Hello Dr. Buckingham,
I am a very concerned wife who is fearful that my family and marriage is going straight down the drain! I feel my husband has no respect for me anymore. He is constantly making decisions without communicating with me and does not make time for me at all. He plays this game on his phone all day long and talks to other people online. I don’t know what to do anymore. It is so much more, but I cannot write it all down. Overall I feel unloved, neglected, unappreciated and hurt. He tells me he doesn’t care if I leave. But once things blow over he tells me that he does care. I’m seeking counseling at my church because I love my husband and we have two beautiful daughters together. I just don’t have much fight left.
How Do You Fight for Love When Nothing is Left?
A very Stressed Wife
Dear Very Stressed Wife,
You are fighting the wrong kind of fight. Fighting for love is different than fighting for sanity. Based on your description of your husband’s behavior, you are dealing with foolishness. Love does not conquer foolishness. A husband’s job is to love, comfort, respect and honor his wife. Given that you feel unloved, neglected, unappreciated and hurt, you should be fighting for your sanity.
I highly recommend that you continue to seek counseling at church. Pastoral counseling is a good starting point to work through pain, especially spiritual pain related to your marital discord. Also, I highly recommend that you seek secular counseling to work through your psychological distress. You describe yourself as a very stressed wife, but I am concerned that you might be suffering from burnout.
Burnout and stress are not the same. Stress can provide a burst of energy and inspire us to take action. Burnout on the other hand, is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situation.
Burnout can cause you to engage in behavior that is not consistent with your values or standard mode of behavior. Symptoms of burnout include decreased interest, motivation, sensitivity, productivity and energy; increased hopelessness, powerlessness, cynicism and resentfulness. Burnout might also cause you to feel dull and mistrustful. Burnout can also cause demoralization: feelings of gloom and inadequacy due to engaging in activities that undermine your morals.
When you feel like you have nothing left, focus on and fight for yourself. Love motives us to fight, but it rarely saves troubled marriages. Love is an emotion that does not enhance marriage without action. Talk to your husband about attending counseling with you. In order to have a healthy marriage, you must have to have a healthy relationship. Be mindful that it is impossible to have a healthy relationship if your significant other cannot relate to you.
While you fight for love make sure that you do not burnout and demoralize yourself. Fighting for your marriage in noteworthy, but losing you mind in the process does not benefit anyone including you or your children. Please seek professional help.
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Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.