I waited until I was forty years old to get married, but I’m almost certain that I made a mistake…. These almost six years of marriage have been tempestuous. I am unhappy and there is no peace in our home…. We have each verbally abused the other…. We can’t agree on anything because we always end up arguing.

Dear Friend,

By the time you were forty, you were likely settled as a single person, having grown accustomed to the freedom of having no one else to include in your decision making. So it should be no surprise that it has been quite an adjustment, having been on your own for so many years, to have to make so many changes in your daily life to accommodate a wife. It is normal that you are finding it difficult to make those changes. You don’t mention how old your wife is, but if she is significantly younger than you are, then the adjustment is even more significant.

You say that you think you made a mistake. We agree. It was a mistake to think that you could incorporate a wife into your life without recognizing all the ways you’d need to change and all the independence you’d need to give up. However, we suspect that you would have many of the same difficulties if you had married a different woman.

You are tempted to think that your current problems are all because of the specific woman that you married, and you are tempted to blame your unhappiness on her. You are so frustrated that you are looking for justification to simply give up.

Rather than focusing on your unhappiness, we recommend that you focus on saving your marriage. The first step is to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to begin marriage counseling with a professional. Both of you need instruction and practice in how to communicate your wants and needs in a positive manner, as well as how to listen to your spouse and recognize their feelings and motivations.

We are not blaming you for all the problems in your marriage, but you are the one asking for our help. It is important to get past the blaming and think about how you can make the future better. No matter how your wife responds, you can follow the teaching of the Apostle Paul that a man should love his wife in the same way Christ loves the church. (1)

What did Christ do for the church? He sacrificed his life and willingly died on a cross to forgive sin.

Sometimes it seems easier to die for someone than to live for them. That’s because dying is just once, and then it’s over. But living is every day, all day long, day after day after day…

Think of three things that you can do for your wife today that will demonstrate your love for her. Don’t ask what she’s going to do for you, and don’t keep score. Just show her your love today no matter how she responds. Then add another three things tomorrow, and so on. Ask God to show you how to really love and cherish her with no expectation that she will reciprocate.

We wish you well,

1 Eph 5:25