Seventh-Day Adventists/I am tired

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Question
Hi Marty
I have been married 8 yrs now. I got married while I was attending college with no spiritual guidance for my decision. I married a man 12 yrs older than me at the age 30. I did not have any relationship with God but wasn't a wild worldly person either. I am a simple person. I enjoyed dating my dating yrs and married my husband not looking ahead that this decision would be forever. We never discussed kids, religion, education none of the important things.... We just got married thinking we were soul mates.
Anyway I struggled for yrs dealing with his smoking and drinking habits as I tried to live a vegan non smoking and drinking lifestyle. I decided to let go of that struggle and engage myself in things that I love to do... Because of that I truely changed my life my beliefs and how I want to live my life and what qualities are important to me in a mate.
I have gotten baptized in the Sda faith and enjoy celebrating the sabbath.
I often wish I could look forward to spending it with someone who shares my same desires....
Sabbath dinner, family worship time etc...we now exsist like just friend rooming together. We have nothing in common not health, no future plans, no spiritual connections.
I pray and ask God how can this work. My husband says he is still in live with me but I am not.
He hides and goes to the bar and comes home smelling of alcohol and cigar smoke comes thru his pores...
I talk and try to be a living example of the health message... I want children and I am already 40 but not to a man that is destroying his body. Anyway... I am emotionally disconnected  from him. I want to do the right thing by GOD and I am not sure what that is..... Don't know if our civil ceremony is recognized by God and that would be grounds for a legal separation of some kind. Confused and tired in this draining marriage. Please advise

Answer
I can see you are in a tough spot. I'm sorry for all of the difficulties you described. I'll pray for you this week.

I've seen good marriages, bad marriages and marriages that looked good but really were little more than arrangements. When you have as much disconnect as you describe, it sounds like the two of you are living in the same space but have little intimacy or meaningful connection. That seems like a waste of two good lives.

Can you change it? Maybe, I've seen some try and some succeed. Paul encourages a woman who marries an unbelieving man to consider staying with him and witnessing to him of Christ's love through word and deed. He also make room for the woman to leave him after this is well thought out, especially if their is adultery involved.

I have never recommended for anyone to leave their spouse and probably wont start now. If I saw signs of physical or severe emotional abuse, I would quickly recommend separation. If I didn't see those things, then I would recommend that you start to see a marriage counselor that would help you refocus on what you want out of life and what God wants for you and whether or not over a period of time your spouse can come to similar conclusions.

That may be uncomfortable advice and I can certainly understand that. Sometimes it feels like the only course is to break away. Heaven only knows the answer to that. But I would try very hard before that day came to convince you of your commitment and your spouses commitment. I can suggest several books if you like to help you think through what this means. Maybe your pain is too great to read them now and you might be able to look at only one of them. If so, let me know and I'll suggest one or two.

Look at your options, look at your commitments, look at what God would do and ask for help from Him and I suggest your pastor as well. If your pastor has a pastors heart, he or she will do their best to share your pain but also guide you in the way of Christ. Jesus understands a great deal about divorce, separation and irreconcilable differences. Be encouraged because He is also a master of reconciling people.

Courage and Blessings.

Seventh-Day Adventists

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Marty Thurber

Expertise

Questions about the Adventist Church and it's history. Bible Related questions about our teachings.

Experience

I've volunteered here before,enjoyed it, took a break for a while. Ready to get back in and help clarify the Adventist lifestyle. I am an Adventist pastor and have been since 1984.

Publications
Signs of the Times Ministry Magazine

Education/Credentials
Theology degree from Southwestern Adventist.

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