My husband wants a divorce and I'm in shock

My husband dropped a bomb at me this morning. He wants to leave. He said that he is unhappy, that we are uncompatible, that we should not have got married 4 years ago (after 3 years of dating). He said that he had doubts then but that he was too scared to call it off. He told me that he doesn’t love me as a wife, but loves me as a mother of his children. He said that with me he can’t be the man he is supposed to be, whatever that means. He said that we are divided because of my faith, and that he has no interest in it. (This is not news to me. I never expected him to convert, just left it up to God and decided to marry him without trying to convert him. He was raised protestant but now has no faith. We married in the Catholic church. Sometimes he goes to mass with us and I always appreciate that. I never realised how much he hates to go. He is very good at hiding his feelings. And now I’m surprised at all of this. Serves me right.)

I know it is common for couples to get caught up in everyday stuff and feel distant from one another, especially when the children are so young. I simply took that as something normal, definitely to work on but not even think about divorce. It turns out he had different ideas on what marriage is and how it should work.

I feel pretty helpless. Actually, I’m in shock. We talked for an hour this morning, and then he left for work. We will talk again when he gets home. We don’t have screaming matches so the conversation will be at least amicable. I will probably cry a lot.

What can I say? I have already said that love is more than a feeling - that love is about action and a decision. I kept mentioning the children and how they need to grow up with both of us. (I have seen too many broken homes in my own family and I absolutely dread the very thought.) I said that people can have good, solid marriages even if the person they married is not ‘perfect’ for them. I said that when we became parents it stopped being about what we want, but about what the children need. I told him I was ready to do anything to make this work. He just said he was sorry and that he couldn’t imagine how a marriage can be fixed. Then he asked me if I wanted a hug.

I know people here often talk about marriage councelling (Retro-something). I have no idea what is available here. The culture here is so different and I don’t know how that would work for us. There is no way I can suggest talking to a priest, given his attitude towards my faith.

We are going to visit my home country in 2 weeks, and will stay there for 2 weeks. I don’t know what to do. Come back here or stay at home for a bit, give him some space and hope that he comes to his senses? If I stay at home I would worry that he would not want us back. If I come back I would worry about him starting to hate me for being around. He says he loves the children and is concerned how our separation would affect them, but to me it seems like he is primarily concerned with himself and his personal hapiness. I have no idea what to expect, I can’t figure him out. He sounds serious, he’s obviously been thinking about this for a while. I feel like an idiot because I didn’t see it coming. Any kind of advice would be most welcome.

I’m sorry for such a long post. Thank you for reading this far. If you have no advice to give, please say a short prayer for my family. The thought about my children growing up without their father terrifies me.

So sad to read this - will keep you in my prayers! Your observations about love and marriage are absolutely true - I have been married many years and often had to discount my feelings because love absolutely is a decision!! No advice, only prayers for your family. Hang in there!

Oh, Contra Mundum, I’m so sorry.

The marriage encounter program you’re referring to is called Retrouvaille. I have heard good things about it, though I’ve never been on one myself. They do have international retreats, including some in Europe (this weekend in France and Ireland), and also in Singapore. The retreats are meant to be a means of healing and communication.

If it were me, I would try to slow down the course of events and not make any hasty decisions. Urge him to move slowly, to talk through this more and not do anything rash. Would he consider couples counseling? Would he consider sticking it out, even if unhappy, for a period of time? Remind him of the vows he made. Tell him to man-up.

I hope I’m not steering you wrong. I don’t know how else to advise you, except to urge you to pray novenas like it’s your job. I’ll pray for your marriage, too.

I also found this site about marriage counseling in Malaysia, if you’re near Kuala Lumpur.

I am so sorry. I wish I had some better advice, but I can only say try to talk to him about counseling or trying to work it out. It is perfectly normal what you are feeling and don’t be hard on yourself for how you are feeling as you deal with a gamut of emotions. I will be praying for both of you.

Before marriage, loving you is his choice. After marriage, loving you is his responsibility.

In God’s ordering of things, the marriage relationship is primary. It comes before the children. That is why it’s so important to nourish it with date nights, and fun adventures. In the rush of life, with two young children, this often gets lost. He should stay in the marriage for YOU, not just the children. If he is willing to seek help, your marriage could end up better than before.

My guess as to why he’s telling you this now? There is probably some one else he wants to have sex with. It’s important to find out the truth about this, because it will seriously inhibit reconcilliation. I hope I am wrong!

You sound like a nice lady. I am praying for all of you. God is with you, as you walk through this! May God pour out his blessings upon your family during this difficult time.

Hugs sister. :hug3:

No it doesn’t. You loved a man and trusted him to accept you.
Same thing happened to my sister. Only he decided to walk before the child’s first Christmas.
Similar because he was former presbyterian, now atheist, pope was a nazi type, so should have seen it coming.

Look at his facebook and he’s the best dad in the world (at weekends, well saturdays:shrug:)

No, you can’t help who you fall in love with. He may not be open to counselling but surely worth a try. The important thing is, don’t stop being who you are and don’t stop being the witness you are, even when persecuted.

Praying for you & family

I am. Thank you, I will look into it.

I just fear that he has fallen out of love with me and will want to end it. It is just a gut feeling, we’ll see how things develop.

His brother is getting married in 2 weeks (after the wedding we go to my home for the 2 week stay). He told me that the brother’s forthcoming wedding has showed him how our relationship is not as good, and that we are wrong for each other, unlike the brother and his fiancee. He denies having an affair but from my experience, husbands normally leave their wives when they have someone new secured.

Thank you for your kind words.

Many prayers for you.

Lord please bless this family with special graces. Show them how to love as you love and give them peace, thy will be done. Amen.

Praying for you and your family…

Get a lawyer. If you are going home soon, that’s why he is telling you now. Get someone to protect your financial interest in the marriage. I doubt you’ll ever see support from him and quite possibly his children will rarely if ever hear from him. If you have any supportive family or friends at home, go home with your kids and stay there. You don’t want to be stuck in a foreign country alone with kids to take care of. And get a lawyer at home, if that’s where the divorce must be filed. International messiness on top of everything else.

I’m so sorry. I really am. I know this is new to you and you want to believe it won’t happen. He’s been thinking about this for a long time. He has no real complaints, he just wants out. I seriously doubt he’d go to counselling if you could find it. It would not surprise me if he already has another female companion lined up.

I’m so sorry. But I want you to know something: somehow it will work out. It will be hard and you will do it, with God’s help.

God bless you and your children abundantly and bring you safely through the storm.

I am so sorry this is happening to you! I can only offer prayers.

Prayed for you. I agree to have a lawyer at least “ready” should you need one. But that doesn’t mean you want to allow this or try to seek counseling…just to be ready should he not be willing to make your marraige work…it is wise advise.


I am so sorry Contra Mundum, what a shock. The advice about trying to slow things down as much as possible is very good. With all of this stress, it will be difficult to think clearly and you will want as much time to reflect as possible.
I would also contact family and friends for support and as sounding boards, as they will be able to listen to what you are thinking and help you to see what you may miss due to the emotional turbulence. Sometimes, when emotions are charged, we are inclined to make hasty decisions. Keeping a journal of conversations that can be discussed with people you trust, before decision making,will help you to create a process that helps to prevent hasty decision making.
It is so hard to be isolated in the face of such challenges.
Counseling is a very good idea, if he is amenable to it. If not, it will be important to consider how best to take care of your family as you work your way through the legal process.
I will pray for you and I hope that you will be able to get some quiet time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. God is greater than all of us and he will carry you through this time. may He send you good counselors, and give you wisdom as you discern the best means of addressing this challenge. May your husband come to know Our Lord. May your children be safe and secure in your love and in the care of Our Lord, who sees all and loves His children without reserve. Amen.

I’d suggest counseling. I think it is good that your amicable when you talk; that keeps the communication lines open. In this type of situation I also recommend focusing on what is important: the children. Both parents have to always keep in mind that the damage to each other is nominal compared to the damage that can be done to the children. My wife and I went through a really rough time a few years ago, and the way we handled it was just that: stopped fighting with each other, and focused on the kids.

I am so very sad about your news.
Love and prayers,

This is what I plan to do. I am ready to try and fix things and do anything humanly possible to make it work. I just don’t know if he is willing to do the same. I’m not convinced, but we have to speak again.

I’ve spoken to my mother who is beyond upset. She keeps begging me to do whatever it takes, like it is up to me to make this decision. She is telling me not to speak to my friends about this, so in case we work it out there is no dirt out in the open. I don’t know what to think. I normally take her advice with a pinch of salt but I am just too confused to think.

Thank you for the beautiful prayer. This is exactly what I need. The whole day I’ve been praying for strenght to deal with this.

I will see a lawyer. The situation is this: I am from the country A, we got married and lived in B until this move, and now we are in country C. Yes, it will be messy if we end up divorcing.

I am finding it hard to believe. I keep thinking this is a dream and that I will wake up. I also feels he just wants out. I can’t imagine he would just dump the kids. If you saw him with them, you’d think what a wonderful, tender, loving father. My head is spinning.

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