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Old 16th April 2014, 11:18 PM   #1
freddo
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20 years Trapped

I got married 20 years ago to a minister. At the time I had just graduated, lost a parent and the other emigrated and nursed a close friend through a long terminal illness. I needed religion and answers. My minister husband ticked my boxes and made the world safe. It wasn't the whole me that he fell in love with -it was the partial me that I knew fitted the life of a ministers wife. I could do that job, and do it well.
Of course, 6 months after the wedding I knew what a monumental mistake I'd made. I couldn't hurt him though. And I'd made vows in front of god and a zillion vicars.
Then along came children. Poverty trap. No family of my own. No house / independent income....trapped! I'm now 20 years later. I've adapted. Ive brought up a beautiful family and am very well blessed. Ive thrown myself into the parish since Ive never had enough child care to work full time and ive run lots of small businesses to keep the wolf from the door as we've moved around.

Children are growing and beginning to fly. I'm returning to myself. I no longer wish to pretend..... what should I do?
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Old 17th April 2014, 12:18 AM   #2
chosen
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Re: 20 years Trapped

Freddo, are you a Christian?
Count the many blessings that you have, and carry on being a kind and loving wife to the man who has been your husband for 20 years. What else do you suggest that you do? Your children are still there, and in common with many kids today may well be there for many many years yet. Are you just going to abandon him when they have left and you don't need his income/home any more? What about the promises that you made for better and for worse?
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Old 17th April 2014, 06:27 AM   #3
1aokgal
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Re: 20 years Trapped

Hi freddo...

The kids are old enough to be in school, right? How about you? How about getting yourself back to school or training for some trade. The kids will not be underfoot forever and you can contribute to the family so you all live better. You will be a more interesting person with more to contribute with education, skills and better attitude. Maybe you will enrich your life and feel energetic and glad you have a good family who will support that decision.

Take your life in your hands and stop playing helpless. You don't need to change husbands. Just change YOU.
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Old 17th April 2014, 07:26 AM   #4
freddo
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Re: 20 years Trapped

1aokgal thank you for your positivity. I'm in a slightly tricky situation that studying is so expensive and not bringing in a main wage would mean I would have to ask my husband gor the money (trapped!) He's not a monster...just controlling, and may well agres. But what if I go for something and am jo good at it or it's nit the right choice .... what then? I'm a long time out of the workforce and don't know where to start. The anguish it's causing me is so far from tge confident working academic woman who married him at a vulnerable point that I m wondering if I need to get out of ourmarriage to find my strength again.
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Old 17th April 2014, 07:40 AM   #5
freddo
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Re: 20 years Trapped

Chosen thank you so much for repkying. It's so helpful to finally talk this out. I hear exactly what you re saying and kniw it sounds as though I've used him and now I'm off...not so. I've spent every day of the last 20 years praying for the help to be someone I'm not. Sometimes ive grown into that person for a little while and been a good and loving wife....then I've boiled over in my frustration in having to sit on my creativity, my passion, my pizzazz and my adventure (which to he fair to husband were doused by grief when he met me). Then ive felt horribly trapped, held accountable for a 5 minute "yes" mistake I made aged 22 but unable to be honest with my husband- how can you break someone's heart? - or bring a relationship to a meaningful close like many oeople would have done because of tge effect on his career as a minister.......you can't fail in a sacrament as a minister can you? So ive stuck it oyt. My health has suffered. My children have come first but tgey are wise wnougg to see the cracks and my heart hurts for them. I'm not looking for greenee grass. I'm looking for a place where this terrible pressure is at an end- where it might be kinder to my husband to be without me too? I really don't know what the future looks lke. I just know that our relationship has been always broken and parchibg is such very very hard work.
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Old 17th April 2014, 09:41 AM   #6
chosen
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Re: 20 years Trapped

Why cant you still use your creativity and passion where you are now? I dont know where you live but in the UK there are so many things in the community that you can get involved in. Crafts, choirs, evening classes in just about anything and everything, exercise classes, walking groups, volunteer work, the list is endless. No one is asking you to be someone you are not, you can be yourself in that hard situation. OK you havent got the marriage of your dreams, but many haven't.
I am sorry but I just cant see an 'out' for a marriage where one person doesn't love the other in the right way.

My husbands first marriage wasn't happy. He never felt loved or accepted as he was, but he had made promises and he stayed till she eventually met another man and divorced him. if she hadn't he would still be married to her because believes that we must keep our promises.

Do you have friends you can confide in about this?A close friend or relative who can pray with you and support you?.
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Old 17th April 2014, 01:15 PM   #7
Raymond
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Re: 20 years Trapped

I agree with Chosen. You need to be yourself in your situation. I don't see why it can't be a business personally. The ideal wife in proverbs was a business woman.

Everyone is different and it is time you be what you are within your marriage. I have the opposite problem. I was very happy for my wife to go out to work and help with finance but her real calling was a mother and housewife although she visits a lot.

I don't think divorce is an answer personally. I can't see God answering your prayer in that way as He hates divorce. You need to work it out within the life you have whatever that turns out to be.
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Old 17th April 2014, 02:45 PM   #8
freddo
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Unhappy Re: 20 years Trapped

I'm sorry if this comes up twice but my first post seems to have vanished. Thank you Raymond and chosen for your replies. I have not spoken a word about my unhappiness in 20 years so it is such a relief to hear sane responses. Thank you.
Also apologies for the typos. The only internet I have is my phone and correcting is proving tricky.
I think the main issue may be my perception of worth. I was highly educated and academic wuth big dreams before my grief cut me down. I have channelled some of these skills over the years. I have teaching degrees and have run choirs, youth groups, visit the sick, fund raise, craft, etc etc. I'm not idle. But I have no earning power and feel I have come to mid 40s with career opportunities wasted.
Also, even in this modern day there are expectations of a ministers wife. Ive had friends wherever we've been but ive always been the ministers wife and therefore how could I complain about my "perfect" husband? Ive alway s felt that for the childrens sake if we have to represent a parish that parish had better be thriving so ive thrown myself in.....the church has always had a minister and a half for their money!
My husband is an ok minister but has been far better for having us both as we bring very different gifts....we are soooo different. He doesn't need much from me-never has. So I guess in order to get any of what I need from him ive ended up throwing myself more into the parish (his dream) as this is our only common ground and the only way to feel rewarded from him. I suppose without sounding too bitter ive got to the point where:
I chose the wrong guy, decided the promises were holy, stuck by them, tried and gave, and have come out of it with a husband who doesn't really love me, nor I him. I could never work properly as I have no family, his hours were erratic and childcare costs too high. (Trapped,)
The more you give in ministry the more members you have, the more you both have to give, the more you burn out, the less you have for each other. My husband is happy to bury his head and pretend it will all be ok.
I'm not sure I can.
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Old 17th April 2014, 03:56 PM   #9
freddo
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Unhappy Re: 20 years Trapped

I'm sorry if this comes up twice but my first post seems to have vanished. Thank you Raymond and chosen for your replies. I have not spoken a word about my unhappiness in 20 years so it is such a relief to hear sane responses. Thank you.
Also apologies for the typos. The only internet I have is my phone and correcting is proving tricky.
I think the main issue may be my perception of worth. I was highly educated and academic wuth big dreams before my grief cut me down. I have channelled some of these skills over the years. I have teaching degrees and have run choirs, youth groups, visit the sick, fund raise, craft, etc etc. I'm not idle. But I have no earning power and feel I have come to mid 40s with career opportunities wasted.
Also, even in this modern day there are expectations of a ministers wife. Ive had friends wherever we've been but ive always been the ministers wife and therefore how could I complain about my "perfect" husband? Ive alway s felt that for the childrens sake if we have to represent a parish that parish had better be thriving so ive thrown myself in.....the church has always had a minister and a half for their money!
My husband is an ok minister but has been far better for having us both as we bring very different gifts....we are soooo different. He doesn't need much from me-never has. So I guess in order to get any of what I need from him ive ended up throwing myself more into the parish (his dream) as this is our only common ground and the only way to feel rewarded from him. I suppose without sounding too bitter ive got to the point where:
I chose the wrong guy, decided the promises were holy, stuck by them, tried and gave, and have come out of it with a husband who doesn't really love me, nor I him. I could never work properly as I have no family, his hours were erratic and childcare costs too high. (Trapped,)
The more you give in ministry the more members you have, the more you both have to give, the more you burn out, the less you have for each other. My husband is happy to bury his head and pretend it will all be ok.
I'm not sure I can.
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Old 17th April 2014, 04:23 PM   #10
chosen
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Re: 20 years Trapped

How do you know that your husband doesn't love you? Could this be because he feels and knows that you have never loved him?

If you have teaching degrees and the children are older and in school, can you consider a teaching job of some sort to earn money? Maybe even private tuition? You would have the holidays off then as well.
You seem to feel bitter that you didn't have a career, but I know for me, my children and family were always far more important than money or status or career. I was married at 19 and had my first child at 21, and so had no time for a career as such, but my adult son said to me a few years ago quite out of the blue(I have three children), that me being there for him when was at home after school, before school, when he was ill, and in the holidays, was far more important to him that having more 'things' and money and possessions. I was so touched, and it showed me even more how vital it is that we as mothers should be there for our children, rather than off chasing money and career and position. Our role is so very important, far more than any paid role we could ever have.

I understand about being a vicars wife. My married son has had 2 words from God that indicate that he too may be a pastor in the future. Also my uncle was a Bishop after being a vicar for many years and working his way up, so I saw his role and his wives part in that.

However my local vicars wife works full time shift work as a nurse, and she does nothing at all to support her husbands role in the church, not even attending church, so its not compulsory.
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Old 17th April 2014, 05:52 PM   #11
Raymond
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Re: 20 years Trapped

No it isn't compulsory. I'm reminded of Jane Eyre when the minister thought she would be the perfect co missionary for him, but she didn't love him and went back to Rochester. She would have been squashed into a role not made for her. God wants you to be yourself Freddo and not bow to peer pressure around you. You will never find your destiny that way. You are responsible for you and your own boundaries. Nobody else can do that for you. Also you are not responsible for anybody. We can be responsible to people but not for them. Every man should carry their own burden of themselves even though we can assist with their burdens plural.

It sounds to me like you have reached burnout and need to find good teaching on a retreat about it or something similar. Ellel Ministries do good residential courses where you can be yourself, get good teaching and get ministry. You need to get right out of the atmosphere of a Vicar's wife. I am not talking about your husband here just the role you feel pressured to perform. You sound close to a breakdown after all these years and something has to happen. Your husband has to know this and let you get the help or change of lifestyle you need. If you feel resentment then obviously you felt under compulsion to perform. Feeling free not to will release you to live from your heart. I think the Boundaries Book by Cloud and Townsend might help you here.
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Old 18th April 2014, 08:29 AM   #12
Raymond
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Re: 20 years Trapped

Having thought about this a little more Freddo part of the problem will be the control your husband excercises'. Controlling another person is never a good thing. You must learn to resist that whilst loving him at the same time. Control should never be a part of the marriage pact. It is a dangerous thing in the long run.

The word ought can also be a terrible word and can bring so much wrong pressure. The aim is love from the heart from freewill, but it can never be freewill until you deal with the ought which can bring resentment in the long term.
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Old 18th April 2014, 11:42 PM   #13
freddo
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Re: 20 years Trapped

I don't think I could go on a retreat as it would cost money and I would have to explain to my husband why I wanted to go,, although it does sound ideal. You are perceptive.
During meditations today I have begun to see that part of my husbands control is my allowing him that control in order either for an easy life or to be better loved. It doesn't work as a strategy on either account so perhaps I ought to work on finding more strength in being me (whoever that is!)
Most of the time my husband is supportive but I am always conscious that I'm not working full time and don't want to give him cause to criticise. He has a short temper at home and so I never know what im dealing with when he comes in. Since we're both often in and around the house and the house is very public it's very difficult to find space to be.
Often I stand up for myself, but I know I put up with a lot more than most would in order to support what is a vocation and not a job. Also he does not mean to be like this. He does not need much from me -I need more affirmation and interaction than he has spare. Maybe I should just look elsewhere for this.
I will work on this.
Thank you so very much for taking time to reply. I can't tell you how much it means to be on the receiving end of care.
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Old 19th April 2014, 10:32 AM   #14
Raymond
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Re: 20 years Trapped

Maybe a retreat (the right one) will open up for you Freddo if that is right for you. It isn't that expensive. They are not run for profit.

It makes sense to me that you might be allowing control to happen. Nobody has to be controlled. It is what we allow through weakness or insecurity. People pleasers are a good example. They look for love by pleasing but they really betray who they are and don't really protect their boundaries. Maybe you allowed your boundaries to be overrun from the beginning through being at a low point and now feel a resentment?

Think of it like a property. We are all responsible for our own property. We will have a fence and a front door and we only allow the people in that we want to. In the same way we are responsible for our own skin so to speak. We open the gates to who we want to but keep them closed when it's not safe. It is really our own responsibility.

I think when you find what you do want to do you will have no problem in worrying about what you are not doing or what you ought to do. My own wife more or less organises what she wants to do and that will include rest a leisure activities. I see that God uses her a lot even though she is not conscious of it. She will support me in some things I do but in others I let her go as she is obviously not cut out or gifted in that area and it could cause a wrong pressure.
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Old 20th April 2014, 08:41 AM   #15
freddo
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Re: 20 years Trapped

Im sorry, Raymond, but you have picked a red-rag-to-a-bull metaphor for a vicar's wife:

"Thinking of it like a property. We are all responsible for our own property. We will have a fence and a front door and we only allow the people in that we want to. In the same way we are responsible for our own skin so to speak. We open the gates to who we want to but keep them closed when it's not safe. It is really our own responsibility."

We have never lived in our own property. To the outsider this sounds like a great blessing and I am fully aware of all that it gives, but few are aware of all that it takes. Few live life never feeling safe. Our house is not our haven into which we choose those we invite. If we work in a tricky area with no church facilities the vicarage is the church facility. There are meetings, counselling, weddings, baptism, funeral visitors, complainers, people asking for drug money, people wanting food, people begging for help, people wanting to tell us what's wrong with the church today......and that's before you add the traffic of my pupils or the children's friends. The phone, the doorbell.....added to the office being next to the sitting room with no bolting door! We have been broken into 4 times as we have a probation hostel 3 door s down- at the end of the day when the doctors and lawyers and social workers have finished their do gooding days and go home to their fenced in houses-we are left to live in the imploding community.
We move around the country as hubby turns a parish around and gets it thriving and is moved onto the next challenge so you can never invest any emotion in furnishings or bricks and mortar.....yes I know we all say these aren't important but why is b and q so full if we're not all enjoying the colour of our walls (which we're not allowed to paint!)
So you see, I've never felt physically safe. I spend a HUGE amount of energy making sure my childen do -I'm first to the door with the iron poker if I smell trouble and they don't know about 3 of the break ins. They're pretty street wise so it's taught them that, but I've spent many hours sitting outside their bedroom doors while hubby at church as someone banged on door and windows downstairs demanding money (even locked us in the bathroom severalmtimes when they were tiny!)
If you are a strong team bonding together against the world then such conditions are bearable. When the team is fractured then this survival-type instict is even harder. And you're right....resentment sets in.
The kids are teens now....the bond is strong but inevitably going to change. My main reason for being so strong and protective will no longer be there. Without that passion, I'm not sure where my strength will come from.
Many, many clergy wives struggle with this lack of privacy even if they are not in areas where safety is an issue. You are married to a public figure.....yes like a doctor or a politician.....but it invades the place you are trying to call home. Without that very solid place underfoot it's very exposing.
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