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Question 145

Q: My husband of 25 years is addicted to spending. He’s gotten our family so far into debt that I don’t think we’ll ever recover. No unfaithfulness, no pornography, no alcohol, or physical abuse—just spending. We’ve separated from one another several times and he promises to change, but immediately he gets us into more debt. 

Does the Bible only allow divorce for abusive situations, or can I get a divorce to protect me and my children from financial disaster? 

Asked by: Kristi


A: Kristi, my heart really goes out to you because you’re trying to be a good mother and a good wife, yet your husband is clearly putting your family in jeopardy in ways that are totally and completely unnecessary.

The first thing you need to try to do is to see that your husband gets help. If he’s not in an accountability group in your church—a men’s group—where there are those who will hold him accountable, then I think that there’s very little hope that he might change his ways.

Something else that’s very essential, so I would ask you to really consider it, is to see if your bank account can be separated from his. Obviously, your husband can’t be trusted to use money wisely, so he needs to understand that his wife and children are financially protected, and the separate bank accounts will help that.

I hope that he has the wisdom to realize that he has a problem and that somehow you can separate your funds so that you don’t have to divorce and you don’t have to live the fear of going under. A wise man would indeed take care of his wife along those lines.

Furthermore, your husband is seriously sinning—seriously sinning. The Apostle Paul says that if a man doesn’t provide for his wife and children—for those of his household—he’s worse than an infidel and has denied the faith. Your husband needs to read that verse in 1 Timothy 5:8. He needs to be jerked into reality, and I’m not sure that you’re the one who should, or would be able to do it. You need to go for help to have someone else do that.

Hold him accountable, separate your finances, and make sure that you are not connected to the debts that he’s incurring. And I’m sure that there are those who can help you make that happen.

I conclude by simply praying in my heart for you that God will help you to resolve this very difficult situation.

Scripture references

  • 1 Timothy 5:8
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