Question:

Hello,

I have a very painful situation to talk about. I have been married for less than ten years. Recently my wife left me and said she didn't love me anymore. This was after a string of arguments, which I take half the blame. I tried to reason with her but to no avail. It was so cut and dry that it really hurt. She decided that return home after some time at her parents, but she returned only for our little daughter not for her husband (this I know because she told me so).

I later discovered that she had been flirting via texts and phone calls to a plumber who did a job on our house about two months ago, which is probably the reason she left. The hurtful texts have cut me to my very core. I can forgive but the trust is gone. Not only was I lied to but deceived again and again. She told everybody -- her family and my family -- many times that she was feeling unhappy for a long time and that she knew what she was doing.

I allowed her to stay in the house for as long as she wants before we sell it next year, so I can see my daughter and so we could get on good terms. I have moved to my mum's house but go round every day to see my little girl. Before the revelation of the texts, etc., I went to church and had confession. I pleaded and begged her. Our priest suggested that I welcomed her back lovingly with open arms, which I did (all be it to a degree of apprehension) only to have my world shattered yet again.

Now I am afraid of making a wrong decision here. On the one side I could stay with my wife if she is willing too and be really unhappy (because the trust is gone) for the sake of our daughter, or we could go our separate ways and I would get our daughter every weekend and be happy. I have called on the Lord so many times regarding this trial. Each time I said "Lord, please either give me the strength to save my marriage or end it." What has led up to this point has been a series of dead ends. My wife is sort of having doubts now. But in all honesty in my heart I would be happier without her as my wife. For two months I have been abandoned, betrayed, deceived, lied to and hurt. I just want out. Where do I stand in God's eyes? Some of my family want me to stay for our daughter's sake at the expense of my happiness. The prospect of staying with a woman I don't really know anymore and do not trust is killing me from the inside. What do I do? Please, can anybody give me some guidance?

Thank you.


Answer:

From your note I conclude that you are Roman Catholic. I am not. I am Christian, so all my advice will be based on the Scriptures.

"Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him" (Luke 17:3-4).

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).

Forgiveness is not empty words to be spoken. Forgiveness means releasing a person from the debt they owe you. It is putting the events behind you and going on with life as if those things never happened. Your wife has sinned and you admit that your past behavior encouraged her to sin, though that isn't an excuse for what she chose to do. You state that you forgave her, so where is the evidence of this forgiveness?

Actually, I believe you jumped the gun in your offer of forgiveness because forgiveness is based on the sinner first repenting of his sin. I'm guessing that she has recently had a change of heart, but I don't know if she now sees her past actions as wrong or not. If she has, then it is your obligation to forgive her. You, too, should repent of the way you treated her in the past and it would then be her obligation to forgive you.

How you trust her again? Because you see the fact that she has changed. That change will be easier for her to maintain because she knows you truly forgave her.

You may have noticed that throughout this response I never mentioned your personal happiness. That is because when a person puts serving God and His Will first in his life, happiness comes. "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper" (Psalms 1:1-3). But when a person places his ideas of happiness first in his life, it leads to misery because he is putting himself first. Arrogance and pride never bring about happiness.

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4).

You see this as a matter of your pride being wounded. I see this as a matter of a woman, whom you once loved, becoming lost in sin. She needs to be rescued so that she might enter heaven and if that means some inconvenience on your part in order to get her closer to God, then so be it.