Dear Esther :: May 16, 2016

Dear Esther,

I have been married to an older man for 35 years now. He has jumped on the bandwagon when it comes to all of the new technology, and had to buy a cell phone for “emergencies” because at the time he was driving an old truck to work out in the country, and if it broke down he wanted to have a way to call for help.

He has also told me (in his mean voice), that everyone has these phones, everyone has big flat screen televisions, the Internet, and every other electronic gadget—which he has bought, mostly behind my back. His computer is locked up like Fort Knox from me getting on it.

I am in the dark with all the money, he keeps everything from me.

He plays the stock market on his computer every single day. I know he has lost money, not because he has told me, but just the strong feeling I have. He is full of smiles and kind words with a soft voice when he talks to other women. When he talks to me, it is with the same mean voice he uses to speak to men. I could go on and on.

Recently he bought himself a much newer truck, so he does not need a phone for those “emergencies” anymore. I do not own a cell phone, and have no need for one.

Today while out driving around. I heard some kind of bell tone ring and knew it was because someone was sending him a text message on his cell phone. (Oh, his cell phone is also off limits to me.)

When we stopped he had no choice but to check his phone, because I insisted he check to see who was texting him. It was his brother’s live-in girlfriend. Not about anything serious, but I got upset, and told him I did not like women texting him.

He has slipped up and told me about other times she has texted him. Apparently she actually shares the cell phone with his brother, and texts him more than his brother does.

I told him that it really hurts my feelings, and asked him to stop texting her back, to just ignore her and just make a point of texting his brother, and not her. Well of course he got mad, shouted at me and began calling me names—telling me how unreasonable I am.

He only met this woman a year or so ago, it is not like he has known her forever or is an old friend. Not once has she ever tried to contact me. She knows I have a computer and she could email me anytime, but never has. I don’t think she likes me very much.

Last summer we went to a family gathering, and we all spent the day together. This woman did not talk to me even once, but she made sure to talk to my husband, and he was all smiles when they were talking. This sad story could be a lot longer, but I doubt you have time to read a book about my entire married life, and that is how long I have been so hurt over his behavior with other women.

I am so tired of the secrets he keeps from me, I don’t even feel like a person anymore. Twenty years ago I nearly died from a rare illness. Thirteen years ago, one of our three daughters died from cancer; she had just turned 20. So we have had our share of problems.

I have had just enough of being treated like I don’t matter. We live 15 miles from our small town and are really secluded out here. I spend every day alone with my three little dogs. I gave up having friends, totally. I only leave the house if I really have no choice, mostly to buy groceries.

I mostly spend my time cooking and cleaning. He expects gourmet-type meals, so when I am in the kitchen, I am really working hard. He does not do much when he is at home, but sits downstairs at his computer with his stock market stuff.

I have found a very cheap mobile home, in a small town six hours from here. I am so ready to leave him, and live the rest of my years all alone, and live a happy life being around people—the opposite of how I am living now.

Every argument we have is always my fault. He can do no wrong. I want to live a happy life, cut my hair short if I want to; he likes my hair long but it takes time to care for it and style it. I want to only wear make-up if I feel like it, not because I have to keep looking good for him.

He is 11 years older, and told me he wanted a young wife that did not age like someone his own age would. So I have so much guilt because I am aging. I can’t look twenty forever.

What is so wrong in growing old together, and getting lines and wrinkles? I feel so much pressure to look perfect. I am so tired of always being the one who is wrong, and being called names. I am pretty sure God does not want me to live like this.

All I want from you is to ask you if I am being unreasonable because it hurts me when he is texting other females? Do I not have a right to be hurt over this? I would sure like it if you had time to respond to me.

If I did not know God, and if I did not know that it would make him so unhappy then I would probably just commit suicide, and be done with it all. But I know that it is a sin, and I would not do that because of God. For sure, if I was to do that, then my husband would be more than happy to be rid of me.

I just found a trailer this week, and have started speaking to the person who is selling it. It is only $19,000. Built in 1978. But it would be a roof over my head. I don’t care about material things much at my age. I just want to be happy and stop the crying and being stressed. I now have hypertension, because I am so upset all of the time.

Feelings can make a person very sick. Can you please help me? Tell me if I am, once again, all wrong about this texting stuff. I am sorry for all of the ranting. Thanks so much for listening.

Annastasia

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Dear Annastasia,

You sound like a dear and sweet person. I don’t think you are wrong to be upset about the texting or your husband’s nasty behavior. Shame on him. And shame on him for treating you like a used doormat. What arrogance!

Your husband is way too preoccupied with himself. You can move out if you can afford to. If moving will give you peace of mind: DO IT!

That does not mean you are divorcing him, but let him fend for himself for a change. He treats you like a separate entity not privileged enough to be part of his secret little world; so you might have to make it official. This man is a very controlling selfish individual who needs God’s comeuppance.

Of course as a good Christian woman you can pray for him and forgive him in your heart but you do not need to continue being treated like a used dishrag. If you decide to move out, before you leave, mark off some pages in the Bible that he needs to read. (Post-it notes are great for that!) Leave it by his computer.

Maybe he will start thinking about why you walked out and he will work to reconcile and deal with the problems. Yes, I know it is a long shot, his rude behavior has been going on for a very long time; but in Christ we always have hope.

A change of dynamics could go a long way to improve the relationship or it could make things worse. If you buy that trailer you can always rent it out and come back home—if he is willing to seek counseling together and get serious about the Lord. Unless he begins to incorporate godly principles into the marriage and starts treating you with respect—little will change. But think carefully before you make any rash decisions.

If you do leave, his pride could swell into a monstrosity and his self-righteousness could get even worse. So whatever you decide to do, you must be willing to accept the consequences. Weigh your options carefully but don’t make your decision based on fear.

You live a life of isolation and it seems that it might be tough to get your husband to agree to have a third party intervene and counsel with the two of you. But you can throw that idea out there to him. He sounds so controlling, he will probably reject the idea. But something has to change or you will be the one hurt the most.

Perhaps you would have more leverage if you were not there for him every day as you are now. But it is hard to know how he will react if you actually left. Perhaps it is time to sit down and tell him the way he treats you is totally unacceptable and ask him to start getting involved in Bible study with you and other people. See if you can get him to agree to stop taking you for granted and speaking to you harshly.

I don’t like it that you are so isolated. Please try to find some Christians who truly love the Lord and spend time with them. If your husband is unwilling to start treating you with respect and kindness, then you may have to make a change. Your health is at stake.

You are right, a person can get very sick from the emotional abuse inflicted by others. Be strong Annastasia and do what you have to do. God will strengthen and protect you. Weigh your options carefully and then decide what is best for you.

If you come to the conclusion that you must separate; just before you walk out the door you can make one last great home cooked gourmet-type meal so he can have a last taste of one of your many gifts and contributions to the marriage. And when he takes his shower bring him warm towels straight out of the dryer and say “Adios!”

In God’s love,

Esther

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:25-33).