Dear Esther :: June 13, 2016

Dear Esther,

I need help, I’m feeling … crazy! I just read Anastasia’s letter to you from a few of weeks ago.. My story is familiar to hers. I have a husband who won’t ‘touch me, not hold hands, rest his hand on my shoulder, etc. We’ve had more than one fight about this. The last time I asked him why he won’t touch me he said, “Because I don’t want to!”

He’ll give me a kiss, a hug and will say, “I love you” every day before he goes to work, but that’s it! He’ll sit by the dog and pet him and hug him and just yesterday I asked him why he won’t touch me like that. His response was, “Are we going to go through this again?” I told him that I’m so lonely, and that I truly don’t think he cares.

Recently we were both at an appointment and a young, very pretty girl came in. I watched him watch her until she received her paperwork (about 5 min.) then left. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

I went to my church to talk to a counselor. I explained the situation, it being much deeper than what I am writing here and she told me to pray for him (which I’ve been doing for years) and maybe I should be on anti-depressants.

My husband is all I have here, ALL of my family lives 12,000 miles away. I’m so confused, because I feel if I leave my husband that I may be throwing the cross away that the Lord gave me, but at the same time I’m having a very hard time living without a human touching me.

Sometimes I feel crazy! I often wish I were dead. Mostly because this world is so sick and I do long to be with the Lord, but because my loneliness feels like it may smother me too. I feel desperate!

Thank you Esther for any advice you might offer and God bless you. Maranatha.

Christine

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Dear Christine,

It sounds like your husband is not grounded in the Lord. Either you accept him as he is and try to count every good blessing that you do have or spend the rest of your life being frustrated. Sometimes we find ourselves in turmoil and in tough situations, and often due to the choices we have made or because of unexpected circumstances.

People can change for the better or worse. I don’t know what your husband was like when you married him; I imagine he must have been much more loving that he is now. We cannot undo the past but we can cultivate a healthy attitude for the future.

It sounds like your husband is not being upfront with you; he also may not be upfront with himself. Your husband clearly does not want to talk about why he does not want to embrace you more often you and make you feel loved. His behavior is wrong. But nevertheless, it seems he is going to do what suits him.

Some people are so lost and is so disconnected from the Lord that they cannot think of anyone but themselves. And sadly, our society today fuels self-centered behavior. It sounds like your husband has some issues that need to be addressed, but obviously you cannot force him to speak with you about why he behaves they way he does.

I strongly urge you to find others with whom you can fellowship. I get so many letters from women who are desperate for love and attention from their spouses, yet they don’t receive the love and attention they so very much crave.

This world is so “me” oriented it is a constant challenge to find a relationship that is the way God intended marriage to be. Too many have fallen into self-centered worldly lifestyles and are Christians in name only. This may be what you are dealing with. So many people only think about how they feel and are callous toward those who love them the most. This type of behavior is like a cancerous epidemic in our culture.

When I see this type of situation I always think, Thank you Lord that this life is temporary. Your husband may need you more than he might let on. At least he gives you a hug and a kiss in the morning and says, “I love you.” Perhaps that is all he can do for whatever reason.

I wonder if the church counselor you spoke with suggested that both you and your husband should get into counseling together; but it would have to be counseling based on biblical precepts. I don’t like it that she suggested you start taking anti-depressant medication. What kind of Christian counselor is that? She should be guiding you into Scripture to help strengthen you.

I am not saying there is not a place, sometimes, for careful medical treatment but it should be a last resort in cases like this. All the drugs would do is get you more depressed in the long run. I would not take her advice to heart, that is unless you want to create new problems for yourself. Many alternative methods of calming and healing can be found. I would look into alternate therapies that might help calm your nerves; methods outside of the pharmaceutical protocols.

When we are pushed to the limit, that is often when we can best strengthen our relationship with the Lord. Sorrow is a word that comes to mind; the walking wounded are everywhere. I see it with both men and women, and the worst part of it is the children who reap the brunt of the all too common dysfunctional behavior of their parents.

Remember Christine, the Lord warned us that in this life we will have tribulation but that we can always count on the Him. Stay close to Him and try to release any expectations you have of your husband (for now), otherwise you may lose all hope.

In your heart you need to forgive him. Yes, I know you are angry and extremely disappointed, but we cannot force people to change. By carrying around anger and resentment you are hurting yourself.

Is Jesus with you? Has He forsaken you? It is He who loves you unconditionally and will never forsake you. Sometimes we can get so caught-up in what is not right with our lives that we miss the sweet aroma of the Lord’s many blessings.

Please look around and see what you can be thankful for. So many people have very serious problems with little hope of improvement. Christians are being murdered and tortured all over the world. And there are so many other injustices everywhere. As long as we focus on the lack in our lives we will portray that picture to the unsaved world. If we project an attitude of gratitude in life we will be good witnesses for Christ.

Christine, one day soon, we will all stand before the Lord. Somehow I think we will all just gasp and feel ridiculously small for getting too caught-up with our problems in this world; because when we see Him—nothing else will matter. All the heartache and disappointment you are feeling will be gone forever.

The devil cannot take away our salvation but he is an expert at trying to make us miserable, reminding us how all is not quite right. He wants us to think God does not care about us. Don’t allow him to make your life miserable by thinking so much about your husband’s lack of affection.

If you can be creative and find ways to feel less slighted and alone, your husband might see a change in you and wonder what is going on. He might just become a bit more interested in you! Start smiling and find things to do that don’t focus on him so much. Let him see you doing “just fine” without his attention. Don’t give him so much power to make you feel miserable.

When we cannot get what we need from family members, sometimes a close friend can help fill the gap. The greatest gap filler is Jesus. This would be a great time to get to know Him better. Try to get involved in small group Bible studies, and fellowship with others who are serious about their walk with the Lord. Spend a lot of quiet time with the Him. Get into the Scriptures deeply and you will find may gems of joy in there.

See what is going on in your Christian community and get involved. You might be surprised how the neglect you are feeling now, can be tempered and somewhat lessened by taking the focus off your spouse, and rather focusing on matters of faith. Of course the Lord wanted marriage to be a perfect union where couples are truly as one. But this world is so far gone, very few, and I mean—very few marriages have the type of intimacy you crave.

Christine, you must find a way within your given circumstances to find the joy of the Lord. He loves you so very much and He is there for you. Spend your waking hours communing with Him; your faith can get to a much deeper level. The more you get into the Word of God the more positive you will feel.

Your husband may never change, but you can change the way you view your marriage The current dynamics do not seem fair, from perfection—but sometimes we need to make the best of a situation. If you walk out, would that solve the problem of loneliness? Think carefully before you do anything rash.

If you can get into counseling with a Christian marriage counselor who understand God’s order for marriage, and who does not suggest anti-depressants, perhaps your husband might start to open up. And if he will not get into counseling with you, then you have to decide if you want to feel angry each day or find a constructive way to fill the void in your life.

I know I often say this but it is so true: This is not our real home. We are in this world but not of this world. Christine, please think about what I have suggested to you and go before the Lord and ask Him to guide you in what decisions you should make so you can find ways to live a more fulfilled life, with or without your husband’s affection.

I wish you the very best and if you take one step at a time to move forward with a new attitude, your frustration will decrease. And you don’t have to do it in your own strength—Jesus will strengthen you every step of the way.

“ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

In God’s love,

Esther

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).