• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.

Marital Geographical Differences

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by Healing with Jesus, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. Healing with Jesus

    Healing with Jesus merciful listener

    141
    +378
    United States
    Christian
    Private
    Hi brothers and sisters. My marriage has many multifaceted issues, but it looks like the central one might be a matter of geography.

    My husband and I met 10 years ago and got involved with each other quickly and intensely. I was young and a brand new Christian at the time. I had very little sense of discernment and didn't realize that he might not actually be a Christian, even though he called himself one.

    Shortly after we met, I got pregnant with our first baby. My then-boyfriend had no job and I had to start working. Once I saved up some money, he convinced me to move far away from our families and home state. He said it was necessary for his happiness and sanity. This was a significant move: 10 hours away from everyone we know, multiple states away, into a very remote region. It was a huge shock for me since I grew up as a city girl, but I was up for the challenge if it meant making my man happy.

    At the time, I didn't think it meant we would be stuck there for 10 years even if it wasn't working. I figured we would go back home if it didn't work. But, even when we were literally living off our parents' dollar, that wasn't enough to convince my husband that this is not working. And now we're embedded in many dysfunctional patterns, and the move is still not eligible to be called a failure in his eyes.

    We got married before we had baby #1. That's when we started to have big problems. Suddenly, I found myself in an extremely isolated situation with a guy who I barely knew and who was treating me terribly. Again, I was up for the challenge, but things were pretty ugly at times. When I was in labor with baby #1, he cursed me out for a relationship I had before I even met him. Unfortunately, this became a harmful destructive pattern and it's been going on for 10 years. Let's go ahead and call it what it is: emotional and verbal abuse.

    I expected things to get better with time, but this pattern repeated itself again and again. Sometimes things got worse, like when he decided to pick up drinking, which he had never done before. That added a layer of violent verbal abuse.

    I can now look back and see that, in a way, things have improved. He doesn't go on quite the level of rampage he used to, but anyone with a conscience would become sick to hear how he still treats me. There is a pattern of him mistreating me then apologizing, and then I forgive him. And this pattern repeats again and again. Add significant social and geographical isolation to the problem and... wow, I've been having a really hard time.

    When I started having serious health issues recently, I needed to lean on him. The problem is that he didn't let me do that. Or he would let me for a moment, and then curse me out for being weak. He refused to take me to the emergency room one night when I really needed to go. I feel extremely foolish now, because my doctor said I could've died that night (and several times during this illness). But I believed my husband when he said I was being *expletive* dramatic.

    I got to a breaking point a couple weeks ago where I got fed up with his harmful behaviors and how I've been enabling them, and I decided to separate from him. It has been surprisingly effective, at least in the words he's using to convince me. I didn't intend for it to be anything other than a means for me to get out of harm's way. But now he's telling me me that he'll do anything to takes to get me back, even if it means compromising some things that make him comfortable.

    But there's one thing he won't give up. And that's living isolated in the boondocks far away from everyone we know and love. He said that there, he has everything that makes him happy, except me. And it doesn't sound like he'll give it up to make our marriage and lifestyle more sustainable. Even if he did, he would hate me till the end of our days together. And I do mean hate. I made him quit drinking before, and he poured vitriolic resentment out on me, every single day. So what did I do? Cave in and let him drink. So I know how it will play out if I "make" him leave the place he loves.

    The problem is that we've never been able to build a support network there. I have a very small church and two friends in that entire state whom I can trust. And both of those lovely ladies work full-time and can't drop everything and help me when I need them. One of them is a believer and she does what she can for me, but she has her own life. Also, I'm just not that close with them.

    My family, however, can drop everything to help me. And they have done that now, sacrificing days of their time and hundreds of dollars to help me get safe and separated from my husband. So, now I'm in our home state with my family, trying to convince my man to join me here. There are good reasons I want to have our lives here:

    - We have a healthy number of family members and friends who are able and willing to help us out.
    - We have three kids. They would benefit from social opportunities and good schools. The schools in the remote location are awful. I mean, they're so bad that staff members actually have been convicted of hitting children. And the leadership doesn't change in spite of this. Horrible.
    - We have a special needs child who needs an additional layer of support that is difficult or impossible to get in a very rural location.
    - We are in an awful financial situation because of living in a remote location for so many years. I have an insane amount of debt in my name that I can't even pay since we're so broke. There are many more opportunities for higher-paying jobs in our home state.
    - I am at least somewhat healthier in our home state. I don't know if there's a science to it, or if I'm simply less stressed because I'm supported and not isolated.

    However, my husband isn't convinced by these reasons. He is comfortable and happy in the remote area. I feel very sad and frustrated. I just want a sustainable lifestyle that helps our kids grow up in a functional, stable environment. Even if that means dealing with traffic and having fewer woods to trek through, I'm okay with that.

    I don't want to divorce my husband. I want to be married till the end. I want to work through all the problems - even the emotional, verbal, and substance abuse. I want to raise our kids together. I feel confident that with enough time and energy, things could greatly improve. The Lord has thankfully given me a great deal of patience.

    However, I am feeling defeated about this geography thing. There's nothing I can say to get through to my husband. He doesn't like sitting in traffic or fighting crowds. It makes him anxious, which is why I moved up to no man's land in the first place. I wanted to give him a good environment to be a good dad. But he's insisting on living somewhere that doesn't work for the family, at our expense, for his benefit.

    So, what do I do?
    I can deprive our kids' future and let my health suffer, to be in the place that makes him happy.
    Or I can stay in the place where we have significant support and more opportunities, even if he doesn't come along.
    Or, is there a way I can convince him to be with us, that doesn't cause lifelong resentment and bitterness?
     
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. Yennora

    Yennora Buy the truth and sell it not. Pro 23:23

    441
    +421
    Australia
    Non-Denom
    Single
    Well, I might not have enough experience to help but I will share what I would do if I was you.

    If I was you I would have remained with my family, keep the children with me no matter what even if it will lead both of us to the court. And start benefiting from the healthy life in that place, for the children and for me.

    I'm sorry if that sounds tough, but your husband sounds like a spoiled kid. He needs to man up, and he will only man up when he gets slapped hard by your self-determinism. My advice is: Don't go back, start caring about yourself and your children. Don't let a weak drowning person drown you with them due to their lack of responsibility and self-discipline. You also should never sacrifice the wellbeing of your children for his. Parents usually sacrifice for their children, not the other way around. He needs to get that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  3. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    +21,615
    Anglican
    Married
    Not knowing what parts of the country you came from or where you are now, I would say that you need to make him put his words into action, meaning that moving is essential. In other words, he is making a half-way offer that meets only some of your needs.

    However, and to be fair to him, he probably is remorseful and cannot bear to lose you, so I am wondering why this would not be a compromise to be tried--move back to NEAR where your family and connections are, but in some relatively secluded land in that region? Not 10 hours away. This assumes, of course, that your decision is to stay with him, despite everything, if at all possible.

    Where I live, there are relatively large cities and larger ones nearby and all that goes with them, but the rural areas that are nearby are still well off the beaten path and provide, for those who want it, quite a lot of separation from the rest of society. The thing is, though, that "civilization" and hospitals remain relatively close by, as would your family members and--for him--job opportunities.

    Finally, this is potentially a matter of life and death for you, as you described, so it's not simply a preference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • List
  4. Healing with Jesus

    Healing with Jesus merciful listener

    141
    +378
    United States
    Christian
    Private
    Thanks for your post. I'm inclined to agree. It does seem harsh, but maybe that's because I've been acquiescing for so many years. I do have the kids with me. Sorry, I should've been more clear about that. I wouldn't want to leave them behind with his current dysfunctional choices and behaviors. And please do keep us in prayer.
     
  5. Healing with Jesus

    Healing with Jesus merciful listener

    141
    +378
    United States
    Christian
    Private
    Thank you, you make some good points. In our home area, it is extremely urban with a lot of suburban sprawl, so we'd have to be at least a couple hours away to find adequate space to maintain a rugged lifestyle. Which is still much closer than 10 hours. At this point, country living isn't even important to me, but I understand that it's important to him.

    The problem is that he really hates our home state. A lot of it is the laws, frankly. Our new state has a lot more freedom. And again, I really don't care about that since I'm low-maintenance in that way. I don't need accommodations for things like that. But there's nowhere within 2-3 hours that would provide the level of freedom he wants.
     
  6. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    +21,615
    Anglican
    Married
    Hi, "Healing." It looks like you are more inclined towards Yennorah's scenario than the one I laid out (which is fine). But it causes me to ponder this...

    What if you put my scenario to him? What would he say and promise in reply? If he demurs, equivocates, or wants to compromise on that idea, then you can be just about certain that you have no choice but to go with what Yennorah outlined and not look back.

    I understand, but we all have to make choices in life and this is one he would have to face--casual, natural lifestyle OR you and his children.

    Most people would not hesitate for long on that one, even if it came with some understandable regrets. It would be a real test for him, but if he fails it, you will know for certain that there is little hope of any of the rest of his promises holding up. However, if "home" is that urbanized, I don't know if even this can work.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  7. Healing with Jesus

    Healing with Jesus merciful listener

    141
    +378
    United States
    Christian
    Private
    Thanks for your questions. I'll explain why. I've asked him many dozens of times over the years to consider the scenario that you've proposed, meaning living out in the country with plenty of space but still close to our families. He always refused, so I gave up.

    Right now, I'm staying in an area that is away from the big city, and I told him how nice it is around here. I was surprised since I've never seen this part of the state. I asked him what he thought of coming to live here. His reply was: Can you really see me living there? And again, the other night, I said: now I just gotta convince you to come here. And he said: uhhhh, I hope you're not serious.

    So it's not that I haven't tried to convince him to make a geographical compromise. And maybe I need to keep trying, because as I said, I really want our marriage to work. But I guess I'm starting to see that his rigidity will never change.

    There is one more thing I'm considering, which is offering to come back and work on things in his preferred location for a limited period of time and delineate specific markers for success. And if those benchmarks haven't been met, then the kids and I, with or without him, would come back to our home state.

    However, I have worries about this, since once I go back it would be very difficult to leave again. I had three people from my family come all the way over to help me and the kids get back here. That can't happen again... it was a huge disruption to everyone's lives. They were happy to help me out of an emergency situation, but their patience will vanish if I put myself back there and fail again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  8. Yennora

    Yennora Buy the truth and sell it not. Pro 23:23

    441
    +421
    Australia
    Non-Denom
    Single
    I truly advise you against this idea. As you said, getting out of there is not easy at all. And the place there is not healthy for you and your children. There is no reason to go back to a place that will cause harm to you and the children.

    You offered a lot. It is his turn now. If he doesn't, he loses. I genuinely believe that if you go back to that place you will be accompanied with regret. It is clear from his replies to you that he is not willing to sacrifice. By returning you will be even spoiling him more in my honest opinion.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  9. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    +21,615
    Anglican
    Married
    Based on this additional information, I don't see any hope. I'm sorry.

    I admire your commitment and patience, but I wouldn't do this myself.

    He has shown, through all the info you have given us, not much willingness to sacrifice much of anything, even at the risk of losing his family. It's sad.

    Maybe the only thing you can do, if you are still hopeful, is to let him see how much he likes living alone in the wilderness after you and the kids are gone with no reason for him to assume that it's only temporary.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  10. maintenance man

    maintenance man Well-Known Member Supporter

    831
    +1,164
    United States
    Non-Denom
    Married
    From what I'm reading - Your husband needs help. He seems to be dealing with personal issues that push him toward isolation. I would encourage him to find someone who can help him work through those issues.

    I'm guessing that in the remote region you have been living there are families living happy healthy lives. You make a strong case against living in that area but still there must be many who enjoy raising their family there.

    It seems to me the greater problem is your husbands verbal abuse - which is something he needs help with. His abuse of you is likely a reaction to some pain in his life that needs to be resolved. This may also be something that has prevented him from seeking a more substantial form of employment, because the social element is too difficult for him to deal with.

    If you're able to sustain yourself financially in your new location with the kids that seems to best place for you right now. I think you should ask your husband to visit you as frequently as possible and seek help dealing with his anxiety/anti-social tendencies. Your children need a father. From the limited information you've provided it appears their father needs help understanding the importance of that role.

    I'm praying for you, your kids, your husband, and all those helping your through this difficult time.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • List
  11. Healing with Jesus

    Healing with Jesus merciful listener

    141
    +378
    United States
    Christian
    Private
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I am honestly struggling with this so tremendously right now, I'm completely confused. I know my Father doesn't want this for me. I read the Bible and receive spiritual refreshment, but when I return to ponder my situation and this decision, I'm paralyzed.

    Yes, my husband has been emotionally and verbally abusive. That is the main reason I left. My health got to the point where I just couldn't take it anymore. Since I've been safe at my mom's, I've recovered somewhat but I'm still not healthy or fully recovered yet.

    I also haven't mentioned this here, but my husband also has big problems with alcohol abuse. As you can imagine, this fuels his emotional and verbal abuse of me. Add being in a completely isolated location - I mean, this place is invisible from the road, the "neighbors" (maybe 5 houses in the mile radius?), etc. - and he really has no accountability.

    Now I am emotionally crippled anew. My husband has been very hurt by our absence, and he is turning over a new leaf. At least on the phone, but I think it's very easy to be calm on the phone with no kids around. Anyway, he's saying he'll do anything for our family. So he said he stopped drinking alcohol. He's been sober for less than a week. And he says he'll do what it takes. He's seeing a therapist but guess what? It's a girl, and she isn't even licensed or trained in addictions. Because there are no guys doing therapy up there, there's hardly anyone doing it. (By the way, I have insisted that he see a male who specializes in addictions, even though it means a 2-hour round trip drive.) As far as employment and finances go, the issue is the lack of opportunity. For every job, they get too many applications. I have my college degree and spent years working in restaurants. That kinda thing.

    Listen, I want to go back. That is my peaceful life, when he's gone to work anyway. Here, I'm at my mom's, and surrounded by unruly crowds and chaos. Are there healthy, happy families in the boonies? Yes, but 95% of them have family in the area or nearby. The family with the furthest grandparents I know has one set 4 hours away. The people who do have support networks are social people. We haven't been social people. Part of it is my fault, I can't blame my husband for all of it. But you have to understand the dynamics of emotional abuse. The victim always seeks to protect their abuser. It's an awful cycle. I need support and can't get it. That's why my family in my home state was completely shocked when I told them of my marital difficulties! And even that I was unhappy in that region. They had no idea!

    So, now that all of this is in the open, could we build a support network? I honestly don't know. But I'm petrified to go back. My husband is expecting me to go back and I guess I will? I guess I have to? It doesn't seem right to just yank the kids away from their dad. He's complaining that he hasn't seen them for 2 weeks and it stinks for everyone. Plus I miss my husband. So yeah I want to go back. But is it a death warrant if I do? I can't make the trip back to my home state if it gets bad. Noooo way. So I am truly paralyzed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
  12. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

    +1,151
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    OK, so he had his move to his happy place. He's had 10 years to prove how happy he is in that space. If you like his version of 'happiness' that this happy place gives him, by all means, move right back because that's what you'll continue to get.

    Also, the red words are a huge flag to me. Has he been a provider for the family?

    You have already given him UNLIMITED amounts of time until you recently had to escape for your health and almost, literally, your life. My dear sister, please flee this thought. Let him do the work of winning you back. Don't protect him from the consequences of his behavior.
     
  13. Endeavourer

    Endeavourer Well-Known Member

    +1,151
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    Your husband mistreats and abuses you until you have to flee for your life and you think you owe this to him? Absolutely not. Let him come to get you. Let him pursue you. My sister, don't even go there, or else you'll keep getting what you've always gotten.

    His behavior was the cause of his separation from the children. Let him complain to himself. Let him figure out how to behave himself so his children and wife can safely return back to his home. Water off your back like a duck. Healing, this is NOT your problem. Let him solve it.
     
Loading...