Dear Ask-A-Sister:

I have been married for five years and have three children. One of which I had before we got married and my husband adopted him. Lately, well for the better part of the past two years my husband and spending more and more time focused on work, church, etc… Rather than us.

It’s to the point now we rarely have a meal together or spend any real quality time together one on one or as a family. Because of this I get resentful and of course it affects other areas of the marriage such as “the bedroom” and what not.

My oldest son, the one my husband adopted, is nine years old and at an age where I feel he needs one on one time with his dad. When I asked my husband to try and plan some time with him his response was  “when I have some free time”, that’s his answer for everything these days.

I feel he is really falling down on his family responsibilities but I don’t want him to

feel that I’m unappreciative of the work he does or the time he devotes to church.

How should I go about approaching this so my husband feels I’m coming to him out of love and not as an attack and am I valid in feeling of being neglected or am I just being selfish?

 

Dear Neglected, Lonely, And Heartbroken…

Yes, you are very justified in what you are feeling. And have a valid point in feeling that your son needs his father. Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s talk about how to impact your marriage for God’s glory and your peace of mind.

I will start by saying it’s strange for me to be answering this question because up until eight months ago I was guilty of the same things you said about your husband. And I thought I was justified in doing so, thinking that my husband just didn’t understand me or what I was doing.

I must admit that it has been a huge strain on our marriage with all the ministries, work, family, and community projects that I got involved in. Unfortunately I didn’t even realize that our marriage was strained and when I discussed later with my husband he said he didn’t either it’s just that we both knew something was wrong.

I want to share with you two sides of the same coin.

From my perspective/my side of the coin, I felt I was doing God’s work that I was living my life to help others come to Christ. I felt that I would work my marriage into my schedule when I had the time. This meant that my husband and I had a virtual non-existent sex life, we didn’t really do anything together, he’d be in one part of the house and I would be in another or I’d be out and about engaged in ministry or some other activity.

I honestly thought I was doing what God called me to do and in a since I was, but I didn’t understand that my first obligation was to my own family, my own household.

My husband would complain, get angry, get an attitude, and oh boy the arguments that would incur from losing the intimacy of our marriage. One day my husband stopped attacking me. In that I mean he came to me in the most loving way calmly explained his feeling that everyone except him came first in my life. He explained that he even felt that sometimes I was committing adultery with my computer because most of the time when I was home was spent on the computer working on my website. He said that it was like competing with the computer and God for my attention. And that he really felt that we needed to try harder to be a family although it’s just the two of us and the dog. The key to this whole conversation is that he waited for the right timing. When I was more receptive to hear what he was saying.

Now let me tell you I wanted with all my heart to change and have more time with my husband. But you see I had fallen into a pattern that was hard to change. My hubby and I had to come up with a system.

And that system was what was right for us. You will want to find a system for you and your husband. Like picking two days, a couple hours out of the week that are family time that way he knows that on those two days just like his other appointments he has to carve out that time for his family.  Once your system is in place you both will have to agree to hold each other accountable to keep (NOT NAG) but playfully accountable to help break old bad habits. Don’t be discouraged nor discourage your husband when those bad habits start to creep up again just pick up the plan (system) where you left off and work a little harder.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you sat down with your husband to come up with that system:

  • Have I worked to drive the point home that you are right or have I worked to be used by God to witness to my husband about the importance of his role in his family?
  • Have I given this burden to God completely, or do I still want to own it and fix it myself?”
  • Have I asked God to reveal to my husband the danger in neglecting his family and the dangers of outside influences?
  • Have I asked God to give me the words to say that will pierce the heart of my husband that he understands the loneliness we feel we he is not here?
  • Have I asked Jesus to help my husband desire me intimately (time, thoughts, lovemaking, etc)
  • Have I asked God to work through the Holy Spirit in my husband’s life to speak to his heart that he may be more of the husband God calls him to be to our family?
  • Have I asked that through the power of God’s Spirit He makes me reflect God’s love, hope, and joy to my husband?

These questions are not meant for condemning but to help you start to focus your prayer life, your thoughts, your plan of action.

Now, let’s be real one can be lonely with a million people in the room. So loneliness within a marriage is not uncommon. It is through the loneliness that Satan works to divide our marriages. Remember your fight is really not with your husband it is with Satan who has devised a way to distract your husband from what he most likely already knows is right. And Satan much like God is a spiritual being so trying to fight him with physical weapons is useless. You need to fight him with spiritual weapons. PRAYER!

Lastly, I don’t know about you but for me when I feel I’m right that is the hardest time for me to compromise. And in compromise I mean in this situation getting rid of those negative thoughts about your husband and your marriage that would make you focus on what he’s not doing rather than what he is; In other words not having the ability to see God’s blessings through your husband for all the other life stuff that get in the way.

The God knows how powerful our thoughts are this is why He gave us this scriptures:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

By focusing on what’s good no matter how microscopic it might be, you can start to help your heart heal from its brokenness and start the spiritual fight that you can win if you use the right weapons.

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