Had a pretty terrible 5 year anniversary...need advice on forgiveness and what to do

I’ve come here before and had such an outpouring of help that I thought I’d see if you have any insight on my situation this time. Thanks in advance!

Basically, I have a wonderful husband, but this wedding anniversary (of all days), we had one of the worst fights we’ve ever had and I’m really struggling to forgive and wrap my head around what needs to change for us to get to a better place.

To give you background, we’ve had a rough year, with one of our beloved pets passing away unexpectedly on my birthday, moving in with our FIL, which has had it’s own challenges, my husband enduring an unsatisfying and demanding job while we save up enough money to move out. On the other hand, we have things we are blessed with. My career has allowed us to travel to Jamaica and enjoy some relaxation once I was done my work. We are planning our next move to be at our dream city. We have a very supportive family. We were able to take a trip of a lifetime (since we don’t have kids, but are planning to soon, we decided it was the best time to do a “bucket list” trip to places we’ve always dreamed of going to). Now that we are back from the trip, we now have enough money/freedom to finally start the process of moving out.

Onto what happened on the anniversary. We were on our bucket list trip for a few days, walking and seeing the sights. The day before our anniversary, I injured myself walking and my left foot became so painful, I barely made it back to my hotel room, crying. My husband thought it was a muscle strain, so I iced it and rested that night. Well, the morning came and I was in excruciating pain, along with nauseousness, which stressed us out, since we just started this trip and this was a major issue. I told him I would continue resting it that morning and we could take it easy, grabbing lunch at a place around the block of the hotel room, so we didn’t have to walk much. He was supportive, but obviously stressed about my happiness.

Lunch came around and those few steps to the restaurant left me winded and even more nauseous. I sat down and thought the nauseousness would leave, since I was sitting, so we ordered. When the food came around, I thought I was going to be sick just smelling the food. At that point, my husband just shut down. He was so upset that I could not only walk and enjoy the city we were in, but that I also couldn’t even eat and enjoy the food. I had to ask for a takeaway box for my food, but said I could stay while he ate his, so I didn’t completely ruin the meal. The whole time though, I felt hurt that he was upset. Instead of worrying about me, he was worried about the trip and was in a bad mood, while eating lunch.

We went back and found out where the nearest dr was, since this needed to get treated. The doctor had no more openings for the day but could see me the next morning. This left me to conclude that we should stay in the hotel room the rest of the day, since I couldn’t do anything else until I saw the Dr. I fell asleep after putting my foot up and then woke up 2 hours later to see my husband sitting next to me with an upset look on his face, staring off into space. I asked him what was wrong and he said he just wanted to cancel this whole trip and go back home, that I was injured and it wasn’t worth it. Just so you know, he’s a pessimist and I’m an optimist. This hurt incredibly much to me, since I was the one who was injured, and yet I had to be the one to cheer him up or help him see the positives, which I barely had any energy for. Don’t get me wrong, my husband has been a rock for me in hard times, but when he’s in a bad mood like this, I have to be the strong one, and I wasn’t up for the task, when I needed him most. All I needed was for him to try to lift my spirits, since I was upset at this dream trip starting out this way as well, plus being in such pain.

I tried again and again lift him up, saying I just needed this day to rest and we will see the dr. who will help me tomorrow, so we can continue on. I kept telling him that we had a whole week and half to go and all was not lost. But he just kept replying in negative comments, telling me I was delusional and that we need to scrap everything. He swore he would never travel again, since this happened, there was too much money involved to just throw away. This really hurt, since we’ve always been the couple who wants to experience new things and travel. It worried me as well, since his father has a tendency to never repeat an experience, if any thing went wrong in the past. (for example, my husband’s father never took his kids out for summer vacation growing up, since his father took him on a vacation as a child and long story short, it was a terrible vacation for my FIL) So instead of writing it off as my husband being melodramatic, it struck me as something scarily like his dad’s behavior. My husband also kept commenting on how many people are outside right now, enjoying the city while we are stuck inside.

Part 2 in the next post below…

Part 2 -

We had to do some laundry that day and there was a laundromat across the street. Instead of offering to do it himself, I finally said I would come with him and we could do it together. He then replied that he didn’t feel like going out at all and I can just go. I had it then. I told him that whoever I’m speaking to right now is not my husband, and when I get back from the laundromat, I wanted my husband to be back. I then left.

When I returned he was in the same exact mood. It continued on the whole day. I then had to painfully bandage up my foot before going to bed, which was so painful that I was crying through the whole ordeal…meanwhile, my husband was just there with his eyes closed on the bed, acting like he was asleep.
This was the moment I felt utterly abandoned. Here I was, crying and in pain, and he’d rather pretend he was asleep. In my head, I thought he was the most selfish, self-absorbed person I have ever met. I thought maybe he just wasn’t in this relationship anymore and wanted out. I started to think of how terrible it would be to endure or abandon this trip as seperated individuals, coming back home and parting ways. I finally had enough with my thoughts and spoke to him, since I knew he was awake. I asked him that if he valued our marriage at all, he would speak up and talk about this, because him ignoring me right now was pushing me away.

He finally spoke and said that he valued our marriage,he just was dealing with too much pressure on having this lifetime trip ruined. He wanted to just go home. We tried to continue talking, but struggling for either one of us to change the other’s mind. We finally went to sleep, me furious with him not helping me out and him checking flights back home on his phone.

The next day, he said he was sorry, he was just incredibly depressed this whole year, trying to hide the fact that he was slipping into depression from me, so I wouldn’t worry. He also said that the only thing that kept lifting his spirits this whole year, despite everything, was this amazing trip we had planned and now that it was turning out to be bad, he had nothing else to keep his spirits up. I told him that he should never try to “spare me” by keeping a secret like that, I was his wife and was there for him anytime. I also stated that when we do return home, he needs to go to someone for help, because I’m not an expert in treating depression. I also said he can’t use events or things to give him happiness, he needs to work on being happy himself, since you can’t count on things to give you temporary happiness. He said he understood, asked that we forget yesterday for the time being, until we go home and resolve it, and try to have a happy day today. I agreed and then he helped me go to the dr.

We had a great day then, after dr. gave me meds to immediately alleviate my pain so I was able to walk. Over the next few days, I continued to rest it as much as I could, while also being able to go out and enjoy the city. And I was able to enjoy the last week of our vacation pain free. My husband admitted at the end of it that it was no excuse for his behavior, but it was incredibly painful to see me in absolute misery in the place I’d always dreamed of visiting since I was a child. He said I was the most level headed person he knew and he deserved it when I said he wasn’t acting like the husband I married. Throughout the vacation and to the present, he is continually apologizing.

Now here’s what I’m struggling with. That scar of him abandoning me that night has caused me to wonder if he’ll ever do it again. The dynamic between us has changed, since I don’t know if I can trust that he’ll be there when I need him. I’m trying to forgive, but it seems impossible for me to get my head around. To add salt to my wounds, my best friend just got engaged to a wonderful man (btw, that isn’t the problem, I’m so excited for them) who has been there for her terrible chronic illness since day one. While I’m ecstatic for them, it makes looking at my marriage an incredibly depressing picture, when my husband wouldn’t even help me out when I was in pain. I’ve also had a dream where I met a guy who is optimistic and helpful and when I woke up, I felt utterly guilty, but I know dreams are just expressing what I want deep down. For him to be my rock and lift me up when I need him, which I’m not sure he can do anymore. I told him, now that we are back home, that we need to discuss this and we are talking about it tonight…

Thanks for reading this mini novel, I didn’t realize it would be this long. But I’d appreciate any insight or encouraging words from you to help with my forgiveness and what to discuss tonight that can potentially save us and bring us back to our happiness before. Thanks so much!

He didn’t “abandon” you. He got disappointed, had a selfish, human moment and then snapped out of it and enjoyed the rest of the trip.

It happens.

This is not the end of the world. I don’t understand why you see this as a pivot in your marriage. It’s a blip on the radar. Move on.

He should definitely see someone about depression. And maybe a joint conversation about unrealistic expectations would help-- I mean, trip of a lifetime and dream trip are pretty hard to live up to no matter what. Be realistic when traveling. Things happen.

And, don’t think I’m unsympathetic to your plight. I spent the first week of our two week honeymoon trip to Italy in the hospital because I fell down the stairs and BROKE my ankle in two places the second day of our trip.

Hey 1ke, thanks for the fast response. I think it’ll be good to bring up unrealistic expectations (something he tends to do often and then gets downtrodden when it’s not as he imagined it) and get things moving for treatment of his depression. Sorry to hear about your honeymoon, that must have been awful.

I do disagree though that this is just a blip on the radar, so maybe there hasn’t been enough background that I’ve given. This is a pivot, because I’m admitting that I’m utterly exhausted with always trying to lift his spirits, because of course, I’m human too. I know some of this is directly to his depression, which we can resolve, but I’ve been through a lot with him these past few years (including a gruelingly stressful past 3 years of his grad school stress, drug dealer neighbors, moving out of a terrible neighborhood, etc) and I’ve always been the one to try to rally the two of us to be happy amongst all of it. I know that marriage sometimes calls for someone to carry all the weight sometimes, and I’m more than willing to do that. But it doesn’t change the fact that I need someone in my life to help recharge and help me once in a while. And especially from this last fight, I feel like I can never find that someone in him and it scares me.

It may be not by definition an abandonment physically. But he definitely left me alone emotionally, even if it was for a “small” period of time and admittedly a human mistake. And it is a big red flag when something like a minor (in the big scheme of things) injury of mine is so easy for him to ignore, when there will most likely be much more serious health things in the future that I’ll endure (especially becoming pregnant and having children)

You mention to move on…which is so easy to say. Yet, the reason I’m posting here is specifically for help on HOW to move on and forgive. I’m trying to take the steps, please understand that.

I’ve been happily married for 25 years. Here is my hint: Once you start “trusting” your husband to act in ways contrary to his nature, you are setting him up for failure and setting yourself up for “scarring” and “disappointment” and all the rest. It doesn’t have to be that way. The foundation of marital contentment is the decision to be thankful for what you do have, not wasting time wishing you have what you don’t have. There are a few things that are not yours to permit–it is not OK to just let him have a mistress because you don’t happen to mind it–but most things are theoretically for the two of you to bind or loose.

Some spouses are terrible about remembering anniversaries. They have to be reminded. Some spouses cannot let go of Plan A and move on to Plan B without having an elaborate mourning ritual for the passing of Plan A. They can learn to hurry it along a bit, but the ritual is probably never going to be abandoned entirely. Some spouses cannot remember to pay bills on time. They have to be reminded or else have to let their partner handle paying the bills. Some spouses fret every time a family member goes through something scary. They can learn to calm themselves a bit, but that fretting probably won’t ever go away. Some spouses cannot be left alone with family members without saying something you wish they had not said. This is not something that you are usually going to “fix,” either. You can complain about and get some redress on behaviors you don’t like, but behavioral changes do not change the outer manifestations of someone’s nature. That sometimes changes, yes, but that is not the way to bet.

Your husband ought to have his depression treated. That is a mental illness that can re-set chemicals in the brain at damaging levels (too high or too low) and even adversely affect the other organs such as the heart. Letting it go untreated is like returning to the game too soon with an injury. Besides, it is really the pits to have it, and generally speaking the treatments relieve that suffering, especially the behavioral modifications such as exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep and foot rubs.

You ought to take the attitude that you can adjust to and even develop a bit of an affection for your husband’s foibles and mistakes. You can even dub his negative side “Eeyore” or some other name that you think suits it, maybe naming it after his super-grumpy grandpa. If you and he can joke about it, so much the better. Humor that is appreciated by both sides is a great way to share affection that rises about human faults and human errors.

You can do this. It is not the end of the world. Hang in there. If you want to go another 50 years, though, for Heaven’s sake, lighten up! Fifty years is way too long to carry emotional baggage.

Having chided you in that manner, let me assure you that we have all done what you are doing. You will probably get very good at adjusting to your husband, then you will have a child. The child will turn two, learn how to tell you to take your rules and fly a kite, and you’ll have to do it all over again. Then the child will become a tween or teen, and someone will kidnap your beautiful good-natured child and put someone in her place who looks a bit like a grown-up version of her, but is a willful smarty-pants who thinks she knows everything better than everyone else, and you’ll have to do it again. If you get this lesson the first time and sail through all those other personality adjustments that life will throw at you, we will all have our hats off to you!! :wink: :smiley:

By the time God has you ready for Heaven, you’ll be so used to rolling with the punches that you’ll be fit to spend eternity with just about anybody. That is the whole idea. :thumbsup:

I don’t follow that logic. Perhaps he ignored it precisely because it was minor, and thus did not require the kind of attention that a true medical emergency would. I am not entirely excusing his actions, I’m just pointing out that this incident doesn’t mean that he won’t be there for you during your pregnancy.

From reading your posts, it is clear that your husband was simply overwhelmed with disappointment at the situation. That, coupled with his depression, put him in a bad place which he recovered from and has since apologized profusely. Continuing to bring this one incident up is going to do nothing but drive him further away.

Your husband confided in you about being depressed. You should feel honored that he trusted you enough to do so. While what he did was not nice, it is in the past and you can’t change the past. Like the others before me you need to make sure your husband gets treatment for depression. It is a disease and people need to recognize it as one. So get him to the Drs and get him checked out before it turns into something more serious. And you definitely need to move out of FIL house, you are a married couple and need your own space.

The first step in forgiving and moving on is deciding that you don’t have much choice except to forgive and move on. If your husband can’t be the support you imagined, don’t get scared. Accept that you are going to have to join a very big club. What of it? When you exchanged vows, when did you promise to be everything the other one needed? You didn’t, because you can’t promise to be that for anybody.

There are very few marriages in which the husband and wife independently supply each other’s entire support system. Many women turn to their sisters and girlfriends for the kind of emotional support you are talking about. Many men spend time playing basketball with their brothers or high school buddies, because their wives’ ideas about “support” are not what they need.

Definitely, definitely, get him help for his depression. There is a day when a wife can conclude that she can’t take care of her husband with Alzheimer’s, because as much as she wants to, she does not have what it takes to be his caregiver. There is a day when the wife of a man suffering from depression is forced to conclude that his depression is more than she and her husband can handle alone. You have come to that day. Don’t try to carry him alone. It is too much, and you don’t have the means to do it. Don’t try to make yourself do it, and don’t punish yourself because the job is beyond your capacity.

Also, realize that the family of someone with major depression is not unlike the family of someone with another major debilitating disease. Whether or not he gets help, you ought to get help, just as if you were doing other above-and-beyond caretaking. Otherwise, you could burn out, just as other caretakers do.

Thanks, EasterJoy, that’s seriously what I needed to hear. I think the biggest problem was that we kept running into the same thing over and over again, along with my same response to the problem and I was expecting different results every time. I’ll work on changing my viewpoint and response, maybe discuss the best way to deal with this tonight, in case of future “next times”. And I’m taking this depression of his very seriously, something I want to take steps toward, starting tonight, I am grateful that he finally revealed it to me on the trip, instead of continuing to keep it a secret to not worry me.

Christus_vincit, maybe I was too upset about the whole situation to see this, but you have a very good point that he will be there for me for major things and ignored it only because it was minor. Thank you.

And HopenHappiness, I fully second the notion to move out, we are almost there! :slight_smile: And will do our best to address his depression asap.

I addition to the excellent advice already given, I would only add that praying about all these things together is a good idea, too.

I haven’t read the comments, but here’s a quick story:

When my husband and I had been married about 2.5 years, we went to NYC for a weekend while he was job interviewing. It was the only time we’ve ever been to NYC and I had huge plans!!! The first night we were there, I had a yummy Thai shrimp dinner. Unfortunately, it apparently gave me food poisoning, so I spent much of the rest of the trip sick in the hotel room feeling like death and visiting the toilet very frequently. I could mostly only drink apple juice (which I later learned is actually a really bad idea under the circumstances). I only managed to do a couple things in NYC. It was also horribly expensive, of course. As I recall, a room service bagel and cream cheese was $10 (this was 14 years ago). Then on our last day we went to a play a relative had bought us tickets for–it was terrible and pretentious. We were supposed to fly out after the play, but it turned out that we were snowed in. We talked to our hotel and discovered that after the conference rate wore off, our hotel room was now $400 a night. Gah!!! We moved to a different tiny hotel room–it still cost a bundle. Oh, yeah, and none of the many interviews my husband did at the conference yielded a job offer.

That was not what I was expecting at all for my one trip to NYC, but that’s just one weekend in our whole life together. It was not the end of the world. And it’s actually kind of funny now.

I think when the two of you get some outside support for what you are going through, which is a major medical issue that impacts everyone in the family, both the victim and the victim’s caretakers, you will not feel so scared. Of course it would worry anyone to consider having to handle this alone for a lifetime! This is not a DIY kind of family problem. Get some help, you’ll both feel better.

I just want to add one little point: do NOT, under any circumstances, compare your marriage with those of others. You see the glitter and light of those marriages–and in the meantime, they may be envying you for what they see of your marriage and know about their own.

I actually did this. One time all I could think about was the great marriages of two couples i knew. Then I found out in one week that one of the couples had divorced and the other separated. My husband and I are still muddling along together!

This can be very destructive to a marriage because one is comparing the 100% of one’s own husband with the very best 15 or 20% one knows of other husbands.

When i catch myself doing this, I start thanking God for my husband’s good points and that helps a lot :slight_smile:

First of all, sorry that your trip of a lifetime didn’t turn out to be what you had both hoped, was so disappointing, and that the events were so hard on you both with health and all the rest.


Anyway, that’s a shame about him calling you “delusional”. I would have been hurt by that comment, too.

Since you seem to have been both having a hard time recovering after that time, here are a few ideas. Take what works for you, leave the rest for someone else on the forum who could benefit from them.

You can see about talking to a counselor for support, since you feel this has impacted on the trust and more of your marriage, and to talk about this with a neutral, objective party.

You can ask your husband to go to counseling with you, to try to talk this out and resolve what is between you, finally, in a positive way. If he doesn’t wish to go to marriage counseling, I would still encourage you to seek individual counseling so that you can have someone to talk this out with who would be empathic and who has experience in these kinds of matters.

Often, people wait to the point they are ready to divorce to consider going to a counselor, but often times by then, it may actually be too late (not saying it’s your case).

I knew someone who just had some trouble connecting with her spouse. They weren’t even having “problems”, per se. She just felt their relationship could be better. So, they went to counseling to improve their communication, and it worked.

When some think, “counseling”, they seem to think one has to be in dire straits to even try it, but no. One really should seek help when matters are still small and can be remedied.

So, I just wanted you to know counseling is another option you have should you wish to consider it.

It sounds like your marriage has a lot going for it, and (in a quick reading which didn’t include all the replies :o) I didn’t detect anything seriously wrong. There will be hard times and disappointments, and moments when we react less than gracefully. When your husband apologized for being a jerk (or whatever), that is a positive indication. One of the keys to a good marriage is to fight fair so there is always a way to reconcile.

… I told him that whoever I’m speaking to right now is not my husband, and when I get back from the laundromat, I wanted my husband to be back…

I think you went a little too far with that (he is your husband for better or worse), but the good news is that the two of you bounced back, so that’s all right.

It reminds me of an incident from my distant past. She said “You changed.” Not quite sure what was coming or how to respond, I mumbled something about how people change. She said “No, … You changed your shirt.”

Yes, 100%.

If we think about how we edit our spousal behavior in front of outsiders, we should assume that any particular person we know is 5X as irritating and selfish in private when “being themselves”.

I hope you see my post as simply giving you insight into how your husband might be feeling, it is not a critique of you.

If you are an optimist and your husband is a pessimist, you probably don’t really understand where he is coming from. As a pessimist, I can tell you where he may be coming from.

Pessimist like to look at the reality of a situation and have their ‘day in the sun’ ie they need a bit of time to process their negative feelings. And if you are an optimist it probably means that every time your husband is looking to YOU for support, he is NOT getting it. Instead of allowing him a negative mood for a little while, you are trying to cheer him up, which at best of times is annoying to him. This is going to be a bit of a vulgar example, but it is kind of like having a sore stomach and needing a good 15 minutes to sit on the toilet and someone is banging on the door saying ‘are you all right?’ the only think the pessimist can think is ‘how cruel I am not even allowed to relieve myself.’

It also means that your husband has probably learned a long time ago, when he is upset to not talk to you about it because you are going to tell him to look at the bright side and he doesn’t want to hear it. So he keeps it to himself and voila ! the depression starts

The mere fact he told you he is depressed was a HUGE step on his part because now you are all full of energy trying to get him counselling when he probably just needs to hear ‘I am sorry you are going through this’ from you.

He wants compassion for his depression just as much as you wanted compassion for your hurt foot. You say you need him to be positive and pull you up sometimes, did the though occur to you he needs you to NOT be positive and support his point of view just as much?

As much as it probably hurt to be called delusional, I can see why he thinks that. Every time he is upset if the first thing you do is jump on ‘let’s look at the good side of things’ he is starting to wonder if you live in reality or la la land.

As I said before, I am not trying to make you out as being totally in the wrong, I am simply trying to help you see where he is coming from


Super good advice.
I’ve only had to call 911 once, when I had severe abdominal pain which I was convinced was appendicitis.(It turned out to be kidney stones) I received the visiting paramedics in my messy bedroom at 1 AM, not at my best, My husband, my tower of support, was drunk and kept interfering with their attempts to evaluate me.
He’s an okay guy, he has a lot of good points. But I’m in my marriage for Jesus Christ, and depend on him, not my husband, for support.
But it’s wonderful if you can depend on your husband, at least most of the time. It sounds like you may have an exceptionally good marriage, with a normal imperfect human being.

My husband is prone to depression, and he catastrophizes at times -like your dh did on your trip. Yes I would have been angry just as you were. I am the one that’s the glass half full person he is the glass half empty. I don’t think your husband’s nature is going to change, then add being depressed and stressed - suck it up and make the best of it is just isn’t in his range of capabilities at the moment. So sometimes you just have to let him take a breath and stew in it because nothing you say is going to be well received. And you will just become more hurt and frustrated. Been there done that trust me. After the crisis is past when you are both in a good place is probably the best time to address how things might be handled differently in the future.
In a true crisis my husband does and has always stepped up. And he was definitely there for the pregnancy/delivery which was high risk. The classes and having clear instructions on how to be helpful was a big help to him.
Even after 23 years being married I still get frustrated with him over his catastrophizing at times but you know that for better or worse thing -it applies here. Its not all hearts and roses, learning to live with someone and their faults is not always fun. I’m sure there are plenty of your own faults he’s going to have to learn to live with. You’ll be fine. Definitely get the depression treated though, leaving that unchecked is not good for your hubby or your marriage.

Oh and the comparing your marriage to others and being a bit envious -been there done that too -I now have the perspective of 20 years + on those same marriages, definitely not jealous now. Cute, ambitious guy turned into obese, abusive, controlling husband. Another turned into a verbal abuser, racked up major debt husband, and the third -vain, exacting, insensitive husband. Not so much -I’ll keep mine thank you.:wink:

I think it’s a great sign that you were able to talk to your husband and he confided in you his depression and then you were able to move on and have a great rest of your vacation. My first thought on reading your story (before you mentioned his admission) was that he was depressed. This is a classic way men respond to depression- to stonewall and close off, appearing selfish and hardhearted when really they are *exhibiting symptoms of the disease. *

I am not condoning your husband’s behavior, just asking you to reevaluate it in light of the depression. Your marriage sounds like it has a lot going for it- not least that he trusts you enough to bring this into the open. Let go of the hurt involved in the incident and please help him make an appointment to get evaluation and treatment for his depression. Depending on his mental state, you may need to make the appointment for him- don’t take this as a sign of weakness or lack of will on his part.

A book you may find helpful is Depression Fallout by Anne Sheffield: amazon.com/Depression-Fallout-Impact-Couples-Preserve/dp/0060009349/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411993646&sr=8-1&keywords=depression+fallout It’s not written from a Christian perspective but was an absolute lifesaver for me when my loved one was dealing with a major depressive episode. Just reading others’ stories who were so similar to my own made me feel better.

Best of luck and many prayers to you both.

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