My wife is seeking divorce, please help!

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Dear Philip,

I am married to a wonderful lady and blessed with two children.

 I lost my job during the Covid-19 pandemic and haven’t managed to find another job since that time. Shortly after losing my job, my mother-in-law passed on. That became the start of our troubles. From being a happy marriage, we became distant and our communication died.

I tried to seek counselling but it did not work. After a while, my wife was promoted and transferred to a new station. This drove us further apart and increased our quarrels. After a year or so, I found out that my wife was seeking divorce and full custody of our two children. This hurt me deeply.

Since that time, I have sought help and intervention from both sides of the family but my wife is determined to get the divorce through. She says that we can no longer be a family and our strained relationship has severed the marriage beyond repair. I am annoyed, hateful and depressed although I remain hopefully in prayer. Please help me.

Hi

It is clear, you carry lots of pain from many fronts. You lost your mother-in-law and almost losing your wife and children. Consequently, let me pass our sympathy concerning the loss of your in-law. Although it happened a few years ago, it can feel like yesterday. Of importance now is for you to seek counselling for yourself.

 You also may need to heal emotionally from feeling like your wife owes you, seeing that you lost your job. However, your financial support was used by the family while you worked. But it looks like when you lost your job, your self-worth started diminishing. It is important to remember that our jobs or careers should never define us.

I may not know what your wife went through because your story is one-sided—it does not tell me about her side of the story. The truth is, she can’t have just dreamt and desired to walk out of the relationship.

But reading between the lines, it is evident that she may have undergone some stress and emotional drain that pushed her to divorce. Could she be feeling that she was left to carry all the financial burden in the house? The root the problem of many marriage issues are within the details of a couple’s day to day life together.

The fact that communication has died and your wife lived away from home, I am not surprised about the direction your wife has taken. She has disconnected herself and built a new network that gives her the opportunity to live her life.

If you are still committed to pursue and restore this marriage, you may need to: First, seek inner healing; Second, revisit your communication by being a little more attentive and listen to her more; Third, rediscover your lost love by seeking to build on what unites you. In relationships, we all thrive on sincerely expressed love, authentic appreciation and genuine support from each other.

In your current state, you need sober judgment and a careful analysis of the issues the two of you face. Your depressive state does not need more wallowing on past regrets. If your wife refuses to get back, there is no way you can force her to come back to you. I would suggest that you deal with the inner turmoil you feel deep within that is arising from your regrets, anger and bitterness. You have the capacity to heal through the issues. If she sticks to the fact that she would rather have a divorce, let it be. Take time and reconstruct your life.

It will however require that you take the first step of being the change that will shine the light of hope within you. An attitude of entertaining self-pity talk will only worsen the situation. You cannot fix one wrong with another or with keeping hate and bitterness. I suggest that: 1) identify areas that cause pain—like those issues that cause you to make you heart feel downcast. 2) identify what you need to do to change the current picture. For example, see a personal counsellor and learn to extend forgiveness to those who hurt you. Forgiveness is a choice that will open a door of joy.

Finally, many spouses miss out on a well-intended relationship for various reasons. From the onset, when a couple fails to follow a clear and well-defined dream, it becomes difficult for the two to make the needed investments.

That is why relating well must be both skilful and purposeful. We don’t relate through physical appearances or social status. Many are left wounded because they wanted a quick win before the relationship found a solid foundation on which to be built.

 Objectivity is required when relating, making decisions and reviews. Objectivity must start with how you project your yourself in relation to your partner’s expectation. Keep in mind, growing meaningful relationships is hard work because people involved in any relationship and the environments they live in are both dynamic, complicated and at times fluid.

 Spouses who don’t work at making themselves right for their partners but instead make unrealistic demands that they themselves are unable to fulfil end up remaining unhappy.

Therefore, build into your relationship structured and spontaneous moments of self-reflection and review. This is how we embrace constructive way of responding to life challenges like what you face. Seek to create this kind of environment for yourself.

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