I am married to a woman whom I have never loved…. We have a one-year-old daughter whose existence was the reason for our marriage. Both of us wanted a child.

However, after we were married, my wife began to change. She is not as agreeable as she used to be, and she complains about the way that I am.

My only concern is my daughter. That’s why I haven’t separated from my wife. I fear for my daughter’s well-being. I can’t tolerate my wife anymore. With each passing day, she becomes more unbearable and I become less tolerant.

Dear Friend,

We are very sorry to hear about the marital problems that you are going through. We want you to know that we care, but even more importantly, that God cares!

We are sad to say that we have heard from many people in your same situation. If you read Cases 104 and 542, you will find out what advice we gave to two men who know just how you feel. In fact, their stories sound much like yours.

On the other hand, we are glad that you emphasize the love that you have for your daughter. Many dads say things like, “I would give my life for my daughter,” or “I would take a bullet for my son.” These fathers’ love is so great that they would be willing to die for their child. But that raises the question: Is dying for your child different than living for your child?

Dying sounds like a one-time decision. You decide that you are willing to die in the place of the child, and then you do it. No more decisions have to be made. You are dead. But death is final, and it means that you can no longer have any influence in the life of your child. You can no longer guide her nor protect her. By dying, you give up all your ability to love and help her for the rest of her life.

Living for your child is, paradoxically, much more difficult than dying for her. You have to make that decision over and over again, day after day, and sometimes hour after hour. You decide that the health and happiness and security and future of your daughter are worth whatever you have to go through. Instead of saying that you can’t tolerate your wife anymore, you say, “Although it’s very difficult, I will learn to appreciate the good qualities of my wife and I will make a happy home with her for the sake of our daughter. I will give up my right to have things the way I want them, because that is the way to have peace in our home. I will concentrate on what is good for my daughter and not on what is good for me.”

Are we asking you to do the impossible? No. It all depends on how much you love your daughter. However, it will be much easier if you turn to God and ask for His help. He is all powerful and can give you the power and strength to make the right decision each day. And if you allow Him to guide your life, He can even give you joy.

We wish you the best,