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Question 92

Q: I’ve been married 20 years and have two small children. In the past few years, we’ve fallen into debt. and so

I spent a great deal of time away from home to make money to help get us back on our feet. Even my wife began working.

But now that we’re doing better, she wants out of the marriage because she feels I neglected her emotionally during these past years, which is true because I was focused on getting us out of debt.

What troubles me is that she wants to put space between us. She wants to get out of the home to “find herself.” I’m afraid of what this might mean because she’s been corresponding on the internet with a man she dated before we were married. She says she’s helping him with his issues. I’m afraid the old relationship might be revived. What do I do? She won’t go for marriage counseling, and she’s very defensive about all of this and her decision to want to leave me.

Asked by: Michael

A: Michael, first of all let me say, that my heart goes out to you.

And you didn’t say whether or not the both of you are Christians. I hope that you are, because then you have some resources to save this marriage that others don’t have. But, I realize that you are in deep trouble.

Let me start with a couple of things. First of all, I hope that she doesn’t leave to put some space between the two of you like she says she’s going to. My experience is that when a partner does that, usually, it’s an intermediate step to permanently divorcing. And people just hate to say that they’re divorcing, but when they move away from the marriage like that, it’s usually what happens.

Now Michael, I need to tell you that you’re not the person to convince her to stop what she’s doing. Given all that’s happened in your relationship, the more pressure you put on her to stop, the more likely she’s to go her own way and do her own thing. What you need to do is enlist someone else to do this, whether it’s a pastor or a friend. And you must pray to God, and you must ask Him to send people into her life—people that will talk to her, and talk some sense into her.

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