Please Help Me.

I am a long time poster here but I wanted to post under another name this time. Please bear with me.

After 7 years of marriage, my husband just up and told me the other day that he was no longer happy. He is empty. He feels I don’t love him. He feels that he has nothing left to give and doesn’t even know if he wants to try to fix this. He feels that married the wrong person. He wonders how life would be without me, and flirts with divorce, though isn’t sure he really wants that, yet.

We have little children and another on the way, and I’m ready to die. I never saw this coming. Only now in looking back have I noticed a few things about us. His “love languages” and my “love languages” are nowhere near similar. So when I did things for him out of love, he appreciated it but didn’t feel loved. The same with him toward me. And my personality, being stronger than his and more dominate, squelched him. The thing is that he never told me any of this through the years. He just “offered it up” and figured marriage was a struggle and he needed to work harder at it. But he never told me anything about what he thought. He never owned his own opinions, even when I asked and begged and urged him to give me an opinion. He never admitted when I was being pushy, or a nag, or anything. He just silently kept it all to himself, and now it’s all coming out 7 years later.

And, I’ve also noticed things about myself, too. I started to take him for granted and would happily “dump” the kids on him when he got home. He always dropped everything to get me things or run errands for me or change diapers, and I became comfortable in that and let him to do it.

We stopped planning “date nights” ages ago. We have fallen out of touch with each other, and I see him as only my kids’ father, and he see me as his kids’ mother. That’s it. It’s empty. We’re broken.

We haven’t prayed together in 6 years, other than a piddly nighttime prayer before bed, if we’re both in bed at the same time and if we’re awake enough to even realize what we’re saying.

So I see the solution now as
We need time as a couple again, to reconnect
We need prayer in our lives
We need to speak the love languages the other understands and thrives from
We need to learn to communicate so that things aren’t harbored away forever to where resentment and hate begin to build

The problem is that he is emotionally empty. He said he doesn’t know if he wants to work any more. He has nothing left to give. And I don’t know what to do.

I look at our beautiful children and want to throw up - what will become of their lives if he leaves us? What will become of my husband and I? Will we become bitter and unforgiving? Will we spend the rest of our lives in lonely agony?

I don’t even know who he is anymore.

I don’t know what to do. He is unresponsive. We have talked and cried for nights on end, and with a mediator, and today with a priest. We want to go to Retrouvaille. But he’s dead inside.

This feels like a terrible, terrible nightmare and I can’t wake from it. :frowning:

I have no solid advice… just the most sincere prayers for your situation. :frowning:

Remember, O most loving Virgin Mary,
that never was it known,
that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help, or sought your intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
though burdened by my sins,
I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions, but in your mercy,
hear and answer me.

Perhaps your husband is just shut-down. As you say, your expressions of love do not match, so you may need to make so big gestures that you know are things that will make an impression on him. If he’s given up, then it will take some time and effort on your part to show him that you are changing.

Also, speaking from a male perspective, the picture I get from your post is a man who does not feel respected. Now, I’m not saying you are disrespecting him. I’m just saying that if I were the man you described I would feel like I am not respected. More than anything, men need to feel respected by their wife. Without it, the male ego has big problems.

He should not be making sentences with words that have “divorce” in them, but it might be a last ditch appeal for help. Think of it as an SOS.

Marriage is not 50-50, sometimes it’s 100-0. I do believe he is crying out to you in a typical male fashion. Pride, the lack of emotional language, society’s role and many other things might preclude him from just breaking down and weeping with a broken heart. Still, don’t think it isn’t happening inside of him.

You’re both probably young (like under 40) and he might just be looking around at his life and thinking, “is this what I’m going to experience for the next 40 years?” It’s natural to question our place in the world, but if he starts to think he’d be better of without you than with you, it’s hard to get back.

My advice:

  • Figure out how to show him in many ways that you respect him as a man, a father and a husband.
  • Start figuring out how you can communicate on his emotional wavelength and show him how to do the same for you.
  • Give without expecting to get right now. If it becomes a life pattern, then it’s no good, but you’re doing CPR right now and you don’t expect the person receiving CPR to reciprocate.
  • Remember, this may be the last SOS you get before the “see you later” speech.

I am so sorry to hear this. I dont think its uncommon for this to happen when people have little ones. its so draining. Some things ive done in similar situations- i noticed I sort of let myself go somake an attempt to make sure I style my hair and wear at least mascara and lipgloss, and a clean shirt when Dh comes home. Get the kids on a really solid and early sleep schedule so we have time at night to ourselves The oldes who is twelve is in bed by 8 my youngest is in bed by 630. I think having a really solid handle on the kids help, discipline problems often interfere with relationships;). PRAY_PRAY_PRAY. those are just a few thngs that come to mind. will pray for you.

I think it would be a good idea to go to counselling, at least for an assessment before deciding what to do next.

Your husband may also be under other stresses (e.g. at work) and just mentally and emotionally exhausted. Don’t push too hard. Just ask and say if you need to reschedule for any reason (e.g. just not ready for it) than that will be OK too. In the mean time, ask what can be done immediately that would help.

I think maybe your husband has wrong expectations about life. I think he has the world’s definition of “happiness” rather than Christ’s. The world’s definition of “happiness” equates to mere subjective satisfaction for the moment. Christ’s definition of true happiness is “blessedness” which is a spiritual thing and much deeper and more lasting than momentary satisfaction! One way to find true happiness in this life is to always, always come as a servant. Actually, the word in the original Greek really meant slave, but we have kind of toned it down because of our western affluent society “sensitivities” toward the word slave. But, the bottom line is, we must serve one another. If we are always looking to BE served, we’ll never be truly happy! We will only occasionally be momentarily satisfied and that’s not nearly the same thing! :slight_smile:

Maybe somehow have him listen to Peter Kreeft talk about Happiness:

Also, the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen talks about incompatibility (it’s not really a bad thing!):

Before that, though, I recommend prayer, penance, sacrifice, fasting, etc. Visit the Blessed Sacrament. Pray the Rosary. Ask Our Lady to help you!

I think your husband is just “lost.” That can happen with too much work and the same rut, day after day. He needs to be awakened.

I’ll include y’all in my next Rosary! :slight_smile:

I’m going to add a few more thoughts…

Many men go through a classic “mid-life crisis”… and while it’s a concept that many just want to laugh at - it’s a very real and very traumatizing event for many people (men and women) at this “stage” in life… so please do your best to never trivialize this or even suggest that it’s commonplace or should easily be overcome…

My husband is 10 years older than me, so for us this happened very early on in our marriage (“this” being what I simplify as calling his “mid-life crisis”)… and let me tell you - it’s NOT easy. My DH’s issues were entirely different (divorce & marital issues weren’t a concern at all), but the root of the issue is the same… how are YOU respond to this situation.

  1. You need to allow him to share every stinky detail of what has frustrated him about you over the past 7 years - without saying a word.

  2. He needs to come to the full understanding that he failed in communicating this to you over the past 7 years. It is not fair to you for him to come and drop a bomb like this without communicating in any way prior to this point.

  3. You both need to acknowledge your failings (above), admit them to each other and to yourselves, seek prayer and reconciliation together for this failings… and move forward together with a PLAN. A plan means that he needs to LEARN how to communicate and you need to learn how to accept his communication.

I highly recommend moving forward with Retrouvaille (never been, but of course have heard miraculous results), and with both individual and marital counseling. This is not anything to be ashamed of, nor is it trivial enough to ignore.

Marriage is NEVER easy, but it’s certainly possible to lead each other toward holiness. Sometimes our guides are slow and meticulous… sometimes they push us off the side of a mountain… but the destination of greater holiness and being together in heaven is always worth it.

You have my continued prayers…

Hi Rachael79,

First - I am praying for you and husband and your kids. Do not let Satan take you marriage!

Secondly- I highly recommend “His Needs Her Needs - How to Divorce Proof your Marriage” by Willard Harley

This is not a “catholic” book but it is a great insight into the ways in which we drift apart over time and how to reveres the drift.
It also helps outline good practices for maintaining those regained feelings of actually “loving” each other again.

Don’t worry about the “D” word in the title, this is a valuable tool for all marriages even if divorce is not an option.

Blessings on you and your family!

Hi OP,

What really stood out for me is your willingness to try and correct your behaviour. A lot of people in your situation would have a lot of bitterness and blame for their spouse and I congratulate you on not being like that. I think that in itself will go a long way in improving your situation.

I think at this point what you need most is PATIENCE. It sounds like your husband in his own way IS trying to communicate. The fact that he says he does not want a divorce yet shows his willingness to try. And if the two of you can cry together, that is a good sign. Perhaps it is through those tears the marriage will heal.

I have no solid advice but I do hope you have found some encouragement from my post


Dead on the inside, unhappy, feeling he has nothing left to give, feeling he is unloved…and one more responsibility on the way. He may be just emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed, but he may be clinically depressed.

You might see if he’ll take one of those on-line tests that screen for depression. If his test results indicate that it would be good to see a professional, try to convince him to see one.

Take the test yourself, too, and get yourself screened in person, if the test indicates that’s a good idea. Depression is nothing to mess around with.

I’ve been depressed, and I described it to a friend as being “physically sad”. I could just tell my body was such that I could not enjoy anything. I was physically pessimistic. Sometimes, I could realize that I was a walking bundle of sadness, looking for what on earth I was sad about. If nothing immediately occurred to me as the source of my sadness, I’d think something up. On a better day, these same things were challenges I could enjoy rising up to meet.

Being depressed doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get medications, but it will help him figure out what might be done to clear up his mood, particularly in terms of lifestyle habits. He is almost certainly going to need help with that. Once his body is able to sustain an optimistic mood, then he may be better able to address the work of marriage and family, and enjoy the progress you make.

Good idea to describe depression, EasterJoy. I used to walk in front of my house and look at the bricks and see blood running in place of the mortar. I would look behind me when I walked and see a trail of my own bloody footprints… I had NO idea I was depressed. I lived like this for years! Seriously. Crazy, even. But guess what, I’m okay today. And I never went on medication. I just finally was healed… heard at mass the story of the woman with the issue of blood, and I related to her… then realized, I wasn’t bleeding anymore… God is in this.

What a beautiful story that is. What a tremendous grace! Just picked up your mat and walked, just like that. Praise the Lord!

That is the thing. Your vision can be changed so gradually that you don’t realize it. If nothing causes you to question your perceptions, you take them at face value, even when they tell you all these horrible things. Before long, you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, and you don’t see how you’re ever going to want to. Yet it seems so…real. It seems as if this is the way that life “really” is. You don’t realize that no happy person ever looks at the same facts in the way you are looking at them. You can’t imagine that there are happy people even remotely in your situation. It just doesn’t seem remotely possible.

The Lord is all we have.
In Him we trust.
In Him we hope.

Rachel, I am so sorry for what you and your husband are goig through. I hadn’t written before because I wasn’t sure what to say. I’ve been married a little over 6 years, I am pregnant too, and we have little kids too.
I did see little details in your story that give me great hope for you and your husband. You mentioned how he offered things up, so he is aware of the supernatural aspect of life. You guys are seeking help together, even if he feels dead inside (like others mentioned there may be other factors contributing to that), working on your marriage, both of you putting effort of being there (even if he is unresponsive etc), is very good. The devil loves to mess with Catholic marriages. You have identified areas where you can work on, that’s great, work on them, things will take time, don’t be discouraged if in the first days/weeks etc. you do not see progress. God hears our prayers and always responds when we are asking for good things. We don’t know how He will respond, but rest assured He will respond.

After about 7 years of marriage, 11 years together we had a pretty difficult time as well. The difference was that we were trying to have children and couldn’t so that was a big part of it. However family issues on each side the previous years had driven us apart (much like kids can do) as it seemed we were always focusing on other things more than each other.

It’s not too late though, talk and decide to take your marriage back for each of you. Make those date nights, expecting or not (actually this is a good time since you don’t have to worry about pregnancy) take more time to “renew your marriage covenant” go to lunch if you can, when you each are about to pass out on the bed, just cuddle and talk a little, not about kids or work or stress but just random things and pray. If not when you are together, make commitments to each other to spend sometime, even if it’s only 5 minutes, praying for each other and your marriage.

We had grown apart to the point that my wife was about to move out 9 years ago and while I didn’t want to loose her for the wrong reasons I’m not sure I wanted her there for the right ones. At the time we were not Catholic but one of my wife’s best friends was our associate pastor (in a liberal Presbyterian Church) who told her we couldn’t divorce because we would go to hell… and she was serious! That wasn’t what made the difference but perhaps it shook us up some… we did exactly what I suggested above.

It was tough the first month, I began to suspect infidelity (more imagined that true perhaps because I wanted an excuse) but we kept at it. Within a few month we were happier than we had been in many many years. As we continued to focus on each other and our marriage became whole again we were blessed with our First child and son.

Since that time we converted to the Catholic Faith, have 3 more sons and couldn’t be happier. We are often exhausted as we both work with 4 kids, sometimes we pick at each other over stupid things and even argue from time to time… but we forgive and come back together keeping most of our time together the happiest times of our lives!

Focus on Him and each other, have Faith that He will give each of you the grace and mercy needed. You both have to do this though, if you do I’m sure you marriage will blossom once again!


The Lord is merciful and will not reject us forever.
He may bring us sorrow, but His love for us is sure and strong.
He takes no pleasure in causing grief or pain.
Lamentations 3:28-33

Thank you all for your prayers and comments.

Things are much, much better. Our talk with a priest really worked wonders, along with much communication and many, many tears.

We are both now completely committed to working on this. We are recognizing this as a great grace, coming at just the right time, and right now we’re at a place where we feel like we’re falling in love with each other all over again.

Thank You, Jesus.

Sometimes when it is over it is over. I know you dont want to hear that but it is the truth. I speak from being where he was at and leaving. Sure, I was half the problem but I know I did more and at the end I couldn’t stand my life, fighting over the dumbest things, feeling like a dog who got a bone if I could spend 5 minutes OUTSIDE of “our” life to enjoy the person I was or used to be.

I hope the best for you. BUT, if it goes south, understand that it is not the end of your life. Be strong for the kids. DO NOT hate him because he PROB has enough reason to hate you. Be amicable.

7 years is where I was at when I left. Kids are hard because a persons life becomes about them and speaking for men, we lose our manliness when we have to be more of a mother instead of a bread winning father. This can cause so many feelings.

You and him may need a week alone on a vacation. You may need to PLAN more time together OR…MORE time apart! I know that when I get time away I am SOOOO glad. I love my wife and kids but Christs sake, I need ME time to do whatever I want without being judged.

He may have lost his goals. I know I’m a poet but since getting remarried I have not written down anything because I don’t have the time or MAKE the time. Get to what is really pulling him away.

Ask yourself “is our sex life good?” “what RIGHT NOW does he need to make himself START to feel more alive.”

Maybe he needs new goals, new hobbies, old hobbies that he hasn’t been able to enjoy. I know I LOVE the movies and I get depressed when movies come and go and I don’t have time to go and see them.

I make time for wife to get her back rubbed or I take the kids and say “Go out with your friends or go to borders book shop” SIMPLE things mean a ton and I wish I would have known this in my first marriage. You don’t always have to DO things together. Men actually love to be by themselves…we are hunters that come BACK to the pack.

I give you so much respect for even coming on here because YOU see what went wrong. If my first wife had your insight, we would still be together. But, it takes two.

My prayers are with you for what God will bring into your life, that you can see it as blessings…

I’m so sorry to hear of your troubles. Ever heard the term, “seven year itch”? It’s an old saying, but like many sayings, it has it’s roots in truth. It’s because a lot of marriages seem to go through a rough period around the seven year mark. Not that it in any way makes it okay, it’s just a fact for enough couples that a term has come to describe it.

Please stay on track. Seek help as you need it, from a priest, from a Christian counselor. Too many times we want to do it on our own, when we need to reach out for some help. I’ve haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve heard a lot of people with favorable comments about the movie, “Fireproof”. It’s suppose to be about a marriage in trouble and helping to “fireproof” you marriage. You could rent it and make a date night watching the movie. Also, I remember hearing on Catholic radio, Fr. John Riccardo give a couple of talks on marriage. As I was listening to them I remember thinking, “Wow.” I’m pretty sure you can find these talks on the internet. One of them may be done as a session on his teaching RCIA in his parish, so would be listed under that category.

Anyway, may God bless, and I’ve already offered up a prayer.

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