To those who are married (and those who aren’t but have a good understanding of the sacrament of matrimony), when a spouse is doing something that you consider unacceptable in a healthy marriage that your spouse will not change or does not see as wrong or a problem, what is your moral obligation with regards to your marriage and what is the best way to love your spouse?
Do you insist that your spouse change or do you voice your concerns but not “force” him/her to change and pray that change will occur?
The reason I ask is that many of the women saints who were married are described as suffering through marriages in which the husbands were well known adulterers amoungst other things. These women are praised for their perserverance in prayer and in an unjust marriage. I struggle with whether staying in such a marriage would be the right thing to do, because it seems like staying is like accepting the behavior and allowing it to continue.
I wanted to not limit this to adultery, even though its the most obvious case, but ask in any situation which you feel that the marriage is being compromised, is it better to stay and pray that God will change things in his own time, or do you think that truly loving your spouse might involve “tough love” in which boundaries are set for the marriage to continue in the current form.
I am of course assuming that “leaving the marriage” does not mean getting a divorce or remarrying, but simply not living together as husband and wife (or possibly emotional separation). i am also assuming there is no abuse or anything else that would compromise the health of a spouse or children.
Also would the presence or abscence of children influence the decision in a moral or practical sense?
I realize that this is a very broad topic and that the answer may differ in different circumstances, I just wanted to get everyone’s general opinion.