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  1. All good stuff! Allow me to dig in a little and address some of your comments: @Jayne Has she seen a gynecologist? No, but I wouldn't rule out a medical issue either. Regarding your comment on depression, it is near impossible for someone to admit they have depression and then seek help on it. I think we would have to wait on God to nudge her in this direction, I don't feel comfortable throwing this at her. [2] Do you meet her emotional, spiritual, and friendship needs first and foremost? Yes, absolutely, I've read about a dozen self-help books on the topic and she admitted to the counselor (back when we were in counseling) that she noticed a change in me and appreciates how I fulfill her emotional needs. She just doesn't fulfill mine! Regarding your question if we pray together, the answer is no. I asked her on several occasions to pray with me and she refuses to do it. She thinks it is weird. [3] You need to see a marriage counselor over this. Probably, we have already been in counseling and stopped. I'd have to get this topic on the table first and see if that is the direction she would want to go. @Still Alive Yes, I understand the foreplay starts early in the day. I've been at it for months, being kind and sweet from morning through night, never nagging, never demanding, even still she will not initiate more than once per week on her schedule. If I try to initiate outside this schedule, it will make things worse, I know from experience. Congrats to you by the way on your statistics, you are certainly on the very active end of things! @Tzephanyahu No, I do not try to force scripture on her. I lead by example and never demand. For example one Sunday we missed church due to a commitment at her son's baseball game, so I read a children's bible with the little ones before we went, and she overheard me doing that. Regarding the resentment, I believe that we got passed that with the reconciliation based on things she said in front of the counselor. As for loving her, yes I am always doing things to make her feel loved. I am very active in my awareness to be sure I am engaging with her when she talks about things she has her heart set on - a new shirt, a business trip, kid's baseball, etc... I always support her, never demand, and never try to control. @missmuffet Waiting on God has been my plan so far, I've been praying about this for months and waiting on direction on how to handle, while the frustration clouds my mind daily. I try to not let it be an idol, but I don't think my emotional needs are going to change. I know that intimacy is a weapon against satan's lies and attacks, which is one of the main reasons I want to get closer to her. This bit of history may also be helpful. I was not living for Jesus when we met and subsequently we had premarital sex. Even before we got married this frequency thing was an issue, but I was also a different person then. I was not as attentive to her needs. However her reasoning has always been: "I'm a woman, I don't have a high sex drive, this is normal, it isn't important, stop making a big deal of it". Quite frankly I think those are lies satan tells women to destroy the relationship, simultaneously he'll tell men that they are entitled and to take what they want. Add the two together and you can see why we have these kinds of divorce rates in America.
  2. That is along the lines of what I was thinking as well. I've been praying for the right time to approach the conversation. I don't think she'll see it as a surprise, she has acknowledged in the past that she knows I enjoy more frequent affection (but she knowingly chooses not to honor it). I've learned my lesson the hard way about getting angry, that is long behind me. I'm prepared to be graceful whatever the outcome. It sounds like my request is not unusual or unfair, so I'll voice my expectations when the time is right.
  3. Starting last summer, some of you have witnessed my 7 month journey of saving my marriage. There was a short honeymoon period after reconciliation, but now I'm struggling with holding onto the momentum. I've been doing everything I can to lead a blameless life, studying the bible, praying, trying to follow God's direction, attending men's group, and serving when possible. During that 7 month journey, I had learned that not doing those things was holding me back, particularly prayer effectiveness. While I can control my own habits, I cannot control my wife. My primary concern is our intimacy. When I study God's design for marriage and sex in marriage, I do not feel like our relationship honors that. In the past this would lead me to resentment, but after my journey of learning, I instead try to lean into Jesus. It is a real struggle that can leave me feeling depressed, rejected, and disappointed. Here are a few examples: small acts of affection (kissing/hugging) has really tapered off, we don't even really kiss on the lips anymore. Each week (once only) is "duty sex" on a schedule, she tries to get it over with as fast as possible, I don't think she is enjoying it. The "I love yous" have also tapered off. If I pursue her a lot, she just distances more, so I often have to hold back sharing any love because it is clear she wants some space. I have been praying fervently for direction knowing that this marriage is a life long journey. I want us to serve together, pray together, but we do not do these things. Am I expecting too much? This doesn't seem to be fully glorifying God so that others in our path can see an example of God's church. I've been reluctant to confront her directly on this topic, while I wait for God's direction.
  4. Ok folks, this thread is a wrap. My wife and I are fully reconciled and the marriage is better than ever. A sincere thank you to all of you for the support which helped make this possible. Let this be a testimony to all: those that don’t believe in prayer, young men’s view of sex and marriage, struggling couples, anyone second guessing faith; I’ve got a story to conquer them all. Amen!
  5. @JustPassingThru Great observations, I've learned all those lessons the hard way, and making it a habit was even harder. This was certainly part of my journey. I couldn't truly understand those lessons without trying, failing, falling down, asking God for help, and then getting back up again. Its amazing how powerful and simple indifference is. I have just stopped wanting / expecting things out of her and it naturally removed all the stress and entitlement that I was suffering from. @Billiards Ball I spent most of the summer reading about a dozen self-help books for marriage and romance. It was frustrating, because at the time, all of the techniques were not an option for me. Simply put, my wife's "love bank" was closed. Anything I tried was immediately shot down. Now that God has intervened and softened her heart, all of the techniques to show love that I have learned are now in play. Looking back I can see how God was refining me to be the Godly man of the house and a person that she would be romantically drawn to. Now I get to show her all that love and she receives it, which is very enjoyable. I still have to hold back a bit as not not press certain boundaries. The holy spirit has been guiding me in this.
  6. It has been a series of miracles @Heybro and they just keep coming. We're still not out of the woods, but things are going really well. We're back at counseling, this time with a proper christian counselor. My wife has been picking up devotionals and christian books while she works on self-improvement. She also booked a romantic vacation for us and we've been cuddling a little and some smooching. I'm still being really patient and understanding and finding joy in the trial. Thank you for all the support! Let this be a testimony for those that have lost hope in prayer or need a real example of the playbook that gets us close to Jesus.
  7. Hello @mrunk1975 All good advice here, I'll provide some examples that will help you get closer to God. When you experience that closeness, you'll yearn for more, and you'll feel less consumed by worldly addictions (sanctification). Get the bible app on your phone. In the plans section you'll find free devotionals. Browse by topic for areas in which you struggle. Commit to doing 1-3 topics per day in your devotional. Go to church on Sundays. Join a men's group, in-person. The internet is a good low barrier to entry, but there is no replacement for "doing life" side-by-side with other like-minded men. Think of Jesus' group, and model it after Him. Run from sin and satan's lies. Don't fall into the traps grown men fall into: alcohol, lust, pre-marital sex, love of money, pride. Pick 1 good book to go through at a time that will allow you to dive deep. Here is the first one I'd recommend: Beyond the Battle: A Man's Guide to his Identity in Christ in an Oversexualized World
  8. Why does she want to be your girlfriend? It sounds like you have been getting intimate with this woman, which is going to turn on feelings in you that are of the world and will lead you to sin. It is hard to be "just friends" with a member of the opposite sex unless there is 0 attraction on both sides. If you want friends you can surround yourself with Godly men. In regards to finding a wife, that can be your primary prayer, and God will make your path straight as you live for Him and what He wants you to do with your day. Right now because you are not her husband, you have no business fantasizing about sexual relations, because you are unable to provide her with what God's design is for marriage.
  9. So my grandmother who has been teaching classes and life groups for many years and has been bringing lots of singles to Jesus had a real interesting idea several weeks back. She told my mother "we need to pray for someone to come into her life and speak truth". As you know anything I say isn't going to work because of the position I'm in. So there it started, and my mother switched her prayers to focus on putting someone in my wife's life that could speak truth to her. Out of nowhere, this woman she has talked to over the years on and off had something to say! For whatever reason, my wife opened up to her and revealed our marriage struggles. She has been reluctant to do this with her own family or other close friends for the longest time. Well, this person gave her truth. She admitted that she has had the same trial with her husband and how christian counseling and devotionals has helped bring their marriage back together. My wife text me all this and said that she wants to go back to counseling! I told her I love her so much and that I will never leave her and we'll get through it. Then my wife said those words - "I love you too". Can you even believe it!!! Just 10 days ago this woman told me she doesn't love me and thinks we should get a divorce. God is so good, praise his name! Thank you all so much for the prayers, you saved a marriage!! I know we're not out of the woods yet, but there is so much good to come. And I know other men in my position will benefit from my testimony as I go out and shout it from the rooftops. Amen!
  10. things seem to be changing over here, in all of our collective hearts, i've been praying so hard, the Holy Spirit is doing something, I can't quite put my finger on it here is a run down of all the happenings in no particular order I invited my parents without discussing with my wife - yes, but my wife did the same thing (invited her parents for thanksgiving and never told me). Not making any excuses, but as a couple we are still not that great at communicating because we each fear one another's reaction. This seems to be subsiding, the last 2 big talks we had were very productive and graceful. I now have a decent amount of evidence that it is possible that my mother has been lying during our entire marriage. Starting conversations that are inappropriate and then denying them. I've had the wool pulled over my eyes. I mean, it's my own mother! How do you think that makes me feel? I'm just giving it to grace. The chips fell where they landed, I'm not going to try to defend, investigate, prove, or blameshift about anything. Not my wife, my mom, her mom, myself, etc... as Frances states 'Love never fails', starting this week I've ascended to a new level of peace and love that I have never felt before. End result, my wife and mom are not going to be on speaking terms. Who knows if they will ever reconcile; it's out of my hands, but I do have hope. On Saturday my wife said things are 'awkward enough as it is around here'. I said 'why?'. She said "we don't love each other". I corrected her, I told her I loved her. She said that we should just get a divorce. My wife has a habit of saying things she doesn't mean, I feel like she is testing me for validation. A few minutes later I told her I have enough love for the both of us. I also told her that God is first, she is second, the kids are third, and I am last. Then I followed up the next couple days living that truth. She has been warming up to me lately. We're engaging in a lot of conversation, eye contact, and being comfortable in each other's space. We also started watching our TV shows together again after about 5 weeks of her avoiding me. There is just something different going on about how it all feels, but I can't help but be confused that she used the divorce word so recently, plus the rift with my mother, it really puts a dent in things. The anger and resentment that I couldn't control before seems to have subsided. The yearning for physical contact, automatic rejection, and depression cycle has also temporarily subsided. I'm starting to understand what it feels like to be fully plugged into Jesus. I feel like there is a battery in my chest that is buzzing me on full. My counselor said something that really opened my eyes. She said, I can't do this unconditional love thing on my own, that's why I keep failing. It comes from God. But when you pray, the effects aren't immediate, but one day you wake up, and if you've been following his teachings, you get rewarded with a peace that your mind cannot comprehend. I don't know if this is permanent change or just temporary. I pray for the self-control to keep my hands off the wheel.
  11. maryjane, yes I knew about the falling out. I brought the topic up so we could get this conversation started, but I framed it as "my parents are planning to visit end of November", as opposed to "do you mind if my parents visit". I let her know that plane tickets aren't booked and if she wanted to handle this an alternative way, that I would put her wishes ahead of my own. Yes Pepper, I backed off quite a bit, but when I have the opportunity to speak truth, I take it. I'm not chasing her around like a dog looking for a bone. In the early going I didn't do a good job of that, so that's probably what you're reading.
  12. I thought things were going good this weekend. My wife was engaging with me a lot in conversation and did some sweet things for me like order me dinner so I could eat when my plane landed, saved a place for me in line at the doctor, and picked up my medicine. Then it all goes south today. I casually let her know my parents would be visiting around the holidays, she had a falling out with my mother 5 months ago. She told me that my mother is evil, is a horrible person, and she hates her. Yikes! Little background on my mom, she is a follower of Jesus, but she can be overbearing at times. Then she went onto remind me that she does not love me and things are "awkward enough around here", and that we should get a divorce. But she says she will stay here because this is her home too and for the good of the kids. The positive side to all of this is I got some really good practice being Christ-like. I did not fight. I did not judge. I did not invalidate her feelings. I did not talk about her, I only talked about my feelings and what is best for us. I told her I still love her (after she said she didn't love me). And I told her I have enough love for the both of us. I also affirmed for her that I will put her wishes ahead of my mother, and if we have to make alternative visiting arrangements, I would. I told her that God is first, she is second, the kids are third, and I am last. I really can't see my way out of this thing, it just seems like there is no hope and it is so sad. I'm taking this opportunity to be a servant leader, we'll see what Jesus wants to do with all of this. I hope I can muster the stamina to keep this up. Whew this is hard!!!
  13. Thank you for the prayers. An army is praying for me/us! It is funny you mention that, it was exactly my prayer this morning. I started out admitting that I was confused, frustrated, hopeless, and I prayed for direction, understanding, and patience. No one can love unconditionally like Jesus. We can practice it, but we'll fail, and we'll get back up again and try. I pray to be able to do it. And many times I do quite well, but there are still times where I will fail.
  14. Will she begin counseling? I have no idea. We tried it for a couple months when I basically made it an ultimatum, and she went against her will. Now she quit and I haven't asked her to go back. I do think I have found a better counseling center now, they are more christian-based. She was trying to avoid the christian talk, and I went along with it because it was all I had. She refuses to discuss this before the church or a pastor. Been together 7 1/2 yrs married 5 1/2 years. According to her she "fell out of love" 3 1/2 years ago, so basically 2 years into the marriage. It doesn't entirely add up because there are many moments where she was clearly happy and in love, but it was here and there. I'm not exactly certain how to quantify it. I know she has the wrong definition of love, and you know that, but she doesn't. I understand the companion love concept. It isn't hard for me to love her at all, I still do love her every day, and I forgive her every day. What is hard is to not be depressed / disappointed / resentful for lack of reciprocation. It's my Achilles heel.
  15. In my depression, I'm being too hard on myself. Everyone has seen our married history and her own family and my family have re-assured me I have done nothing wrong. Her own sister and father have commended me and said its not me, its her, and that I'm treating her better than she deserves. That is their measuring stick however, in grace, you can never treat someone too well. It is important to understand the timing too. Now that some of the smoke is clearing, I believe this situation was unavoidable. I swooped in and sort of rescued her from a crappy single mom life We rushed to get married We rushed to have our first kid She fell out of love (secretly) We both started a dysfunctional cycle of being angry and demanding - this is where I'm being too hard on myself. Yes I did some crappy things, but it happened AFTER she fell out of love, or what seems like no reason. My research suggests its a combination of immaturity and honeymoon phenomenon. I forgive her every day for it and start fresh. Then her real feelings finally all came out, and that's what I've been wrestling to fix the last 5 months. I'm doing the best I can to put myself in her shoes, so I can understand her. It is really hard on many levels, particularly because she has some weird guard up and you can't get a read on her. What do I mean by lusting? Its a common guy thing, just too much emphasis on sex. Some of that is a result of our over-sexualized world. It takes a lot of praying and discipline to make the urges go away and be healthy, I've made great strides. As for her support, there is none. She refuses counseling and does not discuss this with her own family or closest friends, it is a secret to all. My counselor believes she needs trauma therapy to deal with baggage from the past. So the next steps are she is going to show me how to create a safe place for her to begin that counseling.
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