I got a wakeup call from my girlfriend last week. She called during the night and cried her heart out; she was coming to terms with the harsh reality of being in a loveless marriage. I tried to listen patiently as she recounted her predicaments and the unfair things she has had to endure over the last couple of years. Her once-upon-a-time knight in shining armor has managed to drop the façade over the years and reveal his true identity. He had stopped paying the bills at home, he was no longer contributing to the upkeep of the house, and neither was he helping to manage the kids’ expenses. He still demanded that she ensured there was food in the house and that the kids were well taken care of, which was funny to me because she said he was no longer supporting the family financially. I don’t get how some men don’t realize that their number one responsibility in a marriage is to provide! Beats me.
I tried to sympathize with her and offer the best advice I could on how she could make this work. I struggled with telling her how I really felt she should deal with the joker, but instead, I focused on reiterating what the Bible says about keeping the covenant of marriage. After all, these are the principles of my life and hers. We grew up in the same neighborhood and attended the same Sunday schools as kids. I knew that we shared the same view on life, or at least marriage, so I went on to talk about the importance of love in a marriage, God’s kind of love. It didn’t matter if he loved her back, she just needed to live out the love principles, like being caring, giving, forgiving, patient, and with time, he would turn around and be the good guy she always wanted him to be. That’s what I was taught—that love always finds a way—but now, I am beginning to have a rethink. Should love always find a way? Or should you just get out when you still can and let love find you when it has found itself?
Then she reminded me that she was all this to the guy for the last seven years and that all she got back was nothing, just loads of deceit and lies. And finally, she got to the bottom of why she wanted to leave seven years of marriage behind: he was no longer faithful to her and had, on countless occasions and without remorse, broken her trust by sleeping with other women. At this point, I lost all my bible teachings and my niceness went out of the window. I was so upset with him for turning his back on his wife and family to find comfort in the bed of another woman. I know my friend, and no, she wasn’t perfect either, but she didn’t deserve this betrayal of her trust. In spite of herself, she was really a loving, sweet, and caring person.
As she went on talking about his infidelity, I fought every emotion in my body. I wanted to tell her to get the hell out of the marriage because it wasn’t worth it anymore and that she deserved to be treated better. If her husband wasn’t providing for his family and wasn’t keeping his commitment to her to remain faithful, then she should leave. My emotions and my intellect warred with my faith and what I had learned growing up. I wanted to be a good friend, to truly advise her on how best to handle this, but the honest truth was that I was completely inexperienced in this matter and would hate to give her the wrong advice.
So, I am calling out to all you folks out there who have been there, done that, to lend a voice on this. My friend is trapped in a loveless, unfaithful marriage, and she wants to leave her husband. Should she stay and make this work or just leave before something goes terribly wrong? Please leave your thoughts—we really need your help here.