Psychologist, Director of New Hope
Bill, my wife told me that she loves another man. She says
that she has been unhappy for a long time and wants a divorce.
I'm trying to accept this, but it's so hard. My friends say I
have to let her leave, but I have three children. If I just let
her leave what am teaching them about life and marriage?
resumed going to church and started counseling with my pastor
and I'm reading "Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People
Do" by Dr. Schuller. I desperately want to save my marriage.
I can't just do nothing and let her leave. There must be something
I can do!
must be very hurtful for you to hear that your wife loves another
man. The thought of your marriage and family breaking apart
is so hard to accept. To lose what is so precious to you would
be very sad.
asking how to deal with this. What can you do to save your
marriage? You've gotten off to a good start by going back to church,
seeking counsel, and reading "Tough Times Never Last, But
Tough People Do." You're certainly not doing nothing!
You're seeking God, getting help for yourself, and persevering
through this painful time.
think what your friends are telling you is that you can't keep
her from leaving. They are right. Trying to hold on
to her or to control her may just make her want to leave all the
you can do is ask her why she's leaving and what you could do
to make her want to stay. Is there something in you or the
way you treat her that makes her unhappy that you could work on
in personal counseling? Would she go to marriage counseling
could offer to work on things and ask her to give you and the
marriage six months. Six months to turn things around for
the two of you. Six months to try to keep the family in
tact - for the kids if nothing else. Six months without
her seeing or talking to this other man out of respect for you
and your marriage and your kids.
if she refuses to do this then you need to respect her decision,
wrong and painful as it is. She alone is responsible for
and in control of her choices. The hard truth is that it takes
two to make a good marriage, but only one to break it apart.
she has an affair with this man then out of self-respect you need
to consider asking her to leave your home. It's not fair to you
to have her in such close proximity to you while she's continually
hurting you. Every day you'd feel kicked in the gut again.
staying in the home while having an affair would rescue her from
the consequences of her affair. She'd get to keep her home and
her family in tact. She'd have you right there waiting for her
and wanting her. And she could keep her affair a secret from everyone
who knows her. It'd be like her affair didn't cost her anything!
This protects her from broken relationships, guilt, explaining
her behavior to others, and re-location hassles.
indeed she leaves you for this other man then make sure that you
still continue counseling. In that case you'd need help for yourself
to deal with the pain and adjustment of a pending divorce. You'd
need to go through a healing process and to learn whatever you
could from this.
also expressed concern about what you're teaching your sons if
you let her leave. I'm more concerned about what you're
wife is teaching them! I gather that you are teaching them
faithfulness to a spouse, dedication to trying to make a marriage
work, how to have Christian faith in difficult times, how to deal
with injustice and pain with honesty and courage, and that no
matter what you love them.
encourage you to talk with them about what's going on. Of
course, don't slander your wife even though she may deserve it.
But do ask them how they feel about the true state of the marriage
and work to draw them out and listen to their feelings.
And do make it clear to them that she is the one who wants to
leave and explain to them what you've been doing to deal with
this and to try to save the marriage.