How Many Times Should You Forgive Your Husband?

Q: I’ve been thinking of getting a divorce for the past six months. We got married July 10, 2011. We lived together for two years before. My husband didn’t tell me about a lot of debt he was in. I was very upset but I forgave him. Ever since then, there has been one financial problem after another. I get stressed and voice it. I also don’t get along with his family over a lot of things they have said and done. It would take a very long time to name everything, but every time I ask him to do something about it he fights me and tells me my reasoning is stupid. There has recently been another financial situation. I said I want out, and we are thinking about whether a divorce is the right thing. Deep down I still wonder if this is right. After reading your article about leaving your husband I hope to get some good advice. Thank you.

If you haven’t read Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Gothen that’s your first step. Many people rush into divorce without realizing that all marriages have problems, and most problems are fixable. Having financial problems and communication breakdowns isn’t grounds for divorce – and neither is having to forgive your husband repeatedly.

Forgive Your Husband Over and Over, or Get a Divorce?

A: I can’t tell you if divorce is the right thing for you and your husband. But, I do think that marriage is about forgiving each other over and over again. I don’t think it’s a good idea to rush into divorce because you’re having financial problems. Life – and marriage – is about solving problems, about living in a world that continually throws problems at us. So I don’t necessarily think you should get a divorce just because you’re having problems.

I don’t know what your financial problems are, or how serious your husband’s debt is. It sounds like it’s very stressful for you (and him, no doubt), and you can’t keep forgiving your husband for the financial mess he’s in. But, you and he are a team. You’re supposed to be partners in life – you vowed to love each other for better or worse, in sickness and in health. Perhaps you’re going through a stage of “sickness” in your marriage. Sometimes it’s the broken parts of the relationship that surprise you, because they knit together to become the strongest parts.

If you’re Christian or spiritual in any way, you probably know you’re called to forgive your husband over and over again. But, I think it also depends on what he’s doing and how he’s treating you. If he’s abusing you or your loved ones, then getting a divorce seems right to me. But if he’s struggling with financial problems and trying to find solutions, then as his wife and life partner, you may need to find a way to work with him.

If I were you, I’d focus on building a happy, healthy marriage with my husband – and I’d accept that I’ll have to forgive him repeatedly. I’d also remember that he is forgiving me all the time, as well.

The reason most people believe that marriage is hard work is because husbands and wives have to learn how to communicate honestly and effectively. It doesn’t sound like your husband is communicating well, and I suspect his response to you is affecting your response to him. I encourage you to go to a marriage workshop or see a couples therapist before you decide whether or not to get a divorce.

I also encourage you to learn as much about marriage as you can! Read Is Your Marriage Normal? 5 Signs You’re Expecting Too Much.

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