When Is Divorce the Best Answer?

When Is Divorce the Best Answer? October 27, 2017

adjust expectations in marriage

One bad year turned into two and before I knew it, we were creeping up on five years of misery. Sure we’d had some good times, but secretly our marriage felt like an episode of Marriage Bootcamp. Hard and full of drama.

Marriage was a bigger challenge than I’d ever imagined. I’d gone into it with pretty simple expectations. I’d expected he’d make me happy. When he didn’t, I got angry and bitter. I was sad. I got mean.

He wasn’t meeting my need for emotional intimacy. I didn’t want to meet his need for physical intimacy. Talk about a hot mess.

I’d go days without speaking to him. I even considered having an affair. I acted like a spoiled child. I fantasized about divorce. But, I couldn’t bear the thought of people thinking I was a failure. I stuck it out, hoping it’d get better (with little or no help from me).

For years, I hid behind a smile. I pretended life was good. I didn’t want anyone to know how miserable we were behind closed doors.

Are you hiding your difficult or painful marriage behind a smile? Do unmet expectations and frustrations make you bitter or angry towards your husband?

If things had continued as they were, my husband and I might’ve been on the road to divorce court. One weekend–when I was out of town– someone invited him to church. If I’d been home, I never would’ve agreed to go. But God had other plans. I wasn’t home, so he went.

Then, he had the nerve to suggest we attend church regularly. I saw that as another issue we were on opposite sides of. I refused to go.

But, he kept going. Week after week he’d ask me to go with him. Week after week, I refused.

Frustrated and at the end of my rope, I finally agreed to go. Reluctantly, I agreed to join a small group. But, I was determined not to share the details of my marriage. I remember sitting in a group of women as the leader asked each woman questions about her relationship with her husband. I felt defensive.

What difference did it make how I treated him? He was the reason for our unhappiness.

If he was more loving, romantic and caring, I’d be, too.

As she asked the questions and they shared, I excused myself and went into the bathroom and cried. I refused to let anyone see the pain in my heart. I turned her questions over in my mind:

1.Did you say anything disrespectful to your husband in the past week?
2.Did you say anything unkind to your husband in the past week?
3.Were you in an inappropriate relationship in the past week?
4. Did you harbor anger in your heart towards your husband in the past week?

I was three for four, but I was afraid to admit it. I was amazed at the transparency and women’s willingness to share the struggles in their marriages.

Finally, my turn came. Tears sprung to my eyes as I admitted my failures. I was met with love and encouragement. No one called me a bad wife. They taught me and guided me through my struggles. I learned how my attitude was hurting my husband and my marriage.

As we continued to meet with our small group, we saw godly marriages modeled.

  • I learned what loving my husband unconditionally meant.
  • I was held accountable for my behavior as a wife.
  • I learned I had to make a mindful decision to forgive.
  • I learned how to adjust my expectations.

I wish I’d understood how damaging a poor attitude could be to my marriage. I wish I’d had a mentor to encourage me early in my marriage.

Learning how to adjust expectations and love unconditionally was not easy. Sometimes, I still drop the ball. Marriage is hard, but the pain of divorce is much worse. Are the problems in your marriage related to your own unmet expectations? If so, divorce is not the answer. The answer is learning how to let go of expectations and embrace God’s will.

I wish I’d had someone to challenge my attitude and expectations. What about you? How was your attitude towards your husband this past week? Did you say anything disrespectful, harbor anger or treat him unkindly?

How can you adjust your attitude and expectations to show him unconditional love?

Need skills to build intimacy?

  1. Get on the waitlist for my next group coaching session–Change Your Mind; Change Your Marriage.
  2. Visit my website,  like my Facebook page and  join my private Facebook group.
  3. Check out my FREE resources and download  How to Be A Wife No Man Will Ever Want to Leave.
  4. Apply for private coaching with Sheila.

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Also known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls understands how tiring a tough marriage can be. 

She went from the brink of divorce to having a thriving marriage by translating timeless truths into practical skills. She’s helped women just like you turn their men into the husbands they want.

After 33 years of marriage, she’s a  coach  and a speaker whose passion is to equip women to break relationship-stifling habits and do marriage God’s way. And you don’t have to be a doormat to do it.

She and her husband Kendall live in Minnesota with their five children and their Black Lab, Largo.

In addition to coaching, Sheila is a member of the MOPS Speaker Network.  Her work has been featured on the MOPS Blog, The Upper Room, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Beliefnet, Candidly Christian, Crosswalk.com, The Mighty and on various other sites on the Internet.


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13 responses to “When Is Divorce the Best Answer?”

  1. Hi what if you give love and all your spouse does is demand more of you. He behaves like a child wanting attention. While you have bill’s to pay a child to care for a house and car to maintain and upkeep. His income is so small it cant maintain him. And been yrs now i’m waiting for him to grow up. And I don’t feel love or compassion from him till I stop caring too. Now we’re just two people living together cause we have a child. I don’t feel respected I asked him not to smoke around our child he still does it. He lies a lot. He yells at our child when she throws a tantrum and behaves like a monster. What is the best thing to do keep praying and hoping he would change or should I get a divorce and set us free.

  2. Forget to mention he doesn’t keep promises. And doesn’t care to help out with chores or anything all he does when he’s at home is sitting watching tv or playing on his phone. He lives on Facebook and messenger.

  3. Mel, I am so sorry to hear about your situation. Marriage is hard sometimes. I’d recommend seeking counsel from a therapist or pastor. I will certainly be praying for you. I would be happy to recommend resources I’ve found helpful in hard times.

  4. Wow! This struck me right. Between the eyes !!!! Oh my goodness. It’s been eleven months of frustration, anger, bitterness and more tears than i care to count. This is our second marriage and it’s been eleven months. Unnet expectations and i was not prepared as to how hard a God centered marriage would be. Hope that makes sense. Marriage has brought out the ugly under me…. selfishness etc. i needed to read this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I feel like as a wife we should almost be dead to our feelings, wants, desires,needs EVeRYTHInG !!! I don’t know what it means to lower my expectations? I expect that when I spontaneously ask for sex when we have the house to ourselves that he would say yes or oh yeah not oh I guess if you want?? No thank you I want to be desired ! Is that a bad expectation? 24 years and I still feel like I’m in the messiest part of my life! God has this planned for me! He wants me to be broken hearted? Divorce as hard as that is maybe it’s the answer? I’m exhausted ! I’m not enough I’m not desired or appreciated! So what am I still doing here ??

  6. I’m so sorry you’re going through a tough time, Jenny. Every woman deserves to feel desired and appreciated. Your expectations aren’t bad. Sometimes it’s helpful to talk to someone who can offer different perspectives. Have you sought counseling or tried talking to your pastor? If not, I’d suggest seeking advice or talking to a trusted friend.

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