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Still hope?

Discussion in 'Married Couples' started by Hferry22, May 1, 2018.

  1. Hferry22

    Hferry22 New Member

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    P.S.

    I watched the movie, "Fireproof", this weekend and I sobbed. I never yelled at my wife like the husband did in the movie but I have abused her unknowingly for a long time. I can't do The Love Dare book because I'm not living at home and she just isn't ready but I'm working hard to learn about my behavior (I go back to Towson, MD tomorrow for two more hours of counseling).

    Also, our anniversary is on June 9th so I'm seeking counsel and wisdom on how, if at all, to acknowledge it this year.

    I've been thinking about an honest apology letter, not long but short and to the point. Perhaps it can help her in her healing process?
     
  2. HannahT

    HannahT Newbie Supporter

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    I think I would leave that alone for a while. It can come later.
     
  3. Tropical Wilds

    Tropical Wilds Lord, beer me strength...

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    It’s one thing to see it, another to change it. Right now it still looks more like self-victimization than a true breakthrough that leads to revelation and profound behavior change. I don’t doubt you want to save your marriage, but you’re still operating from your place of me.

    Have you ever heard the phrase “trust in God but lock your car?” It means you should always have faith in God, but you should also do your part too. You are working on you-focused counseling, you focused revelations, now asking God to do the heavy lifting on you to to just make things right, asking God to fix her, her friends and family... All of this just feels like busywork that is avoiding the true issues and confronting what you need to do for her benefit to answer her concerns. There does come a point where you have to do the work on all the stuff you just don’t want to deal with.

    Praying is easy and passive. Working on the stuff you want to work on is easy and self serving. Diving in and getting dirty is hard but it’s what it takes to get things done.

    There is a ton more you can do...

    You can ask to see the kids more than three nights a week.

    You can ask to see more than just the one child 3 nights a week.

    You can ask her what she feels she needs to see more secure in the changes you are making.

    You can ask her what changes she needs you to make.

    You can start working on those things.

    You can go to individual counseling.

    You can encourage her to go to individual counseling because it will help you know what you need to do to be producticely handling your plan to heal.

    You can seek out joint counselors and reinforce that you feel you need it.

    You can focus on other endeavors to show you aren’t fixated to the point of obsession on her and the marriage.

    You can start dealing with what was swept under the rug in terms of your actions in the marriage... IE, the affair you kind of glossed over having.

    You can give her space by stopping going to the house when she’s not there for lunch and such.

    You can prepare for what life may look like if/when you don’t move back in and you’re on the road to divorce.

    1. Stop. Spying. On. Your. Wife. Via. Her. Friends.

    2. My first husband and I were the worst matched couple in the world and everybody saw it but us. When we separated, we didn’t get a single “we are pulling for you guys to divorce!” text. Most people don’t. Polite “thinking of you and hope you come through” texts all over the place, but no “get divorced already” texts.

    3. That was her marriage, not yours. You don’t know of their issues, she doesn’t know the specifics of yours. Your problems may be significantly greater than what she faced. There’s a big gulf between “we had a rough go of it but he did what he needed to prove he was hearing my concerns and changed” and you having an affair that never really was addressed and working kind of hard for just a month on the things you have selected to work on and still being asked to move out.
     
  4. Tropical Wilds

    Tropical Wilds Lord, beer me strength...

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    Fireproof was a movie about a fictional person in a fictional marriage created to support a tie-in book of questionable merit. His marriage was saved because that’s how it was written and I suspect book sales for the tie-in books would have flatlined if he ended up divorced.

    No more letters. The best apology is a changed behavior.
     
  5. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    Or write letters as you go through the process, but share them later.

    This will help you see development, and if you choose to share any of them later will still send a message to her.
     
  6. Hferry22

    Hferry22 New Member

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    Thank you all for your input in this situation.

    To be clear...

    I still have work to do and even though I get frustrated sometimes when I see a response to one of my posts where I think I'm learning I still take it all in. I'm honestly trying really hard to remove self from this in terms of the marriage and work on self in prayer and in counseling.

    My wife is going to individual counseling as am I.

    She is not interested in marriage counseling right now. I don't believe she is will to invest time, energy and money into something unless she sees changes in me during this separation.

    She has allowed me to be at home for lunch during the day until school ends, she is a teacher.

    I have asked her about changes she would like to see in me but she is unwilling to share specifics because she feels I would manipulate this into "change" that is not real. So, she is truly relying on the Lord to do this in me and to measure real change that way.

    The friend that texted me, her and her husband are vacation partners along with their children. We are very close and they are fully aware of our situation. So, her text was an encouragement to me to keep working and waiting.

    I have been extremely desperate to fix what is broken, I'm a guy. In my desperation I have not shown very mature attitudes. My spying does need to stop, I agree. My "reason" is that I just don't know anything at all about how my wife is really feeling and I'm away from my family. No excuse though.

    So, I will continue to do my best to step back and let God work in all of this and post here as needed.
     
  7. snoochface

    snoochface Meet the new boss -- same as the old boss.

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    I think I would acknowledge the anniversary, at least in words ahead of time. I'm envisioning a scenario where you don't acknowledge it at all and she thinks, "He didn't even remember our anniversary" or "He's punishing me for this by blowing off our anniversary." I don't know how significant those milestones are to you two as a couple, but it would seem odd to me to have a day like that go by completely unacknowledged. I think maybe, ahead of the day, bring it up with her in person, tell her that you know it's coming up, and you want to respect her and not push her, but would she prefer that you leave it alone this year? Take your direction from her.
     
  8. Tropical Wilds

    Tropical Wilds Lord, beer me strength...

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    Or she could be thinking there’s no point as she’s mentally preparing to leave. Since she has asked you to leave, she’s reading books about letting go and moving on, that seems more likely than the other. You have to be careful since you’re highly prone to assign people motivations based off of you, not necessarily them.

    “Allowed” to be at home and “wanted” to be at home are very different. Since she has asked you to leave, the kids aren’t there, she’s asked you to stop when she will be there, there is no reason for you to be there and her actions and words indicate she needs that space. Give it to her. She’s asked for a separation for a period of time, you are seeking inches in the hopes of turning them into miles.

    Leave the home, stop coming for lunch. There’s no reason to be there.

    Or she is distrustful of you and something you need to do is earn her trust back. Or she’s hoping to bide time until her break and end the marriage then without the stress of having to go to work.

    Either way, it’s not a good sign. You have work to do and you feel her not telling you is her relying on God to change you. You need to change you. Saying it’s up to God is another avoidance tactic.

    She is her childhood friend and she texted a vague platitude as one does when people go through this stuff. Nothing about that text was a sign of anything related to your marriage, your wife, your recovery, or anything in between. As I said, when I was separated, nobody texted to say that it was for the best that we split. This is much the same thing.

    I reiterate, stop fishing for information via her friends, mutual friends, or anybody else. Stop interpreting passive interactions as signs of your wife’s behavior, stop thinking everything is a message to be decoded about your marriage.

    Here’s another example of something your wife will see a sign of a lack of change. “Yup, I’m doing something I shouldn’t do, I know I shouldn’t, I know it bothers her, there’s no excuse... But here’s my excuses.”

    No excuses means no excuses. It means seeing the problem, acknowledging it, apologizing for it, fixing it, and moving on. That’s what she’s craving.
     
  9. DZoolander

    DZoolander Persnickety Member

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    One thing that seems to be a particularly hard thing for some people to grasp is that everyone has their own unique world they inhabit - filled by their own perceptions - their own thoughts - their own beliefs - that have little to do with you.

    Your wife is going to do what she feels is best for herself based upon those things. Sure, you play into that, but she will have her own beliefs about YOU based upon YOUR actions - and she will weigh that against what she feels is best for herself.

    I don't know your wife - but based upon your original post it sounds like she's tired of your nonsense. It sounds like she thinks that you're a controlling jerk. When she talks about snide comments, what was the goal of those comments? Was it to build her up or tear her down? I'm sure it was the latter. Why do people tear other people down? Usually it's so that they can be controlled. People diminish each other so they can get what they want from them. Why else would you make someone feel less valued or worthwhile?

    She likely thinks you want things your way - and to heck with what she wants.

    Looks like you've spent nearly the past two decades showing that to her - and now it's biting you in the butt. And it's set a really nasty dynamic going forward - because now you want reconciliation and she's tired of giving in to what you want. She's tired of being the one to lay down and wants something to go her way. That's going to be a problem when you WANT reconciliation - because then she's going to say she doesn't want it...and she's going to want to stand her ground on it.

    You've made that bed - now you need to deal with it.

    Unfortunately, the more you press, likely the more resilient it's going to make her stand. The more you ask her what you need to do to change - the more she's going to think you're trying to control the situation and just make shallow changes to appease her until it's back to life as before (and you "won" again). The spying stuff just comes off really really badly, so you need to knock it off. It just reinforces the look of being controlling.

    What you need to do is back off and stop trying to worm your way in. You need to be willing to let her control the situation - not just now or for the next few weeks until she "comes around to your way of thinking." You need to accept the very real possibility that she's on her way out and be okay with it. That's really the only hope IMHO of actually getting what you want.

    Because all this stuff about "I've laid off for a few weeks - now can I get what I want?" (which is basically what you're saying) ain't gonna get you there.
     
  10. Poppyseed78

    Poppyseed78 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Very well-said. I hope he listens to this advice.
     
  11. Hferry22

    Hferry22 New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for all of the feedback over the past few months. Obviously, some of you (more of you) see a light at the end of the tunnel and some of you don't. I understand the reality of this situation. I'm sharing my side and trying to be as honest as I can which means honest feedback in return.

    I have backed off over the past few days and will continue to work hard to do so; my control issues were discussed in my counseling session yesterday. I have work to do.

    I believe and am praying for full restoration of the marriage; much will depend upon me and what I allow God to do in me with me controlling or manipulating. God can do a miracle here and that's my prayer.

    I am signing off for awhile because the more I come here the more I obsess over the marriage and I need to "obsess" over God working in ME right now and allowing him to work in all of this.

    If any major developments happen I will certainly return to keep you informed. Right now I have just under four months to go which is a long time and much work to be done in me as you can tell.

    Keep praying and believing!
     
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  12. Hferry22

    Hferry22 New Member

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    I thought I would do a quick update here based upon my conversation about the anniversary.

    June 9th marked 17 years and it is our first one that we spent apart. Hard? Yes.

    I went by at 4pm to our home for my scheduled time to be with the boys (4-8) and then she returned at 8:30pm with groceries which I always help to take into the kitchen for her to put away later. She did not acknowledge the anniversary. However, I did leave a card and a gift card for a local salon for her upstairs on her nightstand.

    The card said...

    I miss your smile. I miss your laugh. I miss your voice.

    Our boys are blessed to have such a hard working and sacrificial mom like you. I appreciate all that you do for them and for our family.

    You are a treasure! You are the most valuable person to me in this world and I love you with all of my heart.

    She texted me about two hours after I left and thanked me for the gift.

    Here I am on June 11th in a better place than 11 days ago when I last posted. Another therapy session down and more to work on. I'm focused on myself during this season and I am no longer checking in with her friends, snooping, etc...I've come to the point, finally, that I cannot control her or her decision. I can only control me and my walk with God and I have to step back and trust him to do the work of healing and restoration of this marriage.

    I miss my wife more than I miss my boys; for a long time in this marriage it was about them and not about her; that has now changed.

    Really, it's not about my steps and what I'm doing rather than about her healing and having the safe space to work this out and process her thoughts.

    **The texting rule she set in place has been broken by her a number of times.

    **I do still come home for lunch because she said I could.

    **She has asked me to stay home for a few days next week as she and the boys go to visit her parents (a trip they always take on their own) to watch our dog. She said I can sleep in the bed, shower, etc...No restrictions.

    **She invited me over to spend time with the boys on Father's Day.

    **She invited me over on June 1st for our sons 2nd birthday for cupcakes.

    I have not violated her space or her texting rule.

    There is always hope with God, always. I understand the reality of where we are but I choose to put my faith and hope in Jesus to restore what is broken.
     
  13. Tropical Wilds

    Tropical Wilds Lord, beer me strength...

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    I’m glad you’re making progress, however, be prepared... All the steps she’s making seem to point that this isn’t a short-term separation. She’s in full separate lives mode.
     
  14. Hferry22

    Hferry22 New Member

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    A quick update...

    Father's Day marked one month of separation. I was grateful to have visited with the boys and we had a good time just hanging out at the house.

    As I mentioned, my wife and boys took their yearly summer trip to her parents house after school is out. My wife is a teacher. Again, she invited me to stay at the house to watch our dog. I must say it was very surreal to be sleeping in my own bed after a month away; they will return home tomorrow so tonight will be my last night at home, for now.

    I still see the boys on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 5-8pm. However, my wife told me last weekend that whenever I wanted to take my oldest son out for a movie on an "off night" or a hike, etc...just to let her know and that would be fine.

    Because of the restrictions my wife placed on this separation I am sure to ask permission for anything I do; for example she told me not to text her unless it was about finances and to give her space. I've honored both of them. However, she has broken the no texting rule quite often. Although it's not lovey it is communication about family things other than finances. So, on Father's Day I asked my wife about getting food while I stayed there; she said that was fine. When I returned to the home that I'm staying at I texted her to confirm that I could use our debit card for food and asked if I could rent a movie...her response, "Of course you can rent a movie-you can buy whatever food that you need-you don't need to ask me for permission every time you spend money."

    On Monday when they arrived to her parents home she texted, "Thought you would like to know that we are here."

    Now, these are not earth shattering things, I get it, but there seems to be a "warming" up to some degree from her right now. No, we aren't back, yet, but this was positive to me.

    **I caught myself manipulating and I apologized for it without her saying anything...Here is what happened...

    Our life group at church will be going through the book "Undaunted" by Christine Caine. The email came through to us and I forwarded that email to my wife "suggesting" that she go because although Christine faced a different form of abuse it may be good for her to go; I also placed the book on her nightstand. She said, "I appreciate the offer but you go and I'm reading other books right now." The next morning I woke up the Holy Spirit reminded me of what I did. Through him and through counseling I was able to recognize manipulation and my apology to my wife said, "I owe you an apology from last night. It as manipulative on my part to suggest the Bible study to you. You are an adult and you know what you need during this season. Me laying the book on your nightstand was me telling you what you needed. I was wrong, I'm sorry." She replied back in the text, "Thank you."

    No, I'm not patting myself on the back but just saying that I am working through manipulation and control in counseling. I'm "happy" that I recognized this and apologized but the next step is not do it at all. I believe she was encouraged by that recognition and apology.

    She posted the following from Lysa TerKeurst last night on Facebook...


    I’ll be honest … for years I struggled during difficult times with what to say when I prayed. I thought I had to find the perfect words to connect with the Lord.

    But one day, I discovered... if I’m going through something hard, I can pray prayers where I don’t speak at all.

    I can just sit with Jesus — making no suggestions, offering no solutions. Sometimes, I have nothing but quiet tears and a heavy heart. The beautiful thing is, the Bible promises when we sit with Jesus like this, the Holy Spirit lifts up the exact right prayers for me. And eventually, I sense God and there is peace.

    What are you going through today? Whether it’s a difficult issue with one of your kids or financial stress or just feeling overwhelmed by life, I encourage you to sit with Jesus without feeling the need to offer up any words at all. Just sit.

    From me now...I have settled down quite a bit and continue to pray for my wife, the restoration of our marriage, drawing close to God on my own and working in counseling...
     
  15. Tropical Wilds

    Tropical Wilds Lord, beer me strength...

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    I hope it resolves for you in the way you’d like, but I have to be honest, you’re still misinterpreting crumbs as major leaps forward when there are more major milestones that show that she is less and less invested than she was.

    So she said you could spend money without asking... Great. But she took a major family trip without you, on and around a day theoretically devoted to honoring your role as a father. While she was making excuses for why you weren’t there, you were at your old home, playing house alone, and being a free house sitter.

    Most would not term this as progress.

    At this point, it looks more and more like she’s using you to ease herself out and not you back in. My sympathy for her is dwindling as she uses you for all the perks of having a partner without any of the return investment. It’s emotional manipulation and cruel to put you in a spot where she knows you make meals of crumbs, then using that as fuel to propel herself forward, using you to build a life without you.
     
  16. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    Hence the problem with a book that suggests putting one person from the marriage in charge of the recovery, instead of getting help from someone with experience navigating both parties through the necessary changes.
     
  17. mkgal1

    mkgal1 His perfect way sets me free. 2 Samuel 22:33 Supporter

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    That's a questionable statement. There are times when a unilateral support is necessary (in the case of abuse)....but I'm not so convinced this is an example of that being warranted. There are some people that will never change (this side of life)....and may only get violent (or more conniving) if they're involved in that navigation.

    Can we talk about that in another thread (because that's honestly a whole other topic.....related but will derail Hferry's thread).
     
  18. mkgal1

    mkgal1 His perfect way sets me free. 2 Samuel 22:33 Supporter

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    Hferry.....I know it's difficult to consider this as the reality....but I hope you DO consider that this could be what's going on. Either way.....continuing to work on your own side of things is going to be helpful for YOU (and your boys)....it just may not restore your marriage (that is in your wife's control).
     
  19. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    It is not derailing at all to suggest that putting the person who is herself trying to figure out how to create boundaries, why she supported his behavior for years, etc. in charge of the whole process is a poor idea.
     
  20. mkgal1

    mkgal1 His perfect way sets me free. 2 Samuel 22:33 Supporter

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    To the extent that I wanted to discuss it, I'm fairly certain it would be a derailment....but maybe another time.

    I agree with you that, in this particular case, it may not be a good idea to put her solely in charge of this whole process. But then again.....maybe it CAN be a good idea (we can't really know where her head is at and how she's being influenced).
     
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