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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband's Caring Ministry Doesn't Extend to His Wife

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to the same man for 20 years. He likes having people around all the time, and because he is a minister, we often can't avoid it. I have tried to accommodate his friends and hangers-on, but lately it's becoming unbearable. He will say "yes" to people who have been evicted, and I find myself sharing living quarters with perfect strangers or church members without prior notice.

I have tried over the years to make sense of his attitude toward me (also toward those he's offered help). I feel he cares for others and what they think of him more than what I feel or think. When I complain about his latest live-in's attitude -- or anything -- he brushes every issue aside and basically tells me to be a good Christian.

Right now, we have a family of three sharing our three-room house with us and our three boys. I'm thinking of leaving him when the youngest one is 13. I don't want to hurt my kids. How can I explain to them that their "nice" dad is unreasonable and irresponsible with money, and I can't bear it anymore? -- REACHED MY LIMIT IN NIGERIA

DEAR REACHED: I suspect your problems "come with the territory" of being married to a minister. But a caring husband would respect and consult his wife before inviting houseguests into their home.

If you finally decide you are so unhappy you need to leave, be honest with your sons. The way you have expressed your reasons to me are clear and well stated. Because they have grown up with things always having been this way, they may think it is normal. Or, you may find they agree with you.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce