140. Can you help me with these troubling questions?
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Dear Dr. Smith

Can you help me with these troubling questions?

1.    Why does someone have to remain in a relationship even though they are unhappy?
The marriage commitment is a living covenant between two parties and experiences of unhappiness are not grounds for divorce. An individual can choose to separate if they consider their marriage toxic and they are very unhappy, but separation is quite different from divorce. Unhappy relationships need help, preferably professional help.

2.    How do you know when the marriage is over?
When the unfaithfulness of the other party reaches a chronic level and he or she refuses to change. If this happens, you do have the right to say enough is enough and by God’s grace move on.

3.    Why is my husband not willing to walk away from his affair as much as I want him to? Even though he is in the wrong?
Your husband is not willing to walk away because he is having the best of both worlds yours and his girlfriend. He has you to take care of his physical needs and maybe some of his emotional and the girlfriend to take care of all the emotional. It’s like having his cake and eating it. Do you understand now why he is not willing to walk away. His bread is buttered on both sides. The question is, how long will you continue to butter it on one of the sides?

4.    How many chances can you give someone to clean up the deceitful behavior?
You can give them as much as you want, a million, two millions chances, but it will not make a difference if he does not want to change. It is not a question of how many chances you give him, it’s a question of how badly does he want to clean up his behavior. Right now it is obvious that he does not want to do that, so giving chances will not help.

5.    Is once a cheater always a cheater?
     Not necessarily, it’s like asking; is once an alcoholic always an alcoholic? Or once a prostitute always a prostitute? Certainly not, however the DNA (if I may borrow that term) of cheating, drinking or prostitution remains engraved in the character until one of two things happens. One, a born again experience of confession, repentance and baptism or two, clinical intervention to help rewrite the DNA script.

6.    How can you go on in a relationship when you have evidence of someone’s promiscuous behavior?
That’s a personal decision that you will have to make. No one is asking you to go on in such a relationship. Biblically speaking you do have the right to move on with your life whether through a divorce or separation. However, that’s your call and to make it you must first settle within yourself that that is what you want to do. Because after you have moved on, no matter what challenges you might face, you must seek to strengthen your resolve rather than trying to blame someone.

7.    Is staying in an unhappy marriage good?
Staying in an unhappy marriage is never the best of circumstances. No one wants to be unhappy and no one deserves to be unhappy. An unhappy marriage, however, is not grounds for divorce, therefore, people who are in unhappy marriages should seek to go for marriage counseling. There are some marital problems that cannot be resolved by the two parties and triangulating a third party (a professional counselor) is often times the best.

8.    How should I really deal with something of this nature?
There is no question that your husband is giving you a 6 for a 9. Unfortunately, you have been accepting the 9 for too long hoping that it will change to a 6, but that’s irrational thinking. You need to have the courage to take a good look at yourself and ask some tough questions. For example: Is this the best I can do for myself? Is my husband taking me for granted, for too long? Is he honest about changing his ways? Does he want to end that extra-marital affair? Can I accept him and live with his double life? When you reach the point that you can safely answer these questions for yourself without any help. Then you are ready to decide what you want to do with your relationship.

9.    Is there hope for this marriage?
If left alone by itself, I would think that your chance for hope is slim. However, if you both should go for professional counseling that could turn things around. Also, if you husband should decide that enough is enough and walk away from his affair/s then there is hope. In order for there to be redemption in the marriage, it needs a in injection of honesty and faithfulness. Most importantly, a baptism of the Holy Spirit will provide hope for this marriage.

10.    Can trust be restored?
Yes, trust can be restored, but it takes time and your husband would have a lot to atone for in order for you to start trusting again. Trust is not an overnight thing. He can’t say it’s over and you start trusting again. Unless you want to exercise blind trust which is foolish trust or denial trust. But trust can grow over time it all depends on his attitude towards you.

Thank you for reaching out to me. Keep courageous and I will be praying for you. God bless.

Dr. Smith
For more information about Dr. Smith's services go to www.familyfixers.org