09 - My marriage is in a downward spiral. Should I count my losses and get a lawyer?
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 9. Dear Dr Smith,

I am a young, Seventh Day Adventist, Christian women who is having a terrible time in her marriage(what's left of it).
I grew up Catholic and Seventh Day Adventist (church on Sat with my paternal grandmother, church on Sun with my mother, I participated in Junior-Pathfinders then Pathfinders on Sundays and since I went to a catholic school I was a member of a group called "Child of Mary"). Sometimes I joke that I was "over churched". 

I have been married 16 years (we were teenagers) and for the past 7 months my marriage has been going in a downward spiral. I have been the sole provider for my family on and off for the past 9 years because my husband was going to school. He finished last May and as of July/August he stopped caring about our relationship. He proceeded to tell me it was over and that he was through with me. He started a relationship with another woman and flaunted it in my face. He said that all the years while I was supporting him I made him feel useless because I was so bossy; and I never spent enough time with him.

At times I worked 2 jobs and went to school myself. I had to work, take care of the house, the children without any emotional or spiritual support from him. And he blames everything on me. We have 2 children the oldest is suffering greatly. My heart is broken, I have been disillusioned and disappointed. I locked him out of our home and have said hurtful and mean things to him. We have hurt each other a lot over the past 7 months. He is keeping company with a bunch of people who are not Christians, who can't possibly give him good advice.

As a Christian, I want to do what is right in the sight of God. I want what is best for my children, myself and my husband. Though he broke my trust I still have a hard time thinking about divorce etc... We both have faults and we both did and said things we shouldn't have (though I never cheated nor tried to). God said to forgive every time your brother asks for forgiveness; he has not asked for forgiveness but he said that he still loves me. In August I asked him to go to marriage counseling he said no. In your experience as a Pastor and as a marriage counselor can we get past this moment? Can this marriage be salvaged?  Should I count my losses and get a lawyer? Since I didn't commit adultery I can remarry but that is not what I want for my children.
Sincerely



Dear Disillusioned and Disappointed,

Thanks for sharing with me the burdens of your heart. There is no question that what you have related to me about your marriage is a challenge. It is sad that there is such a deep break down in the relationship. One would have thought that after working so hard to maintain the marriage financially and other wise, things would have turned out better for you now. The charges that you husband is laying on you are serious ones, and should be examined by a professional to see if they are rational or irrational. 
I am encouraged that you want to do what is right, and I hope this for your husband as well. Concerning your specific questions, here are my responses:

Question:  Can we get pass this moment. 

Answer:     Yes you can, “we can do all things through Christ” however, to get pass this you both might need professional help and a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. If you both are willing to let go of the mistakes and failures of the past and move forward, you will be able to get pass it. The operative word here is “both” you both have to commit to the health of the marriage.

Question:  Can this marriage be salvage?

Answer:     Again, the answer to this question is “yes”, any marriage can be salvage if both parties are willing to work at it. However, there are some dysfunctional patterns of behavior in your marriage, and if these are not unmasked and treated, then the relationship will remain toxic. A Marriage Therapist can help you to work through these problems. If you both try to resolve these problems on your own, you may end up doing more fighting than healing. Both of you should therefore, make it a priority to get help NOW.

Question:  Should I count my losses and get a lawyer?

Answer: 
Not until you have used up every avenue to get help and to no avail. The marriage bond is the closest bon on earth and should not be easily broken. Try your best to encourage your husband or get someone to encourage him to go with you for professional help. 
My prayers are with you, keep courageous and may God keep blessing.