My wife is rude to me, our children

What you need to know:

  • Try a different way of communication such as finding a calm moment in which you can express yourself better than when the emotions are running high.

I have been married for eight years now. My wife and I were happy until two years ago when she went to train as a police cadet officer. She returned a different woman. She is very rude and careless, especially with the children. She goes for work and sometimes spends nights there without informing anybody. She has even completely lost interest in making love to me. I do not want to cheat because I am a Christian. However, her behaviour has frustrated me and I am planning to leave the marriage. My efforts to seek counselling have yielded no results. What can I do? I do not want my family to break. Dan T l.  

DearDan T l,

This must be a very difficult situation to deal with. It seems your wife’s career change has significantly impacted your relationship. The change might be due to the nature of training or even the stress of adjusting to a new job.

However, this is only a hypothesis; the best way to know exactly what is happening is to discuss it with your wife. You can consider some of these steps below: 

Try a different way of communication such as finding a calm moment in which you can express yourself better than when the emotions are running high. You should also concentrate on expressing how her behaviour makes you feel rather than accusing her, say for instance, “I feel hurt and disrespected when you do not come home or even tell me about how long you will be away from home.” This is much better than “you always……..”

Try to actively listen by showing genuine interest in why she has changed. There could be something deeper going on.

You can still consider couple therapy even if you have done it several times. Find a different therapist, especially one who specialises in marriage and family therapy. The goal should be to help you and your wife find a favourable space to communicate better. Even established ones can benefit from premarital counselling as it can help them navigate tools of communication.

Emphasise your shared values by reminding your wife of your commitment and even go ahead and highlight the importance of open communication as well as spending time together as a family.

In case your children are affected, family therapy can provide a safe space for everyone to express their feelings and learn healthier communication patterns.

You can also try individual counselling as this is helpful in addressing underlying issues that may be affecting your communication behaviour as a couple. 

Be patient and consistent with your communication efforts. It is also important to recognise that if these efforts do not improve things, you might need to consider making tougher decisions. However, by trying these steps, you can hopefully save your marriage and rebuild a happy family life together.

Evelyn Khorono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation