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Comments about ‘Ask Angela: I'm 24 and I think I'm headed to a divorce’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 9 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

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Wacoan
Waco, TX

Angela gives great advice. I came up with a couple of questions reading the "Newly Wed's" letter. Had her husband finished his degree? If so, did he go through a period of optimism looking for a job that faded when one could not be found? Although the unemployment rate has fallen, the labor-force participation rate has fallen as well. The job market remains weak, especially for new college grads.

Ranch
Here, UT

How long did they date before they got married? How well did she know him?

Divorce is frequently the result of marrying too young, not dating long enough to get to know the person you're tying yourself to. It sounds like he's not mature enough to be a husband.

She is right about one thing, certainly: they didn't have kids together.

joe5
South Jordan, UT

I'm interested what her husband's expects of himself. How does he perceive his role in the marriage? Does he feel like he's carrying his own weight? In short, does he even recognize his problem? Or is he comfortable with his behavior?

I rarely favor of divorce unless abuse or infidelity is involved. The symptoms described in the article are more indicative of someone who is discouraged, who has lost confidence. But why? It could be the tough economy. It could be unfulfilled dreams or expectations. It could be sin, such as pornography. Any of those could cause the best of men to lose confidence in himself. He sounds to me like someone who needs help pulling himself out of a deep hole, not a fatally flawed person who should be tossed on the scrap heap.

In my mind, the wife's role is "good cop." Love him, don't nag him. Someone else (a parent, in-law, sibling, friend, church leader, in some cases a professional counselor) needs to play "bad cop" and help him see himself clearly. If the wife does it, there will always be residual damage that mars their relationship.

pat1
Taylorsville, UT

The other side of this argument is if this young married woman discovers that her husband isn't doing the basic things and won't do them, it is better to leave now and start over because she has no children. She is still young enough to find someone who is motivated.

1.96 Standard Deviations
OREM, UT

I am leaning toward joe5's point of view that the husband is probably discouraged for some reason. The cycle of computer games and laziness may be his way to escape reality and avoid confronting the underlying problems head on.

What may be the source of discouragement (assuming this is the problem)? Did he lose a job or have a hard time finding one recently? What were his expectations of married life that may not be getting met in his eyes?

Some open conversation is in order, but both husband + wife will need to try to be non-accusative since things rarely get resolved in the spirit of contention.

And the small things that help: Are you two praying together? Do you hold family home evening as a couple? Are you going on dates? Are you reading scriptures? Do you serve in the church? Do you strive to keep the commandments?

I want to say to the wife to not blame yourself. I am sure you're a wonderful woman and wife, but marriage has a lot of growing pains. Try to soften your husband's heart so you two can have an honest discussion to improve things.

caf
Bountiful, UT

Definitely talk to your bishop. If your husband is spending all day on the computer, he may have a problem with pornography as well. Are you home all day or is he alone most of the day? Whether the problem is depression or addiction, he needs help. Divorce isn't the answer unless you have fasted and prayed about it and feel that it is the best decision.

jans
Pickerington, OH

The one big problem I see with young couples that reoccurs as they get older if they don't address it, is being afraid to admit that adult life decisions are harder than they thought and that they need to ask for help and advice before it gets worse. They get too embarrassed, or they think their "role" should come more naturally to them (mother/provider/wife/husband), or they don't want to appear less capable/successful and its an ego or confidence problem, especially if his wife is working successfully and he is not. Maybe he is scared of having kids and figures this passive agressive method will keep that reality from closing in. Some people have big dreams and plans but struggle following through and completing things.

Talk to your Bishop. See if he can talk to your husband. Maybe get the ward employment specialist on the task. Close family or friends can step in where appropriate, or can provide some background to his personality and motivations before you knew him. See if your husband will do volunteer work with you out in the community (this can help broaden his networks).

Christmas Carole
LAS CRUCES, NM

I agree with Angela abut starting with your Bishop then counselor...if finances are a problem ANY Bishop will cover that to help the marriage...on the OTHER hand...I ALSO agree with the comment referring to pornography. Sister, it's possible you're an enabler(I'm the worlds best enabler)and he's all talk(before marriage)and all no do after. IF Bishop/counselor doesn't result in some permanent improvement(which may take time)DON'T wait forever to get on with your life, as was mentioned above.If you discover you are an enabler GET HELP with your own counseling BEFORE you try another relationship. I hope you, at least, are making your Heavenly Father first in your marriage and He will guide you....

dotGone
Puyallup, WA

yeh.. work on the marriage but stay on the contraceptives. A baby won't make it better, just more painful. And don't have the time open-ended. Give him a year or so to get it together and then cut your losses. Don't toss your life on a video addict couch spud. It's worse than being a single parent... with prayer and consulting your bishop, of course. But the choice is yours and your responsibility

Carol928
OREM, UT

Is he depressed? That line about him climbing back into bed sounds as though he is. Does he play computer games ALL day? This doesn't sound to me like someone who 'loves his computer games' as Angie says.

Yes, bishops are wonderful, but some things need professional help. Go to a therapist. I know plenty of relationships where the wife does everything or the husband does everything and the marriages are not equally yoked partnerships. It's painful for everyone involved (including children--and it teaches them this behavior). If this isn't depression but a life choice, leave.

The idea that someone else should play bad cop and the wife just be the support is wrong. This husband knows what's going on--even if he is depressed.

Please remember, divorce CAN be an answer. It may not be a pleasant option, but if he refuses to change, know you have choices. Sometimes getting out is better than prolonging the inevitable. And yes, marriage is hard. Life is hard. But it's impossible to have a happy marriage when only one of you is trying.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I heard a story about a girl that has a few months to live. She was laying in the snow making a snow angle. She said we are like snow flakes, only hear for a little whale, The only thing we can control is our impact, the impression and to inspire others to build on.

Kinderly
Riverdale, MD

A lot of unemployed people are depressed. I've noticed that men, especially, are more likely to shut themselves off from other people when they are in this situation. His behaviors probably don't have anything to do with the wife but are his way of dealing with his depression. He needs help and will probably not seek it on his own. The best thing could be a male mentor, in his work field maybe, to talk to him and make him feel like he has something valuable to offer, help him network and brainstorm ideas for a job search. Maybe a Bishop or Elder's Quorum president could help find such a person. For the wife, too, focus on building his self-confidence rather than pointing out what he's doing wrong. He probably already knows what he's doing wrong.

A good book to read: How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. It is mostly about how men and women are different--this reaction to unemployment is a pretty male reaction and it could be helpful to a wife to understand it better, as well as understanding her own responses better.

NeilT
Clearfield, UT

Having been divorced I can say from experience it is painful but not the end of your life. Counseling is a must. We all make mistakes and are capable of repenting and moving forward. There are many singles in the church who yearn for the intimacy and yes even struggles that marriage can bring.

Homperp
Allen, TX

The husbands actions make him seem like a real bum. Is there a chance that he is clinically depressed? Marriage is tough and often is a trigger for mental illness. If this is a possibility, look into professional help.

In the meantime, it sounds like this is a fortunate man ... his wife still would like to stay with him. Individual counseling as well as marriage counseling would help both individuals to define expectations, set reasonable limits and freedoms, and most importantly support a decision that is best for both the individuals and the marriage.

Ohio Reader
Columbus, OH

I went through the exact same thing, you are not alone. Addictions and depression often affect people in ways that make it so they can't function like a normal person. I remember looking at my (now ex) husband and thinking, "Why is it so hard to apply for a job" or "Why can't you actually DO what you say you are going to do". What I didn't understand was that he was a raging pornography addict and clinically depressed. My guess is, he wasn't like this before you got married, but has slowly fell into this rut. Addiction fogs minds and makes lessons the ability to perceive right from wrong. I'm sorry to say it, because it is a hard journey, but until your husband confronts addiction and depression, he won't have the ability to be the husband you married. I would start educating yourself about addiction. There are tons of great sites and books out there that will give you the insights you need to help you figure out the path forward. Good Luck to you!

Mukkake
Montreal, QC, 00

What is there really to save here? They don't have any kids and probably have very few assets. The guy sounds listless and it's the same tired tripe of telling the wife to be "supportive".

24 is a great time to get divorced. You've been able to see what doesn't work, but you're still young enough to make a better choice.

She can even go back to grad school or finish her own degree if she hasn't. Regardless of this guys goals and ambitions, she should have backup plans of her own.

The marriage is already failed, she's no longer his wife and has become his mother.

t702
Las Vegas, NV

Trust your gut on this -a 2 year long marriage is a long time to make up your mind if you should stay or cut your loses and move on. Love alone is not enough to make a marriage work. He might have had a mental breakdown but are you willing to stick around to deal with it every time it come back? I don't think bishop's route is the right course to take because his advice will tend to be one sided- bishop is your spiritual leader- he will never advice to break the marriage even if that's the best action for the two of you.

heidi ho
Fort Collins, CO

My number one concern is how my relationship with the Lord is and what HE wants me to do. I can't "fix" another person, but I can work on my relationship with HIM, and seek His Will. Any 12 step group asks that we spend quiet time and prayer and meditation. My husband was addicted to pornography, was a sexaholic, etc. I fasted and prayed for years and asked for Heavenly Father's Will. We are still married after 32 years of marriage, and I am in S-Anon a 12 step group for wives that are married to sexaholics. We have both grown enormously. In my experience, if the wife does not get help for herself and inventory why she attracted a man or relationships along the same line, then she will keep attracting the same kind of person. I had to inventory all my relationships and I found out I was dating the same kind of men, that I could care take and fix and "help". It is in constant prayer and inventory that my life has changed, not in pointing fingers at him and wringing my hands. That is a recipe for insanity.

moniker lewinsky
Taylorsville, UT

Skip the bishop and head straight to a good qualified marriage counselor. Most bishops are well meaning. But unless yours is a psychologist for his day job, he should not become involved. Your husband will feel like you and the bishop are ganging up on him (or that you went to tattle) and he'll become defensive. I know that counseling is expensive, but you get what you pay for.
Christmas Carole:
If he does have a pornography addiction, which is completely separate from video games, then that is sometime that needs to be addressed. But she does not deserve to be called an "enabler". She's already feeling bad for being a supposed "nag" (by asking the question: Are you going to get a job?). We don't need to add "enabler" to that. Either label is unfair.

Kay Hunt
Celebration, FL

He sounds depressed and addicted to video games. A real problem. They both need counseling. Divorce could be an option. I would go to the bishop to let him know that you need help and then make an appointment with a license therapist. A bishop may or may not have the skills necessary to deal with this issue. And if the answer is divorce then do it and do it before you get kids. Don't be his mom or his "cop". Forcing him to interact with you will not help the relationship. GET to therapy so you can find out why you stay in a relationship that is giving you nothing. LOVE is not enough.

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