I found out, after twenty-three years of marriage, that my husband has been unfaithful to me and now has a four-year-old daughter with another woman. In our relationship there has been a lot of physical abuse and verbal abuse, even toward the children. On several occasions I pressed charges against him, but then took him back, believing that he would change. Unfortunately, he has done the complete opposite. Now we are under the same roof, but each of us doing our own thing. What would you advise me to do?

Dear Friend,

We are very concerned that you have so often been in the situation to bring legal charges against your husband for physical abuse. It is troubling to know that you dropped the charges after each of those occasions, putting yourself and your children back into the same dangerous environment. And the abuse of your children causes us even more concern. Who will protect them if you won’t?

Very clearly, yours is a case of Battered Person Syndrome. This is a pattern of behavior in which one intimate partner (married or unmarried) suffers abuse at the hand of the other partner, and then allows it to happen over and over again. The abuser always convinces the abused that he or she is sorry and that it will never happen again. And the abused person believes the lie, even after multiple experiences in that vicious cycle.

Battered Person Syndrome is not an illness, so there is no cure. There are likely many reasons why you have allowed this destructive and dangerous pattern to go on for so long, but that doesn’t matter now. What does matter is that there is absolutely no reason at all why you should allow the violence to continue.

Now that you have proof that your husband has been unfaithful to you, the legal process may be simplified. We urge you to make an appointment with an attorney to discuss your options and how you should proceed. But under no circumstances should you allow yourself or your children to be harmed any more than has already occurred. Take whatever steps are necessary to protect yourselves with no further delay or equivocation.

From beginning to end, the Bible, God’s Holy Word, teaches us that God is love. The Gospel according to John says that God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die on a cross to pay the penalty for all our sins. But God doesn’t just love everyone; He loves you. He wants you to feel His love and His peace in your home. If you accept His love, He will guide you into the future. And if you develop a personal relationship with Him, He will give you the wisdom and strength that you need.

We wish you well,