Should a wife not divorce even a drinking, smoking and abusing husband?
A woman devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“I was a religious person since childhood but became a devotee of Krishna 8 months ago. First a match was fixed, but that got cancelled. I had to wait for more than a year to get a suitable match and its been 2 years now. But my husband and in-laws are money minded. After few months of marriage they started asking for gifts to my parents, when they refused my husband beat me. Then my husband sent me to foreign for higher studies and I had to stay alone for sometime after which he came. In foreign also, he beat me many times. He has drinking and smoking habits and never respects me and my family. He is never frank to me and always hides stuff from me. He thinks serving husband is the only aim of a wife. He doesn’t allow me to read Bhagavad Gita saying that this is not the correct age to study it. Recently he drank and tried to force himself upon me. I had to take help of cops. After this, he left the house and now neither he nor his family is in contact from few months. Did I do anything wrong? I don’t want to get separated but he is not interested anymore because from starting only he didn’t like to take any responsibility and wanted me to earn for him and his family. What should I do as in Vedic culture there is nothing like the concept of divorce has strongly printed on my mind. I had to face financial and other problems because I am just a student and no means to support nor any friend/relative to help me in this foreign land. I don’t want to go back to my parents and trouble them. His parents in India still think it is all my fault and criticize me in front of the relatives. Please guide me. Thank you. Hari bol!”
The wives having the problems like you can divorce the husband.
Actually, this advice of our scriptures have been greatly misunderstood by the present people of modern life style.
Why divorce is discouraged for many cases?
Because, 90-95% of the problems are solvable in life with some small adjustments.
Scriptures permit the wife to divorce (desert) her husband in the following two cases:
(1) If the husband goes away from his wife against her requests for atleast one year with another woman or alone. This shows his irresponsibility of not protecting his committed wife. Hence she can divorce him.
(2) If the husband abuses his wife asking for more properties. This is the violation of his assurance that he will protect his wife respecting her like respecting Lakshmi devi for the house. A wife need not live with a man who is a threat for her dignity.
In your case, both the cases exist, if you have written the situation correctly.
Therefore, you can divorce him.
Why the women are not recommended to divorce her husband for other reasons?
Because, if the divorce is liberalized, every woman has to divorce her husband because every man has any one of the defects.
Some men may smoke or drink, but, fulfil or atleast try to fulfil his family responsibilities. Therefore, just because he is drinking, he need not be divorced. Only if he abuses the wife and demands properties, he should be divorced. Hence such restrictions.
Some men may commit some sexual violations outside the marriage and then get reformed, but, fulfil or atleast try to fulfil his family responsibilities. Therefore, just because he had some extra marital affairs in the past, he need not be divorced. Only if he continues to have extramarital affairs even after many advices and warnings, and also abuses the wife demanding the properties, he should be divorced. Hence such restrictions.
Some men may not go to any jobs, but, the wife will be working and managing the family. If that husband is taken to counsellings and arranged a job, he can be made to go to a job. Therefore, divorcing the husband for such reasons will be very extreme step.
Now a days, most of the divorces are for silly reasons like ego, wife earning more than the husband, wife having phone contacts with friends, etc.
Had they postponed their decisions for a few days, they will never divorce.
That is why, the Manu Samhita recommends separation in such two extreme cases mentioned above.
When two persons from different backgrounds marry and start their married life, there will be definitely some problems, but, it is unavoidable in any marriage life.
No couple will have all their qualities similar. Atleast one or two small differences will be there. Therefore, if everyone expects similar quality from his/ her spouse, no marrriages can succeed.
To make the marriage life successful, either the husband should adjust with his wife or the vice versa.
Otherwise, two persons can not live together for decades within four walls.
Therefore, divorce should be the last option for the husband or wife. 90% of the problems can be solved if anyone adjusts for the other.
Out of the other 10% of the problems, the divorce can be considered ONLY AFTER all the efforts of yourself and the parents/ relatives to solve the problem fails. Thus, You may be able to correct the problems in 80% of the remaining 10%. Therefore, just 2% of marriages may end in divorce.
But, now a days, many boys and girls are not ready for adjustments. Since the marriages are fixed based on sex, earning and the status, any small disappointment in these three factors take the couples towards the divorce even within 2-3 months of marriage.
This is neither advisable nor healthy for a society.
Thus, Divorce can be allowed, but it should be the last option after all the efforts to correct it fail.
In your case, since he has all the above mentioned reasons and if he is not accessible, you can divorce him.
If you are less than 35 years of age, you can also remarry ONLY IF you have body disturbances. Otherwise, if you can remain disciplined even without physical relations, lead a devotional way of life.
All the best.