Need Prayer and Encouragement in My Marriage


#1

Hello. I am new here.

I thought what is the “Catholic Answer” to my problem here? hence this place “Catholic Answers”. Hope this place can be of some help. I am wondering if anyone can shed some light on my situation here. Thank you in advance for all the input, and for taking your time to read my post below.

I have been married to the same man for nearly 20 years and we have 2 teenagers. I am a Stay At Home Mom by decision, after nearly 10 years of working in a hot career, earning most the money for the family. I couldn’t take it any longer, physically or emotionally, and knew God was calling me to live my vocation of motherhood finally, which is what I have been doing, joyfully now for about 10 years. Trouble is, my husband is a pitiful provider, and has changed jobs so many times I can’t even keep track. He leaves me penniless and destitute much of the time, and gives me hardly any funds to subsist. We clearly do not have enough to live, yet he does nothing about securing a better paying job, or moving us elsewhere, yet continually borrows money from his parents. I guess he expected he’d always have me to lift him out of his Godly responsibilities of being the provider. This has, needless to say, caused a lot of turbulence in our marriage, and a rift. He said it’s OK if I quit work, etc., but since doing so, it has been utter chaos. I feel like I am married to a 16 year old boy, shunning responsibility, maintaining no control over the home, and etc. We have re-financed our home a few times just to have enough money to live, and do not have hardly any debt. But he has a hard time even thinking ahead to the future. I feel my children especially now, better late than never, need their mom in the home. For I have always known it’s a mom’s job to raise and rear the children, not someone elses. I let someone else take over this job for way too long, and now having learned better late than never, it’s my turn. Trouble is, my hubby does not know what to do.

Yes, we’ve had counseling, so do not suggest this. It does no good. I need some good solid advice on I guess how can I make my husband realize the full extent of his manly/fatherly responsibilities and how can I, a wife and mom, subsist here on this tentative lifestyle? I’m a nervous wreck. I know God provides, He always has, and always will, but I’m just so tired. Need some advice.

What should I do?

Thanks ever so much for any good soul who replies to this post.

Love,
Gardenia


#2

I’d start by asking him calmly and rationally to tell you what kind of example he’s setting for his sons in their lives. Is he raising them to think it’s Godly or manly to goof off while all the work falls on the wife?

Have you looked into ways to earn money from home? Part-time work while your sons are at school?

I think you really need to look at this objectively and don’t count on him for the future as far as your finances go. His parents seem to be enablers. Probably hasn’t grown up completely because he’s got the financial leash being held by his parents. Funnelling money to him makes them feel useful.


#3

Sorry Gardenia, you aren’t going to like my answer. How about thanking God for what you do have? Alot of us moms raised our teens by ourselves without a dad, without child support… you get my meaning. It isn’t about how much you can make… it’s about raising good godly children, and no offense to anyone, but it is much easier when not encumbered with material things. Many times I wished for rescue, but my kids appreciate the things we have worked hard to give them. They all went to Catholic schools on grants because I made so little money. My oldest is 20 and he actually thanked me for not providing for his every want. He saw his best friend squander away all that he was given by his well meaning parents. It made my son resourceful to say the least. All his friends had cell phones, video games, and all the cool gadgets. They had spending money, cars, all the things kids want… my kids did not! Anyway, my son’s bf went off to a private college where he decided his major should be public intoxication… while my son went to community college and worked full time… guess who flunked out? Guess who got into drugs? In the immortal words of my 17 yo… we are too poor to do drugs!

Make the best of what you have… you have an intact family. Instead of buying stuff, let the kids know you love them by praying for them… share with them how much you love them and thank God that they are your kids! When we were at our poorest… we were actually happiest. My kids still laugh and joke about how when a bill came due we would all pray and as the kids say, “Somehow mom pulled the money out her butt” Things like a rebate from the phone company would pay the registration for my car… or someone would call and ask me to run phone lines and offer exactly what I needed for a certain bill.

Instead of tearing your husband down… praise him for the things he does right. He may just need to know that somebody thinks he is someone special. Men gain strength and wisdom based on the cues their wives send. Why should he bust his hump to make more if you are just going to want more? Why would you want him to become as you described yourself…exhausted in every way? But above all, pray and trust God to provide what you need… not what you want.


#4

You can’t make him realize anything. He’s an adult and needs to decide for himself that there’s a problem. Maybe that’s why he’s floundering - someone has always done things for him.

If he refuses to take financial responsibility, I’d consider part time work and taking control of the finances. Not ideal, but if he’s not doing it, you can’t starve while you wait for him to figure it out.
–KCT


#5

I kinda went through the same situation but…I…was the teenager.

My parents were never well off and we always had what we needed but not necessarily what we wanted.As soon as I was old enough to have a job (babysit), I was in charge of buying my wants and my parents for my needs.

My mom actually had to find a part-time job which became full time because my dad was unable to provide. She found something that allowed her to be there after school with us.

So I guess what I’m suggesting is, that you have to do what you have to do if you need money. Your children will see your sacrifice and be thankful…as I am thankful to my mom(she hated going to work!).

Sometimes what we want (to stay home) is not the right thing or time for us. Prayer and discernment are needed. I hope this helps a bit.God Bless!


#6

Have you considered that perhaps your husband is indeed trying to be a good provider? Just because someone tries really really hard does not guarantee a great job and salary.

Do you encourage him in a positive way or offer to help him seek out a new job / with moving / etc??? Nagging is probably the worst thing you can do but a positive, encouraging, and uplifting approach can be a great motivation.

As a man, I feel tremendous pressure to be a provider and it is something I desperately want to do and I want to do it the BEST I can. When my wife thanks me and recognizes my effort it boosts me way up and motivates me to do better. When I get the sense of dissapointment from her, I feel like a failure. If your husband is a Godly man, I suspect he feels the same way.

I agree with a previous poster who suggested that your thank God for what you do have. Then I would thank your husband for trying. That may be just what he needs to motivate him to be the best husband/father/provider he can be.

Just my :twocents:…

And of course, pray pray pray! Grace is what your family and all families need to finish the race successfully!


#7

My kids still laugh and joke about how when a bill came due we would all pray and as the kids say, “Somehow mom pulled the money out her butt” Things like a rebate from the phone company would pay the registration for my car… or someone would call and ask me to run phone lines and offer exactly what I needed for a certain bill.

That’s how I have gotten by. It never failed. I’d get an insurance rebate check for $75. But I didn’t spend it. I knew better. Then immediately something would break that would cost $80 to fix.

That’s why I don’t play the lottery. If I won, my first thought would be, Oh, Lord, what’s about to happen that it’s going to cost me $250 million to fix?


#8

I agree with the other poster. You cant MAKE him do anything.

YOU made the decision to quit your job, whether he said he would do x, y, or z doesnt matter. If you hate the situation you are in maybe you are using “God told me to do it” as an excuse because you LIKE staying at home (dont we all wish we could do that?)

I think you seriously need to go to counseling, and dont tell me it doesnt work, you havent tried EVERY counseler out there. Go to a priest and see what he says…

Its been a long time that you have been like this. If you want something to change, you are 50% of that parental unit.

Good luck,
Vester


#9

You probably need something immediate and I do not have an immediate answer. However, I can offer encouragement.

I would suggest (whenever you are able to) to give “Theology of the Body” a shot. Try to learn it. It has great insight on marriage and perhaps you will seek answers to your situation. There are a lot of sources on this subject but you can start at theologyofthebody.net or christopherwest.com.

I hope this helps… at least to encourage you.


#10

If your children are teenagers why are you not at least working a part time job to help out financially?


#11

http://www.kartuz.com/mm5/images/51572.jpg

Gardenia, Wow, I really feel for the difficult situation you are in. Particularly because I see no easy answer.

You supported him in style for 10 years. Its possible the reason that worked is because he had no intention of ever supporting you. And now its his turn. And while he certainly knows what you want, he won’t be taking a turn, no matter what. I’m not saying he is being spiteful. Just that he might not* want* to. The reason might be psychologically unavailable inside him. And if his will says, “I won’t”, you cannot make him. Even God himself doesn’t violate the human will. Its a pretty sacred place, and your husband, likes the rest of us, knows it. And he doesn’t want that sacredness violated.

You can endeavor to influence his will. Colleen Kelly Mast (she has the EWTN radio program) would be really good at giving you ideas for how to lovingly influence him. But reality is (and Mast would confirm this) he may not ever change his will as far as taking financial responsibility.

How he is just might be how he is.

So you have to prepare yourself for the the reality that this may well be something you can’t change.

It is one of those things in life where you ask God for the grace to change what you can, accept what you can’t change, and you ask Him for the wisdom to know the difference.

When you ask God for wisdom he gives it to you in great measure! Pray to God through Mary, Seat of Wisdom. If you seek wisdom, you will find it.

You have a most godly desire to be a stay-at-home mother. You may have to garner up the strength to find some way to do this on your own with little or no help from him, because you may well have picked a man who will never embrace his responsiblites.

If you do find a way to make it, you might have to set up some new boundaries you haven’t made before if you need to protect the assetts you earn to keep your family going. You will need to seek much wise counsel and pray for direction.

Another big responsiblity looming now is finding out how you will live in retirement, because what you do and don’t do now will have huge ramifications when that time comes. I notice at Mass, the various widows, those whose husbands planned and provided for them, and those whose husbands did not. The latter are often ones who worked all those years, tirelessly, to keep afloat while their husband was wasteful, and it was stressful. They need the rest of retirement even more, but they are the ones who have the very least choices, the most limited life.

So you see the big things you may have to take on, on your own? You cannot do it with lack of peace, when you are a nervous wreck, when you are tired. So maybe first and foremost you need to learn to take care of yourself, doing what you can to protect yourself from the dibilitating effects of stress, and doing what you must do to dwell in the peace of God. Ask for His graces to increase your faith to take on all the above, as well as the pressing situation you wrote about. He is able!

Really, for all of us, our only recourse it to pray. Only when things get like they are for you, it really comes into focus.

http://www.aquinasandmore.com/images/items/16233lg.jpg

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.


#12

Thank you all so very much. I appreciate all your responses.

Thank you Eliza10 for your beautiful and peaceful pictures.

I know many times our only recourse is to pray and rely on the intercession of our Lady.

I will work on encouraging my husband more and thanking him for all he does do. I get so fed up with him sometimes though, my irritability probably can’t be hidden. I appreciate the man here who said a little encouragement goes a long way. :slight_smile:

Peace of Christ

Gardenia


#13

You cannot do anything to make him change. Sorry.

As for yourself, if you need more financial stability and money for the household you can go back to work part time-- your children are teenagers, they don’t need you at home full time. You can find a job with hours while they are in school. Or you can work from home depending on your skill set-- there are many companies that hire home-based employees or contract workers. Even selling things on eBay could bring in extra income.


#14

Yes, Ike, but what does my doing this demonstrate to my teenagers? I feel it shows them that it’s OK for a dad to be irresponsible, why the mom just goes in then and makes the money when he cannot. I feel this is portraying a most negative example to our children here.

I do feel since the 1960’s our culture has gone downhill since. Divorce has been prevalent, marriages crumbling, children seeking drugs, etc., because of it, because the mom being absent in the home.

I feel by my working outside the home, I am relaying a very negative message, that is, that men don’t need to be men any longer, that both sexes are equal, (an untruth), and that it doesn’t matter who is the wage earner in the home, as long as the bills are being paid, another untruth. It does matter. Few seem to recognize this today.

I feel, by my choices, it has an impact on future generations. I want my children to grow up knowing that it’s the man’s job, to provide for the family, and the woman’s job to make the home. I realize today, there is much confusion about this. But I feel it’s so important.

I complain about my situation since I quit work. It’s been so hard. Yes it has. I am broke and have no money for any extras that I always had while a “working mom”. Why just now, our mortgage coming due, my husband took off yet again to his parents house to get more money to pay the mortgage. This saddens me, that he does not have the pride it takes to be a man, and to make the ends meet. I don’t know how to handle this.

But I do feel, there is a lot more at stake here, than just this" “here and now” mentality, as if that’s all that matters, just subsisting. Often times, the deeper message we need to dig a little deeper here to realize.

I want my kids to know the importance of a dad being the primary breadwinner and the mom staying at home stoking the home fires so to speak. Otherwise, there is chaos, as is evident by our society, and even our church today. But it is a hard task. I complain. Yes. I don’t know what to do. Yes. I suppose all will be known in time. I need to follow my vocation of being a mom and wife first and foremost, not the money maker in the family. I know God’s Will will prevail in the long run. Just hoped I could get some insight on how to do this more effectively. Thank you so much.


#15

With all due respect, I think your whole family scenario is a little outdated and presumes a lot about life that you cannot control.
Father Knows Best was just a tv show.

Not all of us have had the luxury of staying at home with our kids completely. When my xh left, I had to find a way to support three little kids. Child support didn’t begin to cover the real expenses of taking care of 4 people. I found ways to do that involving working at home and eventually substitute teaching while they were at school.

And I know a lot of couples where BOTH work, and they BOTH also take care of the kids. When mom is at work, dad takes care of his own kids. Imagine that! You know, your husband is their parent also. They benefit from him being with them also. Can you find times to work while he is home with them? Then they always have a parent around. And if he is a danger or scandal to them in any way so that you don’t feel comfortable leaving your sons with him, then your problems are bigger than $$.

Now, what lessons are your sons learning here? And keep in mind, some kids learn all kinds of important life lessons by watching their parents’ failings also. If it keeps them from making the same mistake, then that is good too.

  1. If they lose their job or don’t earn enough, their wife will be angry and resentful. Women only care about money.
    (Sorry, had to throw that in there.)

  2. Marry a woman who has enough education to support the family if they die, lose their jobs, or are injured and unable to do so themselves.

  3. Get a good education and don’t marry if you can’t afford a family.

  4. Some marriages are fine as long as the spouses are having fun. But sometimes it goes downhill fast when one spouse is then required to step up to the plate and really sacrifice. Make sure before you marry that you know what kind of person your spouse really is.

  5. Don’t live in a house that costs more than one salary to pay the mortgage. Don’t live a lifestyle that absolutely requires two incomes. You aren’t guaranteed both spouses will always be able to work at the same time.

  6. A good family example requires two parents. And their example as men will affect their children. Will they be worthy of imitation?

  7. Don’t marry a woman with rigid expectations of sex roles in marriage. (The male corollary of your dilemna is the man who won’t allow his wife to work because she belongs home in the kitchen. And the guy rants about the kind of women who go out in the workplace. Not flattering.)

Yes, you miss your extras. Then scale back what you think you need to be happy. We all have to. But you can’t blame bad teenagers and societal chaos on working mothers. I have many friends who work and their kids are great. And they understand that a family is a team, and everyone pitches in. And it’s not all on the shoulders of one person.

I hate to tell you that often teenage boys are very easy to turn off. If all they see you doing is being angry that your husband doesn’t earn enough and you don’t have enough for extras, they will get the sense that women are materialistic. They may feel empathy for your husband and you may drive them away. Are you teaching them that lesson? Or if you were to be industrious and find a way to balance it all, you would show them by your example to find a wife who can handle what life throws at her.

Sometime in the late 1980s, you found that man to be wonderful enough to marry. You knew you earned more. Whatever personality flaws you overlooked to marry him, nevertheless you did it. By your own admission you have spent half that time not working as your financial situation stayed precarious. And that was good to be home when the boys were little. But for your own mental well-being, you need to take the pressure off yourself. You need to give up your place by the hearth for a while and work. You don’t say why your husband has gone from job to job, or whether that involves addiction, dishonesty, absenteeism, or just the ups and downs of an economy he can’t control.

And how about those parents of his? Are they working hard? Are they BOTH working or retired? How does this look to them? Are they giving him money to support their grandchildren and grumbling that you sit at home for ten years and they are having to make up the difference? How is he presenting this situation to them when he has to go hat in hand and ask them for money? Are they rich or poor?

You’re not giving us all the puzzle pieces here, so pardon if this sounds harsh. I just think there is more to this story than you are indicating.


#16

It is important that children know that their Dad loves them, not that their Dad is the primary breadwinner. If you think that your vocation is being a wife and mom then you need to accept that. You are not just complaining you have totally emasculated your husband on here. And I am a women.


#17

AMEN!

That is exactly what happens to us.

I’ve never thought of the lottery part, though. That is too funny.

To Gardenia - you are responsible for your reactions to your marraige/family situation. The kids don’t always look at the situation, but they do look at how the adults react to it. You want them to look back positively at your reactions to the situation.

Pump your husband up, don’t nag. Go to work part time. Contribute by bringing a little money in and supporting your husband.

Have you considered having him stay home and you work?


#18

Gardenia,
I have been in your shoes. My husband retired from the military and decided to start a new business. (Never do that, BTW.) Within three years we were bankrupt and had lost our home.
BUT a big part of that was the fact that I started working harder and harder to make up the difference. I ended up with a nervous breakdown.
Your husband is not going to listen to you. But there are things you can do. Keep costs as low as possible in the household budget. Consider gardening, canning, and freezing foods. Maybe you can get just a parttime job to help out with expenses (but ONLY a parttime job!).
And then, after you have done your part, just let go and let God. He will help you - I know He helped us. My husband turned completely around and now has a great job. I have a parttime job (I’m a musician). I don’t stress myself out on how to pay bills - I let him do that. That’s his job, not mine. I concern myself with running the household (which is always chaotic), taking time for myself, being emotionally supportive of my husband, and working at my parttime job (which I do because I love it - I would NOT do it at all if I didn’t like it).
Step back, keep your criticisms to yourself, be supportive of your husband, and just plonk everything finiancial in his lap. If he messes up, just commiserate but don’t offer answers or volunteer to take over - make him do it.
It worked for me.


#19

Quoted by RW Morris:

“I have been in your shoes. My husband retired from the military and decided to start a new business. (Never do that, BTW.) Within three years we were bankrupt and had lost our home.
BUT a big part of that was the fact that I started working harder and harder to make up the difference. I ended up with a nervous breakdown.
Your husband is not going to listen to you. But there are things you can do. Keep costs as low as possible in the household budget. Consider gardening, canning, and freezing foods. Maybe you can get just a parttime job to help out with expenses (but ONLY a parttime job!).
And then, after you have done your part, just let go and let God. He will help you - I know He helped us. My husband turned completely around and now has a great job. I have a parttime job (I’m a musician). I don’t stress myself out on how to pay bills - I let him do that. That’s his job, not mine. I concern myself with running the household (which is always chaotic), taking time for myself, being emotionally supportive of my husband, and working at my parttime job (which I do because I love it - I would NOT do it at all if I didn’t like it).
Step back, keep your criticisms to yourself, be supportive of your husband, and just plonk everything finiancial in his lap. If he messes up, just commiserate but don’t offer answers or volunteer to take over - make him do it.
It worked for me.”

Hi RW Morris:

I really appreciate your response, as well as every response. I realize everyone has an opinion on this one, but I must say I heartily agree with what you are saying RW Morris. Not to worry about the finances but just to “dump this worry” anyway in his lap. I am doing this. But how he handles it, causes me frustration and anxiety. I guess I need to really pray more, rely on God more and realize, being a homemaker takes a lot of sacrifice indeed.

I have been most excited in learning new ways to save money, and it’s been a challenge to grocery shop, learning how I’m saving money.in even small ways.

Thank you all for the ways you recommend to me to encourage my husband all I can, and to be thankful regardless. I am. I am so thankful for all the ways God has intervened and provided for our family. Praise Him for his provision.
Thank you all.


#20

Quoted by Nordar:

“Quite honestly I am starting to feel sorry for your husband, He obviously does not make enough money, so he does the next best thing to make ends meet and borrows from his parents, Again why are you not working a part time job to help him instead of criticizing him and putting him down?”

Dear Nordar:

Don’t you see I AM helping him, by taking care of the children every day, preparing all meals, cleaning, grocery shopping, running errands, taking kids to all appts., to school and back every day, and ect., etc.? Why does everyone assume it’s not helping just because I don’t take on an outside job? That help is only valued monetary terms? This I do not understand.

I do know, I need to encourage more, and complain less. This, I know I need the Lord to help me do. Thanks for this reminder!

I wish more people would give me some more support in my role and task in being a wife and mom, but maybe today it’s rare. And yes, my children have a wonderful relationship with their dad, as I do as well. We have a great marriage most of the time. I just get so frustrated with his financial decisions.

Thanks Nordar for your views.


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