My husband abandoned me while I was pregnant, leaving me with all the household debt…. My baby was born and, when I brought her home, her father voluntarily paid for some of the expenses. However, six months ago he stopped visiting our daughter and stopped contributing financially for her needs.

I have tried to get him to visit the baby and to agree on an amount that he should contribute, but he flatly refuses. I have chosen to get legal advice, but the option that the attorney gives me is to have the child support deducted from his monthly salary automatically. The problem is that I understand what the repercussions would be on his credit report, and my heart makes me doubt if I want to “harm” him in that way…. But my salary does not cover all my daughter’s expenses.

Dear Friend,

You say that your heart makes you doubt whether you should “harm” your husband by seeking the financial support that your daughter needs. Your use of the word “heart” is a common way for most of us to refer to our emotions, which actually come from the brain and not the heart. Every person’s brain is responsible for emotions and logic, as well as intelligence and knowledge.

Some people tend toward making their decisions based on logic alone, and others make decisions based on emotions alone, while most people operate somewhere in the middle. The wise person can think logically and control their emotional responses, finding a compromise that is both logical and acceptable emotionally. But people who make decisions based on emotions while ignoring logic almost always regret those decisions. Sooner or later they face the negative consequences that could have been prevented.

Logically, you understand that your daughter has financial needs and that your salary is not enough. Numbers don’t lie, as they say. However, emotionally you have feelings of sadness for your husband because you understand the difficulties he may face as a result of a legal demand on his salary. Your question is whether your emotional response should prevent you from making the best logical decision. The answer is no. Emotions should never be allowed to ignore logic.

We congratulate you for the compassion that you feel for your husband in spite of the harm that he has caused you and your daughter. You are following God’s example and the teaching of the Bible that says, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”(1) But don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will be ignoring the Biblical teaching to have compassion and mercy just because you must take the practical legal step of providing for your daughter.

Read Case 182 on our website to find more suggestions for your situation.

We wish you the best,

1 Lk 6:36