My husband and I have been married for six months…. During the eight years that we dated, there was violence and drunkenness on his part…. I have remained faithful, but my husband has not…. From the moment I caught him… I couldn’t take anymore, for he had done a lot of bad things to me before, such as humiliating me and hitting me. But it’s the first time I discovered an infidelity.

I have left home and, fortunately, we don’t have children to be in the middle of all of this. But I don’t know how to handle it, or if I did the right thing by leaving.

Dear Friend,

We are so sorry to hear about what has happened to you! It was obviously a big mistake to overlook your husband’s prior behavior and decide to marry him anyway. Like many women, you probably were convinced that he would change after you were married.

However, he didn’t change, and he will likely not change until he is miserable enough to want something different. Of course, God has the power to help him become a different person, but God doesn’t force Himself on anyone. Your husband must want God’s help and ask for it himself.

As for whether you were correct in leaving, there are two reasons why we believe that you did the right thing. First, since your husband has a history of hitting you, he is a danger to you. You might not expect his violence to escalate, hurting you worse than he already has. But he is a person who has no self-control, so he could progress very quickly from hitting you to killing you, especially if he is drunk. You, as well as any others who are in that kind of danger, need to make whatever changes are necessary to protect themselves.

The second reason that we believe you did the right thing is that your husband was unfaithful, and he is very likely to be unfaithful again. Although many marriages can be saved after limited infidelity, the violence that you have suffered makes it unwise to give your husband another chance.

Thank God you have not brought children into the world, for any children would very likely suffer physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their father. Because of this danger, we must warn you that it is critically important to never have marital relations with him again. An unplanned pregnancy now would make things much more difficult for you as well as for the innocent child.

Jesus Christ taught that infidelity is a justifiable reason for divorce. (1) In your case we wonder if you might be able to get a legal annulment, since you have been married such a short time. That will depend on the laws in your country, so we suggest that you consult with an attorney.

Remember that God loves you and wants the best for you. Trust Him to give you the strength and wisdom that you need for your future.

We wish you well,

1 Mt 5:32