Question:

Dear Sir,

Here is my problem: I have been married for almost twenty years and dated for five years prior to getting married. We were both virgins when we got married, but we did do things that were not right, such as petting and mutual masturbation at times.

I have separated from my wife to make an assessment of our relationship. I want make a correct decision concerning us. Most of what I have learned about her before we dated came from my wife and me chatting on the phone. I am more comforted talking to her about serious issues that way (strange I know) since I separated from her last year. I getting more comfortable talking to her face to face, though at times as it's hard to look at her straight in the eyes as I'm afraid of either rejection or seeing her cry.

Here is the details of our relationship:

When we dated the firsttwo years were together and the last three years she was away at school. In a recent conversation she admitted she had kissed a friend or two in college. I did not know this back then. I would have considered that a betrayal of our relationship and cut off the relationship. However, I did know that something was wrong because in phone conversations she would sometimes call me by his name instead of mine. As I wasn't sure, I carried on our relationship and married her several years later.

In our firsttwo years of marriage, I thought things were going great. But then we ran out of money, so I traveled home and left her to finish school, since she had less than a year to finish. During that time she committed adultery with a friend's relative. I was devastated and flew back to confront her and her lover. She admitted that she was kissing him, which led to the sex on three occasions. I found out because my friend called me to tell me that she had to go because she was committing sin in his house. He is a pastor, so I totally understood. I had no idea that she had done these things to me. I visited her, forgave both her and the friend's relative, and she came back home with me.

She blames me for her not finishing her degree. Since then every time an argument arises she wants out of the marriage. Eventually things settled, then years later she committed adultery with a close friend of mine for at almost a year. She admitted to it after her last encounter with my so-called friend. Each year since she would say she wanted a divorce when the least argument or disagreement would arise. Things settled again but last year she told me she does not love me. She claims that the reason she has sex with my friend was because I neglected her.

A month later I left the house for sanity sake. I love the quietness at times, but I still love my wife and now even I am concerned about whether she makes it in heaven. Our marriage was not all bad. There were many good times, but the bad seems to overshadow me. When I am with her I don't think of these bad things, but when I am away, like now, they are on my mind.

I am stuck in the depression stage and am almost to the acceptance stage. I don't know if I should divorce her or not. If I do, I don't know if I will be able to remarry if I choose to. We are both Christians by the way. She does not want to tell me the details of the affairs though sometime I wish to know and sometimes not. I am really hurt and looking for answers regarding what to do next. I believe God will answer me and maybe He has, but I'm so deep in sorrow that I can't see what He may be telling me now. She has always said that she wanted a divorce, but now she seems to want us to stay together since I moved out. She never thought that I would leave. By the way, I have been going to consoling since the first incident. She never would agree to go with me saying she is a very private person. I think she is guilt ridden and only wants to keep the marriage to make things look good and not because she loves me. She admits she still has feelings for the other guy, one of my so called friends. By the way, he is a Christian too.

I went to see her this week to have a heart to heart talk. It turned out OK I guess. She says she doesn't trust me because I have been talking to many spiritual people privately about the affair and she has not even told her father why I have left the house last year. I actually told him myself two weeks ago.

I'm wondering what to do now. Should I stay or leave? The trust is mostly gone. Most, if not all, suggest that I should leave her. We have no children or much else to split up. She can have everything else. I just want my life back and be made whole again, then maybe consider going back to her as she is mostly a great girl, just flawed from her arguing parents I thought.

Thanks for letting me ramble and for your time.


Answer:

What I noticed from your note is that your wife suffers from a great deal of pride. Each of her affairs are blamed on you, though it was always she who chose to repeatedly break God's law and her marriage vows. Even your suspicion that she wants you to move back so she looks good to other people matches the character I suspect she has. The claim that she doesn't trust you is also an indication that she doesn't want to face the fact that she sinned; thus, it has to be your fault.

Whether you move back is up to you. I prefer people work out their marriage difficulties, even when adultery occurs. Yet, I can see that she is unrepentant regarding her sin. The guilt she has seems more that she was caught than that she truly realizes how wrong she has been. In her mind, as long as her sins are not mentioned, then she can pretend that they do not exist.

I understand your desire to make sure she is saved, but please remember that the choices she made and will make are her own. You cannot make her go to heaven, just as you cannot keep her out of heaven if she decides to follow the Lord. "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20). All you can do is encourage her to make good choices.

If you divorce her because she has been unfaithful and you do not believe she will remain faithful in the future, then you would have a right to a second marriage -- a right that she would not share because of her sins. "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).