Question:

I have been in a relationship with my husband since I was a teenager. We have been together for over seven years and married for more than five years. We have several children together. After I was a month pregnant with my last child, I found out that there was a possibility that he might have fathered a child when I was stationed in another state. A week before I gave birth we got confirmation that he is the father. I feel so hurt and broken and, although now he is finally starting to help with the kids, I don't know if I can stay with him anymore. He has cheated on me with ten women that I know of through the whole of our relationship. We have had issues in the past of domestic violence as well.

Please help! I just want to be happy. What do I do?


Answer:

People who approach marriage as an issue of personal happiness misunderstand the nature of marriage and its purpose. Don't get me wrong, a good marriage causes happiness for the couple. "Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth" (Proverbs 5:18). "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:9). But life is a mixture of ups and downs. If marriage is approached as only being about happiness, then when hard times come -- which they are bound to do -- then the marriage collapses.

This doesn't excuse what your husband has been doing, but to make the difficult decisions facing you, you need to have a better idea of your goals.

Now, given the number of women you know your husband has been having sex with, I take it that this pattern goes back to before you were married and that you and he also sex before you got married. My point is that likely the pattern of his behavior was seeable before you married, but the decision before was to ignore it. The result is that marriage didn't change him. He remained the same man he has always been, which you are now being forced to realize.

What you didn't mention is whether he has decided to change or not. He is helping with the children, but does he regret what he did? Is he determined not to commit adultery again? Do you think he is sincere? The problem is that without repentance, there is no reason to expect him to change his behavior. The question is do you want a husband who doesn't keep his covenant?

It would be better to get your husband to change his ways, so that he might be saved from his sins. But if this doesn't look possible, Jesus did say, "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9). Because he is committing adultery, you have the right to divorce him and if you choose to marry someone else. It is not a requirement, but an option open to you because of your situation.

If you do go this route, be careful whom you choose to marry. Learn from the mistakes you made and don't repeat them.

Yes, we did engage in premarital sex which is something I am not proud of and do regret. He was my first and we did not do things in the right order. We lived together, had our first child, and then got married. Although I knew he got around I thought that was temporary and once we were committed he would stop. Instead it just seemed like things got worst.

I honestly started to feel like he was just with me for benefits because I took care of him and did everything for him financially and actually throughout our relationship I have been the breadwinner. Every time I would suspect him of cheating he always made me think I was crazy and then once everything would come to the light he would first deny it, then apologize, but eventually do it again. Throughout our relationship he would stay out all night, not help with bills, housework, or the kids. He would abuse me verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically. He also would curse and yell at the kids all the time.

Since I just found out about this baby he has been trying to make a little effort by helping with the kids, housework, and coming home. Although I appreciate the efforts I don't know if this is temporary because this is his pattern. I don't trust him at all. I just want to make the best decision.

I can't make the decision for you. As I pointed out, you do have options from a biblical basis. When making a decision like this, you have to see the person for who they are at this time. You can't decide based on who they might become -- that isn't possible to predict. So ask yourself, if nothing changed do you want this man at your side, raising your children?