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Marriage Archives


Dear Mrs. Web,

My wife and I were married 11 years in December. I am 38, she is 31. We have no children and for the last 2 years or so, we have been looking into what the reason(s) might be. After many tests and procedures (mostly on her), we are being told that in-vitro is probably going to be the only way we will be able to have a child.

She wants a baby so much...and now I find that I do not. Some of my reasons would probably be considered selfish, but I also have other, more realistic reasons. I love her very much, and have absolutely no idea of how to tell her this without breaking her heart and possibly ending our marriage.

This is not a unilateral decision. Because you have decided you donít want children anymore, does not mean the subject is in any way now closed. You and your wife will need to work together to arrive at the decision whether or not to continue in vitro, adopt or remain childless. Beginning and ending childbearing or adoption in a marriage is a coupleís decision not the overruling choice of one spouse.

The mechanics of the "fertility treatment" world are daunting. It is normal to pull back. Moreover, it may not be appropriate for your marriage. Adoption could be a possible way to grow your family. We have found it a blessing.

This is the time to lovingly sit with your wife and voice your reservations and concerns. Tell her how these issues would be and are emotionally costing you. Ask her to listen. Then listen to her. Her emotional costs here are high too. You both need to find a way to the same page on this decision. My advice to both of you is to put your needs first, and your wants second. If you need to, use your minister, priest, rabbi, or other counselor to help you work through this problem.

Throughout my life I have met many men who are initially reluctant and uncomfortable about becoming fathers.  Particularly if it is something they have to plan or work towards.  They often become loving and enthusiastic Dads, thanking their wives for opening this new world for them. 



Dear Mrs. Web, 

My husband left me for another woman. We were married for 15 years and have teenage children. I am really struggling with how to deal with this woman since she is at the house when my children to visit their father. They are already making marriage plans

How do I deal with her? Especially when he brings her to our children's activities, or when he picks up or drops off the children. We live in a very small town. 

How difficult and sad for you, I am sorry. I think you should behave politely and coldly when dealing with this woman. The same way you would treat any particularly smelly, unpleasant situation. You get through it as distantly and rapidly as possible by standing on the outer edges of politeness.

She is going to be in your life for a long time, when the kids visit and later at their graduations and weddings. Moreover, of course you will be meeting up with her, at times, in your small town.

Everyone knows he is a cad and she is a loser. Sounds like they deserve each other. The opinion tide is turning and people who have values and commitment are shunning people who behave like your ex and his friend.



Dear Mrs. Web,

Do you think it is appropriate for a woman to send a man flowers? I ordered flowers to be sent to my boyfriend at work. Now I am having second thoughts. Should I send them or should I cancel?

Send them! Absolutely. I know my husband has been delighted when I have sent him flowers when he is on business trips. Guys need to be romanced too!



Dear Mrs. Web, 

I cannot stand Howard Stern and his show. My husband listens to him. He discusses the interviews and the details.  Yuck!  What can I do when the topic comes up? I usually don't say anything. 

Not just Howard Stern, but second-hand Howard Stern. 

Sometimes there is no mercy!

In your shoes I would listen politely and then change the subject. I would have rather have my husband talking to me about what is on his mind, even if I didn't like the content.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I am writing because I think my husband isnít as interested in me as he used to be. I had a child and am on the pill and both made me gain weight. He doesnít tell me he loves me anymore and our marriage relations have cut back. I feel so bad; I want my husband back.

Have you told your husband about your concerns about your drifting marriage? Can you talk to him openly about your appearance, since that is an issue of yours? The best way to get what you want, in my opinion, is to ask for it and work for it. Men need to be wooed and coddled just like women. Perhaps it is time to think of everyoneís needs here.

Know that all marriages go through dry spells like this. If it is not addressed, things can get worse. Begin by communicating, and start thinking of the ways you can make him happy too.



Dear Mrs. Web,

My husband began working in the South Pacific last year and I followed with our 8-year-old daughter. He wanted to follow his "dream" of living on an exotic island, and become a better sailor. I wanted to keep the family intact.

I agreed to move for one year (ending January 2002) and then reevaluate how my daughter was doing in school. She has a very mild learning disability and started to receive services in 2nd grade. I found a school I thought would work for her. The school is not working out, but we could manage until the end of his contract. 

My husband just informed me that he is extending his contract for a few months then planning a protracted sail around the greater islands and back to the States, running until our money runs out. I am thinking of joining him with our daughter but this is still under debate.

I may need to stay here on the island and have found a second school, well recommended and able to manage learning differences. It is associated with a Christian denomination, my daughter would need to attend chapel daily, and the family would need to go to services once a week. I am Jewish by birth, however I have liberal beliefs. My husband doesn't accept the beliefs of the religion and feels that to expose or "teach" the church beliefs to her would be against his values.

There are a number of issues here. I will focus on your daughterís education. You have become, essentially, a Navy wife. If I were in your shoes and had the option of sailing with my husband for that year I would do it. Being together as a family is the most important thing. 

In that case, I would investigate homeschooling. Many families homeschool as they travel. I homeschool my own children. There are wonderful consultants who work with special needs homeschoolers. They can put together a very workable curriculum, which would honor your daughterís strengths and work with her weak areas.

If you will not be traveling but instead waiting for him in your current setting, and if homeschooling is out of the question, I would chose the better school, the religious one. I understand it goes against your husbandís values. Nevertheless, it seems to be the best choice available. I would work with him on this. He needs to realize through his choices, he has made this school the best option for her.

It sounds like your husband wants are being honored before your familyís needs. In family life, I work with the premise that each individualís needs must be prioritized and met and then the wants are addressed.


Dear Mrs. Web,

My husband does not treat me with the affection and passion I would like to have. His lovemaking is abrupt, and quick, more of a release than anything. Yes, he does use pornography on occasion but I donít mind. He doesnít seem to care about my needs and me. What do I do?

I have never met a situation where pornography, over the long term, improved the marriage bed. Pornography teaches people to consider sexual release to be the primary goal for lovemaking. The primary reason for lovemaking in marriage is to bond the relationship by close emotional and physical intimacy; orgasm is the bonus extra.

You have become a depository for his physical release instead of the beloved spouse to honor and enjoy. You are not the center of his lovemaking, he is, with the help of whichever silicone goddess he chooses.  

I would recommend sitting down and talking to him about what has been lost in the marriage for both of you. Perhaps it is time to remove pornography from your home and learn how to focus on each other.



Dear Mrs. Web, 

My wife and I have had some tough times financially but I worked and went to school and have received my degrees and certificates and have started a new job. We have one child and have been married five years.

My wife recently left with our child for a man who boards at her motherís house. He is about twenty-five years older than she is. I was served with divorce papers the day after she left. My mother in law seems to support our marriage dissolving.

My wife and child have meant everything to me. I donít know what I did wrong. She never said any thing was wrong in our relationship. She even waited up for me every night to come home so we could talk.

What happens to me now? Do you think sheíll ever come back or do you think Iím destined to be alone now? Itís been over a month since she left and I hurt as much as I did the first day. I gave my whole self to her and our child. She and my son were my best friends. Now I am lost. Please advise.

No, I do not think you are destined to be alone. I do think you are going through one of the most painful things that can happen to a human, to be rejected by the one you love. I am sorry, I know it is hard.

I do not know why your wife left you. I do know sometimes that married women are seduced. This man may be amusing himself. Some men like to break up marriages. This may be a romance that will run its course.

If you want to try again, I would wait. In your shoes, I would do several different things. I would immediately see an attorney and tell him I donít want a divorce but would be interested in a legal separation, to limit financial and legal liability. I would, if possible, ask for full custody of the child. The courts frown upon people "playing house" in front of the kids.

I would also see if the court would order counseling for the family. Ordered or not I would go into marriage counseling. Custody may be the negotiating point for counseling. In other words if she participates in counseling, you will not request full custody.

I think that one does not jump into divorce. Often people come to their senses and I think a year or two of legal separation helps slow decisions down and cools emotions. So take a deep breath and take your time.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been married for nine long, turbulent years; we have had many difficulties. My husband cheated on me five years ago. We are still paying off the bills from that episode. He has refused to work since then. I force him to hold a job. The most he is willing to do is part time. He also spends money like water. He has been the only man in my life and we have a 10-month-old baby girl.

My husband is overweight. I gained with the baby and my husband constantly sabotages my diet. He refuses to help around the house and take care of the baby properly when I work. He has poor personal hygiene. He was a nice guy when I married him. I donít know what happened. Should I divorce him?

You and your husband need to get into family therapy counseling. Now. Pronto. For the sake of that little ten-month old. Something is going on in your relationship that needs to be explored. Something is broken. A nice guy turned into a not so nice guy.  Also, has he had a complete medical work-up recently?  I recommend one.

Your baby deserves better. So, do the both of you. Nine years is a long time to throw away without attempting to put it back together. New studies show 90+% of the couples who stick out the tough parts and work on their marriages, when interviewed five years later were in happy, productive marriages.

So no. Donít divorce. Look into fixing things first.  A year or more of family therapy. Maybe individual counseling if needed. Divorce should be an absolutely last resort, because it will leave lasting marks on all of you, for the rest of your lives.



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