Wife Is Committed To Divorce

Hi all,

Well 2 weeks ago the wife said she wants a divorce. Long story short, the way she talks about it to me, family, and friends, she seems to gung-ho for it, and is thinking it will make her much happier. There has been NOTHING I have said or done that has even made a dent.

She doesn’t want to be around me AT ALL in the house, and feels strained and “caged” when she’s home.

We have done marital counseling, but since then I simply did not fulfill her needs nor put her first. She now says that she loves me as a person, and not as a husband, and that she wants to work on her and I should work on me so we can become better people and have an amicable divorce. I truly understand what I have done wrong, and simply did not put her first.

She wants to file in 2 weeks, and if I don’t contest the divorce, she will let me use the 90 day no fault waiting period as a “chance” to see if I can turn things around. However, she says she sees no hope at all she will change her mind.

I have bought the Love Dare, Save This Marriage, Save the Marriage, and have started to register for Retrouvaille. I hear amazing things about Retrouvaille.

Has anyone been in this situation? Where your wife doesn’t “love” you? I basically have about 120 days to try, but I feel like once the divorce starts, then the momentum will keep carrying her away.

I feel like I have no hope in this marriage. ANY advice is appreciated AT ALL.

I am so sorry for your situation. it sounds like your wife has a unrealistic view of marriage. I’m married for 14 years, and there have been times when i feel unloved and unappreciated, but mine and my husband’s mutual love for Jesus and communication with eachother has pulled us through. I don’t know how much faith your wife has, but without it, she may be looking at hollywood’s view of marriage. Which is, a romantic, feel good thing where everyone is lovey dovey all the time. I know women like this and they are never happy. Do you have children? b/c she certainly isn’t thinking of them… she sounds quite selfish, it sounds like you have done a lot to try to fix the relationship, she needs counseling. She needs to know how important marriage is…Good luck to you…

If you haven’t been putting her first, that has been a grave mistake. Amend it now, but not in an obnoxious way. I’d take off from work as much as possible and see if she wants to go on a romantic trip or something. Work really hard at this…sounds like she is giving you a chance. And pray the Rosary!

This is the kind of garbage that has permeated the country since the 60s. This “I need to work on me first” blather is exactly the line George Segal used in Look Who’s Talking. Pathetic. Marriage is about sacrifice and working it out, not self-esteem fulfillment.

She sounds like the kind of progressive that is completely out to lunch. I’m sorry you’re in this situation. All I can recommend is that you have a “come to Jesus” moment with her about divorce, the soul, God, and honoring commitments. It applies to both the husband and the wife.

I agree that your wife seems unreasonable and I am sorry you are in this situation. But since you want advice, here it comes. Referring to her as ‘the wife’ obviously shows your attitude towards her. ‘The wife’ is a very disrespectful attitude and I think your disrespect is so ingrained in you, you probably don’t even realize when this is happening.

Try working on thinking about her is an uplifting manner when you are not around her and perhaps she will sense a positive change


People fall in love with and marry…the issues of their households of origin.
People fall out of love and want to divorce… the issues of their households of origin.
People go on and fall in love with and re-marry… the issues of their households of origin.

The only way to get off this merry go round… the only way to build and hold together any marriage…
is to figure out the issues of the households of origin and work to resolve, release, and heal them.

Case in point:
J had a brilliant, perfectionistic, materialistic, successful attorney for a father. She loved him, she hated him, she argued with him. Her grades were never good enough in school because his had always been better in school. Her friends and interests were never good enough because they weren’t his friends and his interests. He never had enough time for her. She didn’t like his perfectionistic domineering ways leaning over her whenever he did spend time with her. He wanted her to be a lawyer. She wanted to be a teacher. He had a low opinion of teachers. And on… and on… and on.

J has spent the last 35 years getting involved with, and marrying and divorcing men who are both just like her father and just the exact dead opposite of her father. Most of them were genuinely nice guys. She loved them, she didn’t love them, she felt trapped, she shoved them out the door, she ran off with other guys. She divorced one, married another, then divorced him too. After 35 years, I’ve lost count.
People write screenplays about this sort of stuff. Shrug. Thank God she never had children. She had wanted children. The game would have continued, but she would have “won” this time… because their grades would never have been good enough…
It’s a terrible thing to measure one’s success… by one’s ability to defeat one’s children.

We all watched her husbands and lovers come and go. Felt sorry for them. What could anybody say?
J’s definition of love and relationship is what she learned from her father…
the arguing, the struggle for control, the conflict of interests and values…
it’s her working definition of “love”… it’s those issues from her household of origin…
She has never worked them out in life, only gone on repeating them.
Some people have better issues from their households of origin, and some have worse, but most people go on repeating them because it’s all they know and they haven’t learned anything else…
Most people do go on repeating them…
until they take a serious look at the issues of their household of origin.

She feels trapped in a house half the time and wants to escape on the back end of a motorcycle…
and alternately build a Taj Mahal of a house the other half of the time…
and alternatively embraces both religiosity and hedonism…
because both polar opposites are attempts to escape… the issues of her household of origin. Sigh.
But that’s her story…
not yours.

As for your story, whatever your story…
You can sort things out by asking yourself how are you like her father? How are you like her mother? What are her issues with her father? What are her issues with her mother?

How is she like your mother? How is she like your father? What are your issues with your mother? What are your issues with your father?

When you address and work on healing those issues…
you can build marriage that lasts.

God didn’t put people here because they knew how to love themselves and others, ya know? God put people here because they didn’t know how to love themselves and others. God put everybody here to learn.
And that’s not easy.

Total nonsense.

Look, unless you’re out late with your friends all the time and really genuinely ignoring her, not being a good father to your kids or have some kind of addiction problem, I think the issue is likely with her. And to be honest, I think buying all those books and trying to “win her over again” is probably exacerbating the problem. If genuinely she loves you as a person but is not “in love with you” then the problem is A) she has an unrealistic view of marriage and B) you’re kowtowing to her too much.

I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but what women really hate the most is when men give in and give in when they toss out those very mild complaints. Give in to her too much and you look weak and women are genuinely repulsed by weak men. You can be humble and not be weak. You can be mature and recognized your own shortcomings and work on them without being weak. You can even maturely talk about marital problems and resolve to work on them without being weak.

But how it sounds to me is that there was no adultery, no constant ignoring of her or failing in your duty as a parent, she just “fell out of love” and your reaction was to wilt when she immaturely upped the ante.

So what would I do? I’d escalate the situation. I’d say flat out “sweetheart, I love you and I always will, but you seriously have a distorted view of reality if you think there isn’t a time in every couples life where they have to choose to love their spouses because the ‘spark’ fades for awhile. The fact that you refuse to do that reveals a lot about your character. So when you walk out that door, know that within a few months you’ll be begging to come back because while finding yourself you’ll realize that you’re alone because you quit on the one person who actually followed through in his pledge to love and honor you forever.”

Of course you should pray and beg God for help on this. But you can’t pray and beg HER to stay. That’s only going to lower your value in her mind. What you have to do is lay the cards on the table, call her out on her quitting on someone who didn’t really do her wrong (provided you haven’t left out any serious details) and leave it up to her to decide what to do while making it clear that life WILL go on for you. Even if this requires a ton of acting, it’s what you have to do. Women love strong and bold men. Women constantly challenge us to show backbone and are less attracted to us the more we show weakness. Like I said earlier, you can be meek and humble while being strong. After all, it takes great courage, strength and confidence in God to lay your life down for someone else. That’s why Christ is the ultimate alpha. He allowed himself to be handed over to die on a cross but did so while plainly speaking the truth and refusing to give in to any temptation to deviate from His redemptive plan.

Take courage in Him, knowing that by being blunt with your wife you may save her from the grave sin of walking out on a valid and sacred marriage.

What does she think you are putting first? Is it something like your job or TV or is it something like alcohol or pornography? Has she told you or is it just something vague like you don’t make her feel important?

Try marriagebuilders.com

They have some good methods.

You know, I am a woman and I agree with a great deal of your post. I would like to clarify that I don’t think “all” women are as you described, but I would agree that this type of woman is out there, and the OP may well be married to one.

Although I think it would be very difficult to do, I agree that the OP may have to call her on her bluff. I liked your “script” :slight_smile: except for the part of “you’ll be back begging me” because I think it comes off as too - I don’t know - obnoxious? It would turn me right off. I would keep the part about “you’ll find you’ve left the one person” part though.

As a woman I too agree with this and I too would take out the “begging” part b/c it sounds too passionate. I would give this kind of message too and call her bluff.

Women do hate it when men are weak and begin begging.

Stand your ground and beg God to help you behind the scenes. Be kind to your wife, but not a doormat.

Good advice Bucket! :thumbsup:

StJudePray4Me, I am a pretty obnoxious person in real life. It’s not a wonder that it bleeds over into my writings… especially since you could find my other “Internet personas” at far more… uh… crude forums. You know, the ones that substitute for a pub without having to pay a $30 bar tab to chew the fat with the guys.

In all honesty, I was definitely the deferential guy in the past. Despite being a bigger guy, fat at first but then fairly fit in college, I was quiet and shy around women, figuring that I wasn’t being gentlemanly if I was forward with them. Not true. As it turns out, all I needed to was “man up” and be a little bit bold and boom! I ended up finding the girl of my dreams! And I didn’t have to sacrifice my respect of women or the morals of the Church.

At any rate, I think what happens far too often is that men think that they can or should stop trying to be men once they’re married. That’s pure insanity. Yes, you need to learn that things change once you’re married and you have responsibilities and you can’t be super-daring or anything like that to make your wife soon anymore because that would be irresponsible for your family. So yeah, you have to show those nesting/beta qualities. But just as husbands still want their wives to be sexy even once they’re moms, women want their husbands to be MEN even once they’re fathers. In fact, they sometimes want it even more because they want their husbands to be good examples to the next generation. Being overly deferential and failing those subconscious fitness tests that women always toss out there (and yes ladies you do it all the time even if you don’t know if and no, it’s not wrong. It’s an evolutionary defense mechanism to ensure you’re still with the strongest male around) is a real quick way to marital problems and even divorce if they’re allowed to fester. These are the divorces that come from “falling out of love” or “irreconcilable differences” as opposed to the ones that stem from deception, infidelity or abuse. They shouldn’t happen. We men need to learn to reject the culture of turning men into eunuchs… because that’s leading to increased unhappiness for women AND more abuse and sexual promiscuity as women turn to cads and abusers to fill the void left by decent men who have been suckered into becoming little girls.

Oh yeah, and as for the “you don’t spend enough time with me” line, I don’t buy it for a second. Sure, plenty of wives complain about their husbands watching too much TV, drinking too much beer, sitting around too much, even playing too much golf or fishing too often. But how often do you hear that “he’s in the garage building stuff too often” or “he goes out hunting too much” or “he spends way too much time training for whatever sport” etc. Unless a guy is really doing that 24/7 and not paying ANY attention to his wife, that just doesn’t happen much at all. Why? Because he’s DOING SOMETHING and women love when a man is skilled at something and exercises that skill or when he develops new skills. It’s part of the attraction game, so women don’t just let it slide, they like when their husbands are getting in better shape or building stuff or learning something new even at the expense of time together.

So yeah, I don’t buy the line unless you’re doing nothing at the expense of time together or you’re obsessive over something. If anything, my wife and I spend too much time together since we’ve got two very young kids and not a lot of time or money. I can’t wait to get back into MMA training or joining a soccer club or something. Not because I want to get away from my wife, but because I want to do something that shows my fitness as a man and I know that she’ll be happier as I improve my skills… and so will I!

Bucket is onto something even though he’s very alpha male :wink:

Women like their men to be tough and rough, but not too tough and rough. Clear as mud eh? :smiley:

If my husband went out every weekend hunting and left me alone with the kids all the time, I would be ready to leave. There has to be a medium. He continues his hobbies, likes and dislikes, but is also emotionally available to his wife and children on a regular basis.

Family outings should be booked at least once a month; vacations at least once or twice a year. The family needs to be nurtured as well.

My husband is either busy with the house or doing stuff on a regular basis, but he’s also spending time with us on a regular basis…this is a fair deal.

Now, if I also want time alone with my friends, I let him know and he gives me that time…that’s also a fair deal. It doesn’t happen that often with me, but there are times when my girlfriends invite me out somewhere and I want to go.


I have been through a divorce. It is Hell.

First, realize that you cannot control your wife. If she is hell bent for leather to get a divorce, she will.

Second, all that talk about you getting a chance to turn it around, but she doesn’t think you can, is not meant for you - but for her. She is trying to justify it in her own mind and place the blame on you for having failed to “turn it around.”

Third, I agree with The Bucket that you need to be firm, but you should also remain loving and calm - even in the face of her screaming irrationality. Having been there, here’s my advice for speaking with her - all of these should be said, but not necessarily in any particular order (just as appropriate):
-Always start with “I love you for life,” and mean it, and also tell her what love is: the decision to will the best good for the beloved (and not some romantic feeling).
-Tell her that what she is doing is hurting you horribly and tearing you apart, and that she is making the conscious decision to hurt you. Don’t let her get away with it emotionally.
-Tell her, when appropriate, that her statements are clearly directed to justifying her actions in her own mind, and on trying to place the blame for her decisions onto you. Don’t let her get away with that.
-Tell her that you will not support a divorce and, even if the law is in her favor, you will oppose it because divorce is against GOD’S law.
-Tell her that scripture says that God hates divorce, and that divorcing you when you are trying to save the marriage MIGHT be eternally separating her from God because, without some pretty extreme justification, divorce is an occasion for mortal sin. Note: This statement must be offered in love - not as a threat. You literally are trying to save her from committing what may be, objectively speaking, a mortal sin.
-Tell her that there’s no such thing as an amicable divorce - “amicable divorce” is an oxymoron, an obvious paradox. Take it from a guy whose been there and who tried to have an “amicable divorce” - it just isn’t possible. There is NOTHING “amicable” (friendly) about separating what God has joined.
-Tell her that you will work with her to save the marriage, but you will not bow to her every whim and demand.

Fourth, I thought divorce would also solve my problems (I was married to a woman who decided to become an active homosexual - and we chose to separate so she could pursue her life). I figured I could find a new wife, a better wife. WRONG. Divorce did not solve my problems, it made them worse. Divorce was Hell. It did not make me happier.

Your wife is living in a fantasy if she thinks divorce will make her happier - and you should tell her that in so many words. Divorce is an emergency measure to protect someone from physical danger from an abusive spouse, or maybe a sham divorce to protect physical assets. Nothing short of that justifies divorce - AND I SAY THAT HAVING BEEN MARRIED TO AN ACTIVE HOMOSEXUAL.

Had I the chance to “do it over again” I would have sacrificed my sex life with my lesbian wife, if necessary, and fought with all my strength and prayer life to save my first marriage.

By the way: the pain of divorce, and my general lack of catechesis and prayer life led me a down a dark road of sexual promiscuity and sin for nearly 20 years. I ended up marrying an anti-Catholic woman for all the wrong reasons (though I did get a declaration of nullity from the Church for my first marriage).

However, a few years ago, the Grace of God came into my life and saved me from another divorce and, much worse, possibly eternal Hell itself. While my wife is still anti-Catholic, and while we still fight about me raising our kids Catholic (I insist), my changed attitude brought my second marriage back from the brink. She MIGHT even convert now.

I can’t promise you anything, and I certainly can’t control your wife. However, ultimately my advice boils down to this:

-Increase your own holiness. Go to confession regularly, pray the rosary daily, go to daily mass, and spend extra prayer time before the Blessed Sacrament. Convert your own heart, continually.

-Man up. Although you can’t control her, and while you should never denigrate or deliberately hurt your wife, you can and should call her on her shinnanigans and tell her what is really happening, what will happen, and, out of love for her, the possible eternal consequences of her actions.

I will pray for you.

God Bless,

Haha! Yeah, I’m really alpha male with my writing job and spending excessive time on the computer every night. No, I just know what the shortcomings are but am in no position to rectify them right now. No time or money to return to my MMA training. I miss it, but it’s at least $100 a month that I don’t have. Thanks a lot kids!

Maybe I should pour myself into less expensive and more important efforts like religious contemplation or something. That you can do anywhere, doesn’t cost a dime, develops a skill to make you more attractive to a devout mate and is good for your soul.

In fact, if I recall, my wife has frequently said “you know, it’s OK for you to do X, I take care of the kids all the time by myself. You can have a weeknight to yourself.” I always let her take a night off if she wants (as long as it’s not a gym night) but I never take one. Hrm. Yeah and my wife is not much for subtlety in ANY area. In fact, when discussing a new job she pointed out that the prospective company is bigger so I’d be able to have more friends and stop off at the bar before coming home to hang out and get a beer. I argued that I just wanted to come home to her and the kids and she stops me and says, “seriously, the kids and I will be here, it’s fine to take a half hour to make new friends and have fun on your own.” Bless her.

To be frank, she’s the reason I’m learning to slowly embrace my alpha side while not ignoring the important feelings of security that my beta providing side brings to the table. But like anything, it’s harder to do it than to diagnose it. Ugh, just ask my confessor!

You’re getting some excellent advice here. I have bolded the parts that I really agree with.

Also, I am a child of divorced parents and yes, divorce is Hell on everyone. Put the guilt onto her too; don’t take the blame all on your own.

Your wife does not sound like she is committed to divorce. She sounds like she is committed to herself. I know this isn’t news to you and probably not to her either. I was in this situation literally two days ago. I wanted Hollywood’s version of a marriage and I was committed to getting that for me. However, it took prayer, these forums, and counseling to realize that I didn’t really want that. There was something very important missing from my marriage. Once my husband and I agreed to put our faith and trust in God, we found what was missing and we committed ourselves to repair and reconcile our marriage.

I do not agree with the suggestions to confront her about these things or to show her how strong and not weak you are. This may drive her away. The best thing for me in this situation was being able to see my husband’s devotion to God and to our marriage. Each time I questioned him about if he’d want to be married to someone who wasn’t “in” love with him, he would answer of course. Seeing his faith in God made me realize how little I had. And I am the Catholic in this marriage!

There is something missing from your marriage. She thinks it’s romance. It’s not. Hopefully, she has responsible mentors like priests or deacons she can talk to. All you need to do is start putting her first, keep a dialogue open, pray, and suggest she do the same. See if she’ll go with you to a priest, deacon or mentor. See if she’ll pray with you at church or at home.

God bless you.

This is great advice too, but don’t over do it and seem like you’re begging.

You read all the responses and decide on your approach.

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