Should I divorce my husband because I am handicapped?

Question:

I hope you can help me find an answer to a situation the Bible does seem not address. My husband had an affair after I lost basic functions most people take for granted. When I became paraplegic while in my forties, I offered my husband a divorce because I did not want him to commit adultery. I had very limited sensations from the waist down, loss of normal functions and a lot of nerve pain - my body had become a prison, and my burden was too hard for him to bear. He denied wanting to have an affair, but after several years, he actually started a relationship with a married woman. The affair lasted for several more years until my husband had a nervous breakdown.

It was very painful. He was acting so erratically he had to be hospitalized and the psychiatrist diagnosed dementia, giving us little hope of improvement. He seemed to improve and was released after tests did not show any brain lesions. At home, he revealed he had been unfaithful for years. His brother, who is a strong Christian, urged him to break up with this woman right away.

I am glad he broke up with this woman for his sake, but it is hard for me to trust him again or to get certain images out of my mind. He still refuses to talk about his physical needs, won't discuss intimacy, and obviously, the problem remains - I am still paraplegic, and my body is not very attractive - sadly enough. I do not feel self-conscious with the people who did not know me before. The physical and the emotional issues seem unbearable at times and I sometimes wonder why God allowed this to happen to me. Perhaps because it forced me to become involved in a project to find a cure for my condition. With God's help this cure could bless millions of people. Meanwhile, I am sure that my husband still has physical needs, and I do not think I could bear another betrayal from him. Does my health situation justify a divorce for both our sakes?


Answer:

When you and your husband married, your vows were to love each other "for better or worse, in sickness and in health." A perfect, stress-free life was never promised. I'm sorry that you are facing so many hardships, but it is good to hear that you are doing all you can to help others.

A divorce would not solve your husband's problem. If you divorced him, he would have to remain unmarried until your death. "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).

Technically, you could divorce him for his adultery, but since he has left off his sin, that would seem petty at this point. Even if you had divorced him at that time, he would still be forbidden from marrying again. "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).

You would be best off doing what you can to repair the breach that he caused.