Question:

My husband and I have been married for twenty years. We have four children together. Two of them are grown with their own families now, but two of them are still at home. During the first part of our marriage my husband was a wonderful father and husband but for the past seven years he has been doing drugs and gambling, to the point where if he gets paid he uses all of his money on drugs and gambling. He takes things from the house that has any value and pawns them for money. The children and I hide anything of value or take it with us when we leave the house. I know nothing is impossible for God but I'm not sure he wants to change. He goes to church with us and says he wants to change but usually after he has messed up. We have been through so much over the past seven years. I don't know if I can take anymore lies and excuses. Sometimes I feel like if I leave I would be giving up on God because I know He answers prayers, but I feel like if I stay I will lose my mind. I am so confused. Do you have any advice?


Answer:

How is it that taking a stand against evil means you are giving up on God? Your husband's behavior is harming your family. As hard as it sounds, the best thing you can do for him is either kick him out of the house or you and the children leave. Tell him that he needs help. Let him know that when he leaves his sin by stopping the drugs and ending the gambling, you'll take him back in, but the husband you married was not a drug and gambling addict. "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person" (I Corinthians 5:11).

Your children also need to see that their mother stands with God and doesn't tolerate evil. They need to know that there is a right and a wrong. While you love a person, love doesn't mean you ignore their sins.

Legally, you might need to file for a separation to keep his destructive behaviors from taking your family under. I don't know all the ins and outs in this regard, so you should find a good lawyer to talk to about what are your best options.

The goal is not to end the marriage, but to get a resolution so that you and he can eventually get back together. Depending on what happens, it might involve a temporary divorce, but hopefully things won't go that far. "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife" (I Corinthians 7:10-11).