I watch your show on TV, and my marriage is in trouble. I've been praying and trusting God to turn it around. My question: What do you do when your husband tells you he’s in love with someone else?
We are very sorry to hear about your marriage. It must be very painful to hear your spouse say what you shared with us, and we applaud your courage to seek help.
Every married couple, unless they are intentional about connecting with each other every day through the power of God, invariably find their relationship naturally moving toward a state of alienation and separation. We are all products of our respective upbringings so there are no perfect marriages, because there are no perfect people.
So your marriage is not unlike most other marriages. It has been imperfect from the beginning. Sooner or later, disagreements emerge that never get resolved because of fear to communicate about the situation, or inability to manage the conflict effectively. What follows is emotional distance between husband and wife. Unless you are prompt about getting necessary, professional help—much like a decaying tooth needs the immediate intervention of a well-trained dentist—your marriage relationship will eventually deteriorate and die.
Apparently your marriage relationship has been in need of a qualified professional counselor for quite some time. Your husband’s announcement is a natural progression in the anatomy of a dying relationship. It is his way of revealing that he is ready to move on to what he believes are greener pastures.
You have at least a couple of choices: 1) Accept your husband’s declaration as final and prepare to exit your marriage. Or 2), Ask God to give you the courage to speak with your husband in a patient and kind manner about your desire to fix what’s broken in your marriage.
Your husband may resist and respond with little interest. However, if you are serious about pursuing the second option, be prepared to fight for your marriage by inviting your husband to join you in marriage counseling to work on mending your relationship.
If you are a Bible-believing person, you will take to heart Jesus’ words about marriage: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matt. 19:6). It’s your primary motivation to do all you can to save your marriage. Having children together is certainly another valid reason for doing all you can to try to save your marriage.
Here’s where we remind you that you are not alone, and that God is still in the business of performing miracles in marriage. If Jesus could take the time to attend a wedding in Cana of Galilee and convert water into wine to help a couple avoid embarrassment (John 2:1-11), He can certainly do no less for you.
We hasten to add that you can only decide for yourself. Your husband will have to make up his mind about how important it is to save his marriage and family. But we encourage you with the promise: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).
So, as difficult as your situation may be, God can surely turn your marriage around. Trust Him. You will continue to be in our prayers.
Willie Oliver, PhD, CFLE, an ordained minister, pastoral counselor, and family sociologist, is director for the Department of Family Ministries at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Elaine Oliver, MA, CFLE, an educator and counseling psychologist, is associate director for the Department of Family Ministries. You may communicate with them at family.adventist.org, or HopeTV.org/RealFamilyTalk.
What to do when a man is married to a woman who has a history of sexual abuse? How would you show this woman total love and security?
Brokenness is a reality of being a part of the human family. Since our ancestors—Adam and Eve—sinned, we’ve all borne the marks of their legacy in some tangible way. To be sure, many have experienced greater levels of dysfunction than others. However, we all need the saving and transforming grace of Jesus in our lives to be successful in all our relationships.
We are pained to hear about the sexual abuse that took place in the situation you describe, and what this may mean for this marriage relationship. However, we are pleased how you worded the question, giving us an opportunity to respond in a way that can make this relationship viable.
David’s heartfelt prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10, ESV), serves as the cleansing power of God in one’s mind to develop the right attitude and thoughts about one’s wife in this predicament. This will give a husband the capacity to relate to his wife with compassion and love, without which little will be accomplished to make this marriage meaningful and formidable. This prayer will also help a husband let go of any anger or unforgiving spirit toward his wife about something over which she had no control.
Our favorite New Testament writer, the apostle Paul, also shares crucial counsel essential to convey a sense of total commitment that fosters security in marriage: “Love is patient and kind. . . . It is not arrogant or rude. . . . It is not irritable or resentful. . . . Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Cor. 13:4, 5, 7, 8, ESV).
What comes to mind after reading this passage are the words usually found in marriage vows that say: “To have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish; and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her so long as you both shall live.”
Of course, with a case such as the one you have presented, in addition to using the Bible to give this husband the right frame of mind and attitude towards his wife, we suggest engaging the services of a competent Christian counselor, one who has had extensive experience with these types of cases in order to help the wife, and the husband, process the emotional damage she has endured. You will continue to be in our prayers as you trust God for spiritual fortitude to navigate these very challenging waters in marriage, believing that with God all things are possible.
Willie Oliver, PhD, CFLE, an ordained minister and family sociologist, is director for the Department of Family Ministries at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Elaine Oliver, MA, CFLE, an educator and counseling psychologist is associate director for the Department of Family Ministries. You may contact them at Family.Adventist.org or HopeTV.org/realfamilytalk.