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Question 114

Q: My wife and I have been married for 25 years. I don’t believe in divorce even though our years together have not been happy ones.

She’s filled with anger towards me and refuses to go to counseling even though she can’t explain the basis for her anger. I’m very frustrated, but I don’t know what to do.

Asked by: Bob, Indiana


A: Thank you so much, Bob, for writing, and I’m sure that there are many people who are listening right at this moment who can identify with your question.

First of all, a word about your wife, notice that you say in your letter she is filled with anger, and she doesn’t know why. This is more common than you might realize, and if you were to go into her background there are probably reasons for it. Very probably, she’s been hurt by men in her life, maybe her father, maybe a previous lover, and so her attitude and her anger is deep seated. If she was an abused child that would also explain her anger, but sometimes people aren’t willing to find out why they’re so angry.

And so I’m so sorry that she’s unwilling to go for counsel, but I hope that you are willing to go with her. She might be willing to go to marriage counseling if the two of you go together so that it doesn’t appear that she’s the only one with the problem. So, I continue to hold out hope that that will happen.

But also, you mention that you do not believe in divorce, good for you. This is not a situation in which you should divorce your wife. Sometimes God calls people to continue to love, and to continue to put up with, and to continue to struggle, and to develop qualities in their lives that they’d have never developed if they had just been in a very harmonious relationship.

Perhaps you’ve heard me say it, and I will say it again, and I’m sure that I will say it again in the future, that the real purpose of marriage is not happiness. The real purpose of marriage is holiness. And if you get some happiness thrown in, that’s good, but it is really holiness that God is after. And that holiness means that we are taught patience, we are taught love, we are taught long suffering, we are taught lessons in forgiveness—all of these things that we would never know unless God brought some difficulty into our lives. And sometimes the difficulty that He brings into our lives, unfortunately, happens to be our mate.

So Bob, my heart goes out to you, keep on doing what is right, keep on trusting, keep on seeking and God will vindicate you in due time.

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