How much must one do to stay married?


I got married about a year and a half ago. Everything was great and then the wife got pregnant. The wife was sick a lot and I wasnt supportive enough. I was not willing to sacrifice as much as I should have. Eventually we stopped going to church and the relationship continued to erode. Then between having a new baby and trying to buy a house I was having trouble functioning with all the stress in my life. I spent a lot of time crying and not getting anything accomplished. Then my wife left me. I am glad she did because I dont know if I would have tried to do anything to get better if she didnt. I have sinced started going back to church and am getting counseling and on prozac. My wife says she has no interest in working anything out and refuses to go to any counseling with me. We have not legally separated. Here comes the question finally. I feel like she wants to do whatever she wants to do but yet expects me to drop everything if she wants something. It is hard paying to keep up two households and give her everything she wants. I dont want an annulment and i dont think she will get one as long as I continue to support her. Do I can continue to support her and hold out hope that someday we will reconcile even though she shows no signs of ever wanting to work this out? I know that a lot of the problems in the marriage were my fault and im working on getting a handle on those. I also can not criticize her in any way or I find myself being able to see my baby less. Any thoughts would be appreciated.


I hope that everything works out for you. I’m not sure I can really offer you full advice without more information, but I what I can say is I would suggest being the best father you can be - your first priority is your child.

The more information part comes in since I’m not sure how and how much you are supporting her. If the money isn’t going to take care of the child, my advice would be to reconsider this position.


Well she does not work. She is getting food stamps and everything else is pretty much paid by me. We have not gone to court for child support yet but the money I give her now is way more than I would be required to pay for child support.


God bless you for your efforts to mature into more responsible and less self-oriented attitudes and behaviour in your relationship. Unfortunately your wife may be resentful enough not to attempt to grow thus herself. Perhaps is is too easy for her not to do so as she has the manipulative position regarding your child.

Please God you will continue to persevere in your care of your emotional and spiritual health. One hopes and prays that your wife will be inspired to become more willing to grow and become more generous and considerate, but as she has everything her way that may not easily occur. It is in the interests of your child that she does take a more generous and responsible attitude and will respond to your regret and your efforts, have you been able to discuss this from your child’s viewpoint?
You child will benefit for a healthy marriage rather than a broken one if at all possible.

(You don’'t come across as “weak or submissive or pleading”, but as “respectful, balanced, loving and kind”, do you? She will undoubtedly pick up the difference and respond accordingly. She wouldn’t respect the former attitude. While you must be loving and respecful, you also have quiet dignity as a child of God? The situation isn’t just, as such situations frequently are not, though just anger would usually only cause problems. Please God you can get through this to whatever decisions you need to make for the welfare of your marriage and your child.)

I ask the Holy Spirit to help and guide you, and to touch her heart and mind to forgive, and also to recognise her own need to respond to grace and the command to ‘love others as you love yourself’.

Bless you, Trishie


thanks for your reply.
I think I have been submissive and pleading. I thought that was what I should do since I acknowledged how my behavior had harmed our marriage. She does have a lot of resentment and I fear it will be a long time before she will forgive me. I continue to do what she asks and she continues to tell me I have no chance. But I feel like I have less than no chance if I dont, and then my access to the baby is restricted. I dont know how single parents deal with seeing their child every other weekend. That just does not cut it for me. I have thought about talking to her sister with whom I have a good relationship for advice but it would not make my wife happy when she finds out.


It seems to me that you are enabling her behavior. Stop sending her money and tell her to come back to the marital home. Then you will have your answer.


I agree with this advice. And if she chooses not to, she needs to then get a job, and start taking care of herself. You didn’t do anything so outrageous that deserves you working 24/7 to keep two households running. The devil likes to make us feel guilty over things…Have you been to confession over this? If you have, then know that God forgives you of anything you perceive as doing wrong in your marriage, and wants you to strive for holiness. You paying for your wife to live separated from you, is your way of trying to appease your guilt. Throw away your guilt, and give your concerns and sadness to God, He will heal you. And if you and your wife are meant to reconcile, then He will lead you both back together. But, if she insists on living outside of the house, she needs to take care of herself. You’re not her dad.:o

I will keep you both in my prayers…Sorry to hear you are going through this.:frowning:


I agree with this advice wholeheartedly. In addition, if she isn’t willing to move back, don’t stand still and go back to what you were doing. Get the legal separation and have the child support set by the court as well as your visitations. She may retaliate by denying you the opportunity to see your child. Be sure to enlist the counsel of your priest in this matter as well. You need to keep yourself spiritually fit.

I too will be praying for you and for all who are struggling in difficult marriages.


Keep track of every penny you give her while she is living outside of your mariage. If for some reason you do end up in court :frowning: you will need that information.


We can’t give legal advice here, but I really have to speak up and disagree with the idea of not sending her any money. She has their baby! and OP is the provider for their family.
An option for OP to consider—standard insert about talk to a lawyer—taking into account that he doesn’t think the wife wants to reconcile:
calculate, to the best of his ability, the amount needed for the wife to maintain a reasonable standard of living, (in my state it is supposed to be similar to the standard set during the marriage) and send her that amount monthly (or 2ce month, whatever) along with your calculation. Just an option to consider. If you do legally separate it might be good for you to have documentation to show you were willing/trying to support her and the baby to the very best of your ability.


I agree–taking care of the child is paramount, but not supporting an entirely separate household, while his wife who does not want to reconcile it seems, does nothing to support herself. I can’t imagine doing that to my husband, personally…it saddens me to think about that. I mean, what stress the OP must be under with just her wanting to leave, and now supporting two households? For someone who wants out of the marriage? I can see supporting the child, of course, but the OP is only one person, and he shouldn’t be expected to support two households. That is just cruel for his wife to even expect such a thing, when she wants out of the marriage. Can’t have it both ways. The OP is a human being, and a person can only take so much stress before it takes a toll on his/her health. His child (their child) need healthy parents, not one who is constantly stressed out from work and trying to please everyone.

I just can’t imagine treating another human being, let alone someone I took vows with, in such a terrible way.

You’re in my prayers, bob:( …please find a good lawyer to help you sort through this. We can only offer advice. But, find a good lawyer…and pray often!!!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit