I get asked all the time if my husband could write a post sharing his story. Here you go…
In my first marriage, I was up and down with God, hot and cold. Different life experiences would bring me closer to God but then it would fade away. I’d go to church for a while and then stop for large amounts of time.
I put all the pressure on my then-wife to be the godly person, to take care of the finances, to take care of the kids. I believed providing was my part. I thought working and providing food and shelter was the fatherly thing to do. But it was selfish of me.
I wasn’t good at praising my kids or my wife. I didn’t see those things and I didn’t tell them good job. We’d talk about sports and homecoming but I didn’t go deeper, asking things like how they were with God or if they were hurting or if they needed anything.
I think I was verbally abusive with everybody, my wife, my kids, even when I played sports. I was out of control. I carried a lot of anger and bitterness with me.
I had tunnel vision. I didn’t realize my mistakes until it was too late, until I was out on my own during our separation.
During the final few months of being at home and then moving out was my rock bottom, knowing divorce was real, realizing there was nothing I could try to fix this time. I felt very alone and helpless. I went to work, came home to an empty apartment, laying around on the floor, sleeping all the time, really depressed, sleeping alone after all those years, the quiet – holy cow, it was quiet. I lost a lot of weight. I didn’t follow through with anything I was going to do. People would try to get me to go out and I would say yes and then not show up. I wanted to but couldn’t get there.
I started going to counseling. I thought I would be the last guy to go to counseling. I’m sure a lot of guys out there think I know who I am, I don’t need counseling…she’s the one who needs counseling, not me. But I went.
I was told to exercise, journal, get sunlight. I was pushing myself to go to the movies on my own. I started to referee again. I was going for walks, I was reading my Bible, highlighting passages in the Psalms that were helping me. I was looking up different verses on love, etc. and I was doing a lot of soul-searching…how did I want to handle this? Did I want to fight her on every little thing? Did I want to be the bad guy? I decided I was free to let everything go. Keeping the stuff wouldn’t make me happy, so I didn’t fight. I didn’t want a lawyer, I didn’t want to be spending more money on that. I went back to church, listening to the Word.
I dated too soon though. I wanted to prove I was worthy, that someone would want me the way I was. I had a couple relationships that didn’t go well and ended after a couple months.
Fast forwarding to be married to Beth…
I tell Beth I love her a lot. I’m not as jealous as I used to be. I affirm Beth, saying I’m proud of you. I ask how she’s doing and how’s her day. I’m more affectionate. Losing a marriage can make you more appreciative of what you’ve got. My motives for doing stuff like cooking now are more selfless, I’m not doing it out of resentment or to get thanked.
God changed me enough that I now have a desire to be in church weekly, to depend on him to get us through whatever we’re going through during the week, for myself, my marriage, and our kids.
If this post resonated with you, check out my latest release, Second Time Around: Some Thoughts on Remarriage.