I am a follower of Christ, but I married someone with different religious beliefs. We have been married for five years and have a daughter. My husband is an alcoholic…. A year ago, he had a car accident in which a cousin of his died, and we are involved in a lawsuit brought by the boy’s mother. I have had to take all the financial responsibility for the accident.

I see my husband getting more self-destructive every day. I have asked for help from his family, but they don’t seem to care…. I have taken him to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, where he has heard a few speeches, but he goes back to the same behavior. My husband is very weak, and the slightest problem makes him turn to alcohol…. Please, I need some advice about what to do!

Dear Friend,

We are glad to hear that you are already a follower of Jesus Christ, because that indicates that you have spiritual resources to help confront this very difficult problem. When everything seems hopeless and you are tempted to despair, remember that our Heavenly Father is always with you. He doesn’t promise to take away all of the difficulties of life, but He does promise to be with us through every difficult situation.

When Jesus was dying on the cross for our sins, our Heavenly Father did not save Him from suffering or dying even though Jesus was His Son. If He had, then we would each have to pay the penalty for our own sins. But because the Heavenly Father allowed Jesus to endure the torture and agony of the cross, His death pays the penalty for all of our sins. We only need to ask Him to forgive us. You say that you are a follower of Christ, so we assume that you have already taken this step.

However, without knowing the other circumstances of your situation, it is difficult to advise you. Since your husband has already caused you financial hardship, you are right to be concerned about what he might do in the future. So we believe that you should consider a legal separation until he stops abusing alcohol. A legal separation means you will still be married and that you must still be faithful to one another. But in most countries, it also means that you will not be held liable for the financial responsibilities that your husband might incur. Please consult with an attorney for legal advice.

The other matter is not something that you are asking of us, but it is probably an issue that you are concerned about. How much negative influence is your husband’s drinking having on your little girl? It depends on how old she is and on how loud, aggressive, or violent your husband gets when he is inebriated. If he is an aggressive drunk (rather than a passive one), then your daughter is likely being exposed to a very negative side of her father. She would be better off to never have to experience episodes of disorderly behavior, especially in her own home. If, like many couples experience, his alcohol abuse often leads to loud arguments and verbal or physical abuse, then your daughter certainly does not need to be exposed to that.

Ask God to guide you, and He will,