My wife and I have had a pretty rough few years of marriage. Issues like conflict between her and my family, and the two of us having different personalities are the main reasons for these problems. I feel like some of my screw ups, (weak communication, insensitive at times) are part of being a male, and not at all an intentional disrespect to her. She feels that having 2 opposite personalities never lets us “click,” and she is ready to move on. We have 2 kids, 6 & 8, and have been married for 14 years.
I don’t feel God would have brought us together, only to give us a yearning for a “soul mate” after we have been blessed with so much. Is the thought that there is someone who is more compatible, a legitimate reason for divorce? Any resources you can point me to would be greatly appreciated. I love your podcast and books.
Thanks for your wisdom!
It sounds like you and your wife have been on a downward spiral for a while. We do have a book recommendation based on your question, “Is the thought that there is someone who is more compatible, a legitimate reason for divorce?” The fact is that in our culture, one doesn’t need a “legitimate reason for divorce.” However, it sounds as if your wife is hesitating to move forward with ending the marriage perhaps because, even deep down, she believes that she made a covenant for life. Diane Medved’s readable and powerful book, Don’t Divorce: Powerful Arguments for Saving and Revitalizing Your Marriage, might give her reasons to rethink her picture of divorce in addition to whatever spiritual and religious views motivate her. Especially with two children in the picture, in our view, divorce should always be seen as the very last resort and only for the most extreme reasons.
There are many good books out there with wise advice for marriage. One we like that deals with having two opposite personalities is Chana Levitan’s, That’s Why I Married You: How to Dance with Personality Differences. However, books and other resources with great information don’t always translate easily into action. We do think that the right marriage counselor can be invaluable. The tricky part is finding the right one. Too many counselors end up facilitating the end of marriages rather than bringing couples together. Recommendations from people you trust are invaluable as well as doing your own research and asking a potential counselor some pointed questions.
It’s always painful to throw away a significant financial nest egg you’ve been accumulating for over a decade. Not only does it hurt but knowing how hard it will be to make it up hurts even more. Well, throwing away fourteen years of time that you’ve invested is far more painful. What is more, unlike money, you can never recover time. You’ve got shared memories and you have two children. We feel it is well worth serious effort to resculpt your marriage. It is very hard to break free of old habits and paradigms. Even ways you address one another, let alone how you think of one another. But all this needs to be done. All this and more, can be done.
If your wife is willing to work with you, we strongly encourage the two of you to aim, not for settling for a mediocre life but for a renewal of love, affection and friendship.
Of course, the power of prayer mustn’t be ignored,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin