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Guilt Keeps Mother Of Three In Loveless Marriage

DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of three beautiful daughters. I have been married for 11 years now. I married at 19, just after high school. My husband is 18 years older.

The first five years of marriage, when I fully depended on him, he was arrogant, violent and unfaithful. He hurt me so badly that I vowed to work hard and when I was independent, I would move away. Now I have a stable job -- but my kids love him, and I know they will be hurt.

My husband is jobless now. He tells me he supported me when I was jobless, so it's my turn to take care of him. I stay because I feel guilty. Should I finally forgive him, and if so, how? -- BITTER IN NAIROBI

DEAR BITTER: If you truly want to forgive your husband for the physical and emotional abuse you suffered in the early years of your marriage, a place to start would be to talk with your spiritual adviser.

You didn't mention whether your husband is trying to find another job, if there is a valid reason why he can't work, or if he's still unfaithful. If it's the latter, then in my opinion, you "owe" him the same amount of financial support that he gave you and nothing more. However, because I am not familiar with the marriage laws in Kenya, you should discuss this with a lawyer.

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