-An extract from Venerable Pomnyun’s book, Life Lessons–
P: What should a woman do if her husband is adamant about getting a divorce but she wants to maintain the marriage for the sake of her young children? Should she cry and plead with her husband to change his mind? Or, should she just let go of him and get divorced?
Q: “My family became bankrupt as a result of my husband’s attempt to expand his business beyond our means. His negligence toward me and my children made me fall into depression, and I’ve had a very difficult time. Since last year, I started listening to your dharma talks and tried very hard to recover from my depression, but my husband has left the house demanding a divorce. I did the best I could every day while waiting for my husband to return home. Maybe thanks to those efforts, my children and I are doing better. However, my husband is still demanding a divorce and wants to talk about what to do about our children.”
This lady shed tears while lamenting that all her effort to heal the wound of her family was in vain. Her suffering stems from one reason – wanting her husband to change. She should be comfortable with her husband just the way he is, but if the premise of her prayer is “My husband will change if I act in a certain way”, her life will be dependent on her husband’s behavior and attitude. She will be at peace if she understands her husband and sympathizes with him, but she will suffer if she thinks that her husband will change if she acts in a certain way. Because she was so dependent on her husband, she was crying about the fact that he hasn’t changed his mind about wanting to divorce her.
In a divorce lawsuit, she will be at a disadvantage is she initiates it, but if her husband is the one who initiates it, she doesn’t have to worry about anything. The husband will have to do all the paperwork, hire a lawyer, schedule the date, and so on, so she won’t have to do anything. When she goes to court, she can truthfully say, “I still love my husband. Your honor, please protect our family.” Then, the judge will very likely decide in her favor.
If the husband still insists on getting a divorce, she can make her decision based on the situation. For example, he may offer her all his assets in return for a divorce. If he is adamant about getting a divorce, he may offer other incentives. If the offer is something she would be happy with, she can agree to the divorce.
“How can a person act like that? How could I have ever married such a man?” If she thinks this way, she will be so miserable that she won’t be able to sleep. She should just let her husband be and lead a good life with her children. If the children ask why their father doesn’t come home, she should simply console them by saying, “Your father must be having some difficulties. Let’s pray for him.”
In the present modern age, women’s rights are so well protected that women don’t have to cling desperately to their marriage. Also, there is really no need for women to curse their husbands for wanting a divorce.
Right now, she is still dependent on her husband, so her happiness and unhappiness are determined by her husband’s actions. However, it will be good for her if she can sympathize with him, “He must be really troubled and frustrated to be acting that way” and pray for him, “I believe my husband will be fine. I love my husband.”
This lady shouldn’t expect her husband to change in any way or want him to come back and reunite with her. She should simply stop begging for happiness. She should become centered so she can stand on her own and have a positive mindset. Then, her face will brighten up and she will be able to raise her children well.