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Too Soon to Give Up
Real Family Talk
Wille and Elaine Oliver
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.