Dear Rachel,

My husband has decided he wants a divorce. Should I try and persuade him to stay? Or do I let him go because it is obviously what he wants?

I want to stay married more than anything else, I just don't want to be egotistical. Is it right to try and force him to stay? On one hand I feel that we have a spiritual bond because of our marriage and children and I have an obligation to try and persuade him not to go. On the other hand is it right for me to do that if he feels caged?

The last problem is that I am pregnant, this of course is not a problem in itself, it is a blessing in every circumstance, but I haven't told him yet as I have only just found out. If I tell him will it be like a means of forcing him?


Dear Confused,

A marriage is a very precious thing. It is also a commitment to one another. In today's "disposable" times, when everything seems to be disposable and replaceable, perhaps some of the genuine values and attitudes towards marriage have unfortunately fallen by the way side. Divorce is not a light step and is really only the absolute last resort, when every other means has been tried and for some reason the relationship can't be worked out. We are told that when a couple divorces, the altar in the Temple sheds tears and is pained over this ripping up of what is so precious and important. This is true for all marriages, and becomes increasingly relevant for marriages where there are children involved, children who will be affected by the break-up in major ways, children who will feel like their lives will be falling apart with a divorce.

So, to answer your question, yes, you must do everything in your power to prevent a divorce. This would be true even if you had some legitimate complaints against your spouse, and all the more so, from what you write, considering that you really want to remain married more than anything. This is all the more true since you have a family with children and a new one now on the way.

I want to impress upon you how serious a step it is to divorce. All marriages have ups and downs. All marriages have closer times and more distant ones. The point is to work through these periods and try to create an even deeper bond.

It is difficult for me to write any practical advice without knowing more about why your husband wants to divorce. Why does he feel caged in the marriage? Why is he unsatisfied? Can you do anything to alleviate the situation? Have you gone to any therapy? Do you speak openly with one another? Are there other problems? Working towards greater happiness or fulfillment for both of you would be going in the right direction, but severing your marital bond would only be a last resort, after all other efforts are exhausted.

Yes, I do think that you should be letting him know that you are pregnant and the life of another child is at stake with any kind of move you make. I don't think that doing whatever is in your power to try to keep your marriage intact would be is "forcing" him or caging him in. It is the least you can do for your marriage, for your children and for your spouse and for yourself.

Much hatzlacha making your marriage a better one and a more lasting one.