times over the years and he doesn’t do the work the counselor suggests. When I calmly try to talk to him about how his words and actions make the kids and I feel, he just defends himself. The kids tell me all the time how mean daddy is and when they have to stay with him if I go somewhere, they get very upset. He isn’t beating them but he emotionally hurts them. I’m now on Team for the Spring ACTS retreat and sitting in our meetings, I can’t help but question what is the right thing to do for me and my kids based on all the different things we discuss.
If he doesn’t have God in his life or in our marriage and he doesn’t allow the Holy Spirit to guide him as a husband and father, what is the right thing to do?
A very small sample of how he’s mean: My 7 year old daughter helped me make mints all weekend long because my husband was on a hunting trip and my son was at a friends house. Together we made 867+ mints by hand, one at a time. She did a fabulous job helping me all weekend. Then today, I was doing one last batch and was running late and needing help so I could make my ACTS team meeting. My daughter is helping me and when my husband came home, I asked him to help. He immediately starts giving my daughter a hard time saying she’s not going fast enough. He kept on and on so I said something, then he got mad at me. Then my daughter got tired of him and went off crying and quit. I always tell my husband he picks on them too much, so when I tried to point out that example to him, he justified his actions by saying she was going too slow. And it’s ALWAYS that way, he is always so critical of all of us. So what I’m I teaching my kids by allowing him to always treat them that way? That was a very small example and he’s even worse with my son and actually left a bruise on his bottom from whipping him with a belt Sunday. I grew up getting spankings, but I never received them out of anger, they were controlled. My husband gets angry and spanks out of anger. This use to happen a lot before I filed for divorce, but quit afterwards. But he’s starting to go for the belt again and I don’t like the lack of control and how he spanks out of anger.
How do I know what the right thing to do is? Am I hurting the kids more by staying together? I worry so much about how they will turn out seeing me let all this happen. Thankfully I have a great relationship with my kids but I don’t know what I should do for them.
On a side note, he’s very lazy, I do all of the housework plus work part time, he never wants to go out on dates or do anything I’m interested in. He hunts all winter just to get away and be by himself. He never wants to improve himself or better his career because he’s scared and not very ambitious. Those were just a few of the other issues we have.