Difficult Marriage? What Should You Do?

As a woman who blogs about the sensitive issue of sexual intimacy in marriage, you can only imagine the number of emails and comments I get from people in difficult marriages.

And I am well aware that the suggestions I and other marriage bloggers offer may sound… well… all good in theory, but extremely unrealistic in the midst of horrendous pain.

I get that.  I know.  I’ve been through a divorce and I’ve journeyed difficulties in my current marriage, so the point is not lost on me.  I also shared vulnerably about some things in our life in this post.

I know that some of you reading this have indeed tried… and are continuing to try… to improve your marriage relationship to no avail.  Things aren’t getting better and you wonder if they ever will.

I’m sad with you if that is indeed your situation.

My heart grieves when any marriage becomes a treacherous battleground… a desert of long-suffering, not just for you, but for your spouse and possibly for your children.

I want to share with you an article I stumbled across that is steeped in much vulnerability.  The writer, Elisabeth Corcoran, speaks out of her own journey.  Her voice and insights may be a glass of cool water for you at a desolate time.

It’s a long article, but worth the read, especially if you are in a difficult marriage.  You may be able to glean from it something that speaks vividly into your circumstances…

In a Difficult Marriage by Elisabeth Corcoran

If you know of other articles or books that you would recommend, please share them in the comment section.

Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

10 thoughts on “Difficult Marriage? What Should You Do?

  1. Jeremy says:

    Julie, while in the midst of working on the marriage with my wife, I found these books extremely good, and very well worth working through:
    “Marriage Matters” by Winston T. Smith
    “The Love Dare” by Stephen Kendrick
    “What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage” by Paul David Tripp.
    and “The Meaning of Marriage” by Timothy Keller.
    and off course some of the great material in your blog as well, and links, e-books, and everything .
    I will also say this .. it ain’t easy.
    It is not easy to “stay in the marriage” , when you feel alone, invisible, and just about empty inside. 4 years of depression leave a mark, and the enemy pushes hard to undermine the union between me and my wife. It takes stubborn, raw determination to find the gold in the situation. You see, anyone can start digging and find dirt. Lord knows, the dirt about me abounds as well, I hope no-one finds “my dirt”. I have been very good in finding dirt about my wife, and in a way, it looks, feels, and tastes good to find dirt in others, because it elevates our status to a point of righteousness that in reality does not exists. As I said in another comment, I have very , very, recently decided to increase my commitment and my efforts, fight, and dig for gold. Very soon we are going to a week long trip to a healing school-class conference. It is on inner-healing, and it will also be a nice long road trip, just the two of us, no kids. I hope this will be a turning point, we will have plenty of time and opportunity to share, talk, hear each other. The temptation to give-in is just that, a temptation. I love her, and I know she loves me. What we need is to allow the Holy Spirit to work on both of us. Thanks for the blog, and for all you do, it really does matter. I will comment again in the other thread, before we leave.

  2. JulieSibert says:

    Be encouraged Jeremy.. it sounds like you definitely have a humble and committed heart. Marriage is hard. I’m always fascinated when I hear someone say marriage is easy, because I would never use the word “easy” to describe it. Definitely rewarding, but it does take on-going mutual sacrifice, compromise, growth, communication, etc…. and all that takes energy and effort.

    Keep me posted.

  3. Jeremy H. says:

    Well, the trip has been canceled, and tonight she goes to yet another christian conference, “looking for a spiritual breakthrough so she can help other people” . I wonder when my turn will be. Not to have sex. I almost wrote that off, at this point. I wonder when I will be able to be seen, considered as a partner in the marriage, and eventually be placed in the .. you know, list of people she could want to help. I know I said I will stay in for the long haul, but this is getting much harder, by the day. I haven’t told her anything, but I got back on my meds for depression.
    Ladies out there .. please. I beg you. Us guys, a lot of times, what we want is not complicated at all. We want to be seen, heard, and be part of the life of our brides, not just a casual roommate with not even benefits. I feel like I failed a this, and I do not even know why.
    God bless you guys, and thanks for everything.

  4. JulieSibert says:

    Jeremy… I’m so sorry for the pain you are going through. Have you been brutally honest with her about your pain? Sounds like she needs to see the sadness and pain and desperation you are feeling. Not a guarantee she will receive it with a humble heart, but possibly it will be the wake up call she needs to save her marriage?

  5. Belle and Beau says:


    After a while of digging dirt and cutting her down … she becomes lost. You, the man she fell in love with looks at her differently. No longer thinks of her as his precious pride and joy. Do you know how devastating that is for a woman? That single gesture alone can rip everything she has known in her life and believed in. And when it’s done repeatedly, you bury her soul in that dirt.

    Maybe she is trying to help so many others is so that she can find one person who thinks of her as an angel. Like you … Her hero, her love … Once did. Please read the below. Maybe if you let her believe she is still your angel, your princess … She will start coming back around to you and your needs. But you have to give her a safe and loving foundation for her to stand on when looking up at you.

    Read: http://thebellandbeau.blogspot.com/2012/08/digging-for-dirt-or-gold.html

    I wish you the best.

  6. landschooner says:

    So this is Jeremy’s fault? Wow.

    How many years does he have to go on believing she’s wonderful?
    How many decades should she be able to defraud her husband?

    “Dear, you’re just an angel!”

    How about the truth? She is defrauding her husband. Consistently and long term. She ISN’T and angel and ISN’T a princess. Shes fallen and he’s fallen and in this area, shes really blowing it and is in denial about it. He has areas to work on too I’m sure, but this area of hers cuts to the HEART of their marriage. It needs to be dealt with; not glossed over.

    Is this Christlike? You bet. What does Christ say to us when we are in sin? That we’re all wonderful? Or that we need to deal with our sin?
    His love IS unconditional, yet at the same time he REQUIRES our very lives. He requires us to change.


  7. landschooner says:

    I just get so frustrated sometimes with the “you just need to be a better husband and perhaps your wife will start having sex with you” routine. I’ve heard it my entire adult life. There are legions of us who are good (NOT perfect) husbands and wives whose spouses withhold sex regardless…………….

  8. Belle and Beau says:

    I’m not saying it is all Jeremy’s fault. By no means. It takes two in order to break down a relationship to this point. However, all I am getting out of his summarized paragraphs ( which can only explain so much, understandably) is his heartbreak is lack of sex, not losing the love of his life.

    She is wrong most certainly because she has shut him out. She put up the wall. But why? Jeremy admitted about continually finding dirt on her. Which means and we all know that tore her down. That gesture of ripping someone apart shuts them down inside.

    To be truthful, someone needs to take the first step and it sounds like Jeremy wants too. But it isn’t with sex. You need to become friends again. Men are physical creatures, women are emotional and need that emotion to feel in their sex life. Marriage can’t be all about sex. It won’t last. That’s reality. Right now they are basic enemies … How is sex supposed to fit in there?

    Jeremy is clearly the stronger one. The one to make the first attempt and hold his hand out. All I am saying is make it safe for her. Loving, kind … Gold. Because we all know slinging dirt doesn’t work.

    To make it clear, I do not agree with a wife withholding sex. But this problem is so far beyond trouble in their sex life. If you fix the real issues, the rest will follow which includes a new and beautiful sex life.

  9. Jeremy says:

    Hi, Jeremy here. Sorry for being gone and for the shortness of this note, I have this laptop at work but can get on it just for a split second..
    Belle and Beau, I am not totally sure you read my two posts carefully, and there is another one in another post, that you should read. It’s here:
    I do not want “sex”. I want my wife and best friend back. I want to cuddle and get lost in laughter, tickling, touching, kissing, talking, being us and one at the same time. Not trying to get to sleep at the light of her iphone. Physical intimacy, validation, affection, love, friendship. And, yes, also physical intimacy. I call it “make love” , not sex. For me it is so much more than sex. Sorry, got to run, boss is complaining..

  10. WH says:

    I agree with “landschooner” – too many Christian websites and counselors unjustly blame the man for the wife’s denial of sex (Julie doesn’t!). Tell me something – would you raise your children on prayer alone, or on prayer AND consequences for bad behavior? Souls respond to prayer, humans most times need consequences. Spouses get away with abominable behavior because THEY CAN. I hope Jeremy has resolved his issue by now, but he was at an action point well before he wrote his post. I pray he made a decision for the both of them.

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