186. My wife has left me for another man, do I have to take her back?
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Dear Dr. Smith,

My wife of fifteen years has left me for another man, she has been away for a year now, but all of a sudden she is showing interest of wanting to come back to the home. Members of my church and her family are pressuring me to take her back and are trying to put a spiritual guilt on me. However, my bruised, embarrassed and hurt emotion has moved on. My question to you sir, is, do I have to take her back?

Dear Bruised, Embarrassed and Hurt Emotion,

You do not have to take your wife back and you should not allow anyone to pressure you into doing so. Oftentimes church people and family members will wish for others that which they themselves would not want. Your wife has chosen to make her bed hard and she must now lie in it.

I am cognizant of the fact that some of my readers may scream at me, they may accuse me of being too “harsh”. Some may ask, “what about forgiveness?” others may sight the Hosea episode as normative for your behavior. However, I beg to differ, you see, “meekness does not mean weakness.” If we were to forgive our spouse for every marital failure at all times and under all circumstances, then there would be no need for the “executive clause” in Matt. 9: 19 & 5: 32, given to us by God Himself. As Christians, I do not think that we are call to a higher standard than scripture itself.

As for the Hosea saga, this is an exception provided in scripture and not a rule. It was an allowance that God made to bring to the consciousness of Israel their ways of backsliding and departure from Jehovah. Christian families are not asked to subject themselves to such aberration. We do not live by the exceptions in the Bible; we live by the rules of the Bible.

Having said all of that, I am not suggesting that you should not take your wife back. I am only saying you DO NOT HAVE to take her back. You should not take her back because of pressure. If you are to take her back it should be on the grounds that:
1. You still love and care for her,
2. You will not allow her past behavior to affect your future living with her
3. You are willing to forgive her and accept her back (you must forgive her but you don’t have to accept her back).

There are several missing variables from your question though, for example, are there children from the marriage, if so what are their ages? Has she been unfaithful in the past? Have you been unfaithful to her? How have you been treating her? Are you an abusive person? How do you construct the finances of your home? Is she wanting to come back because she is having problems with her lover? Etc. If I had answers for these and other questions, my counsel to you might be different.

I think the best counsel that I could give you is to pray and fast over this matter. Also, seek professional help, if there is to be true reconciliation, you both should first work through the issues with a therapist. I pray God that the best will happen for both of you and especially if there are children. God bless and pray hard.

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