Question:

I have been married for ten years now and I feel more like roommates than husband and wife. The problem is that my husband is not an affectionate person, never really has been. I just kept thinking he would change. The only time I get any contact from my husband is when we are intimate in bed, otherwise, no touching hugging, or anything! I feel so un-loved I hate to think I have to spend the rest of my life like this. I don't think he knows how much I hurt, even though I've told him over and over, and nothing ever seems to change. I am at the point where I would much rather be on my own with the kids. I would be content with living a life without having a man rather than be in this situation. He is a non-Christian with a very stubborn, controlling demeanor.  I am afraid that this will be passed on to my children’s relationships with their spouses, because they never see affection in our household. I have even fallen out of love with him because of this. What would be the Christian way to handle this situation? What can I do? Thanks for any advice.

Answer:

A lot of times when I see situations such as yours the problem isn't a lack of love but a difference in opinion on how a loving person ought to express their love. For example, you indicated that you put a lot of stock on touches as an expression of love. If your husband thinks that the best way to express love is to provide for the family, then you won't see his offerings of love because they are not what you would have done in his place. People have this strong tendency to overlook things which don't match their expectations. You can see this well illustrated in the gospels. Jesus tells the disciples many times that he is going to die on a cross and the disciples just don't get it. But that is because they expected Jesus to set up an earthly kingdom. Dying isn't how they expected a kingdom to be established, so they discounted or ignored what Jesus said.

I'm going to recommend two secular books which will help you understand and give you ideas on how to change your perception of what is happening. I know you are convinced that it is your husband that is at fault, and I would agree that he has contributed to the problem. But it is you who asked, so it is with you we can start turning the situation around. What typically happens is that the other spouse follows when one begins to make steps in the right direction.

  • Get and read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Mr. Chapman's contention is that people express love in five fundamental ways -- actually it is an over simplification, but it will help you notice expressions of love that you never realized were there before.
  • Get and read The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Laura Schlessinger. This book is easy to read and is filled with practical suggestions which change the dynamics in your family. I like this one because it addresses what the wife can do to make changes without requiring willing participation by the husband for it to succeed.

You are wrong thinking that leaving your husband will improve things for your children. Even poor fathers play a huge role in the development of children. Leaving will destabilize their home and remove their father from their lives. It will get particularly bad when they reach their teenage years because it is then that a dad makes the biggest impact on their children. I have studies in my files showing that it is the presence of the father, and not how good of a father he is, which makes the biggest difference in a teenager's development.

As a Christian, you should also consider your vows. You made solemn promises to God when you were wed. You are talking about breaking those vows because you feel unloved at the moment. God puts heavy emphasis on keeping our promises. "When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed- Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?" (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6). Notice the last verse. Even when you realized you made a mistake later, God doesn't consider that a sufficient excuse for breaking your word. The righteous are described as, "he who swears to his own hurt and does not change" (Psalm 15:4).

But in your case it isn't an extreme. You're not happy at the moment, but you haven't said he is cheating on you with another woman, or into drugs and alcohol, or is abusing you or the children. It is simply that he isn't the ideal husband. That is something which can be worked on. It doesn't require leaving your husband.

Thanks. You are right.

I have to work on me also in order to make things better. By me getting angry about the situation it is not helping at all. I must say that he is a great father, we both just have to work on us. I must say this information is a great start.

"So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20).