New Ideas

    It’s been a long while since I’ve been on TMB.  We are going through it right now. There’s volumes I could write, but I will be brief. The marriage hasn’t been the same since I admitted my Adulterous Relationship a little over 5 years ago. I know I’m not perfect, but I’ve been trying ever since. We aren’t much better now, and in some ways, worse. Counseling was where we started, but she isn’t interested in going again, as she felt it just allowed her an excuse to be angry.

    She’s isn’t “happy” per se, but also doesn’t offer up her ideas on how we get better and passed the past.

    There has been nothing romantic since Valentines day and she doesn’t seem to mind. She’s always been low drive, but she used to at least hug, kiss, and hold hands.

    At one point, she said she thought things were better, but it’s just a roller coaster ride. Maybe all we need is prayer, but any other suggestions or resources are always appreciated.  I’m pretty much lost in our marriage at the moment and very discouraged.

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    5 Answer(s)

      Have you talked with her about this recently?  How did the discussion go?

      On the floor Answered on August 1, 2020.

      We are in discussion currently. Topic after topic. I’m in the Military and something I tell my people is to bring me the problem with a solution. That may not be the best solution or even what we do, but it makes them think before coming to me. My wife agrees with this philosophy, but hasn’t been adhering to it. Just sharing her heart on what’s wrong, but no solutions on how to fix it. Almost as if she wants to point out all my faults, just for the attack. It usually goes this way most every conversation.

      on August 2, 2020.

      I’m not sure that approach will work in marriage – it really isn’t her responsibility to come up with a solution, it is yours.  With that said, that doesn’t mean it will be easy, but you have to sit back and look at the situation (even getting outside of yourself) and ask yourself where things are going wrong and what you can do to try to right the direction your ship (with you and her in it) is heading.  I’m not saying this is easy, or the first course you set will be the one that takes you to clear water, but the onus is on you to come up with the solution and for you to be active in getting there if that makes sense.

      Maybe you should sit down with her and begin with prayer asking God to help you to both see where each other is coming from.  Then tell her you want to hear her struggles, but instead of as before, you don’t expect her to come up with a solution.  I would recommend initially that you don’t discuss your struggles with her as of yet because that might turn into a here is my complaint list and here is your complaint list and sometimes that is not productive.  Initially, just listen to where she is coming from and ask yourself what plan you can make to improve her problems.

      This is not a one sided solution and I’m not suggesting it should be, but it is often easier to get the wheels moving by stepping up and being the first to move, and leading is being the first one to move, the first one to sacrifice.  As things improve, you then need to set a plan that addresses your struggles as well.  Note the theme here, you are not waiting on her to set a plan that your respond to, you are setting a plan that she is responding to.  Your plan needs to be based on what is going to get your marriage in the direction it needs to be, not a plan based on merely what addresses your struggles.

      Praying for you today ALL_IN that His wisdom will be on your both and bless you both.

      on August 2, 2020.

      Please keep the communication going.  I heard on Catholic radio that an affair is an indication of lack of communication on both parties.   Make your marriage a priority and let her know how much you cherish her and want to spend time with her.

      on August 2, 2020.

      “… an affair is an indication of lack of communication on both parties.”  – While I would agree, I would also caution to be careful with this truth, and certainly be careful in any way you share this with your wife. Especially if she seems to be waning in her motivation.

      Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, marriage is not like the military.  I’ve heard a thousand times “if the military thought you needed a wife, they would have issued you one.”  There’s a lot of truth to that – but the military is not God, and since you are here, I assume you serve God, hopefully first.  SD is correct, you’re directive to those under your command will not work in marriage. That’s not how God designed it. But you are the leader, and your actions proved unbecoming. So now you have to lead correctly, find the problem, seek a solution, work the solution. “Make your marriage a priority and let her know how much you cherish her and want to spend time with her.” – I think this is the most excellent advice one could give. I know this is difficult if you are military and knowing how much it demands of you, especially if you’re in a command position. But ultimately, it is a big part, if not most of the solution she seeks, IMO. It’s worth what it costs…

      on August 3, 2020.
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        Hello ALL_IN,

        I’m very glad to see your presence at TMB again, though admittedly saddened to hear about your current status.

        Every situation heals at its own rate, but 5 yr seems a pretty long time to still be having these issues due to your past infidelity. At this point, many of the couples that choose to reconcile are at a place in their new marriage equal to or better than the marriage they had pre-betrayal. To me, it sounds like the wound to your marriage hasn’t scarred over and is still festering.

        Your line that stuck out the most to me was:

        “Counseling was where we started, but she isn’t interested in going again, as she felt it just allowed her an excuse to be angry.”

        This may or may not be a problem, but if it is, I’ll throw out two possibilities:

        1. The counselor you previously saw wasn’t doing a good job supporting the betrayed spouse, skipping over the part where they needed help. Here is a link where this is discussed in some detail: https://www.affairrecovery.com/survivors/samuel/one-main-reasons-betrayed-spouses-can-feel-angry-isolated-and-hopeless-during
        2. It sounds to me like your wife may view being angry as unacceptable. It is not. Anger is a natural response that can be healthy, and holding it in may be preventing the healing for taking place. While not all spouses will do this, did your wife ever just lay into you and pour out her feelings, anger and all? Sometimes, that’s required for real healing to take place. If she’s not willing to dump out her raw feelings because she thinks that’s not okay, she may be holding back progress. Here’s another video link from the same site that discusses this to an extent: https://www.affairrecovery.com/survivors/samuel/anger-and-betrayed-spouse

        Eventually, reconciled marriages reach a point where the past infidelity, while not forgotten, really isn’t thought about or brought up on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. Five years may not be enough to be at that point, but it sure seems like progress is not happening.

        Regarding the #2 above, I’ll throw out an anecdotal story. My grandma was a betrayed spouse, and while things are different because my grandpa was a coward and fled instead of reconciling, she never opened up emotionally that I know of…living over 35 yr as a shell of her former self and not moving on. You and your wife certainly don’t want that for her. If she isn’t willing to do more counseling, it may be worth having you do additional individual counseling to work through some of these things at least from your side.

        -Scott

        Under the stars Answered on August 2, 2020.
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          Covid quarantine, which began after Valentines, has really caused a lot of people I know to struggle with their negative thoughts. Many have slipped into deep depressions and uncharacteristic apathy and anger. That might be a contributing factor.
          People can get stuck in grief. Perhaps grief counseling is more of what she needs.
          If there are elders at your church, perhaps they can come alongside and help. Or their wives could help your wife.
          I hope you are serving her relentlessly, lavishing love on her continuously and showing Gods perfect love to her at all times.

          King bed Answered on August 1, 2020.

          I agree this may have something to do with it. She also started a new job in March, in the grocery industry. This has been a huge stressor in our lives. She hasn’t worked for 20 years since she stayed home with out kids homeschooling. I think a couple things happened there. She was used to “being her own boss” so to speak, and she doesn’t know how to manage other peoples attitudes and it frustrates her. She also takes everything personal. When a supervisor is in a bad mood, and makes a comment to her, she takes it personal instead of just letting it roll off her shoulders. I thought it would get better, but it’s not. I keep telling her she doesn’t have to work there, but she won’t quit, which she admits she did when she was younger anytime she got a job and didn’t like it. So we live with her anxiety everyday before she leaves and an hour of negative recap when she gets home. I think the way people go into the store is also a drain, so it’s not a good environment for her…but as I said she won’t quit.

          on August 2, 2020.
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            Are you looking for ideas or resources on how to move your wife out of her complacency in a miserable marriage?

            Under the stars Answered on August 1, 2020.

            I think (if I could get what I want) I would want her to find a way to deal with negativity. But I don’t think I can convince her to go to counseling…

            But I want to us to work on things together, even if it’s my personal problems or hers.

            Complacency…interesting choice of word. I think she is happy being unhappy, and I would be interested in finding a resource that could change that,

            on August 2, 2020.
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              Even when there has been confession and repentance are you seeking to truly value her as your wife and not solely just for sex? Are you still clinging to guilt that keeps you from really loving your wife as you should? Has she truly forgiven you? I know there can be remaining hurt and trust issues. I Corinthians 13 can be a good guide and barometer of your relationship. Will be praying. It’s a long journey, but God is with you because He wants a reconciled relationship between you.

              On the floor Answered on August 2, 2020.

              I appreciate you keeping me honest. My past has rocked our marriage and won’t pretend like part of her unhappiness is due to my unfaithfulness.

              There are times I want to say “you chose to stay, you said you forgave me, so drop it”. But there isn’t a person on this forum that would tell me that’s a good idea. That’s not loving or compassionate at all.

              I do (what I believe) the very best I can to serve her selflessly, and provide everything I can to move beyond the past. I read the book Cherish, by Gary Thomas, and I really like how it used the term “serve” a lot. I’ve come to make her needs way more important than mine, and doing those things without expectations. I don’t even expect her to fulfill any of my needs. Do I want that? yes I do, but I don’t expect it. And I keep telling myself that someday, she’ll reciprocate and think of my needs instead of herself.

              Do I still feel guilty? Occasionally…but for the most part I have moved on to focusing on my walk with Christ, my marriage and family.

              on August 2, 2020.

              At the same time, her remaining there, in the pain, and not moving forward through forgiveness is bad for both of you.  Again, this is a situation where you need to lead her to a better place.  “Wife, I want us to live in the blessing and joy that God has for us so as painful as it is, we need to not be trapped by the mistake I made in the past.  We need to find a new place with each other where we are making the most of every day.  If you are still angry with me I understand, but let’s get it out and deal with it and get it behind us.”

              on August 2, 2020.

              @sd595 I really like the way you said that. I was also thinking that maybe  (and I don’t know at all; I just wondered) if you (edited to add: ALL_IN) are serving your wife with zero expectations from her, she is hearing that as a message that she is still the wounded party and you are still in a place of guilt and needing to “make it up to her”. She may or may not even realize it, but she could have developed the unconscious attitude that you deserve to be the “husband in the doghouse” until you let her know that’s done and it’s time to move on.

              on August 2, 2020.
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