I work outside the city where I live with my wife and two children. I found work outside the city because I can make more money. All was going well until I went out one night. I met a guy who seemed to be trustworthy. We started out drinking, and ended up with prostitutes. I drank alcohol, I used drugs, and I spent all the money that I had set aside for my family.

Now I am so sad and depressed! I don’t know what to do. I lied to my wife, and I have been thinking of taking my own life. I feel so badly! I failed my wife and my children. I need your advice. This is the worst thing that could have happened to me.

Dear Friend,

First of all, taking your own life might get you out of this problem, but it certainly would not help your wife and children. In fact, you would be condemning them to permanent economic distress. If the earnings that you lost were so important to the family, then how could they make it if you were dead and there were no one to help them out economically? So you can see that committing suicide would be a very selfish alternative for you to take.

Even worse than your current economic problem is the shame that you feel for what you did wrong and for all the bad decisions that you made. You were unfaithful to your wife and you exposed yourself to potential venereal diseases that could kill you. If you now have normal marital relations with your wife, you will be passing on to her whatever disease you might have gotten. If your wife were to get very ill because of your night with a prostitute, wouldn’t that be the worst thing that could happen?

You say that this is the worst thing that could have happened to you, but it didn’t just happen. You chose to go out and to drink. You chose everything else that night, probably as a result of your first decision to drink. The bad things that resulted didn’t just happen. You made decisions that brought those things about. That is probably why you feel such shame.

When we lie about something bad that we have done, we only make the consequences worse. By lying to your wife, you have betrayed her trust even more than you already had. You must go home and tell her the entire sordid story as soon as you possibly can. She will be angry and will very possibly have one or more outbursts of rage. You have wounded her, and she will fight back with her words and emotions. Remember that you deserve anything she says, and that you will be showing courage to get it over with. Plead for her forgiveness and be willing to accept that her confidence in you will be damaged for a very long time in the future. You will have to work very hard to regain her trust. However, if you tell the whole truth now, you will be demonstrating your desire to be truthful with her about everything from now on.

It would be wise to be tested for diseases, rather than risk the unknown. It would also be wise to see a counselor who might help you and your wife work through this betrayal. This process would probably be easier if you were to get a job in your home city. Being apart did not work out well before, and it probably will continue to make things more difficult in your marriage.

There is Someone who will certainly forgive you if you ask Him. Your Heavenly Father sees your current situation and wants to help you, but you must ask His forgiveness in the name of His Son Jesus. If you will sincerely ask Him to come into your life and help you, He will guide your way. He won’t take away the consequences of your sin, but He will take away the guilt and shame.

We wish you well,