Woman Says She is Lonely in Marriage to Husband Who Ignores Her in Favor of His Job, Watching TV, etc.
A woman named San wrote to Christian program “The 700 Club” to say she’s in a marriage where her husband is ignoring her in favor of TV shows and his job and so forth. Pat Robertson’s son Gordon answered her letter.
Here is her letter to The 700 Club:
I have been very lonely in my marriage.
My husband’s priorities fall in this order: work, television, and then his phone. I have brought it to his attention so many times. I find myself only relying on God and Him being my true friend but I am still lonely.
Yes, I have God to turn to and I talk to God all day, every day, but it would be nice to have a husband in my life who I can truly share my life with. What should I do?
I didn’t completely agree with the host’s answer.
Gordon Robertson basically gave the same stock answer his father does when women write in to say they are married to a jerk or bully: he will say, “Lady, you picked him, now you are stuck with him.” That is essentially what Gordon Robertson told this woman.
Robertson even noted that people change within a marriage.
That is true. People change over time. The woman you marry at age 27 is not going to be the same person at age 41. You may be on different pages by then, with different goals in life.
Your wife’s personality may be different at 45 than it was at 25. I cannot understand how or why a Christian would demand that someone stay in a marriage at age 45 if their partner has changed in some way from who and what they were when they were 25, a change that is driving them apart.
It’s somewhat similar to a “bait and switch” scenario, where you see one product advertised at one price in the newspaper, walk in to the store to buy it, but the product is not the same, or the product is marked up at a higher price.
This is not a perfect analogy. It’s not that most people intentionally change for the worse over time, but if you’re not going to expect someone to put up with a store yanking their chain over a product and get a refund or what not, why would you expect them to spend the remainder of their life on earth with someone who has changed for the worst, or a way that disturbs them?
Point One. Decision Making / Discord among Christians on Topics.
If you are a Christian woman, please stop seeking permission. Please. You are an adult.
You don’t have to ask pastors, Christian TV shows, or whomever else, if you may or may not do something in your life, whether it’s divorce a guy who you are unhappy with (or who is ignoring you or who is mistreating you).
If you are married to a man who is ignoring you, as is the case with San of this letter, and you want out and have the means to leave him, then do so. Get a divorce. Move out and start your life over if you believe that is what is best for you.
You may first want to talk to your husband and tell him how and why his behavior is bothering you, and that you are giving him a chance to change. You may also want to see a marriage counselor or two to see if the marriage can be saved.
If you’ve tried marriage counseling and the marriage is still unhappy, then divorce the guy, if you feel you would be better off without him.
I wouldn’t obsess over God, or what God feels and thinks, or if God dislikes divorce, or what the Bible says on this issue.
If you put ten “Bible believing” Christians in a room and ask them each for their opinions on what they think God thinks on the topic of divorce, you will walk out of that room with any where from 8 to 10 opinions, because most Christians cannot agree with each other about anything, let alone divorce.
Therefore, you might as well determine for yourself what to do rather than relying on a Christian’s interpretation of the Bible.
For all you know, the Christian you are going to for relationship advice may be incorrectly understanding the Bible, and why bother risking a large life choice on someone’s fallible understanding of the Bible?
You will never get a consensus among individual Christians or churches or denominations on if, when, or how a person may divorce his or her spouse.
Point Two. Loneliness
I know a lot of times, when you are single and wanting to be married, it can be difficult. You would like that one special person to share your life with.
And Hollywood and Christian churches compound the pain, frustration, and feelings of shame of being single with this notion that you’re “less than” and not whole if you are not married.
Hollywood movies especially are usually pretty bad at depicting marriage as being the end-all, be-all solution to end loneliness and to bring you fulfillment in life.
Just remember that most of the actors in those Hollywood Romantic Comedy movies you have seen where the couple “cute meets” and falls in love have often been divorced two or more times in real life (think of actresses Liz Taylor, (Link): Halle Berry, and Marilyn Monroe as examples).
I also read recently of a woman who is married to a movie and TV actor who said ever since they had their first child together just a year or two ago, she has spent a lot of time alone with their small child, because her film star husband is often away from her for weeks or months at a time filming movie roles or TV programs.
(From the way this woman spoke, I don’t think she has any, or not many, platonic friends, either. She indicated it’s just her and her toddler son at home alone when the husband is off filming movies for long stretches of time.)
So, here you have a woman married to a TV and movie actor who is basically living life as a single parent, because her husband is off in other states or nations doing movie work, rather than spending time with her and their child.
She’s married and STILL living life alone (same thing happens in American military families – they spend time apart for months when one spouse is deployed)
Let this woman’s letter to “The 700 Club” go to show that being married is not necessarily a solution for loneliness and lack of companionship.
I’d still like to marry one day myself, but I realize unless a person marries someone truly wonderful and compatible, there is no point in it, because if you marry a selfish or abusive person, or someone who is not a good match, you will be even more miserable in such a marriage than if you remained single.
I’ve said this before in an older post or two on this blog, but there were times I would sit in the same room as my finace’ (now my ex fiance’) and yet I still felt ALL ALONE.
My ex never met my emotional needs, which made me feel unloved, unappreciated, and ignored. He didn’t even try to meet my emotional needs.
My ex was a very self-absorbed individual. He never expressed any interest in my career, hobbies, life, preferences, past, education – nothing. He expected me to listen to him and express interest in his job and life and to console him when he was feeling sad, but he refused to offer any of that in return to me.
I was merely engaged to that guy. I cannot see how having been married to him would’ve made things any better: my ex simply would have continued being just as selfish within marriage as he was within our dating and engagement period. I would have felt just as lonely in a marriage to my ex as I felt when we were engaged.
Point Three. A Spouse Cannot Meet All Your Needs
One point on which I did agree with Robertson in discussing this matter: a husband can never meet ALL your emotional needs, nor is a husband meant to.
If you are a married woman, it would be the most healthy for you to not rely wholly on your husband for purpose, identity, or emotional support.
I’ve gone into this before on this blog, but it would behoove you married ladies to intentionally make friends outside of your marriage – precisely because some husbands became selfish, insular blobs and will blow you off.
If you had a few close women friends you could always phone one of them up or meet them over a cup off coffee for a chat any time you needed a caring friend to listen and empathize or just to spend time with to shoot the breeze or laugh.
I’ve done blog posts before about women whose husbands died, or who had affairs and divorced them, or who developed early onset dementia, which in each of these situations, left these women all alone.
Just because you have a husband RIGHT NOW does not mean you will have a husband tomorrow or next month or ten years from now, should your husband die or divorce you!
You cannot and should not rely on a man alone to meet all your relationship needs not only for your benefit but for mine (and for women like me). I am a never-married lady over the age of 40, and I would love to have more friends.
Unfortunately, almost every married mother I’ve ever known shows no interest in being friends with a childless, single woman. Married mothers sometimes build their entire life around the identity of being a wife and mother – they never develop any outside interests.
They don’t take cooking classes, they don’t join book clubs, or take horseback riding lessons. Some married mothers view all single women with suspicion, as though we all want to have an affair with their tubby, unappealing husbands.
There are so many never married, divorced, and widowed women out there who would love to have your friendship, but a lot of you married women push them aside, and you do so at your own detriment once your husband dies or leaves you, and you find yourself single again.
I read in a book by a couple of Christian psychiatrists where one of them wrote of a woman patient he had. This doctor said that the woman complained to him that her husband was overlooking her. The doctor asked her for more details, what did she mean?
She replied that she was lonely without her husband home, and she said he normally worked 8 to 5 p.m., but that he often chose to work late and didn’t come home until 7 p.m. to later. She said she would sit around the house all day, waiting for him to return.
That is when the doctor corrected her: she was in error to build her entire existence around her husband and his presence, she was unrealistic in her expectation that her husband meet all her emotional needs all the time.
If I remember correctly, the doctor informed this woman to develop hobbies and friendships outside of the marriage so that she was not focusing on her husband.
If she stopped expecting her husband to meet all her emotional needs all the time, including the need for constant companionship, it would not bother her so much if he worked late a few times a week.
Of course, the same doctor in that book pointed out that people (including married people) do have an obligation to sometimes meet the emotional needs of those around them (which would include their spouse).
The book authors like to say you are not responsible “for” other people, but you are responsible “to” them.
The doctors of the book would make clear if you are in a marriage where you feel your husband is spending too much time away at work (or spending too much time on his computer or phone) and neglecting you in the process, yes, it’s fair of you to expect your husband to compromise on this subject and spend some time with you.
Meaning, you should have a conversation with your husband and explain all this to him tell him how his behavior is affecting you and that it’s hurting you, and you’d like to see a change.
And, your husband should be willing to strike some kind of compromise where he comes home on time “X” number of days per work week (or limits his phone or computer use to only X hours per day at home).
But for this case study in the book of this wife who was expecting her husband to basically be at her beck and call seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and be her constant companion to drive away all feelings of loneliness and emptiness, she was expecting, asking, and demanding way too much of marriage, of one person.
It would be safer and more healthy for her and women like her to stop relying excessively on a husband to meet all their emotional needs. Yes, your husband should meet some of your emotional needs some of the time, but not to the overwhelming extent some women believe.
I may be a bit more lucky in this regard because I’m an introvert. If you’re a married woman, keep in mind that your husband may be an introvert as well. Your husband may be drained and run down by spending time around others, even you.
My ex fiance’ was a little clingy and maybe a bit emotionally needy. My ex would shadow me every where. He would follow me around room to room, and stand about two inches from me every where I walked.
He rarely wanted to be in separate rooms from me when he visited me or I him. It about drove me insane.
After several years of dating, I finally got it through to my ex, at least a little, that I needed to be alone sometimes.
So, when I would go to his apartment, I would tell him, “I am leaving you here in the den to watch football. I am going back to the bedroom to read a book for 2 or 3 hours on my own. I do NOT want you disturbing me during this time. I need my “me” time. My “alone” time.”
I finally got through to him in those situations, and my ex would sit in the den watching TV while I was alone in the back room reading. Some people are introverts and don’t need or want as much “together” time as other people do.
The end point is that it’s unrealistic and unhealthy for you to expect one person (such as a spouse) to meet all your emotional needs constantly. You should have other friendships outside your marriage, and also have hobbies that don’t revolve around your spouse.
Point Three. God Alone Cannot Meet All Your Needs, Either
To refresh your memory, the woman wrote:
I find myself only relying on God and Him being my true friend but I am still lonely.
Yes, I have God to turn to and I talk to God all day, every day, but it would be nice to have a husband in my life who I can truly share my life with.
Unfortunately, a lot of Christians teach a theology where they will tell you that God alone is all you need.
You can see the married woman who wrote this letter say her husband is neglecting her, so she feels lonely, but even though she focuses on God and prays to God to alleviate this loneliness, that knowing God, and reaching out to God, has still not “cured” her of feeling lonely.
The common Christian belief that all a person needs is Jesus and Jesus alone, or nothing but God, or nothing but prayer and Bible reading, is false. God says in the Bible he created people to need other people.
God himself exists in a Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit) so he is always in relationship. You cannot get all your emotional or relational needs met via God alone – via prayer or Bible reading.
You have been designed by God, so the Bible indicates, to need other people, to be around other people, to be interdependent.
This is one reason of several I deeply resent and hate the Christian teachings taught by some Christians who tell single adults who get lonely and want marriage (partly for companionship) that they are “idolizing” marriage and should be “content in God alone” or that “the LORD is your husband.”
No, the Bible does not indicate that single adults can get through life alone just by thinking about God, praying, contemplating Jesus, or through Bible study.
You need human companionship. God designed you to need human companionship.
I cannot see or touch God or Jesus. If both of them exist, they don’t let me know it – my prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling. I need companionship from someone I can see, touch, or talk to, who will respond to me when I speak to them.
In this regard, I need flesh and blood human friends and a human husband, not a spiritual buddy or spiritual spouse in the form of God, who doesn’t speak to me audibly and who I cannot see.
Point Four. Marriage Doesn’t Make People More Godly or Loving
I have beat this point to death on my blog a million times before, but: marriage does not necessarily make a person more mature, giving, loving, or godly.
Christians often paint adult singles as being immature, irresponsible, selfish, and as though marriage is the only solution for these character deficits.
But I am all the time seeing examples of married couples who are selfish, self absorbed, deviant, abusive, cruel, or warped.
Here we have a letter from a woman proving the point further. Her husband is displaying some behaviors that may indicate he is selfish and self absorbed.
In turn, this married woman seems to be expecting far too much from her husband. She may be in her 50s or older, but her view on marriage is such, she strikes me as being a little naive or immature about marriage.
I don’t think marriage has given this woman letter writer greater maturity or insight into life if she is expecting her husband to be a mini-savior to her and fulfill every emotional need. (I say none of this to be cruel. I sympathize with her. I am merely pointing out areas where I do not see how her being married has given her more wisdom or maturity than I as a never married single possess).
The Christian church remains in grave error in elevating marriage as much as they do and denigrating singleness in the process. Christians over-promise marriage and its benefits. Marriage simply does not turn all people into mature, godly, loving people.
Here below is the embedded video where you can see the letter and listen to Robertson’s response ((Link): June 22, 2017 The 700 Club, Bring It On via You Tube):
Reminder: contra Robertson’s commentary in the video below, where he implies the woman letter writer is stuck with the negligent husband, I disagree:
Lady, if you are miserable with this husband of yours, and you’ve tried marriage counseling and talking to your husband about all this, and that has not worked, then go ahead and leave your husband if you feel that is best for you. You do NOT have to stay trapped in a relationship where you feel alone or unwanted all the time; this is a form of emotional abuse.
(Link): Love Couldn’t Save Me From Loneliness By M. Puniewska
(Link): The Selfish, Lazy Husband Who Kept Blowing Off His Stressed Wife to Go on World War 2 Reenactments – Male Entitlement in Relationships: Why Women Divorce Men – and Churches and Culture Support This Male Entitlement
(Link): Why Lonely People Stay Lonely
(Link): Christian ‘Married People’ Privilege – Most Marrieds Remain Amazingly Blinded to Christian Discrimination Against Singles Or Write Unmarrieds’ Concerns Off, As Though They Are Nothing Compared to Marriage/ Parenting.
(Link): A Liberation Theology for Single People by Christena
(Link): Christian Host Pat Robertson Tells Christian Woman Who Married Christian Man Who Turned Out to Be Totally Unethical That She has Discernment of a Slug – Single Women: toss Be Equally Yoked teaching in the trash can
(Link): What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis (from TIME) (ie, Why Are Conservative Religious Women Not Marrying Even Though They Want to Be Married. Hint: It’s a Demographics Issue)