Christian view on leaving a marriage

(45 Posts)
birdybear Sun 22-Sep-13 20:16:49

Hi., i hope to have some Christian perspective on this. I have been married for 7 years., have a dd 6 and a ds 2. My dh is very difficult to live with., it is a second marriage for both of up. Mine was a short 2 year marriage that should never has happened., no kids. He had a marriage with two kids and also has a dd from a relationship before that. His last wife left him.

He is very childish and emotionally immature. He basically is very un supportive and hard work to get him to do any kind of childcare unless it is fun., like going to the park or similar. We have been to Christian marriage counselling which sorted out a few issues but basically we are just so different. He is very disrespectful and thinks it is funny to call people names., especially me , practically every sentence. He teaches the kids bad manners when i am trying to teach them good.

We just argue all the time., he shouts and me and the dc every day and just today has had us all in tears. My 6 year old is asking me why is daddy so nasty and mean and why did i fall in love with him.

I just can't see a way forward. I expect i do lots of things that he doesn't like., like nagging him to do stuff but i am always ready with an apology and he never apologies unless i demand it which obviously defeats the object as he doesn't mean it. He works hard and does lots of overtime in a good job but refuses to share money. I have to give him a pound or something if i ask him to get bread from the shop if i have forgotten.

I so do not want my kids to grow up with split parents., and i don't think it is biblical either., but i am so getting to the end of my tether. I ask him to speak to me with respect and have an intelligent conversation but it is too much for him.

I wouldn't know where to start with finding somewhere to live and how to claim benefits as i don't work. I gave up a well paid job when i fell pregnant. I just don't know what to do.

PermaShattered Sun 22-Sep-13 21:20:45

Sorry to hear your circumstances sad Do you both go to church? Have 'regular' pastoral care?

birdybear Sun 22-Sep-13 21:35:10

Hi, yes we do. But it is a very large church so we don't know anybody that well. We have been going to this church for a year or so. I go more than he does.

Annunziata Sun 22-Sep-13 21:48:02

The only person who can judge you is God, and he wants you and your children to be safe and happy.

yegodsandlittlefishes Sun 22-Sep-13 22:00:42

Quick answer: pray. Prayer for yourself, hor your husband, for your children. Ask God what you're asking Mn!

It is clearer where there has been adultery, where the marriage vows have clearly been broken.

This is the same man you married, so surely he was like this before you married him. Churches encourage spending plenty of time together and getting to know one another's flaws before making a commitment to marriage.

As marriage problems go, yours sound annoying but not exactly divorce worthy . Is he threatening? Bullying? Or just shouting?

Still, he doesn't sound very kind and Christian. What do you do when he calls you names or treats you or the children badly? Ask him why he does it. Ask him why he shouts. See if he will trust you and open up a little. Encourage him in every effort he makes to be more assertive.

Sorry, not really much of an answer really. There are people who do everything for their sick spouses and it's wonderful to see their love. Others who are in abusive, violent situations who should leave.

It isn't easy. Marriage isn't easy.

Just re-read your op and the separate money seems strange to me. Trust issues? Could he be recalling childhood abuse and so overreact to things because of associations you can't see?

Do you really believe your god would want you to live your one and only life on this planet in misery and being abused?

Make every fair and reasonable effort to repair what is broken in your marriage. But if it doesn't work, if your partner won't cooperate/change/stop abusing you and your children... well, it won't have been you who broke the marriage and went against god's will, it will be him. Leave him with a clear conscience.

I refuse to believe that any god would want you to be unhappily yoked for life to someone who didn't follow basic Christian/decent human principles of kindness, respect and love for your partner and children.

BTW - him not sharing the family finances with you when you gave up your job to care for his children is financial abuse.

yegodsandlittlefishes Sun 22-Sep-13 22:18:00

Sometimes there are no clear answers and it is a matter of picking the least bad/hurtful path.

If you're asking if you can still go to church after divorce and be a Christian, then yes of course you can!

birdybear Sun 22-Sep-13 22:35:13

He isn't abusive, just shouting and nasty. Horrible to be around a lot. Always wants 'love' meaning sex. But when i say how can you expect me to want to have sex with you after you have just been shouting at me and calling me stupid.

I suppose its not nice to stay but not bad enough to go . I don't want to have to explain to my children why is daddy so mean.

I do love him but his behavior is so awful. I am crying while writing this. I just don't know what to do. He is so immature, he doesn't talk to me , about anything

Are aware that "abuse" doesn't just mean physical violence? From your posts so far, I've counted off verbal, financial and sexual abuse.

This list of abusive behaviours is from Women's Aid. I have bolded the behaviours you have told us your DH displays.

Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: shouting/mocking/accusing/name calling/verbally threatening.
• Pressure tactics: sulking; threatening to withhold money, disconnect the telephone, take the car away, commit suicide, take the children away, report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his demands regarding bringing up the children; lying to your friends and family about you; telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.
• Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people; not listening or responding when you talk; interrupting your telephone calls; taking money from your purse without asking; refusing to help with childcare or housework.
• Breaking trust: lying to you; withholding information from you; being jealous; having other relationships; breaking promises and shared agreements.
• Isolation: monitoring or blocking your telephone calls; telling you where you can and cannot go; preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.
• Harassment: following you; checking up on you; opening your mail; repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you; embarrassing you in public.
• Threats: making angry gestures; using physical size to intimidate; shouting you down; destroying your possessions; breaking things; punching walls; wielding a knife or a gun; threatening to kill or harm you and the children.
• Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts; *having sex with you when you don’t want to have sex*; any degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation.
• Physical violence: punching; slapping; hitting; biting; pinching; kicking; pulling hair out; pushing; shoving; burning; strangling.
• Denial: saying the abuse doesn’t happen; saying you caused the abusive behaviour; being publicly gentle and patient; crying and begging for forgiveness; saying it will never happen again.

ScrewtapesOppositeNumber Sun 22-Sep-13 22:58:11

He is certainly not being a good husband by Christian standards. The standard is pretty high (to love his wife as Christ loved his church, and to give himself up for her) but he's not even trying!

Of course, the ideal is that marriage is forever. I believe we should try very hard to make this happen, but if only one person is willing to work at the marriage then there is only so far that can go. One person can't save a marriage on their own.

I think you've got to use your common sense. It is clearly very bad for children to live with someone like that. One of the points of marriage from a Christian perspective is to provide stability for children, but this isn't happening here. I fear your children will be damaged if you stay.

birdybear Sun 22-Sep-13 22:59:54

There isn't sexual abuse , he hasn't and wouldn't force me . Just gets irritated and moans a lot about it.

The money thing is. I bought both kids Christmas presents 90% of them anyway, for the last five years. I have been asking him for money for their presents this year and there is always excuse after excuse. He has just paid for netflix and sky sports for himself though.

He doesn't have an active faith like mine, and i find it so difficult to always be the forgiving one, the one that makes amends, the one who tries to solve issues. He would rather shout and then come out with its all my fault, again. I just don't know what i feel. The ironic thing is we met on a Christian dating site but i really don't know why he did that as his faith really has no obvious part in his everyday life. I wanted to pray together and read the bible together and i have initiated both those things early on in the marriage but he never wanted to do it and it lasted about a week. I wanted a Christian life partner but it is too late now. I made a bad choice and i now have two dc whose lives are affected. My youngest is going through the terrible twos and i really lost my temper with him and smacked him today because i was so upset and he is so difficult and naughty but i get no support and i feel terrible for being such a terrible mother to him.

"He would rather shout and then come out with its all my fault, again."

• Denial: saying the abuse doesn't happen; saying you caused the abusive behaviour;

At the end of the day, OP, either be with this man or don't be with him, based on what you want. I know you value your faith, but you'd be foolish, IMO, to base your decision on what you interpret god to want, when if you ask any random sample of 10 people how they would interpret god's will, each would give you a difference answer. "What god wants" is far too subjective a thing on which to base subjecting yourself to a miserable life.

Why would god want you to be unhappy?

PS - I would count constant nagging and sulking over sex as sexual abuse. He sees his right to sexual gratification as more important than your right to your own body.

jellyfl00d Sun 22-Sep-13 23:18:53

is he definitely a Christian or did he use the dating site and act as a Christian to find a partner? If his faith is not evident in his daily life one has to wonder.
If there is a possibility he is not a really a Christian, then I think you will have an even harder time trying to make this work as you won't have the same goals/beliefs/standards.
If you are not 'one' if there is no unity then I think it either has to end or if you think it's repairable then some serious counselling is required. However I think there is nothing wrong with walking away from what sounds like an awful relationship. It's not an easy decision you have to make.

yegodsandlittlefishes Sun 22-Sep-13 23:22:31

Your best course of action would be to go to get some counselling. A lot of bigger churches (or groups of churches) offer free/cost price counselling services. You don't have to go with your husband, but you would need to keep going every week to be able to see any changes.

bountyicecream Sun 22-Sep-13 23:31:00

I would recommend 'bold love' by dan allender and 'boundaries in marriage' by Henry cloud. Both are Christian books and also very practical. One of them, bold love I think, talks about the fact that Jesus didn't just turn the other cheek when the other party is being wrong. True love involved standing up to the other person. I thought of that when you wrote that you are tired of being the one apologising all the time.

My opinion is that yes ideally we would all stay in marriages accepting that they at hard work at times. But that is only if the other person is also willing to put all the effort in too. I don't believe 'for better or worse' includes worse times created by the other person. That just gives your spouse a right to walk all over you as you'd never leave anyway. He should be cherishing you.

I agree with other posts that suggest there may be an element of emotional abuse that you cannot see yet.

IKnewHouseworkWasDangerous Sun 22-Sep-13 23:37:39

God is our father

God is good.

God wants people to be kind and good to one another.

Why would God want you to remain unhappy when you have done everything reasonable to right the situation? One person cannot carry a marriage. No person has the right to purposefully make another unhappy and no person should stay in a situation where someone is making them unhappy. Not for religion and certainly not in the name of God.

You probably dont want advice from me as I cannot call myself Christian. I have a VERY strong belief in God but I cannot abide religion (s) when they go against, what I know in my heart to be true.

birdybear Sun 22-Sep-13 23:42:38

I wouldn't say his faith is evident in his daily life at all, no . He would say he doesn't have the evangelical upbringing i had, but a catholic one. He may say mine isn't? He knows though i don't want shouting, name calling, disrespecting in our home but he still does it.

I Will get the books mentioned, thank you. I just don't know what to do. My beautiful children deserve better. The fun stuff he does is great with them. The rest he can't be bothered . He would say he works a lot to make a future and that is what makes him a great provider. Not when he gets to do all the spending though, huh .

My emotional needs are just not met at all, and he doesn't even care about them at all either. I know that much. He just wants what he wants, his way . Anyway, i Will sleep on it. Maybe i Will go to cab and just see what my financial and housing options are. I wish he could go back to the man i dated. He cared about me .

bountyicecream Sun 22-Sep-13 23:50:57

Birdy. Will you check the links at the start of the support for emotionally abusive relationships thread on the relationships board. Your last post about being the man you dated has sent shivers down my spine. I say the exact same thing about my husband. We are currently having Christian counselling. But I think I may end up divorcing him as I'm pretty certain he is emotionally abusive and everything I've read tells me they don't really change. Hand holding for you. It's an awful decision to have to make. But perhaps think about the messages you're teaching your dc about relationships if you stay. History seems to repeat itself often...

Fwiw I know my dad thinks I should leave (although he'd never actually say it) and he's a c of e vicar!

flowersinavase Sun 22-Sep-13 23:51:11

Off topic, but IKnew that's a very dangerous perspective. Every extremist believes that his/her heart contains the 'truth' (and so justifies their behavior). The Bible teachers that our hearts full of sin and not a reliable guide for life. If our hearts know the real truth, then we would be God, and we clearly are not.

OP this sounds like a very sad situation. I believe strongly that marriage is for life, but do also believe that there are some unique situations when that bond may be broken.

I think that he needs to be brought to account for his behavior by your pastor/Christian friends. Any change needs to come from his heart and only God can affect said change. I would urge you to contact your pastor and ask for help. Do you have a homegroup whose leader would be helpful? You cannot deal with this alone. They would also be able to point you in the direction of agencies who would help with housing etc.

I would also urge you to find some Christian friends in whom you can confide and obtain support and prayer.

I would also urge you to tell your husband what you are considering doing.

If you ever believe the safety of you and your children is in danger then leave immediately.

ScrewtapesOppositeNumber Mon 23-Sep-13 00:25:59

I'm not in a position to judge another's faith, but from what you've said it doesn't really sound like he is a Christian at all. He is clearly not taking his marriage vows seriously. I can't see in what way this is actually a Christian marriage.

A shared faith can certainly strengthen a marriage, and the opposite can weaken it. As you say, there's no point in you forgiving and forgiving when he has no conception of how precious your forgiveness is and just doesn't give a shit. If I was cynical I might say he knows that he can get away with murder because your faith will mean that you will forgive him.

flowersinavase Mon 23-Sep-13 02:39:27

And God does not work for us to 'be happy', as some people have claimed.

God's purpose for us is to grow to be more like Jesus. Pain and suffering are inevitable because we live in a fallen world. Jesus himself often went through intense emotional (and ultimately physical) pain. We have a deep seated joy and peace, knowing that one day Jesus will return and make all things new: that this world will be rejuvenated into a place with no hurt, disease, war or suffering. But until then, God's goal is to work in everything for 'our good' (Romans 8:28), not our pleasure. Growth and change, things which are indeed for 'our good', cannot generally be achieved if we are always happy. It is episodes like this, OP, that God uses to refine and bring you closer to who God intends you to be.

God will never push you beyond what you can bear, so you need have no fear of these times of suffering: He will give you what you need, when you need it, to get you through. But He does not promise permanent happiness.

birdybear Mon 23-Sep-13 09:29:32

Flowersinavase , very wise words but very hard to live out. I know what you say is true, but my spirit and more importantly my children's spirits are being damaged. He shouted in full hearing of my daughter yesterday, she is manipulative, a liar and just like you. I said sh , she is not, she is just being a 6 year old child. he is so horrible to her, sometimes, i fear that he Will really damage her spirit. He has no concept of this, prob thinks i am talking rubbish but i know how painful my fathers rejection of me was at times, though we get along well, now.

He cannot follow through on parenting methods although we are currently doing a parenting course with our home group. He hasn't once offered to implement any of the ideas suggested, and huffed and puffed over spending ten minutes doing tin suggested home work. Not actually putting it in action, just writing in the book.

I feel what he wants is someone he almost have sex with, who cooks , cleans, irons and looks after the kids so when he gets home from work he can play on his pc in his study or sit in another room from me watching football. He doesn't want to talk to me or spend time with me . I have given up. When he moans ALL the time that he needs love, in a very childish manner, what he means is he wants a grope. Not actual mutual affection and respect.

But although my parents were very supportive after my first marriage ended, i don't think they Will be with this one, especially with our kids. He already spends every other weekend and more travelling to see kids or collecting

birdybear Mon 23-Sep-13 09:30:36

Sorry... Or collecting his kids from up and down the country. And my dad is a vicar too!

Its just so hard.

Please try to put your religious beliefs aside for a minute, OP, and see that this man is emotionally damaging your children.

flowers - no-one has said god wants everyone to be happy all the time. But neither, I imagine, does he demand permanent misery and to live in a relationship where children are being mentally damaged and having their self esteem destroyed.

See, this is the side of religion I hate - the idea that people should put up with terrible situations because it's a test of faith or an opportunity for growth. Utter bullshit - it's abuse and no-one should put up with it, especially not children.

I haven't said this outright yet OP, but please leave this man before he damages your children any further. Your duty as a mother is to protect them.

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