Since his teenage years, my husband has had problems with drugs, alcohol, and delinquency…. After our daughter was born, he went into rehab and got clean. However, after our son was born, he started using drugs again and had a daughter with another woman…. He came back repentant, and I forgave him. Until some time ago he was doing well, but then he started using again and, even though he said he was going to quit, I can see that it hasn’t happened.
Now I’m staying with my sister because I can’t stand it any longer…. I’m thinking about getting separated, but… I’m hanging in there for the sake of my children, constantly afraid that my husband will relapse. It’s horrible to live like this!
It sounds like you and your family have been strapped into an emotional roller coaster and you can’t get off. Your husband gets better and it seems like you have reason to be encouraged, but then he gets worse and you fall into discouragement. Up and down you and your family continue to go, and now you want to know whether or not you and your children should get off the wild ride and leave your husband behind.
The wisest thing to do would be to consult an attorney. You need to understand what parental rights your husband will have if you decide to separate from him. Will he be able to come and take the children for an unsupervised visit to a different home where you will not be able to protect them from what they might see and experience? Will he be obligated to support the children financially even though they don’t live with him anymore? An attorney can help you deal with those important issues.
Because your husband was unfaithful to you, we believe that you do have a Biblically-based reason to separate from him. (1) In addition, his drug abuse makes him an extremely poor example for your children. However, statistics have shown repeatedly that children are better off when they have close relationships with their fathers. Therefore, there is no way for us to know whether your children would be emotionally healthier with their parents together or apart.
God’s perfect will for each child is to have a wise and loving mother and father who are happily married and who are not addicted to any substances. However, we all know that many children do not have the advantages that intact and healthy homes offer.
No matter what you decide to do in your situation, you can minimize the negative effects on your children by not making their father look bad. Don’t try to convince them that you are right and that your husband is wrong. Don’t burden your children with those issues. Instead, never let them overhear you speaking about your situation with anyone else, and be sure to keep your discussions with your husband private and confidential.
We wish you well,
1 Mt 5:31-32; 19:9