A year ago my husband left us for another woman…. Neither our twenty‑nine years of marriage, nor our children, nor our grandchild mattered to him. For twenty years we lived next door to my mother‑in‑law in a wooden shack in order to save for a better future, and now it is another woman who is benefitting from all my sacrifices and dreams. How fair is that?

I don’t believe I deserve this. I sacrificed everything for my family. I never went to college, I didn’t fulfill my dreams, I gave my life to my family, and now I feel empty, as if nothing was worth it in this life, because men are so selfish and don’t think of all the pain they cause their families.

Dear Friend,

We are so sorry for the agony that you are suffering! But you’re not the only one. Unfortunately there are many women who will hear your story and know exactly how you feel, for they have gone through it themselves. Of course, there are also men who have been betrayed by their wives, but that happens less often.

Why are many husbands (and sometimes wives) so selfish, and why are they willing to inflict pain on their families? Naturally every story is slightly different, but the answer that applies to every case comes from the words of Jesus. He said, “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery.”(1) According to these words of Jesus, it is human nature to have the tendency to sin and to do so in ways that hurt others.

So why doesn’t every man choose to commit adultery? Why do some men love their wives until the day that they die, while others cheat only once or time after time? Why do some people steal, while others give away much of what they have? Why do some people lie, while others tell the truth even when it’s difficult? The answer is that when God created us, He gave us the freedom and the ability to choose good or bad, to help or to harm, to love or to reject. Psychologists might tell you that the answer is that each person reacts to a combination of his heredity and his environment. Heredity is the person’s DNA, or genes, that are passed down from his biological parents. Environment includes all the experiences of his life. Yet while genetics and environment greatly influence whether a person will choose to do good or evil, God’s Spirit is always there, encouraging right choices in spite of bad environments and bad genes.

But a more important question is how you can survive this trauma. Please start by seeing a doctor. Your hopelessness and emptiness could be signs of clinical depression. Anyone would feel depressed in your situation, but your normal depression could have turned into a serious illness that needs to be treated by a professional.

Your anger and outrage are justified. It was not fair for your husband to do this to you. You don’t deserve what you have gotten. However, instead of letting your anger turn you into a bitter old woman, you now must allow your anger to motivate you to change your life. You have children and a grandchild who need you and are learning from your example.

More than ever, you need Someone to lean on and Someone who you can trust. We encourage you to develop your personal relationship with God through prayer and reading of the Bible. You can find courage and strength through communication with your Heavenly Father.

We wish you a bright future!

Linda and Charles
1 Mk 7:21