My husband is giving up:(

Hi everyone–I hope you can give me some sound advice here. My husband and I have been fighting a lot lately, recently got into a very big argument, and it has somehow escalated into him pondering whether our marriage is worth working on or not. (Which he has been contemplating for three days now.) There is a lot more history involved, but not enough time or space to write it all. We are both Catholic (he converted after he met me), and I admit that I am always nagging him and trying to get him to make religion a bigger part of his life. I tell him that now, especially with having a child, I want all of our decisions to be based on religion and center around God. He says he’s happy just the way he is and will never change. He tells me I am no fun and goes out with his friends often. I feel like he is still a kid and I am his mother, trying to tell him what to do and guide him in this life. All I want is for him to try to be closer to God and his family. There was a point in his life where he was talking about becoming a deacon and it was so wonderful! (This was when we were separated before and he left for basic training, after he cheated on me. As soon as he came back home he lost all that faith he had gained when he was away.)

Can anyone tell me how I can, first of all, get him to realize we can’t throw this marriage away? I have suggested counseling, a marriage encounter weekend, books, etc…he refuses.

Secondly, how do I live with someone who is “lazy” with religion -or- is there a way to get through to him and help him prioritize his life, with God and his family on top?

Thank you for your suggestions and help–God Bless!

Love and Respect

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It is so easy for a wife to become her husband’s conscience/mother. My advise:

DON’T DO IT!!!

It is not for you to make him into the sort of religious person you think he ought to be–that is God’s job.

Let him be himself and don’t insist on anything that makes him have to answer to your expectations. After all, you married him not your ideal. If you want to marry your ideal, become a nun. No man is going to want to try to live up to your ideal (and no woman for any man, either).

Just love him, pray for him, and be happy in your married life.

1 Like

Just a clarification on “I feel like I am his mother…always telling him what to do…”. I don’t usually say things directly about religion; it’s the things he does, i.e. watching MTV or other shows/movies I find questionable, calling other people idiots because they drive too slow, swearing, and other things that can affect our family. Do I not say something about these things and just let them slide? For example, what if our daughter is watching TV as well (though she is only 6 months old right now)?

I once read some wonderful wisdom…

“You cannot save your husband…he already has a Savior and it isn’t you!” Surrender what is not in your control to God. Work on what you do have control over…YOURSELF! Pray for strength and wisdom and even some clarity.

If your marriage was a sacramental one, an annulment may not ever be an option which means neither one of you will be allowed to remarry in the Catholic Church again. A civil divorce puts physical distance between you, but in the eyes of the Church you may still be seen as husband and wife. Marriages are not easily dissolvable in the eyes of the Church. Make sure you know what your TRUE options are before deciding whether you want to remain married. You both may find that you have more incentive to make your marriage work than you think.

[quote=lisa_nd] I admit that I am always nagging him and trying to get him to make religion a bigger part of his life.
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Do not do this. You will alienate him, perhaps you already have. Nor will you succeed in making him more Catholic, if anything you will make him view Catholicism as the source of your nagging and resent it.

I tell him that now, especially with having a child, I want all of our decisions to be based on religion and center around God. He says he’s happy just the way he is and will never change.

Then base your decisions on what you believe is right, but don’t push religion on your husband. Say for example: I think it’s good if we go volunteer and teach our child that it is important to help others. That way, you are basing your life on God without pushing religion on your husband.

He tells me I am no fun and goes out with his friends often.

And he will continue to go out with his friends more and more often to get away from your nagging. Become fun, become great to be around, and maybe he’ll spend more time with you.

He is running to his friends because your behavior is pushing him away.

I feel like he is still a kid and I am his mother, trying to tell him what to do and guide him in this life.

You are treating him like a child and are surprised that he runs away from you to his friends? That’s what children do, they run away from parents to play with friends.

It is not your job to guide him, it is your job to love him and to work to make his life good. Pushing religion on him will only make him rebel more.

Can anyone tell me how I can, first of all, get him to realize we can’t throw this marriage away? I have suggested counseling, a marriage encounter weekend, books, etc…he refuses.

Apologize to your husband for the way you’ve treated him and then stop nagging, stop guiding him, stop criticizing him and do everything you can to be a great wife.

Be a fun person to be around. Be easy going. Be loving, be gentle, be accepting and forgiving. Engage in fun activities etc.

Your job is to be the best wife you can be, do it as well as you can.

Let your words and your deeds build up your husband – treat him as if he hung the moon! Treat him as if he were the husband that God hand picked, just for you, chosen by God to be a father to your children.

The Holy Spirit moves hearts to conversion – we can never nag someone into it…

Be the very best example of a loving wife – and be FUN. Remember what you were like when you were dating? When you would talk about movies and music and dreams and politics for hours – remember, we don’t become dull and uninteresting just because we are Catholic or moms.

Make a point, after the baby is in bed – to open a bottle of wine and maybe put on a CD and dance? Read a book or a newspaper article this week and ask what he thinks about it. Is he into sports – then sit and watch a game with him. Find that fascinating woman that captured his interest when you met. Let God use you as a living advertisement for a joy filled Catholic woman.

Doing things with friends can be very good – we need friends. Do you have the same friends? Maybe invite his friends over for dinner and games some evening.

Praying for you!

I agree with all of the above: no man (or woman) likes to be nagged and/or told how to live his life…To me this sounds like a sure-fire way to end up in the divorce-courts, I’m sorry to say this, but you’re driving him away!

Anna x

[quote=anna1978]I agree with all of the above: no man (or woman) likes to be nagged and/or told how to live his life…To me this sounds like a sure-fire way to end up in the divorce-courts, I’m sorry to say this, but you’re driving him away!

Anna x
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I have to agree with Anna.

One of the most no nonsense people I know, Dr. Laura the talk show host and self help book guru, would say to you,

“Would you like hanging around you?” If the answer is no, (and if you admit you nag him, so I can’t imagine it being yes) why should he want to hang around you?

Quit nagging. Be a Christian by example, not nagging.

And you briefly mentioned that he cheated on you? You said you were separated, like “on a break” separated when he “cheated on you” or separated physically because he was at basic training?

I ask for the distinction because if you had decided to take a break in your relationship, I do not think you should be calling this cheating unless you guys said you would not see others while you took a break in your relationship.

But establish what you want. Firmly understand what happened, (did he cheat on you or were you guys separated at the time with no expectations of fidelity? Hope of fidelity and expectation being separate.) and decide what is best for you and your daughter. If it is to stay married, then stop nagging immediately.

No I do not have stock in this book (This is the third time today recommending this book), but Dr. Laura’s *Proper care and feeding of husbands *is a great no nonsense book that takes a hard look at the wife’s behavoir with concrete advice on how to change.

Dr. Laura believes that in a marriage ( one that does not include physical abuse, drug abuse etc.), women have the most power in changing it for the better or making it worse. Women are complicated but men are relatively easy by comparrison.

God Bless,
Maria

Hi Lisa, when I was going through my reversion to the faith, I often felt very frustrated with my religiously apathetic husband. I remember once that I was complaining to God reminding Him that when I was in high school I had prayed for a spouse who would bring me closer to God.

I was very surprised when I felt God show me that the very person He gave me for a spouse was the best one for leading me to Him. If I had had a spiritually aware husband, I would not have taken charge of my faith journey. I would have been content to follow him. When I met my husband, religious devotion was not important to me. I wasn’t looking for a spiritual leader, but God gave me the spouse that has brought me closer to Him.

I also think that in the early years many women tend to make their husbands “a god.” I know I looked to my husband for the attention and unconditional love that I should have looked to God for. My husband felt suffocated which led to more escapism. sigh.

As far as your husband going out too much, I understand!!! I think the first two years of my marriage were the loneliest ones. The best advice I can give you is to develop your own friendships and interests. Of course, you have to continue to work on your marriage, but don’t make it the only focus of your life. I’ve also found that if I let my husband disengage too much from the family, it is really harmful. So, do keep him accountable. But, make your home a haven for him. Also, I think it helps to have couples over to help both of you to get a social fix.

I have said a prayer for you and your husband. :slight_smile:

On occasion, I think its good to have friends.

One thing I know is religious freedom is very important to a person. By pressuring him to be more Catholic, he may very likely run the other way!

I recall a story about a woman pressuring her husband to join her church, to no avail. Finally she secretly invited elders from her church to drop by during dinner time. They showed up, and after dinner they took out their flannel boards and charts and began to share the faith. The husband excused himself to the bathroom, and escaped out the window!

He was missing for some days and the wife was frantic. Finally some men from the chruch found him, and were only able to persuade him back if she never mentioned church again! The happy ending was afterward she obediently ignoring the subject, he secretly went and learned about her chruch and then surprised her with the announcement he was ready to join.

That was supposed to be a true story although I don’t have the details. It made an indelible impression on me though. We are called to witness God’s work in iour lives, not to make people believe things. People, men particularly i think, are very possessive of their freedom of religion and it really robs their peace to try to encroach on that.

Also his comment that you are “no fun” reminds me of what I have heard Ray Guerendi and others say to wives that are converting. They say for your husband your conversion (or deepening of faith) should result in a visiable improvement in married life. So learning how to do things that are more fun to him, that serve him, showhim love and consieration and charity, will go much further than any sermon - which just might drive him further away.

A very inspiring book is My Spirit Rejoices by Elisabeth Leseur, who is up for cannonization I think. She lived around 1940? in Paris in an upper middle class life with her husband, who, along with their social circle, were intellectual - and avid atheists. Then her faith took root, and grew and grew. Her husband would speak of Christianity only to mock it.

Yet, they lived out a very loving and fulfilling marraige. She truly lived in obedience to her state as a married woman and entertained and traveled to please her husband when all she really wanted for herself was to be alone and pray. She kept diaries, and when she died (after being an invalid for a period of time) tons and tons of people who adored her came to here funeral, to the great surprise of her husband. It made him wonder so much, he read her diaries - and then converted! And became a Catholic Priest! The book has a forward by him and is excerpted from her diaries and letters.

Hopefully your husband won’t wait till after you are dead to convert! But you will have more luck living your faith in a way that benefits him and yiour marriage, than trying to tell him about it. God bless you. I will pray for you.

[quote=lisa_nd]Just a clarification on “I feel like I am his mother…always telling him what to do…”. I don’t usually say things directly about religion; it’s the things he does, i.e. watching MTV or other shows/movies I find questionable, calling other people idiots because they drive too slow, swearing, and other things that can affect our family. Do I not say something about these things and just let them slide? For example, what if our daughter is watching TV as well (though she is only 6 months old right now)?
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I think I didn’t read far enough. I didn’t know he cheated. Did you get counseling? This is pretty serious. For this kind of dameage, Retrouvaille would be what you need, not Marriage Encounter. And I would never want MTV on in my house. Not even with a 6 month old. And not with me. Garbage is garbage. If sin is fun and you are no fun becasue you don’t sin - this is a different kind of problem than I thought. One that needs a consult with a good priest - one that you know and respect and has a good reputation. Your daughter is learning language and as a mother you have every right to put up a big protest over swearing, and calling people idiots. It sounds like you need to be making boundaries, and defending your home.

Thank you to everyone who has replied thus far! It is very difficult to hear that I am to blame for much of what is going on. I knew the nagging was not good, and never enjoyed doing it, but I get so annoyed and frustrated sometimes that it is hard not to do! I am very grateful to hear these things, though, that my family would never tell me. I will try my hardest to bite my tongue and be more patient with him! …now what to do for fun when we are two full-time college students with a limited income and dissimilar interests :confused:

Oh, in response to MariaG’s post, he cheated on me, didn’t want anything to do with me, we split up, and then he left for basic training. As soon as he left he realized he made a mistake and changed his feelings around about religion. Then he came home, we got back together, and he went back to how he was before.

[quote=lisa_nd]Thank you to everyone who has replied thus far! It is very difficult to hear that I am to blame for much of what is going on. I knew the nagging was not good, and never enjoyed doing it, but I get so annoyed and frustrated sometimes that it is hard not to do! I am very grateful to hear these things, though, that my family would never tell me. I will try my hardest to bite my tongue and be more patient with him! …now what to do for fun when we are two full-time college students with a limited income and dissimilar interests :confused:
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Work on reconnecting, do you remember when you first met before you got married? What kinds of things did you do back then? What kinds of dates did you go on? Try to recapture some of the things that made you attracted to each other in the first place.

And don’t criticize, and don’t think that you are somehow holier or closer to God than he is. Maybe a lot of your criticisms arise from the fact that you think you know better. Remember the Pharisee and the tax collector? The Pharisee was praying thanking God that he was not like the sinners, the tax collector acknowledged he was a sinner and ask for mercy. Who was God pleased with more?

Try to change yourself inside, focus on the good things about your husband, and try to find the good in him rather than the bad.

Did the affair happen a long time ago? Have you forgiven him for it? Maybe you and he need to do something special such as go to counselling, but you should know better.

My husband golfs 2x a week. He leaves here about 11 am and returns home about 4:30. Once in a while he has a beer with the other retired guys he golfs with. This is good for him If it weren’t for his golfing he would drive me carazy!!!

love and peace,
Mom of 5

The only person you can change is yourself. Figure out where you can improve and start doing it. Be sure to pray and sacrifice, too. Both are powerful. —KCT

[quote=lisa_nd]Thank you to everyone who has replied thus far! It is very difficult to hear that I am to blame for much of what is going on. I knew the nagging was not good, and never enjoyed doing it, but I get so annoyed and frustrated sometimes that it is hard not to do! I am very grateful to hear these things, though, that my family would never tell me. I will try my hardest to bite my tongue and be more patient with him! …now what to do for fun when we are two full-time college students with a limited income and dissimilar interests :confused:

No, it is never comfortable to look at yourself. It is alway easier to see what your spouse is doing wrong. I know I had no serious problems in my marriage but bought Dr. Laura’a book anyway. I could see myself in much of her book. It was not a comfortable feeling.

As for fun, you don’t necessarily need to do things together to be more fun. When you stop nagging, it can be fun just to watch tv together holding hands and just enjoying each others company. If he doesn’t have to brace himself for the next nag, you maybe surprised at how much you can enjoy each other doing nothing.

Oh, in response to MariaG’s post, he cheated on me, didn’t want anything to do with me, we split up, and then he left for basic training. As soon as he left he realized he made a mistake and changed his feelings around about religion. Then he came home, we got back together, and he went back to how he was before.

The first thing you need to do (after the trip to the Dr. to make sure you don’t have Pelvic inflammatory disease or any other STD) is to decide if you really want this marriage to work and are willing to completely forgive and not bring up his infidelity. If he is willing to work on the marriage too, neither of you can move forward if you can’t let it go. Some women can forgive on an intellectual level but never forgive emotionally. Can you truly forgive him for cheating on you?

And remember:
You don’t have to compromise being a Christian to “be fun”.

I bet the library has one or more of the books recommended. Pick one and see if you can take some positive steps towards healing your marriage.

Frankly, I have to tell you, I see it very positively that you were willing to see that you could be part of the problem. When people only want to blame the other person, especially when they have such a visible thing to latch onto, like infidelity, they may end up right but divorced. You may be right about everything you are nagging him about, but sometimes you have to choose whether you want to be right or be married.

Now the hard part. Changing yourself when he is still acting like a jerk! I will put you in my prayers. (And frankly, I found Dr. Laura’s book a great concrete way to help me change things and view things in a way I had not thought of before. And I have heard about many women thanking Dr. Laura for literally saving their marriage through that book.)

God Bless,
Maria

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Lisa, believe me: live ITSELF will be more ‘fun’ if you try to understand where he’s coming from without trying to ‘change’ him :thumbsup: ! And you can’t put a price on a good marriage, where both spouses accept and love eachother as they are! Ofcourse, in his own time, he may discover a deeper relationship with Christ, he may feel called to become a more faithful Catholic…but it HAS to come from him, all you can do is pray for him daily. Think of St Monica, and how long she had to wait until her son St Augustine converted, DECADES! But, I don’t think she brought about his conversion with nagging, she did it by showing him how her faith filled HER, and by continuous prayer…

As for going out together and having ‘fun’ on a budget. My dh and I have very little money, but just going for a walk into the woods near our house with our toddlers is enough ‘fun’ for us, just cooking a special meal together and eating it at the kitchen-table with a nice glass of wine, when they children have gone to bed is ‘fun’…life is what you make it, and just spending time together doesn’t have to cost a penny and can bring you so much closer :wink: Prayers for you both!

Anna x

[quote=Mom of 5]My husband golfs 2x a week. He leaves here about 11 am and returns home about 4:30. Once in a while he has a beer with the other retired guys he golfs with. This is good for him If it weren’t for his golfing he would drive me carazy!!!

love and peace,
Mom of 5
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My dh shoots hunts all fall–several weekends. It has gotten much better in the last few years (better for me. less for him). He has told me no more babies can be born during hunting season. Is that grave reasons for spacing births? :smiley:

After hunting season, comes target archery season. He goes out to shoot two times a week for three hours at a time. Plus, he has tournaments on most weekends–usually half a day if they aren’t out of state.

Now, he is talking about doing 3-D archery, which is all summer. sigh. Plus, in April is Turkey season.

It makes him much happier to do these activities. Sometimes I feel like our marriage is a tug a war, with him pulling to do his sports and me pulling him back into the family. It is hard to find a balance.

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