He’s Not The Man I Married

It’s said that there is one constant in life, and that’s change. Every day is a new day, and with each passing month and year your life will look different from the last. Some change is bad, but likely most of it can be viewed as good. It’s all about perspective and what you choose to highlight and build into.

Think about yourself one year ago from this time–then five, maybe even ten. Think about your spouse the same way. Likely, if you have been married for any length of time, you’re not the same person you were back then. And neither is your husband.

Many counselors hear this in their offices: “He’s just not the man I married.” Oftentimes, it is coming from a place of mourning, perhaps of simpler days before kids, jobs–and well, life–happened. Responsibilities pile up, the “honeymoon” is over, and all of a sudden, you wake up realizing that things just aren’t what they used to be.

You always have a choice to make. You can tally up hurts and disappointments, blind to any positive change or growth that may have occurred. You can become apathetic, maybe even resentful. But in the midst of change, may we suggest that you’re simply focusing on the wrong things?

Instead of being so resistant to change, welcome it. Create space for change to equal growth, learning, and maturity. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. Ask questions about how they are viewing life. How they are affected by jobs, kids and daily routines. Get to the heart of the matter.

Ask what they are dreaming about and how you can help. Perhaps take a trip down memory lane, revisiting how life used to be, and yet how things are now and can be in the future. If you’re bored of the same old, same old, suggest a new hobby, activity or project. Always remember, it takes two to make a marriage work–or in the worst case scenario, fail.

It’s no secret that divorce rates are alarmingly high in this country. We are quicker to commit and quicker to give up. You married your spouse for a reason–likely, many really great reasons. Life has a way of sidetracking us, of asking that we look to our right and to our left. Comparing your marriage or your spouse to another has never and will never be fruitful. What will be is choosing daily to build into your spouse. To invest in what you have, who you married and the future you wish to create together.

So if he’s not the man you married, perhaps it’s time to stop complaining and time to start digging in deeper. Marriage was never guaranteed to be easy. But it is rewarding when you endure seasons of change together and come out the other side better for it. It’s the only way we can turn society’s view of it on its head. Start where you are. Embrace change. Build something beautiful together.  



  • Shannon says:

    How do u deal w a husband who demands me to make all the change while refusing to change himself?

    • Nealei says:

      Good question Shannon. I am in a similar situation.

      What if you are the one that has changed and for the better. You were always to some degree unequally yoked. However with time you have let God have control over your life and He’s been able to mold you and shape you into a more mature wife, christian and mother. But, in doing so you have somewhat “outgrown” your husband that has refused to change. You’ve become closer to God, but in return feel you’re falling farther away from your husband.

      • Cass says:

        Shannon and Nealei,
        What worked for my husband and I was agreeing that things weren’t great (not focusing on whose fault that was) and seeking help. As Les and Leslie mentioned it’s not uncommon to hit this point, but when we start feeling that we’ve done “better” than our spouse or that our spouse is out to get us with their demands, that pride and paranoia can blind us to the facts about our marriage while we egg ourselves on to push ourselves away from a spouse. It might be time for counseling (our therapist specialized in Emotional Family Therapy–EFT, which worked really well to help us see one another’s sides).

        Reach out to your church for resources!

        God bless you both in your marriages!

  • Neil Brehse says:

    I know I am not the man my wife married 21 years ago. Prayerfully I have changed for the better thru coaching and correction by my wife and my mentors. As I have changed so has my wife. I pray that I am as understanding of her changes as she is of mine. In many ways we have grown closer not by chance but by teaming together thru our commitment to our marriage and each other and to work at what we have. As we enter the beginning of our retirement phase of life this too will bring change. I know we are up for the challenge because Christ has provided the framework and foundation for our life together. Thank you Lord for the woman you put in my life.

  • Kris says:

    What if the husband does not want to change although they know they have changes to make. We have been looking for over a year to get some support. We need some intensive sessions with some good counselors.

  • Emma with the dilemma says:

    What if you have a husband who won’t let go of mammy and she of him. Nothing is private and when going gets tuff he gets going back.to mammy. On my own now over a yr wAs left alone for whole pregnancy birth and now. He has a girlfriend thinks life is great no responsibility and wonders why im in a bad mood

    • AC says:

      I am so sad to read about your situation. But you must be a strong woman to be able to go through this situation. I pray your husband’s eyes will be opened so he can understand what his actions have done, and I pray that you will feel the love and comfort of God who sees us as his beloved bride. He is always with you wherever you go.

  • Tillie says:

    This blog and a few of the comments resonate strongly with me. We have been married nearly 20 years, at least 12 of which have been a daily struggle to remain committed to the marriage. God keeps me in the marriage and keeps me hoping that one day it will be better. Numerous sessions over the years with pastors and counselors (me alone and me with spouse) have had the same result – no improvement. Despair is a difficult emotion to keep from surfacing daily. I read your emails/blogs/books as encouragement to stay the course. Honestly, I just wish my unhappy, disgruntled husband was the one reading all these emails/blogs/books and seeking counseling. He is miserable and blames me. He refuses to meet with the pastors and counselors once they start asking him to read specific books as a couple or individually. While misery loves company and it is nice to know I am not the only wife suffering a challenging marriage, I find this post to be very discouraging that so many other husbands can’t see their role in eroding the vitality of their marriages and wives.

  • Harriet says:

    I do not know where I heard this it might have been you Les and Leslie, but when your spouse is alive you notice all the little things they do that are annoying and than they die and all those annoying things become endearing to you. So when my husband does something I don’t like (it is 99 out of 100 just because it is not like I would do things) I think to myself oh that is so cute and I take care of it. I really mean it down deep in my heart because someday I will not have the privilege to have him by my side. He is the Love of My Life and the best part about it is I can appreciate him NOW before it is too late!!! Thank You Jesus!!!

  • Tonia says:

    I have been married 2 years dated for 4. He hid so much from me. He is alcholoic by choice because he does drink until 5 pm, drinks all night but still goes to work in the morning. He covered it up. I was so in love that I ignored it. I was the one in church, praying daily and building my walk and I have slacked tending to his needs. He started anger management counseling almost a year ago and he has been very honest about things he has never stated in the last 5 years. I feel like I don’t know him. I have been fasting and praying but now I feel like I don’t know him and lost myself. He has never given me a compliment, never said good job; I have feed his needs but he never deposited back. I am in need of my own counseling because at this point I feel like I have lost direction. I stay in prayer and fasting, paitiently waiting…feeling tired and empty.

    • Art says:

      Hi, Tonia. I’m sorry you’re going through this with your husband. Can I encourage you, though, to acknowledge and appreciate his effort to grow and change? I don’t know either of you, or your case, but if you are a safe place for him to express his change (which he appears to be doing), he may be approaching a place where you can say, “I’m so proud of you for going to counseling so consistently, and for how open you are being in letting me know more about what is going on. It means a lot to me that you are sharing this with me, so thank you. Seeing you make these kind of strides has me looking at myself and I am thinking it may be a good idea for me to see someone to work through some things. Or maybe we could begin going to couples counseling together soon.”

      If you approach him about things he hasn’t done for you, he may not be ready for that (or maybe he would after a year of counseling), but being inspired by his effort may allow him to see the value in it, as well as seeing that you are taking some responsibility for the state of the relationship. If you can work with another therapist in the same practice, that could be a benefit. And then the things that you can begin talking to him about are a result of your conversations with your counselor and are part of an exercise or new revelation. “Do you know what ___ and I talked about today? We talked about how important words are to me. I never realized how much I thrived on words of affection and encouragement and how much criticism crushed me…” That is just an example, of course, but being prompted by a therapist can serve great purpose in directing you to move in ways that are uncomfortable.

      Keep praying and fasting as you seek the Lord’s wisdom.

  • Dra says:

    I loved my wife but when she became violent in the way she talked to me and wanting to fight I was totally in shock? I do not fight women or put my hands on a women EVER!!!!! I do not argue with anyone cause that is to much stress, and stress ages you where you look very very old. I dealt with all the complaints and threats for a year and went to counseling and church where she stopped church and counseling so I moved out and found a better counselor and I have truly found my self and where I need to be in my life thanks to Iyana Vansant Spirit of a Man work shop. Since then I have separated from this marriage for a few months now and stress free but the wife is not, so I have prayed for her and let GOD handle that. She hangs out with her girl friends from time to time and they are all single and comes home the next day from drinking to much and sleeping where ever????? Now if I had done that all hell would have broken loose. I have started a business with no support and not getting any support what so ever not even a few months off from paying the bills. Now when she took a year off I supported her and paid all the bills WOW not even a thank you so much for a supportive wife. She wears her 3 and 1/2 diamond ring sometimes when its convenient or on the opposite hand! So I wore my ring all the time so the time to separate had come and I got a better view on what is really important in this marriage which I felt was not me or my goals. Now that I have a divorce lawyer in play she does not want to play maybe on day she will wake up before she is divorced and learn to apologize like a adult?

  • Erika says:

    I’ve been with my husband for 13 years and we have 3 beautiful kids together. One from a Previous marriage. Our relationship started out like a TRUE fairytale and I was totally swept off my feet. We were inseperable since day one. I moved me and my son into his house after 8 months which was SCARY but i felt SO safe with him and a year later became pregnant with our first daughter. During the pregnancy I discovered he had started online gambling. This addiction went on for 8 years on and off and during this time we had our second daughter. He would quit long enough for me to believe it was over but it never was. Each time I found out, I felt defeated but I had FAITH that it would get better once I helped him conquer the addiction. Online gambling became illegal so the heavy drinking became worse. We both have always drank socially. He started working insane amounts of overtime and became obsessed with Money and retirement even though he still has another 20+ years before he can retire.He also got prescribed 2 separate ADHD meds that he started abusing so he would be wired for 2 weeks then sleep a lot until he refilled. He has Always kept his money separate and I’d have to ask for “help” with bills. My name was on nothing including our house and my car. I hadn’t built any credit since his name is on everything. He always said I didn’t need it unless I was planning on leaving him. This has always been a huge issue for me as well since I have worked hard our whole marriage and contributed quite a bit!! He ADMITS TO NOTHING. Last October I experinced some extreme trauma. I was first to arrive on a fatal car crash and a week later my dad wrecked and I was forced to make the decision to let him go. My husband avoided me and the kids as much as he could. Lied about mandatory overtime and took up golfing twice a week and going on golf outings. No date nights in a year and a half. I know the first thing u would think is affair but its really not. He really is JUST THAT INTO HIMSELF. Every Holiday this past year was AWFUL. I would say this has quite possibly the worst year yet. I’ve reflected SO MUCH. In the beginning I wanted to help him overcome and to get back to the man I married but the addictions just seem to replace themselves. The sad part is that I DO LOVE HIM and believe deep down he IS A GOOD GUY and DOES WANT TO BE BETTER but I also feel like I’ve just been Wishing on a star for something that I will never have back. He’s not the man I married and I can’t keep accepting these changes bcuz the ONE THING that has never changed is that I have felt Very Alone the majority of this marriage and he keeps making empty promises. I see others divorce and they make it seem SO EASY or doable even! I feel like an idiot for believing in him and hoping for things to get better and they DO for a split second. I’m just so torn. When is enough enough? He recently told me he doesn’t believe in God for the first time in 13 years when we have gone to several churches trying to find a fit and we got baptized together 2 years ago. His excuses always change. I’m BY FAR perfect and have sought attention (no affairs but flirtation) and I DONT want to and I DONT feel good about it but its hard not to yearn for the attention and time with him I have lacked for many years. I have felt so lonely in my marriage for so long. I know I have a void that’s not being filled and afraid I’m changing into someone I’m not because of it. Keep trying? Accept and Embrace the changes or run away screaming? Staring at Separation papers and wondering if I should fill them out at all or just file for divorce and get it over with? He says he doesn’t want a divorce and I feel its money related and not genuine. We are both attractive,funny and successful people and I know we won’t have a problem finding someone else but will I just be replacing all of his problems with a new guy and a new set of problems? Is it possible that I’ve tolerated this for too long and he could never fully respect me because of that? This cycle HAS TO END. We have gone to counseling for 2 years and i feel like a broken record apologizing for MY PART in it all and trying to find solutions and All he wants to do is point fingers and place judgement. He moved out with his dad in July and hasn’t made any attempts to reconcile until recently. I’m assuming its because his dad sold his house and golf season is over so the vacation is done and he wants to come back home. I told him I can’t even consider it unless he gets serious personal counseling and he needs to find God again. I think it would take a miracle for me to ever trust him with my heart again. Sorry for the novel. Is this an OBVIOUS DIVORCE situation?

  • Jasonya says:

    Hi, I am in quite a devastating and confusing situation. I love my husband very much and we have been married for nearly 10 years now, have a teen (my nephew) and two beautiful small children. My husband is an alcoholic (he was made aware of it in a family counseling meeting), however, he refuses to see it, even after 3 sessions form a counselor who strongly suggested he go to a treatment facility. About six months have gone by and he just informed me that HE is not the one with the problem, in fact I am the one with the problem since none of his ‘friends’ think he has an alcohol problem. The problem with that is that they are ALL alcoholics. Now, I know I have contributed to some of our marital problems, and by no means am I perfect, I have admitted this to my husband but he refuses to work with me, go to counseling, seek help with marriage and addiction. He just lashes out at me, tells me I don’t need him, find a new husband, go find your dream idea of a husband because I’m not him!! He says we are living Ion two different planets. I send him loving texts, remind him of wonderful times we have been together, remind him how I have truly stood beside him, and he just bites back, says stop, you don’t love me, you love the idea of having a husband, some dream idea of having the perfect husband, go find him because I’m me and I’m not changing for you. He has been living in our RV for a year and bites at me if I make even the tiniest suggestion, when he is cleaning something or interacting with our two kids. It is extremely difficult to be around him. I have to walk on eggshells, watch out for what I say, or how I say it and even then, it’s not the right thing to say. It’s a living nightmare that I am in. He has gone on dated with other woman, gotten tattoos, just bought an $18,000 Camaro, and went to show his secretary. I told him he’s hurting me and he just ignores me. I told him the other day that If I had done 1/10th the things he has done to me, he would be screaming from the rooftops. To that, he responded with a hateful look, “What have I done to you??! Nothing!” It is so hurtful and he has emotionally hurt the kids too. The y care very confused by all this. My little 4 year old asked daddy, “don’t you lo e mommy any more?” I constantly tell them I love them and that daddy especially them but I feel paralyzed. He has threatened to take away our home, and claims he will he t half custody so he won’t have to pay child support. I am just horrified by his behavior this lasy year. And before then, I would make his lunches for him as a way of showing my lo e and he would bring it to work, leave it in the fridge there and go out to lunch with his glorified secretary. He raves about her (she has a boyfriend) and He has convinced her that I am a terrible person. He told me that she doesn’t believe in marriage and last Christmas, sent home gifts for him and out two kids. I feel so humiliated. He says its no big deal that she has done this…I totally disagree. He also told her that he tested a client by accident and told him he ‘HATED HIS WIFE’ the secretary laughed about it and said, “Who cares if you said that, haha! You’re so funny!” And recently he went on another date with a woman his secretary set him up with, went out drinking with her and didn’t come home till 3:00 in the morning. I am so hurt and devastated. I stood by him, supported him through law school, had his children, encouraged him along the way, sent loving messages every day but he never responded, hardly ever. I have felt alone for so long. I need to get away from him but he’s threatening to get half custody. I don’t want that because he has the kids be in dangerous situations before, passes out at night and leaves the door wide open etc. Is there any hope for us? I don’t think so. He has already made out with this other woman, who by the way tells him she’ll pay for his divorce for him. I am just blown away and so hurt.

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