You and your husband exchanged “I dos” and vowed to love each other “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, till death do us part” on your wedding day. But at some point in your marriage, you may encounter major conflicts where your commitment to your vows - and to each other - will be tested. There’s no quick solution when there’s serious tension in your union and no easy answer when it comes to deciding whether to stay with your spouse or leave him, as every marriage is different.
Pilar Tolentino, executive director of Center for Family Ministries (CeFaM), an organization in Ateneo de Manila University that offers counseling services to families, says, “As counselors, we don’t make decisions for people who come to us. We help them understand their situation and assess available options to make a decision and take action.”
Lory Cipriano, a marriage counselor at CeFaM, states, “Our goal in giving psycho-spiritual counseling is for married couples to realize that their first function and obligation is to their spouse; next, to their children. We guide them in finding the root of their conflict in the hope that their family lives and marriage would be saved.”
Dette Gamba, management officer, single mom to three girls, and facilitator of a single-parents ministry, has experienced a lot of conflicts in her marriage. She now gives sound advice to fellow separated or single parents. “My experiences can help other people who are going through the same things I did.” Dealing with a marriage issue? Here’s advice from our experts and valuable insights from other parents.
1. “My husband is an alcoholic who comes home late and barely has time for the kids. But when he is sober, he is loving and responsible.” Cipriano: “Addiction problems such as alcoholism require rehabilitation. Do not tolerate your husband’s addiction; otherwise, you will be creating a co-dependent relationship. I had a case where the wife decided to take the kids and leave her husband. She did not take him back until he got treatment and was completely sober. It took some time for the husband to clean up his act. They’re back together now and their marriage is stronger than ever.”
Gamba: “Stay. Talk to him when he is sober. Tell him the effects of his alcoholism on your relationship and his relationship with the kids. Do not fight or nag him when he is inebriated.”
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
2. “My husband is a workaholic and my kids and I rarely see or spend time with him. But he provides well for the family, financially.” Cipriano: “Talk to your husband and express your concerns and your expectations. Sit down and plan way ahead, blocking off dates in your calendar for couple dates and family outings if need be.”
Gamba: “Stay. It is just a matter of setting priorities straight and time management.”