While I was still writing my last article (Saying goodbye to prince charming – to live a real fairytale), I was aware that there are people who are in a really difficult situation in their marriage. I was aware that my challenges with Benny were only everyday issues in which we can build a wonderful life with the right attitude and expectation.
And rightly so, in an exchange with a good friend, our conversation came exactly to this topic. This friend, I’ll call her Katie, has a story that goes far beyond my article. This is why I asked her to share her experience with us – for all those who cannot identify with my situation, because the problems in their marriage go beyond those that can be solved with a good attitude and correct expectations.
So let us listen to what she has to say on the subject:
When saying goodbye to my prince charming doesn’t mean entering a real fairytale
“When I read Jeanne’s article, many thoughts came to my mind. Everything she writes I find true and to the point, but she assumes a marriage that by and large is fine. But what if we are in a very difficult situation in our marriage?
My marriage indeed was very difficult.
We have two children, one and three years old. My husband and I run a company together and this work requires a lot of commitment from us, so it was easy for us to let ourselves be distracted from our marriage situation over time.
My husband became more and more dissatisfied with different situations in his life. Envy spread in his heart over all the people who had gone more successful ways than him. He was struggling with pornography.
My pregnancies, the deliveries as well as the infant phase caused him to be overwhelmed – even depressed. During these times I had to encourage him and support him. This blatant state of his heart hit me as his wife the hardest. Through his deep dissatisfaction he treated me without any appreciation. Often, he only grumbled and complained for days. He had no affirming word left for me or our children. Even physically he only touched me when we had sex. Every time after the sex I felt drained and used, because our sex consisted only of him getting satisfaction.
I am a strong woman, so I single-handedly carried the duties around our children during these months. They slept very badly and were not at all easy babies and toddlers. In addition, my husband relied 100% on me, especially in the management of the company. It felt as if I had to carry him through life.
I would have longed for a man with whom I could simply lean back and let go, a man with whom I could go through life together, and we could face our challenges together.
But I suppressed this need. I suppressed every feeling of powerlessness, anger, grief, outrage, rejection and hopelessness. I knew I was needed, I just had to hang on, according to the motto: ” Close your eyes and move on.”
It came as it had to:
But the emotions were still there, deep in my heart, and they became stronger and stronger. But because I didn’t allow these emotions, the good emotions for my husband were also like blown away. I had no more positive emotions/feelings, I became more and more indifferent towards him. I distanced myself more and more from him. My true emotions and my humorous, lighthearted, happy nature also disappeared with time.
One day a new employee joined the company. This guy was very good at one thing: listening. He had this sensitive type of antenna, and he saw right through me. He looked behind my strong facade and picked me up there. This triggered a lot in me – and suddenly all positive feelings that I hadn’t felt for so long were there again. So I fell in love with this man.
If someone had come and said that I should be thankful and see our marriage as a blessing, I might even have confirmed it in my mind. After all, difficult situations are often a great blessing, because they can draw you to God’s heart. But in my heart I would only have laughed at this person. So I went through a process of brokenness, because my heart wanted to go a totally different way than my mind.
I did not want my husband anymore, I saw happiness dancing before my eyes and was not allowed to take it, because I wanted to walk the ways of God. And now, suddenly, when I could no longer hold back my positive feelings which had been hidden deep inside of me, the negative emotions towards my husband followed suit. Everything collapsed around me. I no longer knew whether to go forward or backward. It was a hopeless situation. But already then I heard one song all the time: Blessings by Laura Story, which has come to prove to be true for me today.
A hidden blessing…
It was a hidden blessing. If this other man had not entered my life, I would have been able to hide my emotions further along. At some point we would have gotten divorced because my emotions towards my husband would have been so dead that everything would have been over.
But so I was forced to face this terrible pain.
Today, thank God, we are in a completely different place.
To face this pain meant many months of deep grief. I had many sleepless nights.
But my heart had understood that this other man was not the prince in the silver armor either, but rather an egoist who had used our crisis for his satisfaction. He, too, would not have let me experience a fairy tale. My heart understood that this other man also could not satisfy my deep needs, but that Jesus alone could heal my heart. Jesus understood my deepest pain.
Setting limits and taking responsibility
There was something else I had understood that changed my view. It was time to take responsibility and set limits. I was not the victim here, I had set too few limits both for my own husband and for this other man. Of course this was a painful learning process in this crisis and even today I haven’t finished learning yet. But it is also a new feeling of life to know that we are responsible for our own lives and (often) have a choice and can make a decision, even if it seems to kill us because of the pain in our hearts.
But I understand everyone who cannot make these decisions overnight. Often we need support – sometimes even professional support. And we need a heart which is attached to Jesus, without compromise. In my lowest times I spent many moments with Jesus, mourning my deepest sufferings, crying a lot, and holding on to him despite my broken heart, despite my imperfection.
My top priority:
No pain, no wrongdoing, no circumstances will pull myself away from Jesus. I come before him as I am, for he knows my heart anyway. The beautiful thing is that he doesn’t condemn me, but loves my heart and my desire to be so close to him moves him. However, he always confronted me with the condition of my heart, because he loves us too much to leave us the way we are.
Let’s go back to gratitude:
Today, when I look back, I see this crisis as a blessing. There was much I could learn. I was able to recognize that Jesus is truly faithful, even if we are unfaithful.
My difficulties in marriage lasted over 10 years and are still not completely overcome today – but, I know, there are people who had to go through much more.
I encourage everyone to face this pain and not just run away. Running away would often be much easier. This is true for different areas of life, and not only in relation to marriage – I have often worked with people who had no spouse and yes, the same pain that can accumulate in them.