Our marriage has been troubled almost from the start but now, after over 20 years I realize I have reached my end. It is true I have not shown my husband the respect my vows require but I find myself unable to do so. I am angry, hurt and find myself unable to forgive him. Are there any resources that can help?
A little background…
We have been married for over twenty years and in that time he has held over 23 jobs. I have never been able to depend upon him for a stable income for myself or our children. I have always had to work full-time to make certain our family had an income and insurance. This is not a matter of him not being able to find a well paying job, simply that he always knows better than the boss or feels he could do better so he either leaves or get fired. Currently he is not employed, not eligible for unemployment and picks up odd jobs. He states he does not want to find a job until he determines what sort of job will make him happy. We will lose our home in about 45 days because I do not make enough to pay all of the bills. How do I respect a man who cares more about finding a job he enjoys than making sure his wife and children have a place to live?
During our marriage he has owned 14 different vehicles, some with payments higher than our last apartment rent. This is just one sign of the way he spends money. He will buy toys for himself when there isn’t enough money to buy the kids shoes they need. We’ve declared bankruptcy once and currently have nearly $50,000 in collections (not including mortgage). I cannot control his spending and obviously he never intends to. How do I show respect for a man who will put his own need for stuff above the needs of our children?
While we were dating and engaged he offered to attend Mass with me and did so weekly because he knew it was very important to me. Shortly after the wedding he stopped attending and tried hard to make me feel guilty for not staying home with him on Sunday mornings. I am saddened to say I allowed him to keep me away from church for awhile but I been attending each Sunday for the past 18 years. He does not interfer in my upbringing of the kids as Catholics but does not attend Mass or pray with us other than at dinner. How can I show respect a man who is not a spiritual leader of our family?
His public behavior is beyond embarrassing and hurtful very often. He has been an outrageous flirt our entire marriage although I get no flirtatious attention from him at all. This is far beyond innocent. He insists he has not had an physical affair but did admit once to just “sleeping” with woman when he was on a trip alone and felt lonely. He has been kicked out of several organizations because of sexual harrassment. He sees nothing wrong with this behavior and treats me as an overly dramatic wife who does not accept that this is just who he is. As of last year I made the decision to no longer attend public functions with him. At least this way his behavior is not thrown in my face. How do I show respect for a man who shows no respect for me?
He has lately reduced his binge drinking but in the past it was totally out of hand. He would not even remember what had happened while drunk. My pleas for self-control were met with anger. Last year he came home very drunk and began to verbally and physically attack me. He stopped only beause one of the teenagers woke up and yelled at him. Not only did he terrify me but he ruined the image our teenager had of a father who can be trusted. I told him if it happened again I would leave. He continued drinking and only stopped after being told he could no longer be a part of a special group due to his behavior while drunk. I am so hurt that he would choose drinking over me but that he did cut down when threatened by an outside group. Losing them was a bigger threat to him than losing me. How do I show respect to a man who has physically threatend me and put alcohol above our family?
While I work full-time he stays home and plays on the computer most days. My evenings are filled with household chores and taking care of kids. He occassionally does a small chore but nothing that takes more than a few minutes. He is yellings at the kids for not helping enough but he does not offer to help at all. I am beyond exhausted all the time and desperately need his assistance but this has been the pattern for twenty years and he is not changing. How do I show respect to a man who does not care enough for me to try to make my life easier by helping out around the house?
Two years ago I asked if he would be willing to attend a Marriage Encounter weekend since we have some friends who are part of that but he declined by telling me it would be a bad idea because I would learn things I really don’t want to know. A year ago when I confronted him about some issues he stated that he had been really thinking about our marriage for a long time and has come to the conclusion that he guessed it would be ok to stay married. Not because he loves me but because it is easier than getting a divorce.
I do not want a divorce. I do love my husband. However, I emotionally cannot continue to live like this. I am no longer able to forgive him when he shows no remorse and continues to hurt me each day. I am an unhappy, angry person and I don’t like who I am becoming.
I can find plenty of Catholic resources that tell me how to have a good marriage but they seem to be written for spouses who are both willing to work at it. Can anyone recommend good resources to help me forgive, begin healing and learn how to show my husband respect while living with behavior that is in no way respectful?