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I am following your posts and am using them to help me with learing the right responses to my situation and any other situation that may arise. Not having confidence in a correct response I will keep my thoughts to myslef but know that I am praying for you as well, my friend in Christ.

Robert

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I am NOT telling you to go to Atlanta by what I am about to say but I want to share something from my on experiences.

 

My ex lied to his mother and family about his activities and his relationship to his affair partner. He led his family to believe that our marriage problems were my fault. When I thought that we were going to reconcile after being separated for over two years I demanded that he go to his family an tell them the whole truth. It was very, very important to me that he prove that he was willing to humble himself in front of his family and fix their misconception of me and us. This was very, very important to me. When he dragged his feet and then when he finally did it in front of me- I could tell his heart wasn't in it.. I knew our marriage was probably over at that point.

 

I don't know for sure if this is what your wife is doing and ultimately you and God have to answer this question of what you should do.

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She might believe that unless I restore my relationship with my brothers, then I won't be able restore my relationship with her (a hypothesis).

Personally, I think that's it. I read your other posts in which you talked about her wishes on this. I believe I would feel exactly the same way that your wife has made clear that she feels! If you do what she's asking she will begin to believe that MAYBE she can trust you with her heart someday.

 

See what the moderators say, too, though.

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Ok. Have been thinking of how to respond to my beloved. It's been several days of mulling it over. I'm not going to respond to her asking me to go to Atlanta. I will continue to pray about it and talk to the people in this ministry about it. And hopefully, others will contribute their thoughts as well. Interestingly, all the guys in this ministry so far have said to stay in Dallas. And all the women in the ministry have at least implied I should go to Atlanta. Anyways, I wanted to respond to other stuff in her email. I think there's an opening in her last email when she said, "If I went back to you, you would go on feeling comfortable with yourself doing whatever you want to me." That's the first time she's mentioned us getting back together as she's always only mentioned divorce in our earlier talks. But who knows, it might be nothing and I am just looking for hope in places where it's not. Anyways, here's my first draft of the email I'm going to send her. I know that it's me focused, but I'm trying to made the shift from me to her focused through my own pain. Please advise. Thank you so much everyone.

 

Hi S-,

 

Yes. It's true. I am in tremendous pain. All the walls of self-protection I've built up over my life have come crashing down. I've never cried so much in my life. I find myself weeping and wailing on the floor almost daily. On several occasions, I've asked God to take me away early. Life is going in slow motion. I just want to sleep and never wake up. Then it started to dawn on me that this is the pain you've been going through. I've heard these same sentiments from you over the course of our marriage. I've been going through this pain only a few weeks, but you've been going through it for 6 years! How did you manage? I now grieve over the hurt I have caused you. I'm not going to pretend I know fully your pain and hurt, but I now have some semblance of how you felt. I never want you to feel the way I am feeling ever again. It's terrible and life draining. I've read through countless emails of pain that you have sent me over the years and I just put my hands on the screen and cry for you. You were so hurt and desperate. I will never feel comfortable again with the way I've treated you. It's a burden I will carry for the rest of my life and want to somehow bring healing. Because of this, I will never blame you for our relationship, whether or not things work out. The scales have fallen off my eyes and I only see the poor, abused, desperate wife who tried her very best only to be met with apathy and hostility. The holy spirit has dramatically revealed some things to me and I take full responsibility over the failure of our marriage. Thank you for keeping me at arm's length as I would not have had these experiences nor been this broken had you given me hope. You have been amazing.

 

Sincerely,

D-

 

Last night, I wrote this email to her:

 

Hi S-,

 

No need to respond to this email.

 

After you shared the story of the baby bird, my stomach has been churning ever since. I feel like my stomach has a gaping hole in it and I cannot sleep. I feel so awful and feel so much shame for what I have done.

 

Day after day, I find out even more how deeply I have hurt you and how awful of a husband I was. It would’ve just taken a couple of minutes to comfort you. Just a few minutes. You are worth way more than that. I had devalued you. Your heart was shattered multiple times when it would’ve just taken a few minutes to comfort you, to love you, to be there for you, to empathize with you, to validate you.

 

I am so, so, so sorry.

 

I know that words are cheap and that words cannot override the years of pain and abuse and neglect I have put you through. I just wanted to let you know that you are right and that you deserve to hear an apology for the poor baby bird. I am sorry S-. I desperately wish I could take back those memories and have a time machine to go back and fix all the wrongs, to catch every tear, to be there for you when you needed me.

 

D-

 

Then she responded this morning:

 

I don't understand.  At the time it happened you knew I was going through a lot of sadness and grief.  But you were okay with that.  Why, all of a sudden, would you feel sorry now?  It's not like this is new information to you.   You knew back then what you'd done and what effect it had on me.  But you still kept on thinking you were a good husband and you were comfortable with yourself enough to continue to feel entitled and demand things from me and be indignant when I pointed out how you were hurting me.  

 

What difference does it make now?  The only difference is that I've left you and you are trying to get me back.  So the only difference is that you are suffering and you need to show me a penitent reaction to end your suffering by getting me back.  The difference is not some new compassion you have for me.  If I went back to you, you would go on feeling comfortable with yourself doing whatever you want to me.  You are not sorry you hurt me.  You knew that all along.  You are sorry that I hurt you, and you are trying to stop that pain.  This is exactly what you said and did last year when I left.   You were really, really sorry, and then when I went back you were good for a few months, and then you completely reverted back and put all your energy into proving that you were not the one at fault in the relationship.  I don't expect it would be any different this time.

 

You want to show me that you've changed -- you know what I've asked you to do.  Prove it by doing something truly sacrificial and putting others ahead of yourself.  

 

S-

 

Based upon the discussion from yesterday (two posts ago), I think she is referring to me going back to Atlanta to serve my mother and my two younger brothers. It's either that or me filing for divorce. I think it's more likely the move to Atlanta.

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I thought that it might help others understand my wife better if they were to see some of her emails to me. The writing was on the walls the whole time and I just kept minimizing it. She's an incredibly empathetic person who knew what was going on, but yet persevered in our marriage.

 

12/27/11

 

D-,

 

It is 3:30 a.m. and I still cannot sleep. 

 

I am in so much pain.

 

I feel so so hurt and sad that I cannot ask you to do something for me and have you lovingly and easily respond.  A loving husband would not feel trapped or unwilling, but happy that he knew what his wife wanted and eager to do it. 

I feel so so hurt that you would say such ugly things to me when I was so hurt and sad and begging you to stop.  I cannot understand why you would not stop when I was begging you.

I feel so so hurt that you thought I deserved such treatment when all I was doing was trying to orchestrate something nice between you and your brothers.  Your anger way exceeded the action. 

I feel so so hurt that you discount my loving actions as meaningless and worthless...I feel so discouraged and unmotivated to do those things again.

I feel so so hurt that you used my deep moments of trust as a weapon against me.

I feel so so hurt that you want to force me to apologize even though I know that you can use the apologies against me as a weapon too. 

I feel so so hurt that you have held me responsible for the death of our child when you know that I loved the child and did everything for it.  I will never forget that you chose to tell me that. 

 

I am constantly shocked at how little you love me, at all the things that you won't do for me.   And you deny me the right to be angry at you, ever!  But you are constantly angry with me!

 

I am so broken hearted that I cannot function. 

 

I feel so hurt that I cannot recover, I cannot go back to the way we were.  I don't even want to.  I don't want to try any more, I don't want to trust you and get hurt.  I don't want to love you and be hurt by that.  I don't want to care.  If I had drugs here now I would take them to get rid of the pain.  If there were a plane here I would get on it and fly away and not look back. 

 

You don't make me want to be a better person.  You make me want to give up.  I feel hopeless.  I just want to go away and be alone.  I was a better person without you.  I was closer to Jesus, I was worshipful.  Now I am just a wreck of a person. 

 

I am asking you not to ignore this email but to respond to it over email quickly. 

 

S-

 

5/13/12. This email was about IVF and IUI. We were trying to get pregnant and I kept forcing her to go through these procedures. 

 

I feel worthless that my pain isn't even worth dismissing what we already know is a bad option for us.  I feel like my well-being or how I feel about it isn't important. 

 

Plus we have been told by THREE DOCTORS that I am not a good candidate for IVF and that I will never respond to the strong medicines better than I did.  What will finally convince you?  Why do you need to keep talking to the doctor about it? 

 

If we decide not to do IVF, I want to know that it's because you actually care about me and my welfare and not because you realize the medical evidence that it's not going to work anyway.  I wish you would not keep on making choices that are bad for me, and have to learn firsthand what is going to make me break down by forcing me to break down and then finally realizing it.  I wish I could just tell you, I can't do this anymore and have you listen to me the first time.   I have told you over and over again that I don't want to do IVF but you keep bringing it up over and over again.  This has really confirmed my lack of trust in you.  I can't really trust you to make the best choices for me even though I tell you what I need.  This makes me not even want to try any more at all since I don't feel that my welfare is important.

 

For you the cost is so little but for me it's RUINING MY LIFE.  I HATE THIS.  Can you hear me?  I am MISERABLE.  I AM MISERABLE.  I AM MISERABLE.  CAN YOU HEAR ME?  I AM MISERABLE.

 

It's been really hard too because you are spending all your time watching games and it feels like those games are much more important than me.  

 

5/25/12

Sorry, I have said everything I want to say.  Don't look for me on Skype.  I am tired of crying and hurting and not being understood by you. 

 

You have made it clear to me that you can't do any better than this...and I know I can't live like this anymore.  I know that you don't mean to hurt me, but that's what's so scary for me.  You do it so naturally and you have no idea that you're doing it.  So you will keep doing it...for the rest of our lives.  And I can't live like this.

 

6/10/12

What I am hoping for in this email is an understanding of the cost that both of us pay -- me in my emotional health, you in terms of the  long term health of our relationship.  You pay a dear cost too every time this happens.  Don't you want a wife that feels close to you and WANTS to be with you?  You lose that wife a little every time we have a conflict in which you prioritize your own needs over hers.  

 

She left me for 1 month. I repented and things got better for a few months. Then I reverted back. 

 

11/5/12

 

I feel like I need to write you as the pain inside me becomes more and more unbearable.  I want you to know that I am seriously depressed.  Every day I think about how depressed I am and how can I go on.  Every day I wake up in pain and feel like I can't bear to go on with my day. 

 

I feel like our marriage is sliding back into a place where you don't really care how I feel and nothing I do short of something dramatic will make you pay attention to me.  D-, this is me using words and not volume.  Please hear me.  If you don't hear me when I use words, then I have no choice but to use volume.  Please hear me early on in the process.  Don't make me repeat myself over and over again before you hear me.  Don't make me "convince you" that I'm serious.  Just believe me when I tell you.  Take me seriously. 

 

I've already told you how depressed I am and it doesn't seem like you care.  I wish I could just tell you something in words and have you care.  I don't feel like that's happening.  You have heard, you know that I'm depressed and yet you go on with your life happily ignoring my unhappiness.  That makes me resent you. This isn't just going to go away over time.  I'm telling you this clearly.  This isn't going to go away with just time.

 

The main reason that we are home is to work on our marriage.  But as long as I am here in your house, you don't feel that priority.  Only when I leave you and break up the marriage do you feel the urgency of working on our marriage.  But right now, it's just a hassle to you.  Reading that book is a hassle.  Spending time with me is a hassle.  I feel dishonored as your wife.  

 

4/19/13

This is going to be something that is hard to hear.  I'm sorry if this hurts you.  My motivation is not to hurt you to cause damage, but to cause you to open your eyes and find help.  I am not trying to disrespect you or put you down, but I do want you to see that the inability to recognize the needs and feelings of others is a sign of emotional immaturity.  This is not something that I told you before, but ever since I left in June, I came to a belief, sorrowfully, that you are suffering from some form of narcissism.  I don't think you're an acute narcissist or anything like that -- you avoid the dramatic physical abuse and the abuse of alcohol and drugs and stuff like that, but in a sense I believe that, at least between us, you see the relationship as revolving around you and you're unable to see how I play into it except to please you.  You see yourself as submitting to me "all the time" but in truth for the majority of our disagreements, you get your way.  But there's no way that I can ever get you to see that because it's not grounded in the truth but in how you feel.  You don't see the ways I've given in to you as significant, but the few ways that I disagree are so painful for you that it makes you feel that this is the standard for our relationship, that you are constantly submitting and being victimized. 

 

I think you have grown a lot in this area and have become much more considerate.  However, I do think that when you are upset as you were last night, you have no sense of the kind of damage that you're doing to me and frankly it looks like you just don't care when I cry and hurt.  That's narcissism.  I know that your childhood abuse is the reason for this, and you have come a long way, but at some point you need to recognize that there is a problem and you need to change.  You've been avoiding scary topics like the men's mentorship and you have a fear of contacting A-.  This is proof that there is still more healing that needs to happen, and I can't make that happen for you.  When I urge you towards healing and good things, you lash back at me and I'm not able to sustain that.

 

I do love you and want the best for you.  Part of that means that I need to be the one that hurts you in this way to get you to heal in the right way.  I hate that role and wish I could give it up, but it's the one God gave me and I believe I'm stuck with it for life.  I believe that I am speaking honestly and lovingly to the best of my ability.  

 

5/1/13. We were considering adoption because we couldn't have a natural baby. Also, I had been seeing a counselor and told him about my wife's anger. He said that she was abusing me, so I thought she was my abuser and called her that. She left the house for a few days and was considering divorce. 

 

Basically what it comes down to is my own limitations.  Am I willing to continue to live this life in which I'm always going to be serving you and taking care of you without hope that you'll be able to do that for me, without credit for what I'm doing but rather being held accountable to everything I do wrong?  It's just a burden that I find that I can't and don't want to carry any more. Somehow it was hard enough when it was acknowledged that I am doing good for you and I'm a good wife.  But if I must be called an abuser on top of all of that…I just can't.  You have to be honest about how you feel about me.  I don't blame you for calling me an abuser, if that's what you need to do to heal.  But I can't bear it.  I just can't.  The only thing I want is to erase the last five years of misery and wish none of it had ever happened to me.  For you, I am glad that they did happen because they broke you through to the light and I'm glad for the healing that's happened in your life.  But I don't want any more.  And to be honest, I don't know if I want a child any more, especially one that is going to come with lots of attachment issues.  I don't think I can take care of a broken child AND you, and honestly you think you are ready, but you really aren't in a position to parent a child and help me.  It will just double my burden and heartache and the thanklessness of my situation.

 

5/1/13.

 

Hi D-,

 

After some thought and prayer I've decided that I don't want a divorce.  I'm going to stay.

 

That said, I'm still really struggling with the facts as they are and I'm not ready to sleep in the same bed or go back to the way things were.  I think I'd like to wait and see how things go, and also to have some time with a counselor too.  I think I'll schedule a few appointments with that female counselor that was expensive, maybe meet her once and see how it goes if that's okay with you.

 

Thanks,

S-

 

5/2/13

 

I just want to caution you, just because we are living sort of separately right now, you're in pain and this is the time that you're likely to demonize yourself.  Basically it appears that you see this as a situation where you are the abuser and I am the victim.  I don't want you to fall into that paradigm either.  I think we have both hurt each other and behaved badly, and yes, at times that behavior has turned abusive on both sides.  But I'm inviting you to look for a paradigm where we can just both be three-dimensional individuals with power and choice and feelings and control over ourselves but not over the other.  It just feels dangerous to me that for you, it has to be one or the other -- me abusing you, or you abusing me.  If we want to get out of this paradigm, we need to be able to see how this isn't our marriage.

 

I'm not asking you to call yourself my abuser.  I don't really want that language in our marriage at all.  What I'm asking of you is to see me as a person, a real person with needs and feelings and vulnerabilities, and yes, flaws that need to be forgiven.  Seeing me as merely a victim to your abuse isn't going to get you there.  Seeing me as a force that is subjugating you is even worse.  

 

When I am upset with you, I want you to see that I have feelings and motivations and vulnerabilities, instead of just saying to yourself, "Now I'm in trouble," like I'm some authority on high rather than a hurt little girl.  That language, "I'm in trouble now," always frustrates me because it shows me that you don't see my feelings.  It's language that describes authority, government even, something disembodied and feelingless.  It's not language that describes a person's feelings.  

 

And when *I* mess up and you're angry with me, I want you to be able to be angry with what I did and to express that in a healthy, nondestructive way, but to also see that I'm a human being with flaws and I mess up, too, and maybe sometimes I have good reasons for why I mess up.  And that will cause you to hold back on trying to destroy me for what I did, because I'm a weak person too and I need grace and compassion, not judgment.  

 

I feel like in both of those situations you can't really see me as a person, and so it doesn't temper your behavior.  You see me as a force, and you fight force with force.  But I’m a person and I have feelings and reasons and emotions of my own.  To reduce me to victim or abuser…you'll not see the real me.   To be honest, during this time I wonder if you even know why I’m upset at all.  

 

Then we we were ok for a month after her thinking about divorce. Then in mid June, I accused her of us being childless in the future because I wanted to adopt internationally and she wanted to adopt domestically. I tried to force her to do things my way. That opened up all previous wounds and then she asked me to leave on July 5, 2013. We've been separated since and she is not interested in reconciliation at all. 

 

I hope the above helps give a better picture of my wife's pain and how amazing she has been. She has clearly communicated to me her pain but because I was so self-centered, I didn't care about her pain. 

Edited by anon2000
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Thank you for the input. I wanted to show somehow that I do have compassion for her hurt. It definitely did start out in personal pain, but it did shift to understanding her pain. She's always talked about me having no empathy, but I really do think there is some empathy there now. To be hurt so badly, I can start to comprehend a little bit of her pain now. 

 

So was my draft of the email so off base that it's not correctable? I sent her an apology and she responded and should I just let it rest? 

 

She did ask to meet up with me to talk about some finances this week. I'll try to give her the J&K's second book then. 

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Yes, let it rest. An apology is enough. When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. ;)

 

As for the Atlanta thing, I'm with the girls. I think you should go, and the main reason I think so is that your wife is asking you to. How 'bout, just once, you simply do what she has asked you to do without getting 16 different opinions and agonizing for a week? It might just work out.

 

You will, of course, need to brainstorm ways in which you can stay in touch and bless her while you're gone.

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WHen you send any communication to your wife, you can not look at it with your intent. You have to look at it as it is perceived. You should reflect and try to see how it would be received by your wife. Please dissect your email and post your observations here.

Hi S-,

 

 

Yes. It's true. I am in tremendous pain. All the walls of self-protection I've built up over my life have come crashing down. I've never cried so much in my life. I find myself weeping and wailing on the floor almost daily. On several occasions, I've asked God to take me away early. Life is going in slow motion. I just want to sleep and never wake up. Then it started to dawn on me that this is the pain you've been going through. I've heard these same sentiments from you over the course of our marriage. I've been going through this pain only a few weeks, but you've been going through it for 6 years! How did you manage? I now grieve over the hurt I have caused you. I'm not going to pretend I know fully your pain and hurt, but I now have some semblance of how you felt. I never want you to feel the way I am feeling ever again. It's terrible and life draining. I've read through countless emails of pain that you have sent me over the years and I just put my hands on the screen and cry for you. You were so hurt and desperate. I will never feel comfortable again with the way I've treated you. It's a burden I will carry for the rest of my life and want to somehow bring healing. Because of this, I will never blame you for our relationship, whether or not things work out. The scales have fallen off my eyes and I only see the poor, abused, desperate wife who tried her very best only to be met with apathy and hostility. The holy spirit has dramatically revealed some things to me and I take full responsibility over the failure of our marriage. Thank you for keeping me at arm's length as I would not have had these experiences nor been this broken had you given me hope. You have been amazing.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

D-

I still disagree with the lady helpers about going to Atlanta.

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:rotfl:

 

Seriously, in the end, you have to do what you feel the Lord is leading you to do. So pray about Atlanta a lot. Whenever I'm in a quandary and not sure if the answer I'm getting is the one God wants me to hear, I say OK, God, I think I'm hearing you say ___, so I'm gonna do that. But if I'm hearing you wrong and it's a totally stupid plan, then please do something to stop me. And you know how I am, so you have to drop a brick, not a hint. :roll:  He usually answers that prayer pretty quickly.

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WHen you send any communication to your wife, you can not look at it with your intent. You have to look at it as it is perceived. You should reflect and try to see how it would be received by your wife. Please dissect your email and post your observations here.

 

 

Hi TP. Thanks for pushing me to analyze my email a bit more. My wife wants to trust me. I know that she wants to see true change and wants our marriage to be restored. But she's heard it all before. She is protecting herself. She knows that I'm desperate but that what I'm doing is just reactive behavior, trying to end my pain. She's seen no empathy from me before and so any sudden empathy seems to be fake. She's seeing any promises of change or a sudden realization as desperate attempts to get her back without real change. She knows real change takes time and it requires something that's highly unusual, something she knows that my past self would never do. Words have always been said and she felt duped by them numerous times before. She left me 4-5 times in our relationship and each time, came back on the promises of change... only to be tricked because I had never changed. The email that I wrote is just more of the same. 

 

Although I know in my heart that God has started a work in me, I know that what she perceives will just be manipulative tactics from my end and more I talk, the more I'm digging myself into a hole. 

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Ok. I've prayed a tremendous amount about the decision to go to Atlanta. I feel that God is telling me to go. I really feel like this is the right thing to do. I made a commitment to die to myself and I know that my former self would have definitely stayed in Dallas. What I'm doing is something new to me. My wife has told me several times things to do and because I didn't trust her nor God, I would try to take control of the situation. My beloved is an incredibly intuitive and intelligent woman and I regret everyday that I didn't listen to her more often in our relationship. She has said to me VERY DIRECTLY that she'll respect me if I go to Atlanta to serve my brothers and that if I go, then I can prove to her that I have changed. Those are very direct words. She also said that she knew I would not to go Atlanta because she knows I'm narcissistic. I really feel like the road to Atlanta is where I learn to die to self, to listen to my wife when it's really hard, and something that takes trust. It does not make sense for me to go to Atlanta to restore the marriage. But my wife is asking me to and I feel like God is leading me to go. 

 

Additionally, over the course of this separation, I have discovered tremendous insights on my childhood, my sexual abuse, parents calling me stupid while growing up, how I was rejected when I was little, how neglected we were as kids, how I was called ugly, that no girl would like me (I was the only Asian kid in my elementary school),  and how all of that explains how I feel as an adult today. My younger brothers have gone through most of the stuff I've been through. They are hurt and broken. My father died in 2003 and even before that, he was sick for over 10 years and was never able to be a father to us. We tried to prove ourselves through sports, but our parents in all our years of playing organized sports, only attended 1 game. There is so much hurt there and some of it was caused by me because they looked up to me as a father. My brothers have that same hurt. I want my brothers to be restored and for them to know Christ's love. That only Christ can bring restoration and healing. The Holy Spirit has revealed to me some deep truths and I want to share that with my brothers. I don't know how with their bitterness towards me, but I know it starts with me going to Atlanta to love them, to serve them, to be there for them. 

 

I won't be in the men's call tonight because I will be taking some close friends of mine out for a farewell dinner before I take off to Atlanta. Please pray for me as I prepare to go. This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life. 

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Cool. The girls won. :rotfl:

 

You know I'm kidding, right? This is about you doing what God wants you to do. And you know what? Even if you heard wrong, as long as you are honestly trying to do what He wants you to do to the best of your understanding, He will honor that. He looks at our heart, not whether or not we got everything exactly right. He doesn't hold honest mistakes against us.

 

You also need to pray constantly while you're there. When you wake up every morning, one of the first questions you should ask God is if He still wants you in Atlanta. If the answer is yes, ask Him what it is you are to do there that day. Ask him to show you clearly when it is time to go home. He may only want you there for a few days, or He may want you there for an entire season. It might totally depend on how your brothers respond to your efforts to bless them. Remember that God's plans are sometimes flexible - you should be too.

 

So the next question is . . . what are you going to do to bless your wife while you're gone while still staying within the boundaries she has set?

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So the next question is . . . what are you going to do to bless your wife while you're gone while still staying within the boundaries she has set?

 

Thank you LT for your warm reply. I am honestly trying to follow God's will and really believe he wants me to die to self, serve my brothers, and eventually restore the marriage. The road to Atlanta is the longer and more difficult route, but I want to be obedient to the spirit's prompting, one step at a time. Yes, mornings are the hardest as that's when I feel the depression the most. Not only will I need to ask God daily about his will, I need to keep focusing on Christ so that I don't get into a spiral of depression. I have lots of support here in Dallas, with great counselors, a great church, understanding friends. In Atlanta, I have to start over in a sense. I do have my home church there... however, I confessed my sins to them a couple of weeks ago and it'll be awkward seeing them again and they won't be able to nurture me in my current state. But wherever I am, Christ is there with me. 

 

I will be seeing my wife one more time before taking off later this week. She is flying out Friday for two weeks to attend her brother's wedding. So we'll both leave later this week. I'll give her the second J&K book. 

 

I was thinking of giving her a letter with my commitments to her when I see her next if we are to ever get back together. I am scared that this might possibly be the last time I see her. So I wanted to leave her with something (besides the book). Here is what I am thinking about...

 

Dear S-,

You have been deeply hurt. I know this. You never deserve to ever be in the abusive relationship that I have put you through. If we are to ever get back together, you need to be ensured that you will not enter into an abusive relationship, but a loving and nurturing one. God has started a work in me. I don't know how long it will take to complete, but if you ever come to a point where you can trust me again to enter into the restoration of our marriage, I want to make sure it is a radically different marriage. Here are my commitments:

 

- S to have complete control of all our finances for 3 years. D is to get an allowance determined by S.

- S to make all major decisions for 3 years.

- D to cook at least 50% of the meals that are cooked.

- D to never self-gratify.

- S is always allowed to express her needs, desires, and frustrations without D signaling in any way for her to change the way she expresses them.

 

You may notice that many of these items are for 3 years. I chose 3 years because Paul Hegstrom stated that it takes 2-3 years for a man to grow out of his arrested development and for him to not be so self-centered all the time. You may have fears that I may not be able to follow through because we've had so many fights about my identity and how I had accused you of controlling me. But that is now behind me now because of what God has put onto my heart. My old identity needs to completely die. I had thought for that old identity and that old identity is the one that abused you. You cannot ever be abused again.

 

So I am thinking about giving her this letter before I go. I will ask her to read J&K's second book and also might give her Hegstrom's Broken Child, Grown-up Pain... and to ask her to read those books before reading my letter.  

 

Also, some have stated that she may feel like I am giving up on her if I move to Atlanta. I definitely DO NOT want to communicate that and want her to know that I am willing to do anything for her and that I am fully committed.

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Tear up the letter. She won't believe you, and right now she doesn't want to hear about you getting back together. You can make promises when she indicates that she is interested in getting back together, not before, and even then I'd be very, very careful.

 

I think it would be OK to let her know that the move to Atlanta is not permanent and that you intend to come back as soon as you have completed whatever it is that God wants you to do.

 

Go ahead and give her the books, but do it with an attitude of This is what I'm learning, if you're interested. Let her decide for herself if she wants to read them. Don't ask her about them. If she wants to talk about them, she'll bring it up.

 

Also, some have stated that she may feel like I am giving up on her if I move to Atlanta.

 

 

 

This is why you need to find ways to keep in touch and bless her from a distance. I know it's going to be tough, since she has said she doesn't want texts or phone calls. A lot of that is fear on her part - you haven't yet shown her that you are safe, and so she is more comfortable having no contact. How 'bout email? Then she has more choice about whether or not to look at it. You could email her once a week or so and let her know you're thinking of her, tell her about your brothers, etc.Your emails have to be coming from a friend perspective, not an estranged husband perspective. They should not require a response, and they should not focus on you. If she gets a look at me and how well I'm doing feel, you will lose that method of contact as well. It would probably be a good thing to post the first few here before you send them.

 

Can you bless her with things she might legitimately need - grocery or gas cards, etc.? That's not too personal and might not feel as pushy as a gift would.

 

Also, what are your living arrangements going to be in Atlanta? If at all possible, you should be staying with your brothers or a friend. If that's not possible, rent a room on a month to month basis. All of those options say temporary. Getting an apartment screams permanent - at least a year - and you do not want her to think you are settling in there.

 

Just some ideas - although I personally believe you are doing the right thing, you are going to have to think everything through. There are so many ways this could go seriously, irrepairably wrong if you are not careful, and I know that's what the guys were seeing when they advised you not to go. I think it has strong potential to bring your wife some healing, but it is not without risk. As long as you're listening to God, you'll be fine. Take one step away from him, and you're toast. Hang tight.

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Ok. I won't give her the letter. I did forget to add one item to that potential letter. I forgot to add that if she finds that I am not fulfilling my commitments, then I will be the one to initiate divorce. 

 

Anyways, yeah... the move to Atlanta is risky. So many things could happen that could make this very bad. However, this is the path of possible healing for her and it's the only one she's laid out for me. I will be living with my brother and my mom. I'll just pay him a high rent and hopefully my brothers will feel like that's a token of care for them and that it starts the process of restoration with them. 

 

Emails will be ok. We've communicated over email and had some intense discussions, per my previous posts. She didn't seem to be threatened by the emails I sent her, unlike the texts and the gifts. I'll try to provide for her financially, but am unsure if she'll take any gifts or support from me because she is in SUPER independent mode right now and she's never been one to freely take money. She's absolutely against taking money from her parents despite them being wealthy and offering money to her time and time again. She sees money as control and she didn't want to be controlled by her parents. I hope the emails will become more warm and trusting over time. 

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I forgot to add that if she finds that I am not fulfilling my commitments, then I will be the one to initiate divorce.

 

 

Thank you for forgetting that. That line takes it from tear it up to incinerate:wacko:

 

OK, so no money or offers of support. Let's see . . . you have kids, right? Could you get a gift card to their favorite restaurant and say Please take the kids to dinner? We moms will generally accept things for our children when we normally wouldn't for ourselves, and it will bless her to see you blessing the kids. Even if your kids are out of the house and a family dinner is unlikely to happen, she would probably love to take each of them out separately. In that case, you could send a gift card for each kid spaced a few weeks apart.

 

But right now it seems as though the main tool you've got is email, so use it wisely. The great thing about email is that you can write something, and then let it percolate for awhile before you hit that send key. You will be able to think about how she might perceive what you're saying instead of focusing on your own intentions, and you'll be able to edit if you need to. If you find yourself getting steamed about something, you can get yourself under control before you reply. It's a good training ground for face to face conversations.

 

The main thing to remember is to work on being friends. If she doesn't feel like she can be friends with you, she will never consider anything more.

 

Oh, and you are aware that Timothy Paul is a licensed counselor, right? Helping you with your depression is outside the scope of this ministry, but maybe you want to consider scheduling some one on one time with Tim while you're in Atlanta. He could be a great support to you when you don't have your normal systems in place.

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Unfortunately, no kids. That's one of the main stresses of our marriage. I blamed her on multiple occasions for not having kids and even blamed her after she had a miscarriage. Yeah, I was that bad. 

 

With that being sad, there is no solid reason for us to communicate after logistics are all hammered out. That's what's so scary about the move to Atlanta. 

 

But I do have email and she's open to it. Thank goodness I can post up some of the emails and ideas on this forum before sending them to her. It's obvious to you guys that my commitment letter with me initiating the divorce if I fail is a very bad idea. I had thought it was a great idea!  ;-) For now, I'll just be happy with the books I'm going to give her and seeing her one more time before leaving. 

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Anon,

 

      I do not have a good feeling about this whole situation. I am not saying anyone is wrong but something feels really off about this. I've read all your post about it. The whole time I have had this weird feeling in my gut but haven't said anything. Are you 100 % positive she wants you to do this for your family or is there something else under the surface here that could be being overlooked?

 

I'm not liking this feeling.

 

God Bless

David

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Anon,

 

      I do not have a good feeling about this whole situation. I am not saying anyone is wrong but something feels really off about this. I've read all your post about it. The whole time I have had this weird feeling in my gut but haven't said anything. Are you 100 % positive she wants you to do this for your family or is there something else under the surface here that could be being overlooked?

 

I'm not liking this feeling.

 

God Bless

David

 

Hi David. Of course I can't be 100% sure about the decision, but that's where I am convicted to go. I am 100% sure it's not because of another man. We didn't kiss until our wedding day. We even had limitations on how long we could hug because she wanted to remain pure. Although I obviously have not understood her, I am absolutely sure on her purity. 1 year out from now, I may be thinking she may be interested in other men. But this is definitely not the reason why she wants me to go to Atlanta. 

 

It is possible that she wants me to leave because she wants to move on and that having me around makes it more difficult. But she wouldn't have said that she would respect me if I went to Atlanta. She is not manipulative like that. 

 

In the end, I can think of tons of reasons to get paranoid. In the end though, she's asked me to do it, I want to earn her respect, and I want to serve my brothers. I have prayed a ton about this and now have peace about it. 

 

Thank you though for sharing... I know that it's out of concern. 

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I've let her know that I'm moving to Atlanta. I kept it simple and just said that it's been a very difficult decision but that I will be moving there. But she suggested I go there a third time over email before I was able to let her know. The more times she brings it up, the less value it is in me going to Atlanta. I would've been great if she had only mentioned it once and I listened to her.

 

Anyways, I sent her an email yesterday. We are both in ministry. Several weeks ago, she asked me to resign from our missions agency because she felt like I was using it to feed my ego. She's right. She loves the ministry and so I was looking for ways for me to resign and for her to stay on. This is the email correspondence...

 

Sent to her last night:

Hi S,

 

I just wanted to write to you and communicate my thoughts on our jobs with our missions agency. I’ve been communicating with them over the past few weeks and although things aren’t crystal clear yet, I thought you might still like to know.

 

Basically, I’ve been asking them if it’s possible that I no longer be a part of the agency but that you stay on, whether or not we ever get back together. I’m trying to see if you can stay with them in all possible situations.

 

There’s some good news. Their policy has changed recently so that one person can have a secular job and one person can be a part of agency. I had thought that it always had to be both people, but that’s changed recently. [meaning both people had to be part of the agency]

 

As for what happens if there’s a divorce, it appeared pretty black and white on their documentation, but after talking with our administrator, she said our case is unique and different rules can apply to our case. She said that the policy mentioned in the documentation applies to people in situations of adultery or drug addiction or something like that, but that in our case, it’s different and that the documentation  won’t be the same in our situation. I don’t really know what that means, but hopefully it’ll become more clear. I will try to do everything possible so that I take full culpability for the breakdown in our marriage and will do my best so that you can remain with them.

 

I also have another thought. Even if you’re forced to resign, I was thinking that I can support you. With my job, I can financially support you so that you can continue in your role and have enough for living expenses. Maybe you can continue as independent person that is doing the work on her own. All the resources are still there and we have all the proper contacts so that you can continue to work on the translation from wherever you are. This conviction of mine is there regardless of what happens. I can just live extremely cheaply wherever and give most of my money to you and the project. I hope that it’ll be enough. This goes beyond supporting you. I have greatly wronged the project and the agency. Everything lined up perfectly and even miraculously. There was only one problem: me. I messed everything up. So I want to support you and the project through my secular job. I’ve been submitting my resume to lots of jobs in the last few weeks and hopefully something good will show up.

 

Sorry for the jumble of thoughts. I know it’s unclear, but thought I’d throw out these thoughts, even if they’re ambiguous, I think it might be helpful for you to know.

 

D-

 

Her response:

 

Hi D-

 

Can you clarify one point? -- you say, "I've been communicating with the agency over the past few weeks."

 

With whom exactly are you corresponding?  Why am I not a part of that conversation?  I am not on the sideline here while you and the agency arrange my future.  I deserve to be part of this conversation and I cannot understand why this conversation is happening without me.  Nobody from the agency has contacted me and I have not had any conversations with any admin.  How is it that you are having conversations with people while I am getting no feedback?

 

I'm not prepared to discuss my future here until I have a full say into my own life.  Once again, you have no right to decide my life for me and make decisions for me.  I am not a child that you get to make decisions for.  

 

S-

 

My reply:

Hi S-,

 

Oh! That wasn’t what I was trying to communicate. I’ve discussed possibilities with our old personnel administrator. She said our case will be passed onto someone else in the future but gave me some limited input because I was asking about my resignation. When I talked about my resignation with her, she gave some limited input. She isn’t a decision maker.

 

Nothing is official because our case has been handed off to another person. I haven’t had any talks with this new person and she is the one that is in charge of our case right now. What I was communicating to you was just unofficial info that isn’t set in concrete. I thought I’d just share with you in advance whatever I knew, no matter how ambiguous or unclear it was. Maybe it wasn’t helpful? Thanks for pointing out how this could disrespect you as that should not happen. If there is any other way I am disrespecting you, please let me know and I will get on it asap.

 

D-

 

Her reply:

I'm just saying, you don't have a right to decide whether or not I will try to stay with the agency. That is my decision between God and me, and I haven't made that decision yet.  I do appreciate you making it clear to them that you are to blame for the marriage breaking up.  However, your email makes a lot of assumptions and assumes authority over me, that you get to decide my life, and not only to decide it, but to fund it.  There's some personal glory you're getting there by being a martyr.

 

You are welcome to give money to the project we were involved with or any other project but at this point I would decline any contribution for myself.  I suggest you figure out how to make things right with your family first and fulfill your responsibilities there.  I believe that is the right thing for you to do.  

 

S-

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She is obviously VERY sensitive to any possibility that you are trying to control her. Can't blame her.

 

Whenever you email her, you need to let it sit for at least a few minutes and then go back and reread it. Knowing what you know about her heart, ask yourself if there is even a slim possibility that what you wrote would sound controlling to her. If so, rewrite it.

 

You need to email her back with a LOVER apology. Write one here, right now, and I'll stick around for a bit so I can help you with it.

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Thank you LT. It's pretty frustrating as I am trying to die to self, to be servant minded, to take all blame. It feels like she's looking as hard as possible to find any possible flaw in anything I do. It's an uphill climb, but I gotta keep at it. It's understandable she is so suspicious and I guess it's good because I am believing that she wants me to change and for our marriage to get restored, but she is protecting herself as best as she can right now. 

 

Here's the draft:

Hi S-,

 

I'm sure I made some assumptions over my email to you. I got fixated on you being part of the agency without asking you if you wanted to stay on. I apologize for making those assumptions and will make sure those assumptions don't carry forward to our communication with our personnel administrator. It's understandable you feel disrespected and feel like I'm trying to dictate your life and your decisions. I have no right to do that. I'll be extra careful not to do that, but if at any point you feel that, please let me know and I will stop that behavior immediately. 

 

I wasn't sure that you even realized that staying with the agency was even an option for you based upon the documentation and past policies. I just wanted to communicate to you that it's a possibility. I am not suggesting you stay on, but wanted to just let you know that it's an option. 

 

Sincerely,

D-

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