Departments and Ministries
Dear Dr. Smith
I am currently in a marriage that was established for the wrong reasons. My husband and I had a relationship prior to getting married, however, shortly after the marriage it all fell apart. My husband is a recovering sex addict who has made numerous attempts to overcome, but have not been successful to date. Myself have many issues that may have plagued our marriage and/or heightened his most recent failure of overcoming his addiction.
Currently we do not see eye to eye on anything. He his convinced that there is no future between us and I am beginning to believe. I do know I need to seek professional help for various mental, emotional, and physiological reasons. I intend on doing this by myself, because I do not want the focus to be on my husband and his issues but primarily myself and my issues and how to deal with the reality of a failed marriage.
How do I pursue this? Do I seek a marriage therapist or should I seek a psychotherapist to deal with my individual need?
P.S. I want to really focus on me, my issues, the mistake I made by entering this marriage rather than us, the married couple that did things wrong.
Sincerely: Angry, Resentful and Bitter
Dear Angry, Resentful and Bitter,
You did not say what were the wrong reasons your marriage was established for, however, you did state some pressing problems you are both having. Let me attempt to address each one separately.
1. My husband and I had a relationship prior to getting married. When you say, “had a relationship prior to getting married,” am I to assume that you mean sexual relationship? Because one must have a friendship relationship before getting married (except for child marriages, arranged marriages or forced marriages). If my assumption is true, in their lies half of your marital problems. Pre-marital couples don’t realize that when they start drinking the honey before the honeymoon it has miserable implications later. That’s why shortly after marriage yours all fell apart. God's word is to be taken seriously.
2. My husband is a recovering sex addict. When did you find this out, before or after marriage? Either answer puts you in a bad light, if before! What is your problem now? If after, then it means you did not do careful pre-marital counseling, because this would have come up in the sessions.
3. He is unsuccessful in overcoming his addiction. Where did he go for treatment and for how long? A sex addict is just as dependent as a drug, alcohol, etc., is dependent. They need professional treatment to break the dysfunction.
4. I myself have many issues that may have plagued our marriage. Your honesty is helpful; it is the first step towards healing. Your second step is to get professional help. Please do not cheat on your self; you must develop your best self.
5. Currently we do not see eye to eye on anything. Join the club of dysfunctional marriages, what else is new? Of course it will be difficult for both of you to see eye to eye, when you both have wounds and baggage. The prophet Amos asked the poignant question, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3.
6. No future between us. If you both continue on this path, then yes, it will be a matter of self-fulfilling prophecy. Kindly remember, however, that a divorce of this nature may not fulfill the legal requirements of the moral law of God, unless his addiction to sex caused him to be unfaithful.
7. Indevidual or Marriage Counseling. You cannot have one without the other; you both need individual counseling as well as marriage counseling. You should regard the marital problems as critical and to leave them un-addressed, will only frustrate any attempt to become individually whole.
I pray that you both will do the right thing, that is, get professional help, and save the marriage. Remember, God does hate divorce, not the individuals, but the act of divorcing.