Weathering storms in Marriage
I hope you will patiently read the story of my marriage and offer me help to keep going. I am going through a difficult time in my marriage and family life and do not know what to do.
Professionally I am a nurse. I got married 9 years ago to James who is a business executive in our city. We have two children, aged 7 and 4, both girls. As we both earn well, we have a good life. I am a born again and baptized believer. James is a believer and he hails from a good family and his parents are involved in the assembly. My parents are also believers and active in the church.
We started our married life quite happily. We communicated well with each other and attended church regularly. We also have a number of professional and family friends and we visit many of them on a regular basis.
Of late, I found James not showing any interest in spending time with me. He comes from work late. Sometimes he comes after his dinner from some restaurant or a party. As soon as he comes home, he spends his time on the mobile phone, checking WhatsApp and calling some friends. Then he goes to bed without family prayer. I called him initially for family prayer on several evenings, but he then gets irritated and excuses himself by saying that he is tired and sleepy. He doesn’t spend time with the children and they miss him much. When they go to him, he gets angry and responds with outbursts, and so children become scared and run away from him with tears. One night I woke up in the middle of the night and found him watching some strange things on the mobile phone (possibly movies or wrestling) and he quickly hid it from me. I am sorry to see that James has changed totally. He always looks depressed and is in a bad mood. Nowadays he is not showing any interest in going for meetings. Added to that, our spiritual friends who used to visit us stopped coming because James doesn’t show any interest in visiting them or welcome them to our house.
I told his parents about him, but they seem to be helpless and ask me to pray. I am praying for him for quite some time. But there is no visible change in him. Our spiritual happiness and peace at home seem to be lost. Of late, he doesn’t seem to bother to buy food materials for the house. I do not know what is happening to my husband and my family because of these visible changes in him. I am helpless and am deeply frustrated.
Uncle, please help me to find out what is wrong with our family and how we can regain the joy that we lost. I am a broken-hearted woman and I am desperate for your help.
Yours sincerely in Christ
Thank you for frankly sharing your burden about your husband and family with me. I am glad that you are a praying woman. Rest assured that the Lord will answer your prayers and that He will give your husband and family back to you as it has been before.
Going through your narratives about your husband and your family life, I feel that there is serious spiritual backwardness in his life. This seems to be the reason why he has lost interest in family prayer and in going for assembly meetings. It seems he is not even reading Bible daily, but much interested in WhatsApp and watching ‘strange things’ on the phone and the Internet.
From your email, it is not clear as to what has led him to such spiritual backwardness. But it is likely that his spiritual backwardness is linked with his cold relationship with you. But we do not know which started first. I also wonder if he has some job-related issues which made him frustrated and subsequently depressed. Perhaps he is into bad friendship circles.
No matter what his problems are, the key to bringing him back to normal behavior and attitude to the Lord and to you rests with you as you commit him in earnest prayer. Your patient, loving, concerned and considerate approach and sympathetic attitude to him should slowly change him and draw him back to you and the children. You may take maximum effort to try to spend more time with him. Instead of complaining or nagging, be kind to him and try to understand his spiritual difficulties. If overuse of mobile phone and watching movies and other strange things on it persists, see how you can occupy his mind with spiritual things and loving conversation. Try to see if you can call him up a few times a day and inquire about him and work. Tell him how much you miss spending time with him. But your conversation with him may be, as much as possible, non-irritating, soft, friendly, warm and courteous. Your facial expression, body language, the tone of voice and gestures are important. Ask him how you can together plan family time for you and the children. Tell him that you are praying for him for his work situation. Lovingly persuade him to sit for family prayer, but never rebuke or find fault with him or fall for verbal abuse of any sort. Tell him how much you value him in life and how you and the children miss him. Ask him to speak to you openly about any of his problems, but never put pressure on him. Your patience, maturity, and prayerfulness will be the tools through which the Lord will bring him back to Him and to yourself and your children.
Please be much in prayer and ask the Lord to give James back to you. Prayerfully claim him for Jesus and for you. When he sleeps, try to touch and pray for him. All day, as you work, let short prayers rise up from your heart for James and your family. Ask your parents and his parents to pray for him, but please tell them not to make any complaints about him. It is a good idea if both the parents make occasional visits to your home and stay for a few days at a time. When the parents visit, it will possibly be good for them to show love and concern and to encourage him to sit for family prayers. On such occasions, they may softly try to make him read the Bible and sing songs with you all. You could all go for some of the meetings of the assembly also when the parents are around. But please remind the parents about the need to carefully deal in all these matters and not to pick up any arguments with him.
It is also good to check and see if James has any addiction in behavior or actions and if he has any element of depression or stress due to the work situation. If so, he might need serious counseling.
Let me remind you of the fact that James needs help now and you should not wait till it becomes very serious. It is better to attempt to help him resolve his difficulties before his heart is hardened. It is also important to guard your children against getting affected by the behavior of James. Please continuously, but softly counsel them and sit and pray with them.
I am praying for you, James and your children. Please don’t be discouraged, but trust the Lord to change your situation and make it as happy as it used to be. Please read Psalms 42:5 and meditate on it and find comfort in the promises of God.