In which a married woman seeks advice concerning divorce:
Dear readers: please I need your urgent help. I am in my mid thirty’s with a child and I have been unhappily married for 5years. I think I am in love with another married man. He makes me happy and will not hit me like my husband does.
The man I am presently in love with is planning on divorcing his wife only if I will agree to divorce my husband. I am in love with this man, he does things for me that my so called husband will not. Should I divorce my husband? I am so confused that I don’t know what to do. Please advise me.
There is really no joy in reminding a spouse that marriage is supposed to be for keeps; for better or for worse; or until death causes a couple to part when that spouse is a constant victim of physical abuse and battery. This should not be the lot of any person. At any rate, take a look at the society of today and see how the institution of marriage is crumbling. Now, almost half of all marriages end in divorce—sometimes for issues that can actually be resolved with a little bit of communication, tolerance and maturity. Now, I am not going to assume that this woman is a Christian because she did not explicitly state so. The reply she would have gotten would have been radically different if that little nugget of information was known.
Let’s call this Lady Mrs. Unhappy. Mrs. Unhappy has been married for 5 years and has a child for her husband, whom she alleges abuses her. We are not told when or how, but it seems that while she was in this unhappy marriage she forgot her vows against infidelity and got involved with another man. She was so emotionally invested in the affair till it got to a point where she confesses that she is now in love with that other man (not her husband).
Alas here’s the problem: the man she was messing with (outside her marriage) is also married. So in her case, it is not just enough for her to leave the marriage, her lover also has to divorce his wife if there’s ever going to be any hope of them staying together at least legally. We are also not told why the other man in this affair is planning on divorcing his wife. What could be his reason for doing so—just to be with Mrs. Unhappy?
Something really doesn’t seem very right with this arrangement.
For starters, if the main reason for her seeking a divorce is because of her husband being overly physically abusive, I think she would have emphasized that fact—i.e. she should have gone to some length to show how life with this physically abusive man is practically an unlivable hellish nightmare. She barely even mentions it in her letter. Inasmuch as I am not in this marriage, this omission on her part is very glaring. While I am not suggesting that he never hit her, it might have been an isolated incident after a possible misunderstanding. Or there might have been a few more cases where the man may have made a move to hit her but restrained himself or physically thrown his weight around while not actually hitting her—which forcefulness on his part might have been misinterpreted by Mrs. Unhappy as physical violence. Instead, as anyone can see, the main reason why she wants to leave her husband is because she says she has found a man that makes her happy and treats her better than her husband does.
So there lies the crux of the whole matter.
Can she divorce her husband because she has found a man that treats her better than her husband does? If the other married man was as sweet and as charming as Mrs. Unhappy wants us to believe, why is his wife not a beneficiary of such a peaceful, gentlemanly and adorable personality and temperament—why is the man planning on divorcing his wife? If this is allowed to go on and two families are shattered because Mrs. Unhappy and her lover wants to be together, is there any guarantee that her lover will not cheat on her with another woman just like he cheated on his current wife with Mrs. Unhappy? What if after the marriage, she discovers that her lover was wearing a mask all along and was thus never as caring nor as benevolent as he pretended?
I am not usually one to tell people how to live their lives, but I do not get the impression from this letter that this woman needed to leave her husband. Let us not forget that this issue may not have even risen up if she did not seek emotional solace from another man. In doing that, she becomes the one guilty of the greater misconduct. If there is misunderstanding or friction in a relationship, a couple should come together and have a heart-to-heart discussion on the issue to seek ways of resolving it. If that should fail, then they should collectively seek couples counseling or guidance from competent sources. What you should not do seems fairly obvious; you don’t ignore all your marital commitments to begin some romantic relationship with some other person because as everyone knows, the grass always seems greener on the other side.
So let’s say that Mrs. Unhappy’s husband has been occasionally physically abusive or perhaps that he is not as sweet and as romantic as Mrs. Unhappy wants. It seems to me that this is an issue that Mrs. Unhappy should take up with her husband—and if that fails she should consider bringing the matter to someone else of considerable authority like her Pastor, Imam, Rabbi or a competent Marriage Counselor. We’ve not heard her husband’s take on their marriage, but I am willing to bet that if he was consulted, he would equally have some grievances to air about Mrs. Unhappy. What I am saying is simple: while her husband may have some issues to work out, he may not be as terrible as this letter might suggests. The problem seems to be that emotionally, Mrs. Unhappy has checked out of her marriage and is now willing to dump everything she has to be with some man who seems to know how to gently caress her emotional buttons.
As I said, that seems to me to be a recipe for marital disasters. I may be old-fashioned but marriage vows of exclusive commitment really has to stand for something or we might as well quit the pretence that a marriage is any sort of meaningful contract before God and/or before Man.