An Ask Angela column reader nicknamed “Nagging Newlywed” submitted a question about what to do when you are 24 years old and feel like you’re already headed towards divorce. Her full question, which can be read here, explains that her husband seems disinterested in anything except playing “online shooting games.”
After the column published and after reading through more than 60 reader responses to her question, we were able to talk to Nagging Newlywed about what she plans to do next.
Here are her responses:
Angela: First, I want to thank you for sharing your story. It’s always a little awkward to be so open about something so personal, but people are always looking for ways to improve their marriages, so this is a great topic.
Nagging Newlywed: You’re welcome. I was very surprised at how many people said they’d been in a similar situation. So while it’s not fun, I guess it’s the norm in some ways?
A: I didn’t get the impression that it was the norm for marriage. I don’t think anyone reading your story felt like, “Hey Nagging Newlywed, this is what marriage is, so deal with it!” But, readers did seem to have an immediate connection to and understanding of what you’re going through to some degree.
NN: Yeah, a lot of readers brought up depression. I didn’t mention this in my submission, but I know that my husband has suffered from depression before and I really didn’t put the two (depression and playing online games) together. I saw it strictly as laziness. When they said “depression,” something kind of clicked in my brain.
A: I thought a lot about that, too. I thought about the maybe romantic (but real) notion of marrying someone “for better or for worse” and is this situation who your husband really is or is this just him at his worst? And if it is, what role can you as his wife play? What do you think?
NN: That question I don’t think I can answer, yet. I know he’s struggling but I don’t know if this struggle is a form of depression. I don’t know if he is depressed or anxious or any of those things. He could just not feel like doing the dishes, you know?
I still feel compelled to do something — as should he. I’m also realizing that I don’t understand mental illness at all and when he first mentioned that he had suffered from depression (before we were married) I should have sought to understand that more.
A: Were there any comments to your original submission that have influenced your thinking or helped you come up with a plan of action?
NN: One commentator asked rhetorically in the comment section, “What is there to save?” and talked about how we didn’t have kids yet and I’m still young so get out of this marriage. Then (another) answered that question on the Ask Angela Facebook page saying “What is there to save? A marriage!”
That phrase has been playing and replaying in my mind ever since. I agree with her. I think a marriage, even this marriage, is worth all of my effort and all of his effort to save. I don’t know that we’ll make it, but I am making plans to see my bishop, a marriage counselor and a lawyer — in that order.
Angela Trusty is a millennial writer who lives and writes about the Latter-day Saint experience. Twitter: askange_column