Hello everybody, I am new to this site as I sought a catholic forum to expose my situation and gain some advice.
I have been married for 4 years and we have a young child (3 years old) but unsure whether I have made the right decision about marrying my husband. My husband is 7 years older than me, he works and provides for the family whilst I go to university (I am in my mid twenties). When we got married, we were genuinely in love, I am from south america and he is english (we live in the UK) and were very strong about spending the rest of our lives together despite the differences. Although he isn’t catholic, we did get married in my faith and but he refuses to go mass (his parents come from an anglican church).
His main issue is about intimacy, as I am not attracted to him anymore. My main issue is that we are too different, our cultures are constantly causing an argument now. We are a lot less tolerant of each other and will argue with each other rather than compromise. Although we are at home in the evenings, we don’t do things together apart from eating. We have a boring routine but our son is growing in a healthy environment.
The problem has grown in my head since I have became attracted to another man and it has made me realise my marriage is failing. I do not want this to carry on but I am unsure whether I can rescue our love for each other? I have tried to talk to him but he never sees the issue and thinks everything is great (apart from being intimate).
I have started to think the devil is trying to get into our marriage and making me sin. Is this possible? I understand I need to fight my marriage but I feel like we are having issues too early and started to doubt our decision that perhaps we are not right for each other. Is this normal? I don’t want to live an unhappy marriage for the rest of my life.
Hello everybody, I am new to this site as I sought a catholic forum to expose my situation and gain some advice.
I strongly recommend marriage counselling, preferably from a Catholic counsellor. Retrouvaille, which is a program for troubled marriages, may also be an option. In addition, I strongly encourage you to set aside a regular “date” night. Even if it’s just watching a favourite movie/TV show and opening a bottle of wine. This is VERY important because you have to remember that your marriage is an ongoing relationship that requires nourishment and work, even AFTER your wedding.
I think 4-5 years after marriage is a very common time for those initial sparks to start fading. (I’ve been married 4.5 years, myself. ;)) Counseling can help with this, but you can also begin to work on a few things: Try to see things from your spouse’s point of view. This can work for differences in culture as well as individual differences.
One thing that stuck out to me is that he is coming from a culture that is famous (or infamous) for its lack of outward displays of affection, whereas South American cultures are known for the opposite. I can definitely see how that could put some stress on a marital relationship, because you’re both likely to be working with different expectations, and now that the initial charm is wearing off the quirks that used to be cute are now really annoying. (By the way, this is probably the case for the both of you!)
I would also say that if this other man you are attracted to is someone you see regularly, that you avoid as much as possible running into him. Whether things are difficult in your marriage or not, you still made a promise to be faithful and should avoid temptation to the extent possible.
You asked if tge devil might be trying to get in your marriage and make you sin.
YES!!! He will do that if it works. If it works, he will do more of it! So consider yourself to he fighting against this evil enemy who desires only to pull you away from God and Heaven.
Now, what are some things you can do? First, of course, pray a lot!!! Pray each time thoughts of this other man come into your head for protection against the devil, to Christ, to Mary, to St Michael the Archangel, your patron saint, and others.
Pray a Hail Mary for your husband each time you feel annoyed, disappointed, or any other negative way about him.
And recall when you and your husband first met and the times after that. Remember how you thought about him then, the reasons you married him.
Do a little something he likes for him each day. Does he hate one task and you don’t mind? Buy him a snack he really likes but rarely gets? A back massage when he gets home? Etc (those are just some ideas).
You have already gotten some other good ideas and will probably get more, but something else to consider: would you do this to your son? Say, oh, we’re so different, such different ages, he does difficult things, maybe that other child would be better for me? I don’t think so But you and your husband have a sacramental marriage which makes him your husband the way your son is your son, no?
Since there doesn’t seem to be any question raised regarding the validity of the marriage, all responses must focus on improving the marriage - no one can encourage you to leave a valid marriage (baring abuse or other serious issue). If you do have questions of validity, please see your priest to discuss.
As for improving a difficult marriage…
It is important to remember as the first few years pass and the “daily grind” sets in, that love is not to be considered merely as a feeling, but as a choice, and then an action. It is nice to be “in love”, but such feelings can come and go and it is not crucial to a good marriage. Instead, focus on choosing to love. If you choose to love, and work on your marriage as a priority, the feelings may come back.
As per advice above, counselling should be strongly considered. If you are at the point where you are talking of leaving and thinking of another man, I definitely think you should seek counselling.
As for the other man - remember your vows - to be true to him (your husband) in good times and bad. And remember your child. Avoid this other man as much as possible; whether he is encouraging you or not, he is poison to your marriage.
Ask yourself what you want for your child. Ask what you don’t want for your child.
Do you want your child to grow up with a divided heart?
Do you want your child to be separated from you every other weekend or 6 months out of the year?
Do you want your child to be disciplined by a step-mother?
How much heart ache do you want for your family?
Do want to raise your child with a step-dad that may or may not want your child around?
A divorce for a child is as traumatic as a death of a parent. Do you want to see your child take on the haunted look of children with whose hearts are divided?
Do you want to enter into the world of financial insecurity?
There was a time 45 years ago that I wanted to leave my husband and my children and escape the problems of married life. By the grace of God, we clung to each other through these hard times.
The burden you carry now is nothing to the burden you will be placing on the back of your child.
I think it would be good for you to find a really good priest that can help you through these issues. Please do this.
In the meantime, I would highly recommend that you go to confession as often as you can. Once a week would be excellent as this will give you special graces, particularly insight, fortitude, greater love, and many other special graces.
I would strongly suggest you keep away from this other guy you are attracted to until issues in your marriage are fully resolved.
You really need to get through to your husband and wake him up as to how much trouble your marriage is in. You have to make it clear to him how serious this is.
God Bless You! I will try to remember to pray for you during adoration.
Thank you everyone for your responses! I really needed to get this off my chest and to confirm we need help. This may sound silly but I have been ashamed to ask our priest for help.
Thank you also for the ideas about date nights and small gestures I can do in a way of reminding ourselves of what our marriage used to be like not so long ago. I understand I have not been putting our marriage first (after Christ of course) and that’s probably why the negativities have become more apparent.
In regard to this other man, he is from the university but isn’t in direct contact with current subjects, therefore I’m not in regular touch. Althought I have identified an attraction, I am very aware and concerned of the consequences this has, therefore will do everything I can to try and avert myself from it. My sons wellbeing is my biggest priority and understand the best thing for him is for our marriage to succeed.
That’s understandable, but is there another priest you can talk to? If you work at a university there’s probably a priest you can contact there, or at least get a referal to one?
Ah…there it is.
I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic or to minimize what you are feeling, but the world is full of attractive members of the opposite sex. None of them are worth losing your family over. Time to screw your head on straight.
I’m just throwing this out there, not particularly aimed at the OP since I don’t know the ins and outs of her marriage.
Marriages are not going to stay in honeymoon phase forever. And that is not a sign that it’s all gone to pot, or that the partners are failing. They grow and change and go through stages, as does any relationship or “living thing”, and I do consider marriages to be “living”.
Sometimes people get very alarmed by the changes that take place after a few years, or after the birth of a child and assume they are a death knell. They don’t necessarily need to be.
Also, marriages are forever. Until death do us part. That’s not just a quaint old traditional phrase. Marriage is an institution that exists to a great extent to provide a safe and stable environment to raise children in. Staying together for the children doesn’t mean you grit your teeth and fight and run down your spouse…but are technically together. It means you put the children first and remain respectful, responsible adults. And while you are at it, do the same for the sake of the spouse and the marriage.
There are things a couple owes one another, and their children. Fiscal responsibility, respect, and yes, sexual relief. That doesn’t refer to 100% sex on demand all the time.
These things are why sacramental marriages matter. Those things are understood from the start. That’s what the couple is convenenting to do. Not “I’ll be nice to you as long as I feel sparks and warm fuzzies”. It’s why marriage is a serious matter.
Many times we find couples take their marriage vows and respect for their spouse as less important and real than their job of employment. Whether we feel like it or not, we go to work,show up on time, we do what our job description says, we don’t disrespect our boss or coworkers because we know it’s not acceptable…then we come home…and all bets are off.
In the end my ex and I made a hash of our marriage. We replaced one another with other people, other interests, other pursuits. We didn’t make it through the “in sickness and in health” part. We used our common human failings as excuses to leave rather than wake up calls to improve.
There was a time when you were okay with religious differences and cultural differences, and age differences. And now, when the newness has worn off and marriage and life with a child has become a “boring routine” you are attracted to another man.
It doesn’t “just happen.” That is just what people say once they start something. So don’t start something.
Change your routine. Do something different, go somewhere different, with your husband and with your child. Your marriage doesn’t just happen, it takes doing.
So do something each day for your marriage and for your family. And don’t look elsewhere for happiness, it will only bring unhappiness for your child.
Yes. I had to leave my first husband because of abuse, there was no choice. But still one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life was watching my little three year old chase after a man in the park who resembled his dad, calling “Daddy, daddy!” The man didn’t hear him and walked on.
That was about 35 years ago, and it still hurts, though my son has probably forgotten it. But if you have any choice, don’t do that to your child. Nothing is worth that except escaping from abuse.
My father wasn’t abusive but he was gone. I still remember chasing a man who might have been my father calling out. “Daddy, Daddy”. That was maybe, 61 years ago.
What harm is done to children these days. So many many children with divided hearts. The pain in no less because so many kids these days share this pain. Each child bears it alone with their own special hurt.
I know that there are times when, for the safety of a parent and the safety of the children a separation is necessary. But, just because life is “not as full filling as the green pasture next door.” The pain for the children is not worth it.
Actually, the longer a couple is married, the more likely it is that they will stay together. Most divorces happen before the 10 year mark.
Loving each other well is a skill, not something passive and not something easy.
My husband and I’s counselor recommended the book “When Divorce Isn’t an Option.” It was recently published but by far it’s been the most helpful book i’ve read. That said, my husband and I do have big issues that require counseling. And largely this is due to both of us having unhealthy attachment styles. A good book on that (though not from a Catholic prospective) is “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It can Help you Find and Keep Love.”
I would definitely consider the other man a temptation. Avoid the temptation and work on your marriage. As for the waning attraction toward your spouse, this happens with time. I don’t believe it is so much that people become unattracted to their spouses as it is that life becomes routine and the initial mystery of discovering each other when the relationship was new loses it’s luster. But I do believe that the healthier and more supported and loved you feel in the relationship, the more sexual desire becomes rooted in an expression of that intimacy.
The struggle of course is when you have big marital problems. Sex is very interesting in that it often becomes an expression of things going on in your marriage. This is certainly something we’ve witnessed with us. So try not to look at sex as so seperate from the rest of your marital life. It is an extension. Work on the relationship problems and the sexual issues may start to resolve themselves.