Red Responds: She Doesn’t Want Him to Try Harder

Elkus in Surprise writes:

My wife of five years has asked for a divorce because she says that I am not giving her the kind of attention she deserves. And we have struggled financially for the last two years. We have two small children together – 4-years-old and a year. Plus I have a child from a previous marriage who is 18 and in college. I love my wife more than anything in the world and would do anything for her. Since she has asked for the divorce last December I have worked doubly hard to make sure to give her the attention and love she deserves.

But now she doesn’t want me to try harder because she doesn’t believe me. We still live together in our home with the kids and she still has not filed for divorce although she says she wants to. I am the higher wage earner and she doesn’t make that much financially and can’t move out or afford the mortgage on our home if I were to leave. I pray every day to get her back, some days are good days (just communicating) and other days are tough. A divorce would devastate our kids and hurt our family. I’ve tried marriage counselors but she is not interested. Please help!

Dear Elkus,

It is such a shame that your wife isn’t interested in working with you to improve your relationship. Counseling would do your wife, and marriage, wonders.

Your wife is very unhappy with her life. She isn’t a bad woman – and she really isn’t trying to hurt you – but she no longer feels that she is in love with you. Because of the financial tensions and the responsibility of home and family, she is simply disillusioned. Rather than work with you to reignite the spark that initially drew the two of you together, she wants you to just be able to “fix” things. Unless, and until, she comes to terms with what her real problems are, you are more or less beating your head against the wall.

Your wife has yet to file for divorce because she knows she really can’t afford to. She doesn’t want to break up your family, but she does fantasize about what life would be like if she were free. She is blaming you for her unhappiness, and that is why she doesn’t believe that you are sincere with your efforts to improve your marriage. It’s not that she doesn’t see that you are trying, it’s just your efforts haven’t taken the pressure of daily life off of her, and that “in love” feeling hasn’t come back into her heart. There are also times when she feels that you are very close to smothering her. Your intentions are good, but she isn’t always in a receptive state of mind.

I know that you want to hold your marriage and family together, but there is only so much you can do. The best thing you can do is to tell her how you feel, and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to save the marriage – but you can’t save her from herself. Explain to her that while you do not want her to leave, you won’t stand in her way. Hard as it may be, you need to start preparing yourself for the worst. Life can’t continue on as it has been, and unless your wife has a change of heart, or consciousness, she will eventually follow through with her plans of divorce.

I’m sorry.
Ext. 9226

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