Just not getting it right


So this is my story, I have been married to my wife for 11 years now, that is 11 very rocky years. I will state right here and now that I LOVE my wife dearly, but do not enjoy the same from her, infact she has stated that she hates me.
I had a pretty rough childhood and because of this I really battle to connect emotionally, but I try in my own way to do right by her. I am not faultless and take responsibility for alot of my actions. I try and read my daily readings, hoping and praying for a miraculous reading to pop out and kick me in the teeth and give me the answers.
I do have a short fuse when I am treated badly and often bite back. You know those frustrations where you feel you are trying so hard, and no matter what happens when you attempt to break through this anger and hatred are met with more anger, hatred and stabbing comments. I get told that to save this marriage I have to do everything for her and expect nothing back, not even a thank you for a flower or a cup of coffee made with love. It is almost as though I have been a naughty child and am now been stuck in a corner and it is pay back time. I have never, and would never physically abuse my wife as this is the way that I was raised, but I am being accused of emotionally abusing her, and this apparently has been happening since the outset of our marriage.
I have in an attempt to understand her, spoken to quite a few woman about my situation, and I get told mainly two things; firstly I must stop protecting her because my story defends her decisions more than states my case, and secondly ALL of them have said that if only their husbands would try so hard they would be as happy as pigs in mud.
I battle with these continuous attacks from my wife and this leaves me feeling angry all the time, as I am continuosly reeling from the blows. This has had the unfortunate result of me venting anger in the wrong places, specifically my kids. This is then self propogating as I feel ashamed at taking it out on them. I DO NOT beat my kids, but do feel that in the past I have let it out on them in a very harsh manner. This I have identified and am actively trying to reverse the damage done in the past.
Now she wants a divorce and I don't, but I am being told to leave. I will admit that in the past I have tried to use the "I am leaving you" line in an attempt to try and break through her hard exterior. I know she is a woman capable of so much love and caring, but will not let go of the past.
So short of typing a 400 page novel, as there is so much more to add, after this brief introduction to me and my life, all I ask is where to from here? Because I have no idea anymore.


My heart breaks for you. I will pray for you and your wife.

Please go see your Parish pastor, discuss this fully with him, and please take his advice. We can come up with ideas, but he should have resources at hand for you, or preferably, you and your wife to try. Marriage Retrouvaille (hope I spelled it right) may be one possibility.

Please see your priest. Don't carry this alone. Our prayers go with you two.


I don’t have any comment on your wife, other than telling you that you have to give everything and she will give nothing in return is wrong of her. Of course, you have only summarized 11 years in a few short paragraphs, and I don’t know either of you.

Do what you can-- pray, offer to go to counseling together, talk to your priest. And, by all means go to counseling yourself to get emotions and temper under control. You should **not **“take out” *anything *on your children.

But do not leave even if she requests it. If she wants a divorce, then she can leave. Do not initiate proceedings. Do not move out. Do not separate yourself from your kids. That will lay a foundation in civil divorce court that will be difficult for you to overcome. If she moves out, or files, the get a lawyer to protect your rights regarding your children.


Counseling. See if your wife will go to counseling with you. Make sure it's a Christian counselor, Catholic is always ideal, of course. If she won't go, you need to go. You said you had a rotten childhood and have trouble connecting emotionally. Go and work out your pain in a counselor's office, not acting it out in your home.

Retrouvaille is held all over the country, you can google the website and put in your zip code. It has saved many marriages.

Will she talk to the priest together? I assume that you both are Catholic but perhaps that is not true.

Stop talking to other women. Period. Not for any reason should you be talking to women about your marriage. Some of them might decide that you are sending out signals that you are available.

And don't make threats you don't intend to carry out. You told her you would leave, you threatened to, she is now taking you up on the threat. Don't keep doing that. Tell her, "I said that when I was angry and hurt. I didn't mean it then and I won't do it now." And no, don't leave the house, but DO go see a counselor. And your priest. With or without her, but better with her.


This sounds very similar to my own situation. I will pray for you.


Thanks to all of you for the offers of prayers, I know they do help and I believe.

Juliane, I have carefully chosen the woman to whom I speak, they are close friends who are all married at present. There is no chance whatsover that it could lead anywhere. The reason that I chose to speak to other woman is to try and get a womans perspective on where I may be failing. I felt that speaking to my male friends was not giving me a true perspective as to what she may have wanted or needed.

I do however understand that I am putting myself at risk, but deem the risk to be an acceptable one, where I have nothing further to lose, but only possibly to gain by insights reached.

We have done the Retrouvaille weekend and followup sessions, we have done marriage councillors (or as I refer to them - Paid for fighting session). I have approached our parish Priest, but she never went with me, and frankly was quite dissappointed with the churches lack of assistance.

So now I find myself preparing to move away from this marriage, something that I said I would never do, even though I have threatened in the past, in my core it was never really an option for me. But I have been asked to leave, and I have little to no energy to fight her anymore. 1Ke I hear your advice and appreciate what you say, I will get legal council before signing any dotted line.

All I ask now is for prayers of support for my children, prayers of guidance and healling for my wife and for your prayers of support for me.

Who knows I am the eternal optimist, maybe things will change still. :)


Please hang in there. Do not initiate a divorce - it will be worse than you could ever imagine and would be if you were completely faultless, which you readily admit you are not. Nonetheless be prepared for the situation to deteriorate exponentially should your wife initiate the proceedings as the legal process is absolute anathema to the covenant of marriage.

For what it's worth, I rejected my wife's demands that I move out of our home to give her "space", both before and after she filed for divorce. I will have to live forever with the possibility that had I accommodated her I may have been able to forestall it. I sincerely doubt it; it seems to me that she's been contemplating this for a long time.

As I said before, your situation sounds quite similar to mine in that you uttered the word divorce in frustration in the heat of the moment. I did the same thing, regrettably, but would never have acted on it. Needless to say, it did not help.

I have a dim view of counseling, even that practiced by so-called Christian and/or even Catholic counselors. The sociology and social work field is shot through with assumptions about male privilege that puts men on the defensive from the word "go". To a lesser extent I think the advice and counsel provided by the clergy, as others have noted herein, varies widely and is too deferential to the helping professions. I find this curious in light of the Church's acknowledgment of the failing of the helping professions in the sex abuse scandal in the Church. Further I wonder if the clergy truly understand the ramifications on families of legal divorce, particularly on fathers and their relationships with their children.

I will pray for you.


ah, yes, the 'refusal' to leave line.

My husband threatenend this. In response, I promptly filed for divorce. I told him 'either way, i'm getting the **** away from you.'


May this thread serve as a warning for all those married people who throw out the divorce word in heated arguments… I for one can imagine that if I heard my husband use that word lightly, the whole trust in our future together would go down the drain over a short time. Words have much power…


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