November 14, 2013

Being Married to Someone Who Doesn’t Care

Gary Thomas — 

Jason and Maria want something entirely different out of the same marriage. They’ve been together for 15 years, and it has taken Jason that long to realize that he and his wife’s vision of a successful marriage are worlds apart. Jason desires a certain kind of marriage that his wife, Maria, doesn’t. Have you ever been there? What do you do when you finally realize the marriage you want to work for is a marriage your spouse doesn’t want to have anything to do with?

Jason’s situation is the opposite of what most speakers and writers like me usually talk about; we typically mention that it’s the wife who seems more relational, but in this case, Jason is the one who desires the soulful discussions and a commitment to work on the relationship.

Maria says she wants that, too, in the abstract, but the only talk she initiates is about surface things: decorating the house, what the kids need done, or something her mother told her. She never asks Jason how he’s doing, what he’s feeling, or how he thinks the relationship is going—even though he has repeatedly expressed his desire that she do that.

Though I’m not a counselor, it doesn’t take a Ph.D in therapy to know that Jason needs and desires a certain level of intimacy that Maria doesn’t.

Maria is willing to live on the surface. As long as she and Jason do “fun” things (according to Maria’s definition) and take care of the house and family, she’s happy in her marriage. The fact that Jason isn’t happy with that doesn’t seem to bother her—at least, not enough to make her do anything about it.

I asked Jason, how do you go deeper with someone who doesn’t want to go deeper? Help me help other readers.

It’s not an easy question. Thank about it: “fixing” a relationship isn’t like fixing a car—one intelligent being acting on an inanimate being. A relationship between two individuals requires cooperation. Ideally, Jason’s desire to go deeper, his request that Maria occasionally initiate relationship-based discussions, would be enough to motivate her. Those are legitimate desires that most wives would welcome. But apparently Jason married (to put it bluntly) a selfish person. His pain isn’t her pain, and his pain obviously isn’t motivation enough for Maria to change.

What I admire about Jason, however, is that, while recognizing all this, he is still engaged in the marriage.

He’s not checking out. He realizes that God doesn’t call us to love and be faithful only to unselfish spouses. In fact, Jesus specifically says that he excels in loving the ‘ungrateful and wicked’ (Luke 6:32-35) and tells us to love just as he loves (v. 36). Later in that same passage, Jesus adds, ‘Give and it will be given to you,’ but he doesn’t say the person doing the giving will be your spouse. If we love out of reverence for God, we will receive God’s comfort. Giving to get is the world’s view of love, but it’s not Christ’s.

Those are my theoretical words, but here is Jason’s real-life response. I asked Jason, as one who has struggled with this for over a decade, what do you do when you realize that your spouse isn’t going to meet legitimate needs?

Jason says the following:

  • Get the needs met secondarily, through appropriate channels. For Jason, this means building rich relationships with others, though not with women on their own. It’s not ideal, but it helps. Jason has some solid friendships with guys, and he and Maria have some solid couple relationships. Though Jason wouldn’t meet any of the wives on their own, he finds that sometimes he can initiate couple-related conversations with another couple that Maria might engage in. He has to be the one who is intentional about this, as Maria won’t seek it on her own.
  • Remember someone has it worse. Jason has a friend whose wife left him after 12 years of marriage. This guy, according to Jason, is “as solid as they come.” Even so, because of the separation and subsequent divorce, it’s been two years since he’s had sex. “I can’t say I’m happy with where Maria and I are at sexually,” Jason admits. “At most, we have sex once a week or so. But I can’t even imagine going two years, so I try to be thankful for what I have rather than focus too much on what I don’t.”
  • Choose to dwell on the positive, however limited and imperfect it may be. Jason lives by Philippians 4:8: “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if rhere is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Jason emphasized the last phrase, “dwell on these things.” “You don’t want to consistently talk or even pray your marriage down. Focus on the strengths, build on the strengths, and thank God for what you do have.”

Readers, let’s help others facing the same situation by offering some practical suggestions perhaps not mentioned by Jason. Are you familiar with anyone in a marriage like this? What are they doing to address legitimate needs?

[photo: MIKI Yoshihito, Creative Commons]

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135 responses to Being Married to Someone Who Doesn’t Care

  1. I have been married for 17 years, my husband ever since is not that affectionate to me, he is with the kids and I think too conservative for intimacy. Ever since I have always been initiating intimacy and even sex, he even said that we are long been married so its normal. But I’m that type of person who always wants to be loved and comforted. He’s the only guy I’ve been with. I feel like we have just an obligation to our kids and our marriage since I got pregnant early. I know that there is no ideal marriage. But I admit, I’m not happy. however, because we are married, I have to live with it. I am good looking because there are still expressing attractions everytime but to him, he says he do but he doesn’t. Action speak better than words. Now, I don’t initiate anymore. But still, he doesn’t reach out to even ask ” what’s the problem?” if I don’t talk to him, he won’t. He’s older than me for few years. He even said that’s how couple is when together for long. But he got comfortable of having me initiating everything, even at the house, decision making etc. I can’t tell anyone because my relatives just tells me that’s how marriage is. We have kids. And I feel so alone and tied up. My kids asked me why its not like before, because I maintained it before but now I don’t give effort, it’s like this. Solely depends on me, not mutually. I don’t reach out. Why would I? I’m not interested of fixing what can’t be fixed. If he cares, he should be atleast trying to fix it. I got fed up to the point that I don’t want it fixed.

    • I was married 15 years got divorce and now trying to build a relationship with my ex wife. She has and still puts me last in her life. I show and express my love for her is ever way possible. It hurts I know! But the divorce turns each of you into people you don’t want to be at least it did us. All I say is pray find the things you love about him and build on them. I have three kids and the impact this has had on them I can never change.

  2. Understanding your situation December 9, 2016 at 2:05 am

    My husband is the same. He still has emotional needs though and will get them from other women. I prayed to the Lord and he showed me it was fear of intimacy and instead of being one with me he seperates his needs. Wants me for the physcial but the emotional and spiritual are seperate and he gets them from other people. If he breaks them up and gets his needs from all different people he is fulfilled however I do not want to get my emotional needs met from another man and when men show me attention or care I recognise I am craving it so much but I pull away and avoid those situations because I believe that is how you can develop affairs if you are not wise. It is sad because I see his father and he is the same as his father. This is his second marriage as his first wife died of cancer and he said he is closer to me then her and I am like really because i thought maybe because he lost his first wife he doesn’t want to get close to me but then i see him really opening up to other women and being inappropriate with flirtation. I love my husband but i also see he is not intimate or close with Jesus. Jesus is my world but to be honest i don’t know if i can handle being in this marriage for the rest of my life. Jesus said we are one in him but when someone doesn’t want to be close to you there is nothing you can do. We were really close before we got married and got along so well would talk for hours and have time together but after we got married that ended and he became busy. I soon realised he did what he needed to do to get me then it was all over. I am sad for his daughters because they crave his attention so bad and have developed inappropriate behaviours to get his attention. I pray that Jesus would help us all. Bless you all xoxoxo

  3. Dear Gentle Souls,

    I read all the heartfelt postings and it feels both sad but also comforting to know that we are not alone.
    It seems odd that a husband would lack affection from his wife as many of you express it is the other way around.

    I dread to use the “I” word because this is probably the cause of all the problems in the world. Ideally, it would be nice to be able to put your own expectations and feelings into a box sometimes, I guess selflessness is a Utopian ideal. I need to accept that we are human and as such all have our needs/expectations. I am in my very early 40s. My wife and I have been married for almost 20 years and had quite an adventurous life. We both grew up in different countries (my wife was born in a country in Asia and I was born in country close to France – without going too specific – therefore please excuse my typos or grammatical errors). I was raised Roman Catholic (non-practicing although I agree with the values). She was raised Shinto. I am emotional and show my feelings. She is controlled and does not easily show her emotions. We both speak different languages but converse in English with our children. We met each other in the US and have two beautiful children together (early teens) which we are both equally devoted to. My wife and I are five years apart (I being the younger one). Everything was going well for many years. Our diversity and uniqueness was an asset and actually brought us together. I loved it.

    Unfortunately I have been longing for affection (emotional and physical) from my wife since we had our second child (which has been 10 years). It is not just sexual… I miss warmth, kindness, true love, compassion and the occasional hugs and kisses that I thought were normal in a relationship. I always understood that my background is different to hers. I grew up in a social country in Europe and was raised in a warm nest where love was always at the center. She had a entirely different experience (which she has explained me hundreds of times). She grew up very independent and never needed affection, at least not emotionally as this is culturally not accepted in the country where she was born. I always believed we would grow in our relationship towards each other as time went along. Looking back, perhaps this is something I should never have hoped for this because it set expectations that could never be met.

    Five years ago I had problems with my health and had to stay in bed for a month due to exhaustion (construction problems with the home we were building). To make a long story short, my wife convinced me we needed to finish the house. True, it was my dream as well when we started and I had been the driving force behind the nest-building concept. So I accepted her plea and worked myself to exhaustion to come up with the funds to finish the house. We were able to pull it off financially (a miracle in my opinion), the house was completed but I was seriously overworked.

    The stress caused by the construction caused my health to deteriorate which in return increased the emotional distance in our relationship.
    I was never allowed to touch her in bed – she cringes. Kissing or hugging her in the mornings has been accepted more as a “duty” rather than a need. When I receive a hug; it feels so very good inside of me, like something is healing. Unfortunately she doesn’t feel the same way. I never dared to ask her if she “really” still loved me. After all, we made it so far. It would be a shame to jeopardize everything we had build up with such a direct question…. and…. more importantly, our two children needed us. I thought I could handle the lack of affection. During the last five years, I felt were disconnecting further. I continued to bestow her with affection (hugs and kisses in the morning and true love and kindness), told her I loved her, convinced her to spend time together at least once a week for a couple of hours, etc. But she frequently expressed that “her job was done” and “she didn’t need any of it”. My quest for togetherness was obviously one-sided.

    Unfortunately I developed another health issue that required me to stay in bed for a couple of weeks (this health problem is now under control). This appears to have been the final straw for her. She became even more cold and distanced. A few months ago, I talked to her about the fact that I was missing her warm so very very much. She started to tremble with anger and told me she could not deal with my health issues and that she already had emotionally given up on me five years ago. She told me she thought I was faking my health issues to get her attention. I was also told that it was custom (in her culture) to suffer alone in a separate room as to not to bother your partner.

    When I expressed I really loved her she laughed at me. Are you serious… she replied. At that moment I finally dared to ask her if she really loved me. She didn’t give me a direct answer.

    I thought about our conversation for a couple of weeks and had another talk with her. I explained to her I would no longer take any initiative for affection since it makes her obviously very uncomfortable and upset. I told her that I really don’t want to make her angry since I cared about her and would never want to hurt her since I believe she is a sincerely good person. I therefore told her that I would try to manage my feelings somehow and keep them away from her just to keep the peace in our family. Just two weeks ago, she told me that I was free to go somewhere else if I really needed affection; she just didn’t have it in herself to give it to me. And that’s something that makes me feel so conflicted. I just cannot bring myself to go look for affection somewhere else. This is not who I am. I believe in true love and always loved her. I just cannot see myself with another person. My friends have told me that I am crazy and that it is just not healthy to deny yourself what you need; that no marriage can last forever. And yet… I cannot betray the vows of our marriage.

    She tells me that she is satisfied with the way things are; she just wants to be comfortable (meaning living in the house “as is” raising the children and preferably not having me bothering her). I was told that she doesn’t have time for me, only for her work and the children. We still sleep in the same bed but she avoids any contact (she gets up before I get up and comes to bed after I am asleep).

    I was told that a “parenting marriage” might be advisable but the idea makes me sick to my stomach.

    I am now looking for some type of marriage therapy, something I should have done many years ago.
    I am not better than her, we are are just different and we have different needs. I need to accept that somehow.
    But I believe therapy can help. It would be nice to get an outsider’s opinion. Perhaps I am the problem.
    I need to find out how we can fix this.
    I will let you know what happens.

    I just needed to pen down my thoughts.
    I hope you all find the love you are looking for.
    You are not alone.

    Mr. Affection

  4. Wow I was so to read that I might not be alone. I know that doesn’t sound very nice but, not to worry I snapped back to the reasons I was reading all this. Then realized the list of things is so terribly depressing and long that I should just write a book.
    How did I manage to find the one in a million woman that follows the rose pedals to a romantic setting of music, candle lighting, massage oils, fragrance, and a husband in the shower. Then when the water goes cold I find her doing laundry?

  5. It was my fault I got pregnant overseas working with a government company in China. He seemed kind, sweet, was so affectionate, we dated and i found out 6 months later I was pregnant. We had a beautiful wedding everything was great until after the baby came everything changed. He hated america so i stupidly just came back to china with the baby. I am working 2 jobs all day long and when we argue which has been a lot there is no kiss, love, hand holding, nothing. I cry and he just looks at me and says i need to change and be more calm when speaking. So I do it and then he says i forget the argument just go to sleep or take a nap and everything is fine. I need to talk out my thoughts and feelings i cant just bottle them up and not speak!!!! I financially take care of everything bc he is poor and i never was afraid to be with a poor man unless it was for love. Last night was the first time he punched my arm…. My son is only 1 years old I am scared not sure what to do…. I dont want to be in a love less marriage….

    • Mrs.Don’tknowwhy hemarriedme December 18, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      I wanted to leave a week after we were married. My husband never physically hurt me, but how he talks were often emotional punches I couldn’t initially understand. Up to now, after 17 years, I wonder why he wanted to marry me at all. I keep hoping things will get better, that he will genuinely learn to care. Now, I doubt it. If he didn’t have it in him at the start of our marriage, why would he have it now?

      My husband is an Overseas Chinese man who was brought up in strong Chinese culture. They are passive and think only of what their wives should do for them, or how their wives should be.

      They secretly harbour feelings of insecurity when their wives are income earners. My husband earns considerably a lot more than what I earn, but this concept of insecurity always crops up when talking to his sister.

      In a Chinese family, money talks. It commands respect. I only survive because I know I can do what I want, when I decide, without having to rely on him. Also the mere fact that I have money of my own ensures that I will not be bullied.

      If you are a foreign woman married to a Chinese man, do not expect your husband to change. If you are also Chinese, you already know the answer to your question.

      They will not change. How they treat you now, is how they “love” you. Look at yourself 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now. Do you like what you see? The succeeding years will just be different iterations of the life you live now. Is it worth the wait?

      I have 2 kids. I’m not sure if it was right to stay. Im Christian, that’s why I stayed.

    • Tina,

      This is not a relationship that you should stick around for. I personally know a woman who was killed by her husband and another who was almost killed by hers and it started this way. They do not respect you and you have to respect yourself. Boundaries are appropriate in all relationships, even marriage. These men will beat you down until there is nothing left. Get out now. God does not expect you to allow someone to destroy your soul and then take your life. Especially when you have a child to look out for. I don’t advocate divorce but once a person puts their hands on you like that or forces you to shut up and manipulate your behavior they are abusive and do not deserve your love and respect. Do not confront them either. It will escalate the problem. You make plans and get a support network and quietly leave. Hard to do yes, but the consequences of staying are far worse.

    • Physical and emotional abuse is never okay. You say he has no money and you are providing everything? Make a plan to get out now. Your son and you deserve better. I do not believe that Jesus would want someone to stay in an abusive marriage. I also know that narcissists do not change.

  6. Stephen Komorek August 11, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    I have been on every forum, looking for anyone who has been in the same situation. It seems maybe Jason and I are it.

    I love my wife and she says she loves me, and I believe her. She loves me “on the surface” as Maria loves Jason.

    I am seeking a deeper emotional connection and to have someone who i can trust and care about my issues.

    I am a disabled combat Veteran, i was in the army for 10 years till I was injured and still do contracts to bring in extra money. I am a alpha male and it seems to me, that after a failed marriage (she cheated, took everything while I was away) it may be too hard for my wife to have a deep emotional connection past her needs.

    I have been there through her depressions and I have issues of my own, but i feel i never get the priority or care that i give her.

    We just had a son, and i dont want him to feel the same way. He is my world.

    I pray for me and my wife. I goto church, she does not. It is every excuse why she wont get help.

    Just feeling really down about not having someone who cares emotionally. My wife is a great woman and mother. She shows love by her deeds around the house and i am aware of that….is it wrong to want a deeper connection? Divorce is not an option unless she cheats. I will not stand for that. It bums me out because she had an emotional affair with another guy and hid it from me, when i found out and confronted her she said she would end it. She didnt. A year later i found out again….that was 8 months ago. How could she have this with them and not me?

    Well thats enough feelings for today, time to brush them off.

  7. Lonely Husband April 5, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    These types of articles bring me little comfort anymore. I have been married for 13 years to a wife that I love very much, but she has suffered with clinical depression through our entire marriage. We have been to counseling, talked to pastor, engaged with other couples about this and its gotten better, but its still very difficult for me. I am very affectionate toward her, tell her I love her all the time and try my best to give her space when she needs it. I sometimes feel so alone in my frustration when she seems so uncaring about showing me a little affection or just telling me she loves me randomly. I sometimes feel like I’m a weak man, because I struggle so much with just wanting a simple I love you. I am aware that things could always be worse, but things could be better also. In my weakness I sometimes just wish God would put an end to my life, because I feel rejected so consistently, and when I try to talk to her about these things it only brings out her anger at me. I have been blamed so many times through out our marriage for everything she feels. I am writing this at a weak moment but just needed to feel like someone out there could pray for me. Just wish this trail could end and my wife could finally be free from her depression and her angry outbursts could end. God I know your listening and your sovereign so forgive me of my sins and lack of trust in you, but help me in my weakness. May others forgive me if I have discouraged them.

    • You literally just took the words out of my mouth. It’s interesting to know we’re not alone in this type of opposing relationship. I feel my husband has untreated, undiagnosed depression and I’m struggling. It has been 7 years and I can’t imagine being in this situation for the rest of my life. He is very defensive, angry, and blames me for all of our problems. I also have a chronic illness that gets me down for a bit each year and he straight up told me I was an inconvenience. I don’t think he believes my health issues, and thinks I’m exaggerating them. He can come across as very selfish, and completely lacking compassion. I’m a very upbeat and compassionate person, so it’s hard to be around his negative energy. I definitely require more afffection than he does. Our physical relationship is actually quite good considering, and there are ups and downs, but the emotional, expressive, deeper connection is basically nonexistent. In fact, most times when I attempt to have a conversation with him, he won’t respond or even look at me. He said if I don’t ask a direct question, he didn’t see why he should have to respond. I mean, wow. I worry about my children seeing this as an example of a marriage. I constantly talk myself off the ledge when I’ve had enough, but it’s getting harder. If I didn’t have 2 young children, I would leave 100%. So it’s like I’m stuck. I also live in another country than my family and friends, so I’m very isolated. I have had men give me the attention I crave from my husband, and it feels nice, but then I get angry that I’m in a situation where I’m so starved for affection that I have moments of temptation and doubt, and then I’m left feeling guilty and more upset. I don’t want to feel this way, but I don’t think it’s natural to live life this way. I know a lot of my past relationships and the neglect I received from my mother has led me to expect to be unloved, unworthy and disrespected. I went to therapy and worked through those issues, and it helps in my marriage and in my life but I just want more from my marriage. It’s not going to change. Is this really it for me? Is this my story? I hope God has something great in store for me. I am struggling to have faith anymore. I give him space, lots of space. But what about the things I need in this relationship. There is no compromise there. I think things could be worse too. I sometimes wish my husband will end this because then I’ll have no choice but to move on. And I too have asked God to end this for me, because the rejection is so painful. And the odd thing is I also don’t enjoy being smothered in love either, so I’m just confused. I will pray for you and your situation. Just know you are loved, you are worthy.

  8. We have been married for almost 24 years. We have 4 children. 23,20,15, and 8. For 22 of the 24 years together she has allowed one of our children to sleep in our bed between us. I can’t even count the number of times we’ve discussed the children sleeping in our bed. Our sex life is limited to my constant requests……and eventually her succumbing to my needs. I ask her if she loves me, if she is “in love” with me and she always answers yes. But I know this is impossible. How can someone who proclaims to love you be completely devoid of wanting to participate together financially, emotionally, sexually, spiritually, or intellectually? Participation doesn’t exist in our relationship. Only the participation I create to make me think I believe she is actually participating. She actually just participates enough to “show up for the dance”. I know this life isn’t fair for my children. I fear their future relationships will mirror this awful nightmare I live ….all the while thinking I’ve been doing it for them….to keep the family together. I’ve run out of answers. There are no solutions that aren’t already staring me in the face. Sometimes I feel pathetic for always believing she has something more to offer. If she would just admit she can never love me that way, we could at least move in a healthy direction for everyone. This sucks more than a Dyson.

    • I know how you feel because my husband treats me that way. I feel like I’m stuck here bc of my stupid mistake to marry him.

  9. My wife and I have been married 27 years, she had a 5yr old son when we got married, she was a stay at home mom and we had 2 more boys. About 10 yrs ago I became disabled and was a 3 tough years. Anyway things have changed she went to work and now we don’t have sex unless I insist and I don’t want to force her it is like I’m raping her and the look on her face isn’t worth . She says she loves me but when I try to talk about our relationship she gets mad and won’t talk about it. The last couple of months she has told several people and me that she dosnt need me for financial help , she can make it on her own, makes me feel low. I do the finances and she can’t make it with out my income but she loves to tell people how much she don’t need me. I love her very much but don’t know how much longer I can take this. I don’t want to leave but I’m so unhappy I have contplated suicide. I love her and don’t want to be without her but I think she wants me only for my income, she has no give in her anymore, just take. I’m lost.

  10. For all the women wondering about your husband’s sexuality, do you realize there are some dark spiritual forces at work in high places that are trying to use sex to steal power. Yes it can happen in heterosexual situations too, but the bottom line on either side is that sexual sin can cost you your soul. The mean spiritedness thereafter is due to demonic enties taking over.
    This is my second relationship becoming empty because it almost seems like my spouse is no longer in possession of his soul. He and the previous spouse become uncaring and enemy like. If someone does something against me he will always take their side. When I am gang stalked and tell him what happened, he tells me I’m talking foolishness.
    You guys don’t realize some people have sold their souls. They are now forced to scheme others out of their souls, so they work with the powers that be to make us, the targets miserable.
    This may not be true for all of our cases, but I know it is a big possibility. The other factor could be narcisscism.

  11. My wife does the same thing, we’ve been married for 10 years this past December. She doesn’t buy me birthday presents or make an effort to make me a birthday party or something small and special is all I ask. She uses the kids as an excuse. Her 2 older brothers and father are the same way, she says she dislikes the way they are but she is the same. I recently found a female friend that I could talk and hangout at work. But that backfired when my wife found out. I had to leave the job and find employment elsewhere because of jealousy and other issues I was having with my wife. I don’t even want to get started with all the things she has done while we were married. It seems like a fellow blogger posted, my spouse will be negative with me to go out and spend time together but when a friend asks her to go out she is quick to go out and doesn’t even care how we are doing but just thinks about herself. My wife will help our kids with homework or clean the house, I also do half of the house chores but since we just have been having issues I’ve been cleaning more than her because I can’t even get close to her to spend a few minutes with her. She will start saying that I am bothering her or being annoying. I don’t know what to do. I sometimes think it would be good for to cheat again so I could have a reason to leave. She doesn’t even want to tell me if she loves me and is willing to work for us, she is just quiet and will change the subject. AHhh I need someone to talk to, I with to God I could talk to her instead of someone else. I love her but just tired of this cycle.

  12. marital issues are really complex in that you cant make a correct judgement or really offer advice that works after listening to only one side of the story. i have been married for ten years now. my hubby used to be exactly like jason’s wife, if not more. when other people he loved abused me badly he would expose me to even more harm even if i did complain. at one time after we had moved to a new town we had to stay at an elder relative’s place. i was abused in almost in every sense of the word ‘abuse’. i told him what was happening, he didn’t answer. we could manage to rent a small place of our own but after telling him that i had found a place he shouted at me like mad saying that was not the suburb he had wanted. i thought it was a matter of urgency for my safety that we had to move out. he didn’t think so. he had no time to talk to me. when i came late from work i had to walk home alone in the night while he was sleeping at that house. being a christian lady i wanted by all means to keep my marriage. i hoped things would be fine one day. he was verbally abusive. he would not have sex with me. when we finally got a place of our own he didn’t change. i was still emotionally and verbally abused. if i would mention everything you would think i’m making up stories. he never had an affair though. all this was happening in the first 5 years of our marriage. he wasn’t working, i was working and taking care of all bills, groceries and everything else. he would sometimes help out with the rent. at the end of the 5 years i felt like i was choking to death. i couldn’t take it anymore. so i left him and got a place of my own. we had no kids. for the first 9 months after the separation (not divorce) he didn’t try to get back to me. if i greeted him when we saw each other at some social functions where we both happened to be present he would spread rumours that i wanted him back and was trying to get his attention. people we knew said i was confused i didn’t know what i want. i was just being civil. i was truly fed up but i chose to behave like an adult. i didn’t want him back. it was an embarrassing thing for me to seperate because all this while people close to us had seen our marriage as ideal since i didn’t take my problems outside our home. but i had to do it. then later he began to reach out to me, he cried and did all sorts of things to get me to forgive him and come back home. after talking to strongly and making my demands we were back together. he has changed a lot from the outside but i don’t trust he has a had a change of heart considering the comments he makes about other couples who are going through somehow similar situations to ours. but i too have changed. i am so afraid that if he ever goes back to who he was it will just kill me and i will have to divorce him. as a result i am very protective of myself. i am in a fighting back mode because i have been hurt before but this time i will not allow it. i am now selfish in that i care more about myself than for him. i sometimes think of considering whether he is happy or not but i feel like i will be opening a door for him to abuse me again. i have probably become like Jason’s wife but for the above stated reasons. i have decided to stay i the marriage because i don’t want any more drama and at least whether he is happy or not he is treating me better out of fear that i might leave him again. to be truthful most of the times i don’t care whether he is happy or not. for one who sees me now without knowing my past i might appear to be the bad wife. i am afraid to give my husband my heart so i would rather take care of my heart by myself.

  13. I sympathize with Jason – in many ways I am in that boat. Like a few others commented I wonder about Maria. I have learned that one can never really know about someone else’s marriage. I love my husband and wish to be a good wife to him. I do not wish to dishonor him or or marriage here. What I wish to do is point my reader to Christ. Christ is the one who gave everything up to win your heart. He is the one who knows the deep longings of your heart. When I am feeling rejected and alone (in any relationship – not just my marriage) I am learning to call out to Jesus. It might sound trite to you and it might sound like the typical Christian answer. I will not apologize for that. For deep in my soul I am learning, albeit slowly, that the true Lover of my soul is Jesus and He will never disappoint. Also, I recommend that you pray earnestly for God to bind the evil one from your heart and your home. Remember that the power that lives in you is the power that raised Jesus from the grave. In Jesus’ precious name kick the devil out of your home. Do I think you will get an instant fix doing these things? Maybe but probably not. But your heart will be lighter and maybe, just maybe, God will use your brightened countenance to minister to your spouse and change his/her heart. God bless us all!

    • I started praying soo much this past year. Things were getting better and then things started falling apart again. I wish God gives me the strength to overcome this. I can’t even cry anymore soo many years of crying, begging so she can tell me to let her sleep and that I exaggerate things. What about when she is woken up by a nightmare or needs my warmth and love or a simple hug or kisss. I am always there but it seems like a dream, that she could be the same person I knew one time. God Help me.

    • Amen Rhonda. Only Jesus can love you like you really need to be loved. Many nights I cried myself to sleeo praying about my marriage. One day i looked up and it did not hurt as bad as it used to.

      God loves you all more than you will ever know. He ALWAYS wants to be close to you. He wants to be yoyr friend, confidante and more.

  14. As I read this I realized I didn’t hear Maria side of the story, as Christians lets try to come from a place of love for both people rather than taking one persons side. Maria also has a story to tell and I only got to hear Jason’s story. I refuse to jump to assumptions on what the problem is or rather what the solution is because Maria unfortunate might not even be aware of what Jason thinks of her. Talk to your wife, love your wife as Christ loved the church.

    • I have lived Maria side of the story. I understand completely. It’s getting beaten down by being told that you were not right or entitled to an opinion. It’s getting submissive with your own opinions, because your partner has the gift of eloquence. It’s hard to compete with that. So you say nothing, and avoid any serious conversation because it’s too difficult. And then you get blamed for being too superficial. You can’t win.

  15. I am having a hard time with this post. I realize it is written from Jason’s perspective but is this how Maria really feels? How many kids do Maria and Jason have together? How is Maria feeling? Does Maria have any mental health issues, post partum, social emotional issues she is dealing with at this time? Is Maria focusing on these things because she is uncomfortable from Jason’s nonverbal or social cues? Is Jason telling Maria its her fault they are unhappy or how she feels is wrong? Has Jason accused her of not caring so it’s hard for her to care? This would make intimacy difficult. And maybe they’ve had the conversation before but because they had it three years ago Jason doesn’t want to have it again? Do the soulful discussions end up in an argument if Maria has an opinion on anything? Does Jason hold grudges or ask her opinion to hold it against her? I guess I can understand a perspective like this but posting this type of blog is very skewed and can really empower an abusive person in a wrong way with very one sided perspective. Especially if they feel entitled and selfish in their own sense. There are two sides to each perspective and I am sad such a judgmental and one sided perspective exists on a Christian page. Empowering Jason as a victim, whom may be potential abusive, on a faith based page is awful. I don’t want to deter or detract from this perspective because if Maria is truly this way with no other backstory and all this truly does make her happy and we know that from Maria herself, then Maria is selfish. But Jason has the option to not be a martyr.

    • I agree completely.this is my exact relationship with my husband. We have been married for 21 years and he just walked out on me and my two children because we are “two different people emotionally”. He has come to me 3 times in 10 yes, and mentioned that ‘he needed more’, and the last time was 18 months ago when he asked if the marriage was over and my response was “I don’t want it to be over.” After that discussion everything went back to normal, including two vacations with just us and he mentioned nothing about his unhappiness. He saw a therapist twice and then decided to tell me he wanted to ‘take a break’, which really meant he was done. He was willing to go to therapy as friends, but has absolutely no reconciliation in his mind. I was blindsided by this being that I was receiving cards and I love you’s and a normal sex life. I have never said a mean word, and have done everything in the house and work 2 jobs. He has been on six vacations/bus trips in the last six months with guy friends and himself, he is able to spend what he wants, to go where he wants and do whatever he wants in our marriage.
      I am an independent person who is completely trusting and not judgmental towards his actions. We have two amazing independent teenagers as well.I thought we had a solid marriage as did everyone else around us. I feel badly that he is so alone and feels emotionally empty. I am willing to work it out but he says he’s known me for 30 years and I won’t change. I don’t think that’s fair to pull the plug on without any counseling or comm exercises. He’s not with anyone else. We are 45&47.

    • Actually thank you HM , I was so hurt to read this article and not help but feel sympathy for the wife. I am separated from my husband but this would be his story about me how he’s a great guy, how he’s always trying with not enough from me. I will tell you I love him, but have been put down by him so much that I have learned to avoid an argument that could last for weeks by only talking about surface things. I want desparately to talk about my heart with him (as women naturally want to do )but he does hold what i say over my head he also doesn’t let me talk he bullies the conversation but I’m supposed to listen to him only because when i talk the response i get is i am not a Christian i have demons in me or i hear how i have “never” loved him, never tried, never ect. When i try to take credit for what i have done to give him what he needs he wants a date and time or it never happened, i am told to apologize every time i talk… everytime i do anything that offends him i cant even explain thats not what i meant or did because i need to apologize before being heard because its the Christian thing to do no matter what i did or didn’t do i offended him say nothing more than sorry, so i begin to say sorry to get to the part of explaining that for instance my phone had no signal i didn’t hang up but by then he has gone past that to saying i didn’t mean my apology i lied so nothing else matters to be heard . Im not as articulate as he is and believe me he talks down to me for it but never in front of a pastor, a counselor. I’m educated but not as eloquent. So when someone hears his side of the story that doesnt know me he sounds wonderful, and i have enjoyed at times the more sensitive side of him but the part you wont hear is the womans in this story, i have come to find out that i can’t fill a bucket with a hole in it only God can. I am not a perfect wife i grow every day my husband has twisted the bible to make me submit, the most sacred place and special place in my heart is the Lord, but if he told his story he’d say he just wants to be able to pray with me and i refuse.(sounds awful ladies and sounds like hes wonderful for that, shame on his wife right? But i caution you to not judge so quickly)…yes i am not interested because it has become a place of pain esp when he prays over me to be saved when i am and for what he feels he is upset at me about. He feels it is his place to tell my children (his step children) my sin even if it was not discussing a mature topic with them because of their age. to consistently hear how your not a Christian or you’d apologize, your not a Christian or you wouldnt lie about being sorry, your not a Christian or you would love, you are going to hell for listening to country or any other music….and I’ve heard my husband tell his story it sounds exactly like the man in this story but without her side. This is the short sweeter part of my side not even the worst, i have been in tears before God asking him if im a Christian and what more i need to do because my husband says im not and i need to prove to him im saved (at that moment im told to prove it now ) . Maybe this woman just feels defeated in the story. This is 5 years marriage, You cant understand what life is like in this situation unless you’ve been there.

      • AM.,,Good Luck. We are in a similar boat. My husbands is friends with 2 dear priests and looks so “shiny” on the outside. So much respect. And really, he’sidly filled with emotional issues. But I am left holding a bag of betrayal, disbelief and hurt. I have no idea how the ‘grass is greener’ than having a successful wife who loves you, a nice home, and two awesome low maintenance kids. At 45, and nearly an empty nest, this
        Is supposed to be our time. What we worked so hard for. It’s so sad.

    • Dear Lord, how many posts did I have to wade through to get to your comment. I am asking the same questions. It is my opinion that people today should not marry but for very rare instances because so few have any idea about the human condition. To have this on a Christian page is really bad. I think there should be a huge reworking of the marriage vows since in our present society so few people need to be married as they did in the past. I think Maria is most likely unhappy too but as many women do she just soldiers on because she has too much invested in the marriage already. What’s with Jason anyway? Give me me me. I guess some men are as bad as many women with the intimacy crap. It’s about the battle for control and space, not intimacy, on both sides. Sheesh

  16. I have the same trouble with my wife. She calls it intimacy, I call it complaining. My thing is this, if I was so miserable as she seems to be, I would be gone. It is maddening to feel that no matter how hard I try, nothing seems to make her happy. I am not passive agressive or afraid of intimacy. I am however, sick and tired of all of her complaints and am ready to divorce my wife over her insistant nagging and incessant. Fault finding.

    • Rob,

      As a wife who has true endlessly to gain her husband’s love and solve her issues through “endless complaints and nagging,” I can tell you this much: your wife wants to feel unconditionally loved by you. Her complaints are her way of telling you that she is desperately crying out to be close to you and to feel loved. Wives need to constantly be reassured of their husbands love, and it must show through actions as well as words. Be patient. Don’t react harshly. Don’t shut down. Don’t ignore her. Embrace her. You’ll see her melt in your arms of you do. Nagging may be the worst thing she can do to get that from you, but she doesn’t see that. It’s simply her crying out for you to act lovingly towards her. You sound like a good man who cares, but there may be things you’re doing that hurt her without you even realizing. You should explain to her that you feel disrespected as a result of her bagging though. Men without respect and women without love throws husbands and wives into the vicious cycle you two have fallen into. Purchase the book, “Love and Respect.” I promise it will save your marriage. Both you end your wife should commit to reading it together. I hope I have been able to open up your eyes to her perspective. I felt God pressing on my hear to tell you this, and I pray you both work through it with God’s grace.

  17. This peoples situations and comments on this web site are exactly why I chose divorce and the single life. I was abused, belittled, terrorized, fearful every day for years. Then I realized, we are the only one that has to walk in our pain every day. We only have ONE life. Do we all want to spend every day being belittled, beaten, terrorized, or completely ignored because the person acts as though we do not even exist?

    We are given life to experience Gods joy. Chose joy and walk away from misery.

    Get some hobbies, some supportive friends, and a cuddly pet or two and walk out the door of misery and be very, very sure before you make a commitment to someone again that it’s the right person and for the right reasons and that your new partner brings you joy.

    I know it’s terribly disappointing when you are a good person and you have gone into a relationship with perfect love and perfect trust and your partner disappoints you and betrays you and shatters your trust in love.

    Don’t let them shatter your trust in you. You still have you and God. If you have suffered too long from this domestic terrorism in marriage, get your ducks in a row, pack a small suitcase of your necessities, and do not waste one more precious day of your life on this kind of treatment. Every day is precious. You on not on this earth to be a martyre to some jerk. And if you have kids, by staying in this situation you are teaching them this horrid marriage is just the way life is. Don’t keep the kids stuck in that terror too. Walk out into the sunshine….now!

  18. Your article really spoke to me. Like so many others, I too struggle with my marriage. After only four years, I am bitter and ready to quit.

    My husband and I share some of the same neurological disorders (Asperger’s Syndrome, sensory processing disorder) but he has other
    troubles that are burdening our relationship. I’ve tried capitulating, encouraging, asking for his help, asking for communication and honesty, and begging for physical intimacy. At best he is loving in a patterned sort of way (three kisses before he leaves for work) and at worst condescending, angry, and cold.

    It bothers me when he’ll wake early to pursue his favorite activity for hours on end, yet can’t even sit with me to enjoy a meal together. He’ll read his phone the entire time but get upset if I take my plate into another room to eat. Why should I sit there and be ignored?

    He refuses therapy or medication. He refuses to talk to me about anything that doesn’t interest him. He tunes out when I initiate conversation. He’s told me he constantly feels
    pressure as our only breadwinner; I encourage him to seek a new place of employment or career change and am sneered at for it. I don’t understand.

    I think about divorce. Sometimes I consider suicide when the pain gets to be too much to bear. I’ve been sleeping on our couch for months because I see no reason to sleep in his bed (it does not feel like “our” bed). We’re basically roommates by now.

    I am stuck here for now because I cannot find work. I see no hope for change.

  19. First off let me start by saying my husband and I live in a van. We’ve been living this way for almost three years.. My husband refuses to get a job because he is a musician and believes that he’ll make it big one day if we just keep waiting.. I have a pr degree but my husband absolutely refuses that I work saying that getting a job means that I don’t trust in God to take care of us. We’ve gotten jobs together at campgrounds where we can both work together and live on the grounds but those kinds of jobs don’t really pay that well. When we got married, I was an on air personality for a major television channel and he was signed to a major record label… But he didn’t want me to work so I could travel with him, so I stopped. But then about a half year into our marriage.. He left the record label because he didn’t think they were doing enough for him. So we’re basically living poor with about ten dollars to our name and whenever I try to talk to him about ANYTHING regarding our well being or our future he just gets mad at me and calls me selfish for “living in the future” when he “lives in the present”. I’ve only been able to last this long because I love him.. But it is obvious that he does not care for me the way a husband should. He refuses to talk to me about anything serious and gives me the cold shoulder or just flat out ignores me during the day. When I ask him why he’s behaving like this he says it’s because I only ever want to talk about serious things and I don’t want to have any fun, so he avoids me. My feelings are hurt. My heart is broken. I’ve given up practically everything to stick by him and I’m just getting a cold shoulder in return. I’d be having more fun with him if he could take our marriage a little more seriously.. Otherwise I may end up having to end this. It’s not healthy in any way and my sanity is on the brink of destruction. It is comforting to see the comments from Men on here.. Makes me feel like there’s some hope.

  20. My husband & I have been married since 1995. we have three children two teenagers an then a younger child. I feel like that my husband doesnt care about me. I cant talk to him about anything that Im feeling because he gets mad an we end up in a big disagreement. He wont help me around the house nothing but take out the trash. Ive ask him to help me potty train our youngest child he wont help with that either. We hardly ever talk to each other unless its about his work, bills, are his playstation games. when it comes to things thats bothers me in our marriage it gets mad at me for sharing my feelings. I feel that I cant go to him an talk if I need to because he always reacts the same way everytime angry about what I say. If I look or act a certain way he gets mad. I really dont know what to do anymore. I dont have any family that I can talk to. Both my parents have passed away an so has my grandparents. So I pray an continue to pray about my marriage. any suggestions from anyone would be great.
    Thanks an God Bless,

    • Hi Kim I know how you feel I have similar situation with my husband. He’s not a bad person I just think he’s a bad husband, doesn’t help out doesn’t take care the house I have to do everything. And neglect our relationship. I think I’m still with him because we have children 3 teenagers it’s hard to do it alone when you have young kids.