For the past week my wife has not wanted anything to do with me. We have been married for twelve years and have two children…. She says that it is because she married me without loving me…. I admit that I have contributed to the problem by my lack of understanding. Neither of us has been unfaithful, but she wants to be free and is about to begin divorce proceedings. I am sleeping on the couch for the sake of my children, insisting on remaining at home in order to be with them.
What should I do? My wife says that she is not happy with me and never will be, and that she has only stayed to fulfill her duty as my wife. But I love her!
We are very glad that you are interested in what is best for your children. Many people do what they want without considering their innocent children and the consequences that they will have to suffer.
Concerning what you should do, we believe that until a court says otherwise, you have just as much right to live with your children as your wife does. So we believe that you should not let her force you to leave your home.
If she chooses to go through with the divorce and hires an attorney, then you too will need an attorney to make sure that you continue to have joint custody of the children. But if she doesn’t get around to hiring an attorney, then we believe that you should continue sleeping on the couch and take advantage to spend as much quality time as possible with your children.
These are the things that you should determine not to do: Don’t argue with your wife nor beg her to stay in the marriage. Don’t tell her all the reasons why it would be wrong for her to get a divorce. Don’t ask her to talk about the situation with you nor expect her to repeatedly explain how she feels. And don’t insist on asking her why she’s doing what she’s doing. That kind of communication will drive her further away.
Instead, try to communicate differently than you have in the past. You say that you weren’t very understanding before, so make it your goal to learn how to be understanding. When your wife speaks, listen without interrupting. Don’t minimize her concerns nor tell her that she shouldn’t feel the way that she does. And never, never, never call her names nor belittle her!
Since your wife does not seem to be interested in saving the marriage, you are put in the position of Hosea in the Bible. Hosea continued to love his wife and care for her in spite of her unloving behavior toward him. And Hosea is an example of how God continues to love us even when we reject Him and break the rules that He has created to keep us safe.
Ask God to help you love like He does, even though your wife rejects you. After some time, your wife may or may not realize that she really does love you. But either way, God will give you the courage and strength to face the future.
We wish you the best,