We received a letter today from Randy. Rand y and his wife Susan have had some serious problems over the years, not the least of which has been that they each committed adultery at least once.
Randy has been trying to win his wifes heart back but Susan is very wounded from the years of problems. They each read The Man of Her Dreams/The Woman of His! a few months ago and Randy feels like they have hit a brick wall.
This letter and our reply is Golden. We asked Randy if we could use excerpts from his letter along with our responses to help others. He said th at would be fine. We cannot spend this much time answering every individual letter but his letter was so important and needed serious attention. His permission to publish it to help YOU or someone you love validated the hours that we spent preparing the reply to his letter.
Here it is:
My problem is that my wife is very often cold and sometimes verbally abusive…. She has been this way pretty much since we had our first child. I still love her very much and would love if we could have that outrageously happy marriage you speak of in your book.
I must admit that I have not always been the man that God has called me to be. Once we had our children I became a workaholic in order to make ends meet. I have always been that way. Much of my work has required that I be out of town all week and only be home on the weekends.
Just to help with the clarity.
Patty became verbally abusive after the first child… about the same time that you became workaholic. (from my reading).
My guess is that as a young husband, you were probably fairly clueless about supporting a young mother. She was knocked off balance by your lack of nurture and support toward her as a wife and mother.
You became a workaholic after you secured her as your wife and had that first child so your attention went to other things.
It was her job to focus on the kids and home and your job to go and conquer the world.
Your wife had the wind knocked out of her and became desperate.
She was never ”on balance” and therefore became out of hand in the verbal department.
She was a young, violated wife who was treated unfairly and she acted out in a bad way. This is very normal. Sad, but normal.
Had you been a supportive husband and understood her feeling of abandonment, betrayal and her feeling of being treated unfairly in the relationship, you could have changed then and ministered to her; and lived happily ever after.
You, like I and most other husband were completely clueless though.
You thought that your wife had serious issues and that you were doing your job perfectly as a husband and father because a man is supposed to go out and do the “hunting” while the wife stays home to tend to the kids and home life.
She is supposed to give him total admiration, praise and respect because of his hard work and she is to be the totally content hous ewife and mom who is so grateful to be married to a hard working husband.
You might ask her to go back in her mind and help you remember what you were like when the first child was born.
Did you leave the pressure on her?
Did she need you to make her feel beautiful but you failed to do so?
These are important questions.
My guess is that your being out of town was a huge issue.
Did your wife ask you at the time to be home more often?
Did she tell you that it was not right that you were gone all week leaving her with the responsibility of the kids?
If so, in her mind it would be “Yeah, great. AFTER you quit the job you apologize; after the deed is done.
It is hard for a wife to feel like her husband is sincere if in your situation you resisted her need to have you at ho me for years… and then later wanted to make it all better with a simple apology.
To make a long story short, I foolishly had a short affair seven years into our marriage and never told my wife about it.
When you were out of town, did Susan have questions about your faithfulness?
Did she express these questions?
If so, I assume you denied any unfaithfulness?
My guess is that for the full amount of time that you were on the road you were indeed unfaithful… not only in the one affair but also in the things that you watched on TV, and the places that you went to kill time.
Even without other actual affairs, my guess is that you regularly connected with other women emotionally while on the road, seeing if you would get a rise out of them.. . in an attempt to develop an emotional connection which would hopefully lead to something physical.
My guess is that you were really out “playing” while your wife was at home saddled with the kids.
These wounds are probably still alive and well in Susan”s heart. She could feel your unfaithfulness in her heart. It was a daily companion though she may not have been able to label it as such. She just ”knew” something was ”wrong”.
My wife had an affair with our church choir director 4 years ago. At the time, he was a trusted friend of mine. It absolutely devastated me.
Oh, poor baby.
You were “devastated” after your wife had an affair?
Ten years AFTER you had one yourself?
What “devastated” you was that she was doing something that wa s “out of your site”. This had nothing to do with her adultery. How could it? You did the same thing.
Your ”devastation” goes much deeper than this.
It was because she got out of your line of sight and did something that made you feel like you were losing her. You will understand this more in a few minutes.
When you were out “playing” and knew that she was saddled down with kids you were quite content to be out exploring your world and meeting people ie: other women. You were having fun “conquering” the world of work in whatever line of work you were in.
All the time you were able to assure yourself that Susan was safe at home, straddled down with the kids. You KNEW that she could not do anything that you did not know about.
In essence, you were secure at all times that she was right where she “needed” to be…. at home with the kids.
When a young child is crawling and beginning to explore his/her world, they want to get down out of mommy”s arms. They want to crawl away and begin to explore…. touching things, putting things in their mouths, looking at pretty colors.
When the child is about four feet away from mom, he will turn around and look for her. If she is sitting in her chair watching him, he is content and happy. So he crawls further. After four more feet, he turns to look again. If she is there, he continues to crawl and begins his journey of exploration of his world.
As long as he knows that mommy is right where he left her… sitting in the chair, then he feels safe and secure and confidently goes to conquer all of the new and exciting discoveries in the world around him.
What happens when this child looks back for that reassuring view of mommy and the chair is empty?
Panic sets in.
He begins to cry, to lift his hands up and cry “mommy……. “
Nothing can console the child until Mommy is back, holding him in her arms.
As soon as this happens, the child relaxes and wants back onto the floor. His world is safe. Mommy assured him of her love and he is now safe to begin exploring ag ain.
He restlessly communicates that he wants to be back on the floor and the journey begins again. He looks back and sees mommy in the chair. All is well.
This is why men do what you did. They get married, create babies and then conveniently create a life where they can go out and play while they know that “mommy” is at home with the kids.
When she is not doing exactly what he wants her to be doing, he flips out, just like he did when he was a little child crawling on the floor.
So, you went and played. You went and had an affair. As long as you knew where mommy was and what she was doing, all was well; you were content.
Your wife responded to what you were doing and not doing and then she had an affair.
Yes, she knew you were being unfaithful in her “woman”s intuition.”
She was reacting not only to the unfaithfulness but also to the neglect and passion she saw that you had for everything else that came before her in your heart.
The NORMAL reaction would have been for you to say,
“Sweetheart, I am sorry that this happened. We need to get away as a family to recover. Sure, it might be bad that you had an affair but our problems are much worse than that. I had one 14 years ago and thought it would be best to hide it…. but in light of what you just did, you need to know that I am just as guilty as you. Let”s seek God and figure out how to fall back in love with each other again.”
Instead, you acted out at your emotional age…. threatening suicide, feeling suicidal. Poor me. Mommy did something that was out of my site…. and my world is no longer safe. < /span>
Now you are trying desperately to get Susan back into your heart and you into hers and she is not buying it.
The question is this: Are you trying to win her heart so that you can go out and play again once you feel safe and secure with her? Or have you matured beyond that?
This is a question for Susan, and Susan alone to answer. You cannot know this yourself. You of course are confident that you have matured beyond your issues…. a normal guy concept of himself.
Susan KNEW in her heart for the years that you were on the road that you were being emotionally unfaithful. Women can tell. She probably also could tell that ”something” more was wrong during the time that you had the affair.
Again, my guess is that she probably said things to suggest that these things might be going on. You probably assured her that nothing was going on…. it was all her imagination. You possibly acted righteously indignant and “hurt” that she would ”mistrust” you in that manner.
The suicide “threat” is an abusive husband action. “I have the power of life and death and if you don”t act the way that I want you to, I will use it.”
The hidden message is, “I have the power over life and death…. it might be my life… or it could be YOURS.”
Thus the abusive man intimidates his wife and kids. His wife and children are afraid of him. This same man is often the one who will break things in the home (Not his things mind you. He will break her things, the kids” things or things that are special or owned by them as a couple) or he will abuse a pet or kill a pet.
You did not say that you did these type of things…. they would just be normal actions for a man who did what you did with your affair and then the “re action” of feeling suicidal in response to her having of an affair.
The discovery of her affair followed about a year of terrible treatment towards me including her watching TV in bed to force me to sleep in the guest room. I became quite verbally abusive at the time and also physically pushed her around when I found out. It was terrible.
Why did she treat you so bad?
Women KNOW inside their hearts that they enter into an affair in response to their husband being a disaster. She got into her affair and you blamed HER! The paradox is that you probably blamed her for your affair too!
In Hosea, even GOD says that he does not hold wives responsible for committing adultery but he holds husbands responsible for their wives affairs. Why? Because the men were committing adultery first or putting other things above their commitment to God and to their wives. In other words, they had false idols in their lives. They commit harlotry literally or symbolically and their wives react by doing the same thing. God says it is the husband”s fault.
So, whe n you found out about the adultery…… and then blamed HER, of course she would respond by treating you horribly. You should thank God every day that you are married and not dead!
(People Magazine front cover last week:”Why did Mary do it?” Mary of course being the Pastor”s wife who shot her husband.)
Your wife responded to you by committing adultery. Mary shot her husband!
I cannot express to you how deeply you violated your wife when you attacked her about committing the adultery.
The truth is sad; she may never recover.
You have ONE JOB for the rest of your life…. and that is to dedicate yourself to bringing about her healing. If you can ever do this, you can have a happy marriage. If you cannot ever accomplish this, you have to accept it as a fruit of the seeds you have sown. The Holy Spirit will help you and Susan by minimizing the bad fruit.
Your focus needs to be on becoming the man that God has called you to become, which is Christlike. If you EVER bring healing to Susan and you have a happy marriage, then you can take pride in the fact that you have reached that goal of becoming Christlike. Th e proof that you have arrived will be your happy marriage and the fact that Susan will be totally healed, secure, happy, content and madly in love with you!
“I am too young to be living like a senior citizen.”
You are still in the “poor me” stage.
This is not about you Randy. This is about Susan.< /div>
You devastated Susan.
This is about her getting healed.
“About 2 years ago the conviction in my heart was so great that I told my wife about my affair 21 years ago. I really want us to be open and honest with each other. Needless to say she was devastated. She holds the fact that I didn”t confess my sin at the same time I discovered her sin but at the time I was close to su icide and not thinking rationally.”
Do you notice that your “confession” had NOTHING to do with Susan and her well being?
It was all about YOU. It was your conscience that was bothering you. Your confession was for your benefit.. not hers!
Even you said, “needless to say she was devastated.”
Yeah…. you caused her hell for a year for doing something that you yourself were guilty of. She is married to a king of hypocrites! Remember? The hypocrites wanted to stone a woman for doing the very thing they themselves were guilty of.
I cannot imagine that you have FULLY repented for these things.
The proof is that your wife has not felt that you have changed. I addressed the suicide comment already so I won”t repeat myself.
Anyway, I have always tried to treat her like my queen.
Randy, this is not true. You neglected your wife and committed adultery. You did not always treat her like your queen!
and have now been obsessed with (treating her like a queen) for many months now after reading your book. I have asked her time and time again if I am meeting her needs. Often she doesn”t have much of a response. I compliment her as much as I can. I hold doors for her. I take her out to dinner. Recently, I took her to Italy for our anniversary. She has little desire for me. She says she doesn”t feel like making love. Lat ely she has been blaming her lack of desire on menopause, although this has pretty much been a given all through our marriage. My wife is absolutely beautiful. She is 48 but looks about 38. The only physical relations we have are in the pitch black maybe once every 2 weeks. No adventurous stuff here, and no talking about it either. All she wants to do is watch TV when we are in bed, then go to sleep.
So, she is not healed yet of the abuse that she has endured. That is understandable. Your job is to bring her that healing. You are working toward it and if you stay on the path, the healing will come. It is amazing that we guys who have beautiful wives wound them so deeply.
Your wife obviously had a desir e and enjoyed making love in the VERY beginning of your marriage. She lost interest after having the first child and you began pursuing other interests in life, leaving her feeling left out and abandoned.
This is killing me. I love her and want to treat her like my queen but I feel like a doormat. She is not responding. Lately I have been having a very difficult time not feeling resentment towards her. I have tried to calmly tell her how I feel but she always seems to escalate the conversation into her screaming voice.
Okay… that is a good thing. You were supposed to have “died” when you received Christ.
Like most of us guys, you are anything but dead. You are alive and well. So, we get to learn to die by laying our lives down for our wives to meet their needs.
In reality, this paragraph reveals a continuation of the “poor me” attitude.
Do you see how this is all about you… how you fe el… you are trying to tell her how YOU feel, you are trying to not feel resentment toward her…. you feel like a doormat…
I do not see a lot of stuff here about how deeply you know that you destroyed your wife as a woman and wife by your actions of the past and the deep wounding that she has because her dream of a wonderful and happy marriage to a great guy was so destroyed.
I see in the above excerpt that you are trying to tell her how you feel… like you think that she cares!
This leads us to the next excerpt from your letter:
She grew up with a verbally and sometimes physically abusive father and 3 older brothers. Needless to say she learned to dislike the opposite sex early. She seems to project these abusive non Christ-like traits into me even though I know I am not that way. She says that shes afraid of me. When I ask her why, she can”t really tell me. She just doesn”t seem to be able to trust her man and truly let her guard down.
Oh, so your marriage issues are really HER fault? She is wrongfully projecting unChristlike attitudes onto you? The problem is her childhood? Sorry. You yourself said that you were abusive to her after the adultery.
I cannot imagine a greater example of emotional abuse than to do what you did to your wife. Of course she is afraid of you. She is not projecting abusive behavior onto you… you abused her and she does not feel like you have ever fully repented.
Of course she cannot fully let her guard down and trust her.
You proved that you were totally untrustworthy. Would YOU want to be hurt again if you were violated as deeply as she was?
Think about it: You committed adultery, pushed her into responding by getting into adultery herself and then abused her horribly by blaming her… all the while knowing full well that you did the same thing yourself.
Then you finally tell her about it years later at a time when it could do the most damage… and you told her about it NOT with the intent to help her… but with the intent to ease YOUR conscience. It is all about YOU!
You are really not much different than the average guy. You are trying… but you are just really clueless about your wife (or any other woman) and what makes her tick.
If someone were to come along and take a shotgun and point it at you and blow you away…. just enough to put you in intensive care…. and succeeded in maiming you for life…. and at the same time they shot your children, you would be pretty upset to say the least.
Let”s imagine that a few years later they came and said they were sorry because their conscience was bothering them. They move in next door and try to build a friendship.
You however want nothing to do with them except to tolerate them. They should be glad that you do not buy a gun and shoot them!
The next thing you know, they come over and want to tell you how bad it makes them feel that you do not want to be best friends. They feel bad that you don”t “trust” them.
Then they go to counselors and drag you along. They tell the counselors that you have issues with trust; you do not know how to open your heart to develop friendships; and that your issues stem from problems in your childhood when your elementary school f riends abused and rejected you.
The counselor would look at them like they are complete and total idiots!
Helloooo! This is exactly what you are doing! You emotionally maimed your wife so horribly and it was a culmination of years of neglect, emotional abuse and your chasing after other women emotionally and at least one physically.
Now you want to blame HER for being afraid of you, not opening her heart to you fully and you want to say it is because she was a victim of abuse as a child!
Hello…. it is time to wake up. Randy.
Your heart is doing well to have read the book and put things into action but your understanding of how deeply you violated and wounded your wife is not even close to reality.
Your wife knows this and this is why she has not received “closure” “healing” and is why she is unable to forgive you to the extent that she gives herself to you in full abandon and trust.
Then you go on in your letter to say how you “end up feeling frustrated and d epressed because she does not seem to care that YOUR needs are not being met.”
As ludicrous as your position is of worrying about your needs being met, I will help you to analyze it:
You are seeing yourself as a reactor… which makes you a wife.
Remember, a husband is the initiator and a wife is the responder.
When you are responding, you are not acting as a husband.
In reality, your wife is in a responsive position. She is still responding to the past wounds and to the areas that she does not feel closure in. You initiated her actions… and now you are responding to her.
You have to take responsibility that your actions initiated her heart attitudes and bring closure and healing to her pain.
In truth, she probably has a huge internal rage about how unfairly you treated her concerning her adultery. How can you expect her to ever respond warmly to you? It is going to take a total miracle of God…. That miracle will come as you earn enough trust so that she will open her heart to you and reveal her pain and rage… so that you can bring closure to her.
You created this world that you are living in.
You are doing good in opening car doors, giving her flowers etc. and you should continue doing that. However, you have to convince her that it is safe for her to expose her true feelings of mistrust and hurt that you created when she committed adultery and you blamed her.
Have you ever taken full responsibility for her committing adultery? Sure, she has to clear her account with GOD for her sin in her heart but in your marriage, the fault lays squarely at your feet.
She committed adultery in response to your unfaithfulness as a husband. Her adultery sin is between her and God. How unfair for a woman to be pushed to adultery by her husband and then she has to take responsibility for her action… but that is a result of a man”s hard heart… and again, your wife is the victim.
You said that your two older daughters say you should leave because she is so cold to you.
How long have your two older daughters been married to qualify them to give you marriage advice? Have they been emotionally abused and neglected and dishonored by their husbands for years on end yet? I doubt it. They are still innocent and think dad is the hero for surviving their wounded mother…. who is wounded by everyone except their wonderful father.
You need to set your daughters straight and apologize to Susan and to them for allowing them to maintain their distorted view of reality.
To your credit, you said that you know that this is somehow your entire fault. When you said t hat, I can tell that you had no idea how it was your fault but that you at least were willing to acknowledge that it must be if someone could explain it to you.
Hopefully this letter has begun to give you that explanation.
Our next book will be covering many of the things that we have written about in this letter. You will want to order the DVD set from Bradenton.
We discuss these things in that seminar and you desperately need to understand them. A book that you also want to get immediately is “Discovering the Mind of a Woman” by Ken Nair. There is a companion book called “Discovering the Heart of a Man.” It is also a good book for you to read to understand your own heart and motivations.
Susan will probably not want to read it and it would be offensive to her if you were to ask her to do so. She knows that you have caused the problems in your marriage and her heart is too wounded to want to venture into reading a book that would help her to understand you.
Fortunately, the bible tells husbands to understand their wives and not vice-versa. Someday she will be interested in reading the heart of a man book if you stay on this path of restoration.
Whatever you do, NEVER let anyone pressure her to read books that tell women that they need to offer their husbands unconditional respect, forgiveness and love. (I will not name the current popular titles since this letter is going out to 4500 people!)
Any book that puts the responsibility as 50/50 between a husband and wife needs to be burned in your home!
There may be a time for books like those someday and they won”t cause damage but for now, the responsibility is yours and yours alone to help Susan to trust you enough to open her heart to you and let you bring healing to her.
I love The Lord and want to follow his plan for my life. I serve in the music ministry in my church.
I do not get the connection. The Lord”s plan for your life is to meet your wife”s needs and bring healing to her for the wounding that you inflicted over your years. (Private note: Are you listening Alaska? and Kissimmee?) It is also to bring healing to your daughters” confused hearts.
The Lord”s plan for your life has nothing to do with music in the church. That is something that you do for fun. It is a playground for you. There is nothing wrong with it but it does not have anything to do with the Lord”s plan for you as a man. (We ourselves Pastor a church but do not see that as very important in God”s plan for our lives. God”s number one plan for our lives is to reflect the HIS glory in our home!)
Then you said that Susan does not serve in the church. At least she is being honest! If she were to be serving in church, the hidden message is that she has a semblance of a good marriage relationship. She knows that is not true and does not want to misrepresent herself or your marriage.
No wonder she wants to go to a different church. She sees you up front leading the church by playing in the P and W team and yet she knows how angry, hurt and violated she still feels toward you.
Hi Susan: We hope that we have hit some nails on the head here in a way that has validated things that you have not been able to communicate to Randy and that this will give you a new platform to work from.
We want to thank you that you are still married to Randy even after all that you two have been through.
The ONLY suggestion that we would have for you right now is that you would try (even if you fail sometimes) to just speak clearly and directly to Randy. Tell him directly and clearly like we have in this letter why and where he is not seeing things clearly and let him know clearly the areas that are still open wounds of pain for you. (We are asking you to try speaking clearly and directly instead of screaming.. even though screaming is better than other alternatives.. so if screaming is the best that you can do then forget we even mentioned it!)
You will have some major areas of pain at first and if Randy is able to fully own them and you begin to feel some healing, then other areas of pain will emerge. You may feel like you will never get over all of the pain as each “next” wave of anger and hurt comes to the surface (kind of like “space invaders”) but if Randy can handle his adult respo nsibility to comfort and apologize to you and bring healing to you in these areas, then you will eventually get healed up… and you will one day again have a desire for him.
Try this one on for size: How about the accusation that you think Randy is abusive… not because he has been abusive… but because you were abused when you were little! Wow. That is a monster mountain of unfairness to you. I used to do this same thing to Kathy and what a crock of injustice that was!
I was abusive and then I wanted to blame her extreme frustration and reactions on her childhood! AGGHH! I also am fortunate to be alive! Thank God that Randy and I did not get married to Mary!
Randy and Susan, You can come out onto the other side of this. Hopefully this letter is step one of a REAL new beginning.
Blessings to you!
Joel and Kathy