Thank you for this page. It is very helpful. I am 32 years old and a mother of two boys. I am in a come-we-stay marriage for nine years now. My problem is that I no longer know what to do with my husband because he never keeps his promises and does not seem to have any interest in our children.
He is never available for me or any of our children’s activities, be they school functions, taking them to church, or even spending some recreation time together. He works throughout the week, going very early in the morning and coming back way past their sleeping time. Every time I raise these issues, he promises to change, but he never does. He doesn’t have a stable job, but works on contracts, which makes it difficult for him to pay bills on time.
I take care of most of these bills, including paying school fees. He knows how much I earn, but keeps asking me for money every now and then, even in the middle of the month when finances are tight. Five years ago, I found out that he had been cheating on me and when I confronted him, he really became angry. Early this month, he spent the night out and when I asked him where he slept, he beat me up. This is a man who has never taken bride price to my parents, but as much as I want to move out, I am stuck because apparently, my boys love their absent father. Please advise me.
There are several issues that appear key from your e-mail. First, your husband never keeps promises. In relationships, people seem to communicate differently.
It appears that your spouse is not a man of his word. Could this be due to his instability financially? You have to find out if he makes these promises out of a desire to not look like a failure, while at the same time ending up being one. Many people over-promise because they fear to appear as if they are failures.
Second, he does not have enough time for his boys. How paradoxical it is, for the boys to be so in love with a father that seems to be absent most of the times!
While the children’s love for him comes from a desire and hunger to know their dad, your growing distance from him is based on these unfulfilled promises. The question is whether you see in him anything good that is worth praising. This is where your connection with him will start building from.
Three, he lacks a stable job, hence ends up asking you for money. There are many men whose egos have been broken because of unemployment or not having enough money to feed their families. Great men have ended up feeling demeaned by their wives because of not measuring up financially.
The result is that many have been inconsistent in their commitments in the home, while others have ended up in debt. You will have to make a choice between the path of affirmation or criticism in as far as your approach to your man is concerned.
Fourth, the fact is that sometimes ago, he cheated on you. But five years is a long time to have kept an issue unresolved. It has been proven by research that a spouse who is always bashed, unappreciated and not affirmed at home is more likely to look for a better environment away from home.
It is upon you to create an environment that will promote a caring and forgiving attitude. Try and demonstrate, through your daily actions, the kind of values you want to see in the home. Be less judgemental and more about responsible behaviour.
Fifth, he has never taken bride price to your home. I believe that paying dowry does not necessarily make a marriage long-lasting. It is all about the values a couple subscribes to. Your commitment to your marriage, for example, is more important and worth fighting for than paying bride price.
Try and dialogue on what will keep the marriage exciting and worth looking forward to, than dwelling of the secondary issues. Get me right: I’m not trivialising bride price. However, bride price without true love and commitment is useless.
Finally, you feel stuck in this relationship because of the children. Children form a special bond between both parents and even grandparents.
The fact that these children adore their father is a good thing. You can capitalise on this to create the needed responsible behaviour, instead of wishing that they were not so close. This, if nurtured well and surrounded by positive talkers, could turn around and be a blessing.
In a past article on Why great marriages fall, I stated that, when nurtured, disappointment has the capacity to take away faith in the marriage. Joyce Meyer adds: “When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement.”
I argued in the article that before we allow disappointment to reign, we need to keep our focus on the positive things in the relationship. We have to realise that when we don’t, the disillusionment and discouragement we face will kill our marital dream. I also mentioned that failing to address the unfulfilled needs is deadly for any relationship.
If each partner considered their partner’s needs above theirs, then the relationship will have less of the unfulfilled needs. Where this does not happen, your spouse is human, not divine; therefore, allow him time for growth and grace.
Your spouse may be great in some areas, but when it comes to others, they exhibit weakness. My prayer is for you to map out what can cause you to celebrate him so that you can use it to fuel and energise you.
She says she loves me, but I doubt her words
I am Kelvin and I have been engaged to a woman for two years now. I feel like she has not taken our relationship seriously. In fact, I only saw her commitment the first few months of knowing each other. Can you believe we can go for one week or even two without having a single chat or a phone conversation?
Most of the times, her phone is off and when it is turned on, picking up my phone calls is optional. Sometimes, she replies to two or three of my texts but after a short chat, she stops.
I have confronted her on this and she says that she is very busy, with very little time to spare for communicating with me.
When I try to fake my identity and chat with her on a strange number, she normally replies. Recently, I decided to make an appointment with her to see if we can solve this problem, but she claimed to be committed and could not make time for us.
I have tried to ask that we end our relationship, but she claims to love me, so she will not agree to it. I am really tired and I am beginning to feel like I am wasting my time with her. Please help.
Relationships are all about good and effective communication. Successful spouses should understand that relationships are not easy, and that conflict is inevitable.
The fact that you do not agree on this issue does not mean that you are totally incompatible. However, this disagreement is a pointer to some areas of this relationship that require attention. Looking for areas of common agreement in your relationship will be key to building a happy marriage.
Currently, your partner seems to appreciate distance and minimal communication. You cannot change your partner to become what she does not want to be. Even if changing yourself is a possibility, this will not make her communicate better.
What I fear most is if she could be using this silence to communicate a message. Maybe she wants out, but she does not know how.
To put in place the kind of foundation leading to proper relating will require embracing right values, habits, and practices that build trust between the two of you. Indeed, there are many who meet, and for the first time feel exactly what you are describing, while others connect at deep levels of communication. Some may see this as chemistry or a strong bond.
However, truth be told, strong relationships are built on commitment, value-based living, and wise choices. She has to see effective communication as a value that is needed in the relationship.
I suggest that first, you question whether your relationship is built on convictions, common agreements, and shared expectations. This will require full disclosure through open and unhindered communication.
Second, question the foundation upon which your relationship is built. I encourage you to ask yourself, what makes her the right one for you? Try and convince yourself logically before you seek others to convince you.
If this is to work, the two of you should agree on this crucial area called communication. In the absence of such a crucial ingredient, ask yourself whether what brings you together is still fundamentally significant enough to build a relationship. On the other hand, is communication and moments of silence significant enough to cause worries?
If what worries you is weightier than what you agree on, then move on. Commit only when you are comfortable that you have learnt and done all you need to do to know her well.