Should I Divorce, Separate, or Move Out?



This is a question I see all the time. In this article I will consider it as if it were written by a husband wondering which of the above three alternatives, if any, he should consider.

But first, my favorite quote on the matter:

As for his secret to staying married: "My wife tells me that if I ever decide to leave, she is coming with me."
-- Jon BonJovi

You go, girl!
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Generally, for spiritual reasons, I recommend that you not be the one who initiates the divorce.
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If the other person moves out or files for divorce, it is still a free country, as the expression goes. But if you make the first move, then you have the guilt of it. Generally divorce is not a good thing, so initiating it puts a burden of guilt on you. This advice applies to both husband or wife.

There is the situation where the other person is drug addict, criminal, or abusive person. Of course, you have to protect yourself and the children. You might have to get the help of the authorities.

But in this post, I'm addressing the more typical situation where both husband and wife are decent, good people.
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When both are good people, it is best not to divorce. It is best to work things out. But if the other side is determined to move out or divorce, let them be the first to make the fateful move. You will then know that you did not initiate it and won't have that hanging around your neck as the years go by.

Now a special word for men:

I cannot advise about any legal issues. Also, every circumstance is different, but I can speak in generalities. For spiritual, emotional, and strategic reasons it is not good for the husband to leave first.

Why is it generally not good for the husband to leave first?

In the mind of the wife, he made the first move and left her. She may have teased him and tempted him to leave first (secretly in her heart of hearts she may have hoped he would not leave her), but, after all, he did not have to leave. But he did.

When he leaves, it means that he walked out. Worse yet, in the eyes of the children, it means that father left them. Roberto Duran, one of the greastest boxers in history, will never live down being a quitter when he said "no mas" in his fight against Surgar Ray Leonard. A dad who leaves has made a bad move. His family will never forget that he moved out on them.

The wife has the advantage now in every respect. She did not leave him. He moved out on her and left the kids.

You see, husband and father has a very special role. He holds a station in life. He holds the office of husband and if there are kids, the office of father.

In the eyes of children, father stands in for God. Can you see why it is so devastating when a father fails?

Husband and father is supposed to be like the George Washington or Moses of the family. He stands for what is right. He cannot have any vices. He must be principled, honorable, wise, patient, long suffering, and kind.
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He has to be as steady as the ticking of a grandfather clock in a thunderstorm. If others fail him, he does not fail them. If others become upset, he remains calm and reasonable.

Most dads are a little weak. They say the right things, but say them too weakly. He must not be there to win a popularity contest. He has to stand for what is right and persist even in the face of rebellion. But he must not be angry. He must always have a twinkle in his eye.
.Many men clam up, but are angry and resentful underneath. When they do finally speak up, their message is tainted and ruined by the pent up anger. Feeling guilty, he may clam up again or sit on the sidelines while the family goes to ruin.
.A man simply can't avoid his duty without harming the family. That is why he must learn to stand for what is right with patience and firmness and kindness.

He has to be there for his wife and children. They need a very special love from him: emotionless agape love. A man cannot have this love if he is selfish or unprincipled. Nor can he have this love for them if he is a womanizer or tries to make his wife into his mother. He must not look for ego support from the world. He must look within and find a bond with what he knows in his heart.

He will then not need love. He will give love. He must love principle more than anything, even his wife.
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But if you think about it for a moment, you will see that this is the man she can trust. She knows he will always be there for her and she knows he will never be unfaithful (because he does not need the love of a woman, a drug, or some worldly support). This is the man she can respect and perhaps even love.

Now, gentlemen, most wives are aware of their husband's weaknesses before they get married, but she hopes that he will become the noble knight she needs. And once within the confines of marriage, the nobly inclined man will become aware of his failing her in some mysterious way.
.He will search his heart and out of true love for her and the children, he will see what they need from him. He will learn to be less selfish, and eventually one day, unselfish. He will begin to fail less, and one day not fail at all.

She will see his nobility, his heart felt efforts, and his love of principle. With this man, there is hope.

Of course, there are some women who will not take kindly to his new inner authority, and she will most likely resent him even when he is right. If she is a permanent hater, then she will make his life as miserable as possible. If he remains noble, she will probably go off to find someone else. If this happens, so be it.

But you cannot know what is in your wife's heart until you straighten up and fly right. Only then might your noble love draw forth the good in her.
.Many women have been so used and unloved that they cannot imagine or believe that a man can be noble. She may test him and give him a hard time for years (or decades). If he is tested and not found wanting, he will win her heart. They will become very good friends and live happily ever after.

As I said, most men are weak (or weak and violent). Their weakness literally tempts the wife and kids to rebel. So if you have been weak or selfish, before looking at other's wrong, first look at your own. See your part in what has gone wrong and repent of it.

Many wives had a father who was not there for her. She resented him and went out in the world looking for love. What she got was use and abuse at the hands of boyfriends. Since all men failed her, she expects that he husband will too (though a good woman will hope her husband won't fail her).

Perhaps you can see why the man needs to have the wisdom of Solomon and perfect self control. All men have failed, but that is not an excuse for more failing. You must find the way to fail less.
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I cannot say what to do in any particular circumstance. There are just too many particular situations. But I can speak in general terms.
.Generally divorce is not a good thing. Sometimes a separation may be of some help, so that both sides can find themselves and get their bearings, but maybe not.

I always tell men that if there is an argument and she tells you to leave or something, just go and sit in the living room and watch television. If you move out, it means something to her -- it means you quit her. She may be just testing you, to see if you will stay or leave. Or she may have said something she didn't really mean.

If that is the case, then when the storm blows over, everyone will be glad that you remained calm and did not make a mistake. Sometimes we do the right thing by just not doing the wrong thing. ht 
.Please note that my comments are directed to the typical situation where both are good people, not perfect of course, but decent. If your spouse is extremely disturbed, violent or criminal, you will need to protect the children and get professional help and assistance from the authorities.
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If there is a divorce, it is best not to begin the process yourself. If your wife divorces you, you will then not be guilty for having begun it.

If you have only been married for a short time, things might be worked out, but if there is not true marriage, then going your separate ways may be best.

But when there are children, everything changes. Now the man is both husband and father.

I recently heard a man tell about his father who he loved deeply. His mom was not a nice lady and she made a lot of trouble. He stayed there for the children and was a good father to them. He suffered for decades, but never hated his wife and never complained. The children loved him dearly.

You see, the children were aware of his suffering. They saw his sacrifice and nobility. And they loved him all the more. It didn't matter what mom did. Father was there for them.

But if he had walked out on her and them, what would be foremost in their minds would not be what mom did, but what he did. He would have quit on them. Thank God he did not.
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Dear Sir,
I know that marriage can be a severe test. But just as there can be no courage without danger, so likewise there can be no character without a test of that character. A final word. Sometimes we do the right thing by simply not doing the wrong thing. Someone can tempt you to do something wrong or foolish. Just don't do it and you are safe. Always do what you know is right in your heart.

I've always told men--if you have an argument with your wife--whatever you do, don't walk out. Walking out means something to a woman. Just go sit in the living roon and watch television or read a book. Let the storm blow over.

I heard the true story of a noble lady named Sister Hortense who lives in Chicago. Her husband was unfaithful and walked out. She waited 8 years (remaining chaste and pure) and never gave up hope. One day, 8 years later, there was a knock on the door. Repentant and chastened, her husband asked if they could perhaps reconcile. And they did. Sister Hortense sets a good example for us all.











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