Four years ago I met a young woman and we were married shortly after that. The misunderstandings began, and she sporadically threatened to kill herself. She doesn’t have many relatives, and those she has act indifferent toward her, so I have always tried to understand her and accept her. But I have never understood why she acts this way.

Now we have a two‑year‑old daughter, and the problem continues and I don’t know what to do. My wife has low self‑esteem. I feel trapped. I don’t know if I should leave her and lose my child and then feel guilty for anything that might happen. I can’t take any more! I’m going crazy. Help me!

Dear Friend,

We congratulate you for understanding and accepting your wife. She obviously has emotional problems, as evidenced by the threats to kill herself. It is impossible to know for sure why she has such low self‑esteem, but it is good that you recognize the problem and are trying to help her.

Anyone who threatens suicide needs to see a medical doctor. Only a professional is qualified to determine whether your wife’s life is in danger. Please make an appointment for her and go with her to that appointment and to follow‑up appointments.

We also are concerned for your two‑year‑old daughter. Children should not be exposed to the kind of emotional instability that you have described. Please consult the doctor regarding this concern.

We do not believe that you should leave your wife. In the marriage vows, you promised to love her in sickness and in health, and she is obviously not emotionally healthy right now. You made a vow to love her in spite of this. If her sickness were cancer, would you be asking if you should leave her?

In addition, you are equally responsible for your daughter’s well‑being, and leaving her in an environment with an unstable mother should never be an option. We do not understand how fathers can just walk away from the children that they claim to love. You used the expression “lose your child.” Leaving a child is not losing that child! Walking away from your daughter for whatever reason is making a conscious decision to abandon her!

You say that you feel trapped. Trapped implies that you have no choices. In reality, you have many positive steps that you can take to make your life and your child’s life better. The doctor that you consult can recommend a professional counselor who can help you and your wife deal with her emotional issues.

You need help! We agree. Did you know that you can get the strength you need to face each day by having a personal relationship with God? As you speak to Him through prayer, He will calm your heart. And as you read the Bible, He will give you wisdom. We recommend that you find a group of people who also have a personal relationship with God, and begin meeting with them to study the Bible together. These positive steps will bring you much of the help you need to go on.

Take one day at a time,

Linda and Charles