“I’ve been married for 16 years and I’ve never been happy”



My marriage is in a crisis. My husband and I have been married for 16 years, and have three children together. I don’t remember ever being happy in my marriage.

Things got worse after the birth of our first child, and it worsened after every child. My husband never really spends time with us, especially after getting paid. He spends his salary on booze. He disappears every pay day, and he only comes back on the following Monday morning smelling of alcohol and with no money for transport.

He never buys any groceries, but he wants to eat home-cooked meals every day. All the other days when he’s home, he looks depressed. And he claims noise makes him sick, but it is strange because he always listens to loud music when he’s out there partying. I have been complaining to the family elders and church leaders, and everyone is telling me to be a woman and make things work. Some say he will get better with time.

But this has been going on for the past 15 years. We are both 38 years old but his behaviour is childish. Should I stay and be strong or leave and face being judged by the community? 

Expert advice

Zimiselo Nkomo, a social worker at Masiza Wellness, says, “From the way you have related, I get the impression that there are some underlying issues that have caused your husband to drift away from you and behave the way he does.

 It is difficult to know what these issues are without him opening up. Men often find it easier to hide away from their problems through drinking than talking about them. Should you still have the interest to rescue your marriage, try to engage him with the intention to find out what he is dealing with or running away from. You must also try professional counselling. It can help him to open up about his problems.


He showed you his true colours after the birth of your first child. You should have moved on and let your happiness come first. Even now it’s not too late to move on. You deserve to be happy. He failed you from the start.


If someone wants to change their behaviour, they will. But your husband doesn’t want to change because he knows even if he comes back without money for grocery, you will provide it. Take a decision and be in control of your situation.


To make this marriage work, it will take a man and a woman. Not a woman alone. Don’t let this go on like this any longer, think about your children. It is better to be from a broken home than to be in one. You really deserve better.


This is about you and not the community. I wonder who then gives him money for transport? Your husband won’t learn as long as he is still being spoon-fed. You don’t need a 38-year-old baby

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