He's unworthy of her. No one disagrees with that piece of the equation, not even he. Somewhere beneath the destructive behaviors is a kind heart and a giving soul. Unfortunately, he always seems to get in his own way.
When she asks, he's there ... but she doesn't want to have to ask. She's not asking him to read her mind. She's perfectly comfortable telling him when she is in pain, when she needs comfort, when his support is the only thing that will make it all seem right. Those are the times when there are new heartaches, new situations, new needs.
But certain things just come with the territory. Family life includes child care and discipline and entertainment and supervision. None of it should be a topic of conversation. It should go without saying. For a while, it seemed like a men are from Mars, women are from Venus issue; moms being hardwired to worry. Over time, it became obvious that he wasn't paying attention to picking up the slack, let alone taking an active role in anything remotely resembling active parenting.
She was doing it ... because it had to be done. She'd never use the kids to teach him a lesson. Wives 1 and 2 own the patent on that. Besides, she loves the kids and the time she spends with them; to her, it's the least onerous requirement of family life.
It would be nice to have a true partner, one who was less demanding than the most demanding of his children. It would be nice to have confidence and trust in the one who pledged to share his life with you. It would be nice to plan a vacation rather than a separation.
For now, she's keeping it together. It's all she can do.