I continue to receive email from women in situations similar to the one I found myself in six years ago. Once in a while one of them agrees to have her story published, hoping to help another in a similar situation, hoping others feel less alone, hoping others understand, pray, and love and that God hears those prayers and bring their husbands back.
Anna is one such brave, faithful woman. This is Anna’s story:
My husband has been going downhill gradually for the past 3 years. I first noticed it when I was pregnant with our fourth child in 2012. We are active members of our church, both volunteering in many areas. An opportunity came up for us to volunteer together for the first time in many years, so I took the initiative to serve in our youth ministry, where my husband had already been helping for a long time. During times we served together, however, he barely would acknowledge me. It bothered me, but I didn’t say anything. After our fourth child was born, he told me he felt he had was battling depression, and I encouraged him to go to counseling. Over the following months, I would periodically bring it up again and gently suggest or ask that he contact a counselor. He usually just shrugged it off, but occasionally would agree to call. However, he never followed through with that.
After our fourth child was born, I attempted to have the usual “are we done having kids” conversation with my husband. And, as usual, the conversation went nowhere. This had increasingly been the case after each baby, where I would ask for dialogue and he wouldn’t engage, and, surprise surprise, I would get pregnant again. This time, it was even more concerning than it had been in the past. This time, it was less like he was scared to talk about it and more like he simply didn’t care enough to talk about it. When I discovered I was pregnant again (number five), I was immediately terrified he would reject us. At first, my husband seemed excited. But after the first few weeks, he took a nosedive. By the midway point of my pregnancy, he had begun to ignore me. I felt invisible and I hated everything about myself. We never talked about the baby and he acted as if I wasn’t pregnant.
As I was ballooning with pregnancy, my husband began hitting the gym pretty hard, taking supplements, and buying a new youthful wardrobe. By my third trimester, I realized I had formed a habit of waking very early (by 5am) each morning, showering, applying makeup, fussing over my hair, and getting dressed for the day before my husband woke up, because I wanted desperately for him to see me, and only at my very best. Every morning, I looked in the mirror after doing all I could do, and I would say to myself, “Maybe today he’ll notice me.” And every night, I looked again in the mirror and said, “Why would he?” As I neared the end of my pregnancy, I began to suspect there was another woman. So, after he went to sleep one night, I grabbed his phone, locked myself in the bathroom, and dug around until I found it. I found Her. I found a series of conversations that made the unthinkable, undeniable. And even though I had suspected it, I still couldn’t believe it.
Now, after seven months of me giving him the benefit of the doubt, choosing to trust him, asking him to forgive me for my failures, and walking on eggshells of insecurity, we are separated. Five weeks ago, on Friday, May 1, he came home from work, angry at me and refusing to tell me why. He packed a bag and walked out. He wouldn’t tell me where he was going or when he would be back. And even though it was painful, I also felt compassion toward him. Why is he so miserable? So I left him alone to have his “time” he said he needed. I made the next two days busy for me and the kids. At the end of the weekend, I had barely heard from him, and I decided to track his phone–something I hadn’t done before. When I did, I found he had flown across the country to be with another woman. He knew he was busted, but still lied when he got back in town. He was planning to come back home, but I wouldn’t let him.
We are in counseling, but we haven’t been going together. It’s stupid to even think of coming back together before my husband is “done” doing whatever he’s doing. So I wait. I wait and I hope and I pray that he comes to his senses before he does something irreparable. In the meantime, the Lord has shown Himself faithful to me and to our family in so many ways, often through His people. My church family has offered us every kind of love and support and encouragement, including continuing to pursue my husband even while he has shut everyone out. My children (who are 8, 6, 4, 2, and 5mos) are missing their daddy being at home. I miss him too–the man I married, not the self-obsessed jerk he has become. Our 13th wedding anniversary is a week and a half away.
Please pray for the union of Anna’s family and for all suffering abandonment and divorce. Pray for healing, for Grace, for strength, and for peace. Pray for a return to values, a return to the Lord, and for healing in our families and our society.
God Bless You & Your Family Anna. You Are NOT alone.
- Nam’s Story (added July 18, 2015)
- Anna’s Story (added June 18, 2015)
- Tara’s Story (added May 17, 2014)
- Amy’s Story (added November 27, 2013)
- S’s Story (added December 11, 2013)
- Heidi’s Story
- Kyley’s Story
- Iba’s Story
- Alice’s Story
4 thoughts on “Anna’s Story”
I just re-read my own story, above. Over a year later, and my husband persists in pursuing every worldly thing to fill his soul. I am still processing so much grief, and I cry often for my five children. But at the same time, I could tell stories of the Lord’s faithfulness to us for hours. It has been the most painfully beautiful experience of my life. Strahlen, thank you for creating this space. Sending my story to you so early in the process, and having it here to revisit, has been so helpful in my healing. Love to you <3
Anna – Thank you!
Somehow I missed this come in. Today is our last day of classes and June is always a crazy month. Please forgive me for not getting back to you sooner!
This is SO incredibly True!
Thank you Anna. I wish I could reach out and hug you right now. My heart is with you and your children. Thanks so much for reconnecting and Please please PLEASE keep in touch either here or through private email.
If you’d like to read Anna’s Story, you can find it here.
Prayers for Anna (((HUGS))). Thank you, Strahlen, for creating this space.
Thank you. These stories need to be shared so others know they are not alone. Other women have also written to me in the last week or so. Their stories will start appearing next week. Perhaps Anna’s story helped these women come forward.
Please pray for a peace in our families, a strengthening of marriage, and a healing of society.
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