My wife wants a divorce

I am a cradle catholic and my wife converted 13 years ago of her own will. We have been “Legally” married for 23 years and married through the church for 13 years.

On Monday evening I went downstairs to apologize for being me to my wife. After telling her that I was sorry and seeing her cry, she asked me for a divorce. She told me that she loves me, but is not in love with me anymore. We have four children, 2 at home (14 and 12) and 2 on their own.

We both agreed that we do not want to divorce anytime soon and we are not going to tell our children or anyone else right now mainly because we don’t want our children to be hurt. I did tell a priest and she told her best friend, she did tell me that her best friend is just being supportive/a best friend. I am ok with that. And because of logistical support for the children and finances. We get along pretty good, we still sleep in the same bed and use the same facilities. Not much concern right now about our privacey.

Funny thing is, I never saw it coming. She tells me that there is NOT another person in her life, but that she just wants a divorce because she is not in love with me anymore. She doesn’t want any counseling.

We got in a small physical fight once about 21 years ago, alcohol, but have never done it again. We argue and we both say things we really don’t mean. But I am usually the ugliest about it. We don’t argue in an ugly way in front of the kids, we wait until we are alone. I think we argue because we disagree on so many things, how to pay bills, how to raise the children, who drives what car. It all sounds so silly now.

All this time I was pushing her away from me. I think that I was so stuck on the belief that we are catholic and not allowed to be divorced I started to actually believe it. I took her for granted and for that I am truly sorry.

Tuesday I spoke with my priest. Although very comforting, I am still hurting. I guess only time and prayer will heel. I am spending a lot of time at church in prayer, it’s nice. I light a candle for her in hopes that at a minimum she will find it in her heart to forgive me and that she has a nice rest of her life. I do want her to be happy.

I think I made peace with it all. But I am still hopeful she will give me another chance.

Wednesday evening I spoke with her in the kitchen after the kids went to bed. I told her that I agreed with her on how I have been behaving and how I needed to change and that I was going to find that guy she fell in love with all those years ago. I agreed with her that she deserves better and I also told her that if a divorce would make her happy then she deserves to be happy.

I am doing everything to right my wrongs, but not in a pushy way. We had our first lunch together today since my bad news, Long john Silver (Lent). (The last time we had lunch together I told her that it was probably a bad idea for me to have invited her out, we argued). This time, we agreed before hand not to talk about the divorce. It went great, I brought her a rose, but she told me not to take the lunch out of context (a date). I didn’t, but for the first time in about a year I believe we enjoyed each others company. We laughed and talked about work, the kids and what we wanted to do in the future. Before we went our separate ways I asked for a hug and she gave me one.

I am hopeful she will find/see the guy she married 23/13 years ago again. I am trying so hard to change for my own peace of mind and so that I don’t make these mistakes again.

I still love her so much, I just didn’t know how much until all of this happened.

Do me a favor, give your spouse a hug and a kiss today and don’t ever let them forget how much you love them.

Please pray that my wife finds peace with or without me.

God Bless

Brother,
your post bring me near tears.

Your wife made vows to you and promised to go through good times and bad times with you. Its not fair to you nor to the children if she doesn’t at least go to some marriage counseling course or therapy.

She is ready to rip your family apart because she is not “in love” anymore…!?
What is she thinking? What about the children? Does she know that 80 percent of children who come from divorce-families also end up divorcing? Does she know the psychological and emotional strain and consequences it puts on children?

Look I am telling you there is a psychological and cultural trend that has been growing the last centuries. People ruin families and break vows and fidelity in the name of self-actualization. This is NOT okay, and don’t be a door mat. Your wife is not right. You might not have been perfect, but neither has she.
Your wife expected the emotional rush of romantic in love-ness to last her whole life? Agh… If so, she will be likely divorced 4 or 5 more times in her life.

We only get your side of the story, but it seems like your wife is being unacceptable…

I was advised before I married that, while we may always love our spouses, we fall in and out of love over the course of our marriages. That, if we expect to always be in love, we will find ourselves just bouncing from relationship to relationship looking for that high.

I will keep you in my prayers. Marriage is hard - it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Keep working on you and just putting your actions behind your promises. No matter the outcome, you will not be sorry for giving her your all. I pray that she sees the work you are putting forward and will realize that you, too, deserve her efforts in reciprocation.

I am guilty of once taking my husband for granted. Many of us are. My lesson came when he joined the Army. Now, I must love him like he may not be home tomorrow, because he may not. One day, he may not come home at all. Don’t beat yourself up, just keep working. You are human. Welcome to the Human Spouses’ Club!

I agree with you 100%
Both of you should make this marriage works together !

You are in my prayers today.

“Falling out of love” is more common than rare. The smart thing to do is work through it. There is an excellent program called Retrovaille (ret-tro-vie), which means rediscovery in French. It’s not counseling or group therapy. It’s a weekend retreat that will help the pair of you rediscover why you married in the first place and how you can get back on track. It’s self-directed for the most part. No airing dirty laundry to strangers.

Www.retrouvaille.org

But it does sound like you need more than that. You simply have to learn not to be mean to each other. You might need individual and joint counseling and/or anger management to overcome that.

Don’t shirk. This is your wife and your marriage. Fight to fix it!

My prayers for your and your wife that your marriage will survive.

Pray to St. Joseph for guidance and help.

Give her time and give her space.

Be yourself. You’ve been a good husband for 23 years so don’t try to change. Just be yourself and love your wife. Spend time with her and your children. As much as you can. And love them.

Even if your wife won’t go, you should go to counseling. Maybe your wife will join you, maybe not. But ask your priest for a referral to a good Catholic marriage councilor.

Don’t give up. Don’t get angry. Just love your wife and family. Pray a lot. I’ll be praying for you as well.

PS,* if it comes down to it and she asks to move forward with the divorce, let her know, in a gentle, loving way, that you love her too much to ever let her go and that, more importantly, your faith does not allow it.*

This is a very interesting statement to me. I suspect many people, male and female alike get into this thought process. Almost like… hey you’re stuck with me, I can act however I want. That was just a really huge eye opening thing to say/hear/read.

It sounds as though perhaps neither of you fight “fair”, and that perhaps you both fight more often than not. And at least don’t do it in front of your children.

The thing is, it sounds like perhaps you both just live with a bunch of unresolved situations, with lots of hurt feelings. And perhaps even your children aren’t even aware of this. A divorce, will be really shocking to kids that don’t even know their parents disagree on anything (I know people who have been through this.)

I would second the retrouville counceling. Since neither of you is in a big hurry… and let’s face it, it WOULD be better to find love in your own home, as opposed to starting over… why not see if she’d give a try. Let her know that you’re happy to pay for it. That you’d like to learn how to be a better partner.

Maybe check out the movie - Fire Proof (you might read the first chapter of the book, the movie actually leaves out some info that makes things make a bit more sense.) and get yourself a copy of the Love Dare… Perhaps you can put it to the test…

Many prayers for your marriage!!!

Your post brought me to tears. I agree with faithfully that there are probably many unresolved fights that are there that have not gotten closure. I would suggest YOU start family counseling with you and the two kids separately - make sure she knows when the appointments are so she can choose to be a part of the family healing or not. Either way everyone will need counseling if the divorce goes through. Contact either your parish or your diocese for a list of Catholic counselors in the area.

Thank you for the advice everyone.

Last night I went to church/adoration chapel and spent some time doing the stations of the cross on my own. After that I went next door and had a Lenten Diner. I sat down with a friend and made a new friend. I had a good time eating and visiting.

This is going to sound crazy but I have never felt this close to God. All of this has forced me to go and visit God everyday (never did that before) this past week. I will be going to confession today at 3:30 for the first time in a long while. And then to mass at 5:30.

Up until now I think I was just going through the motions. We go to mass every Sunday and the kids attend CCE. But never felt this “Catholic” about God before.

I feel sort of ashame that this is what has had to happen to me in order for me to get closer to God.

No new news to report on the relationship.

I do want to say a special thanks to "icamay" for giving me hope with your comment:

"I was advised before I married that, while we may always love our spouses, we fall in and out of love over the course of our marriages. That, if we expect to always be in love, we will find ourselves just bouncing from relationship to relationship looking for that high".

I am going to continue to check this thread for other great advice and believe me I am going to look into everyone of your suggestions.

Please continue to pray for us.

God Bless you all and enjoy your weekend.

You’re normal - most of us have times when we tell God, “Hey, look, I can handle things, you help someone else for a while, OK?” And then when we stumble and fall, we go running back to His arms for help.

If your wife wants a divorce then she is not being faithful to her vows. If she hasn’t done any counseling, it’s time. It’s not fair to you or the kids for her to just say, “I won’t” when you want to save the marriage. You just have to be sure you find a Catholic counselor, or at least a Christian one, so you don’t get told you should separate b/c you are not good together or some drivel like that. I think we Catholics need dedicated Catholic counseling because so many Christian counselors will be of some denomination that doesn’t understand and may not even support the tenets of our faith, which comes across in the sessions. A Catholic counselor will know the issues that are unique to Catholics.

Retrouvaille isn’t just one weekend, there are follow-up sessions to be done. I’ve heard that it’s very good. I want to do it with my husband but he’s out of the country 2 weeks out of every month so the follow-ups are impossible for him and I don’t want to go by myself.

It seems that most people do not take marriage vows seriously. If they get bored or annoyed, divorce is on the table. Snoring, flagging attraction, defective fashion style, or “falling out of love” are considered valid reasons to leave a marriage.

Marriage is supposed to hold us to a higher standard, than does single life. But that is not much upheld.

I found ersatz marriage not to be a good bargain, and have abstained from that unholy estate.

Hi everyone, just wanted to keep everyone updated. This is kind of my way of talking about my situation and giving me some peace.

This evening will be one week since I got the “I want a divorce” speech. It still hurts but I am doing ok, physically. I have been working a lot and spending all of my free time with the kids and a few chores.

My wife still doesn’t want to talk about it. Can anyone tell me how long I should wait before we talk about it again? I have heard that I should let her initiate that conversation? That may take a while.

My Dad and I are very close. I have always been able to bounce things off of him. He is also close to my wife. Should I tell him or wait a while until I know for sure that this is what she really wants? We agreed that we would tell each other who we told, so I am curious how she will react if I tell her that I want to tell my Dad. I don’t want him to have a sour taste in his mouth about her. He won’t, be we are all human. And he is a devout/true Catholic.

Ok, for now this is my plan. Let me know what you think.

  1. On April 20 (1 month later) I plan on asking her if she still wants a divorce.
  2. I am also going to ask her if she will go to counseling with me.

Not much of a plan, but this all I have right now. Feel free to chime in.

I did take some of your advices and will be seeing a Christian Marriage Counselor on Thursday. Wish me good luck and keep the prayers coming, it’s working. I am also reading about some of the marriage encounters/weekend retreats.

God Bless

Sounds good - don’t forget to pray.

I know you want the support, but I would hold off on telling anyone just yet. Your wife may change her mind and then your dad might have some difficult feelings about her (He can’t help but side with you, that’s what parents do). Go to the counselor, talk it all out, and wait to see if she will go to counseling. Do not use your parents or your dad as a sounding board. It’s not good for them, it will cause them worry and pain. You might say something like, “you may have noticed, Dad, that (wife’s name) and I are having some problems lately…well, we are getting some help and I know I really want to work things out, so just wanted to let you know so you wouldn’t worry.” And then do not ask for their advice or support. That’s what counselors are for!

About 10 years ago, before we had children, my wife and I were at the same place. Oddly enough a friend of ours who was a Presbyterian minister told my wife that you can’t divorce or you would go to hell. I think she was just trying to scare her but it gave us time to talk and her to give me a chance. My father had passed away a couple of years before and we had multiple other family issues and had just grown apart. She was also taking Chlomid and we were both frustrated we couldn’t get pregnant… but more importantly we, especially I, had started taking her for granted.

The Lord blessed us and we were able to work through all of our issues… 6 months after that or so we got pregnant with our first child (we have 4 now too). I can’t imagine what raising kids would have been like had we no worked that stuff out ahead of time… God knows what He is doing, even when we don’t.

And He knows you both took a vow before Him to love and cherish each other forever. Yea you both may have failed at that in some ways (it’s never all 1 person) but I would encourage you guys to use this as a wake up. Encourage your wife to give you a chance, go to counseling and talk to your Priest. My wife and I have fallen in and out of love as does almost everyone else, you have to work to find that again… together!

You guys are in my prayers!

Joe

Edit - I forgot to add that we were both Presbyterian at the time… that first child’s needs for a good Pre-School when his first brother was born helped open the door for our journey home 4 years ago.

Texas, I don’t know that I would ask her if she still wants a divorce. I would say something more like, “Since that day you said what you did, I’ve been thinking a lot about our marriage and you and how much I love you and how much I do not want to lose you. I do not want to divorce, and I’m willing to do anything to get back to the place where we should have been all along. I will lay down my life for you and for this marriage, but I need to know what you’re thinking now.”

A lot of times, when a guy says stuff that makes a woman feel like he’s put the decision in her hands, she’s reading it as code for, “He’s not going to help.” Make your commitment clear.

I just wanted to mention to you that this is usually the spot a marriage is in before the offending party finally gets it and tries to change his/her ways.

Did you know that 75% of couples who reported being very unhappily married were happily married 5 years later (if they didnt’ get divorced)? The fact that she wants to put the divorce on hold is a very very good opportunity for YOU to work on the marriage.

If you fight for this marriage with all of your might, you have a good chance of being 75% of couples who report being happily married 5 years after reporting that they are unhappily married.

This is what it takes unfortunately…a huge reality check for the offending spouse.

To the OP:
Don’t despair! Many of us old married folks have been through this. It is completely possible to put the spark back into your marriage.
You sound like a wonderful guy. You are doing the right things.
Don’t confide in your dad right now. I don’t think that would be wise.
Do keep praying and going to adoration. Do you pray the Rosary? It is truly a miraculous prayer. Try praying the Rosary for your wife every day.
When you feel the timing is apt, I would emphasize to your wife how very much you love and cherish her as often as possible.
And I agree with another poster; don’t ask her if she still wants a divorce. I would definitely phrase that in a different way, for instance, “I realize that I have been less than perfect. Please, please forgive me. You are the most important person in my life and I will do whatever it takes to save our marriage. Can we work together on this?” Stuff like that, basically. Maybe not all at once, but you get the idea.
Is she amenable to going out on “dates” with you right now? If so, take advantage of that! Treat her like a princess. Bring her a small gift like the rose. Above all, listen, listen, listen.
And make her laugh!
I think you have a real chance here to make this right. :thumbsup:

Brother Tex-

Man-to-man here. You need to fix you. What you described is a guy that can become pretty angry. If it is very often that you need to apologize, something needs to be fixed. It can be fixed. Sure, we are guys and are expected to fix everything. Ask someone (a professional - not a bunch of Catholic forum readers) to help you. You can rebuild this “engine” - just ask for some help.

I pray for both of you and your family. Peace!!

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