I have been married for nine years. Six months ago my wife began working in a casino. She had always said that she loved me, but three months ago she changed completely toward me saying she didn’t love me, but only wanted me.

Around three weeks ago I saw on her cell phone that she had a conversation with another man. I brought it up, asking her what was going on, but she said it was nothing…. I don’t know if I should confront her more directly and end our relationship, even though she says that she wants to save our marriage. I renewed my relationship with God because I can’t face this anguish alone. Should I separate from her to retain my dignity, or should I fight for my marriage even though she continues to speak to that man?

Dear Friend,

We recommend that couples have friendships with other couples, that married men have friendships with other men, and that married women have friendships with other women. However, it is common for those who work outside the home to be forced to have acquaintances with the opposite sex at the workplace. Those acquaintances can become friendships and can be totally harmless. The married person should tell the spouse about the friends and acquaintances from the work place. There should be no reason to cover up those relationships, as they are appropriate to the situation.

Some jobs require occasional outside communication with a person of the opposite sex, so having that person’s name and information in a phone doesn’t really mean anything. You say that you saw on your wife’s cell phone a conversation with the other man, but you don’t say that it was inappropriate in any way. The words that were used in that conversation should have revealed whether the talk was work-related or not.

If the conversation was about work, it may have been totally appropriate and your jealousy could be pushing your wife away. But if the conversation was not about work, then your wife is obviously putting herself in a very dangerous situation by communicating with the man privately.

Either way, we are bothered by your question, “Should I separate from her to retain my dignity?” That question implies that your dignity is more valuable than your marriage. It implies that you are more interested in what people think than in what is best for both of you. We believe that you should fight for your marriage with all that is within you, and be willing to sacrifice your dignity if it comes to that.

You did the right thing by taking steps to renew your relationship with God. He can give you wisdom to know what to do, humility to do whatever you have to do, and strength to get through the difficult times. Be sure to read the Bible to learn of God’s plan for you, and to pray about being the man that God intends for you to be. Also, find a church where the people reflect God’s love and believe the Bible. They can help you as you move forward.

We wish you the best,