My husband and I are both 50 years old, in a 30-year marriage, and have three grown-up kids.
We met through a friend of a friend, and we were somehow pushed into the relationship because of difficult circumstances —he finding somebody to take care of him and I looking for a sense of purpose and identity.
I gave birth to our firstborn when we were both 20. It’s been a troubled marriage. We found ourselves bickering and fighting every day, with him shouting and cursing and breaking anything he could get a hold of, and I running to my mom’s house and returning to him after realizing that I should not bring my parents any more problems.
He’d get mad at the smallest excuse, and his mood swings are so unpredictable. This is the situation my three children grew up in. He doesn’t have a sense of family, owing to the fact that his parents have their own separate families. This is the justification my children hear me tell them whenever they’re physically and verbally hurt by their father.
My only son grew up thinking he’s no good and bobo, such that he never developed any self-confidence. We’ve never had any sensible conversation at home—save for their father talking about his problems at work, or bragging about his greatness, or asking us to run errands, or just plain cursing us.
In contrast with his private persona, he cares more for his friends because he’s the type who would do anything to help a friend in need.
He’d come home early from work so he could drink with his buddies from the neighborhood, then come home at dawn reeking of alcohol.
His drinking has gotten worse through the years, and lately he has abused me physically every time we quarrelled.
In all the 30 years of our marriage, I have always thought of leaving him. I had prayed that he would someday change for the better—to love me and make his family a priority.
I don’t know what to do since I am not that young anymore. I seem to have given up hope. I deserve to be happy, don’t I?
Fed Up From Longing
Did you notice that your relationship with your husband started on need—he needing you to take care of him, and you looking for a sense of purpose and identity through him?
Was love ever factored in the equation? Have you considered that that could be what’s lacking in all these? Many consider the saying “love conquers all” such a cliche, with so many upheavals wrought by the word. But oftentimes, cliche or not, love really conquers all.
Marriage can be difficult, and no argument there that you deserve to be happy. But it doesn’t have to be a one-note orgy of suffering! Surely, you’re not just going to sit by the window and expect the angels to lift you to safety away from this man. You won’t move the needle if it’s only your spirit that is willing, and your weak flesh is vacillating along the way.
What do you plan to do? If you are still working, don’t ever quit unless you really need to. That is your hedge against a looming disaster. Maintain your independence. Take stock of your situation and look at all the pros and cons. Specifically, protect yourself for any eventuality.
Do you have enough resources to cut your ties in the event of an acrimonious separation? Will he allow you to claim the house solely for yourself, if the kids are of age and all independent? Is selling it a viable option for a division of property? How much resolve do you have to actually sever all relationship with him—physically, emotionally, financially?
Don’t ever correlate strength to age. Some of the most spirited people are old and wrinkled, but still optimistic and focused on an exciting future. Some young people think old and sound so stale, you’d be wondering how they’re able to get through the day.
If you want change to happen to this millstone of a marriage, you have to do the heavy lifting yourself.