Thank you for writing. As you already know, your marriage is in serious trouble. Things were not fine a few weeks ago. They haven’t been fine for some time. You’ve both been doing far too much and your relationship has suffered as a result. I know you’ve both been working to support the family. I understand that you went to school to try to position yourself for a better job. The two of you brought two children into the world out of love and optimism for a good family life. But there is only so much energy to go around. You’ve been trying to be a provider, a student, a husband and dad. She’s been essentially single-parenting while at the same time also being a provider and wife. Yikes! Where has there been time to nurture your relationship with your spouse?
I don’t know if your wife has ever tried to talk to you about how lonely and overloaded she has felt. I don’t know if you had serious conversations about the sacrifices the two of you were making and whether you could really handle it. Clearly you couldn’t. The pressure kept building until she looked for some fun and affirmation elsewhere and you lost it and hit her.
If you want your wife to talk to you, you’ll first have to acknowledge her loneliness and pain. You can’t make excuses for getting physical, no matter how hurt, frustrated, and angry you were. You could have left. You could have cried. You could have quetly told her how scared and hurt you were. Instead, you resorted to violence. That’s never, ever okay.
I suggest you do two things. First, write her a letter with a heartfelt apology. Tell her how much she means to you and how much you want to save your family. Offer to go to couples counseling to try to untangle all the hurt feelings and to rekindle the love. Second, make an appointment with that couples therapist and go. Go even if she won’t go with you. She may need to see you are serious about it before she is willing to be vulnerable to you. At the very least, you’ll get some guidance about how to handle your situation. With time, she may join you in the project.
I wish you well.