Friday, December 4, 2015

Just Ask Joyce: I’m Not Sure My Husband Loves Me

By Joyce Oglesby

Q: “I’m not sure my husband loves me. We have great sex, but there’s no emotion attached. We’ve battled Facebook flirtations for the past few years. When I explode, he stops. Pretty soon, he’s right back at it. He’s disconnected from the kids. He comes home when he wants to. He always has activities planned on the weekends with his sports buddies. Between work and play, we get very little time with him. He hasn’t had an affair that I can trace, but I just don’t feel loved. I don’t want another divorce. What should I do?”

Joyce: I’m not sure if your husband loves you either, but I’m positive he doesn’t respect you.
Your husband has the best of all worlds: A live-in maid to cook, clean, and do his laundry; limitless playtime; a resource for his ego to be fed; no accountability for his agenda; credit for fathering children with little of the responsibility; and great sex anytime he wants it. What more could a man want? A lot of men would like to be married to you!

You don’t want another divorce, and that’s admirable. But I’m not quite sold on the fact that you have another marriage. It’s time to stop exploding and begin insisting on fixing what’s broken.

1) Ask him this question: “Do you really love me?” Not only do you deserve the answer, but you need the answer to decide your future. Assess your relationship. If he doesn’t love you, what happens next? If he does love you, what happens next? Things can’t stay like this. There has to be change.

2) Get counseling. History tells me he’s not going to listen to you. You need a mediator who is objective and can assess all the issues surrounding your marriage. It’s your best shot at gaining a clear definition of how a marital union really should benefit husband, wife, and children.

3) Stop being afraid. You’re waiting for the bomb to drop—i.e., an affair. The emotional ones have already happened, and an affair is an affair is an affair. When a man is flirting with someone other than his wife, he has crossed the forbidden line. Redraw the line, but this time with more than a threat. Be prepared to carry through with consequences. You can separate from him until he comes to his senses. His good sense might evade him, but yours will return. He’s not respecting your womanhood or your marriage.

4) Find your backbone. It’s there. God gave one to every woman. In our desire to keep a family together, we will make concessions that aren’t always the best overall. Remember, you are modeling to your children what is acceptable behavior in a marriage. Commitment comes with responsibility. Marriage is never a one-sided commitment. I’m sure your preacher asked both of you to say “I do” to the vows, not just you.

5) Respect yourself. Sometimes neither our husbands nor our children will respect us when we don’t respect ourselves. It’s equally as important that you find the value in who you are as it is that he sees your significance. Until you are sold on your worth, you will likely stay in the cycle of accepting disrespect from people, regardless of who they are. Evaluate who you are, where you are, and how you got there. Starting with an honest assessment today can help you redefine where you want to be tomorrow.

6) Decide that your destination is not going to be guided by desperation. This may seem like a desperate situation, but it isn’t. Expecting a husband to do the right things for his wife and children should not feel demanding or controlling, nor should it feel desperate.

7) Press forward. You can do whatever it takes to get the respect and love you deserve, but you must believe in yourself. It won’t be easy, but then, life rarely is.

What each of us should learn from this is that marriage is easier when you go into it without blinders. The parties need to see and understand the expectations of their individual roles as husband, wife, father, mother, and lover. Love is an investment, but it doesn’t grow when only one person makes all the deposits.

Send questions to Joyce Oglesby, Family-Life Fix-It Pro. Check out her books and other resources here or listen to her on Just Ask Joyce live, WFIA 94.7fm/900am weekdays at 3pm.

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