I am a 54-year old Catholic man, married to a 54-year-old Catholic woman for just over 30 years. We met in high school, went different ways during college, and wound up together again, eventually engaged and married.
I will call us Joe and Jill.
Jill is, for the most part, a wonderful wife, mother, daughter and sister, both personally and spiritually. Together, we raised one daughter, a recent college graduate who also lives a deep, strong and active life of Catholic faith.
Over our thirty-year marriage, I have always tried to be a good husband. I have not been perfect; there are times when I treated my wife in less than a respectful manner in my words or in my treatment of her. I have asked for her forgiveness on these matters and have worked hard to be a better man and a better partner. I have never physically hurt Jill in any conceivable manner. I’m not an alcoholic, a drug user, a gambler, or addicted to any substance or harmful activity. Neither is Jill.
I cannot imagine my life without her. She is my sunrise and sunset, the very reason I live my life here on this Earth. The thought of my life without her is something I simply can’t bear or imagine.
I spend the majority of my time about 700 miles away from our home, working at my contracting job. The current situation of the economy where we live demands this. This is a sacrifice I make to provide a comfortable home and life for my wife and daughter. I consider myself fortunate to be able to do this. I frequently travel home on weekends and for extended holiday periods.
About six months ago, Jill informed me that she had started an emotional relationship with another man. She has always insisted that there has been no physical, sexual or adulterous behavior. I believe her. After my initial shock and anger, I decided to work harder than I ever though possible to save our marriage. This test of our marriage revealed to me the absolute depths of my love for her. I realized that I had taken what we had for granted in many ways.
Together, we have tried extremely hard to rescue our relationship. Over the course of this six-month period, she would lapse back into seeing this man, even after telling me the relationship was over. Leading into the holidays, I believed, through her words and actions, that we had really turned the corner.
When I returned to my job, I believed that things were OK and would continue that way. I learned, however, she saw this man again this weekend. She informed me that she still has very strong feelings for him, and I fear that this could potentially lead to the end of our marriage.
Even worse, this man is a (former) friend of mine, someone I trusted to a great degree. That he would stab me in the back and actively seek to convince Jill to leave me is something I can barely believe. He is also married, with grown children, and is apparently seeking a way to leave his wife.
I can state, with complete conviction, that my wife’s love for me hasn’t lessened in any significant way. When we are together and we focus on one another to the exclusion of any outside distractions, I believe we have a relationship that would be the envy of anyone. Spiritually, physically, intimately, emotionally…all these things work. We’ve spent the past 30 years working hard to make it so.
I believe she also understands the consequences of any aftermath if our relationship ends. We would both lose so many wonderful things in our lives. I especially fear the loss of the faith in God that we share. Individually, I know we will never lose our faith, but we have always taken strength in each others’ love of the Lord’s word and how we try to apply it in our lives. We would also lose many of those earthly things we’ve worked so hard for during our lives, and I would especially mourn the loss of the home we share together. I realize these are just physical things that can always be replaced, but anyone with a lengthy marriage who has built something together understands what I mean.
I am not seeking any advice from anyone here. We are still trying to work things out between us, and as much of an uphill battle as that has been, I believe we still have a chance to succeed. We have been through every possible stage you can imagine; shock, hurt, mistrust, arguments, pleading, reasoning, intimacy - you name it. For me, if we turn this back around and stay together, she can count on my unconditional forgiveness. I have already forgiven her in my heart time and time again, because I love her and believe that what we have is the greatest partnership a man could have with a woman. I have tried very hard to not dredge these things up and throw it “back in her face” when we talk about it. I haven’t always succeeded in this. I suppose that’s the anger and hurt boiling up inside me. But I try to keep it in check…I will always keep my heart ready for her, I will always forgive her, she will always be #1 in my life on this Earth.
I’ve been droning on and on here, so let me come to my request. I wish to ask all the Prayer Warriors and all my friends in Christ to please pray for Jill and I as we work though this difficult time in our lives. I have prayed very hard during this, and at times, I believed God has heard me and touched her soul. But when she’s turned away again, I can’t help but wonder if there’s something in my life, something I am doing (or not doing) that is keeping me from God’s favor. But I will continue to speak to Him, through Jesus and the Blessed Mother, asking for intercession and that my Jill’s heart be softened and that she keeps our marriage alive and strong. I know we can accomplish this with God’s help.
I seek the help of you all, my friends in the Word of Christ, to pray for us and our marriage.
Thank you so much and God Bless You All!