A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Our position on divorce

We believe that marriage is a covenant, the terms of which are the vows. Habitual, unrepentant, violation of those vows destroys the covenant and entitles the wronged spouse to divorce, though does not require it.

The Bible sets out covenant-destroying sins: desertion and abuse  (1 Cor. 7:15) – abuse is a form of desertion because the evil conduct violates and repels the victim; and adultery (Mat 19, Mk 10).

God doesn’t hate the legal process of divorce; he hates the sins of desertion, abuse and adultery that cause marriages to break down.

We believe that a wronged party, after divorce, is free to remarry, only in the Lord (i.e., another believer).

For more info go to our FAQ What About Divorce?

19 Comments

  1. Lisa

    Thank you.
    My family was shunned from my church and infact our entire homeschooling community. I totally resonate with your book. At the end, after much spiritual abuse, trying to get help for the domestic abuse, my image of God was so skewed that I finally decided that if I had to choose between God and abuse or divorce and safety, I was going to walk away from God. I was deep into legalism at the time, I tried and tried to be as submissive as I could. I was dead. After I got out, I knew I still needed God and desired to know Him but was scared. What if He really was what they said? What if I was going to hell for leaving my ex? I tried one more church, stayed undercover so to speak. (My family was shunned by name from the pulpit on Sunday morning & my girls were shunned at youth group in front of their friends). My girls won’t return to church ever again, but still confess Christ. Our abuser had left the church 2 years before, but I had decided to file for divorce, and I guess that was the problem. Anyway, I found a church that taught through the scriptures verse by verse. And I began to know Jesus. I now look at my past as a very important time, it was my Old Testament. It was the black back drop to the beautiful brilliance of grace and mercy, my New Testament. I believe there was a purpose to our past, I see Grace more beautiful now. Christ truly has made beauty from ashes and sets captives free. Thank you for your passion.

    • Oh Lisa, what a wonderful happy ending! Thank you so much for sharing, and I hope you continue to contribute to the blog. 🙂

    • Jessica

      Wow. Thank you for this. I have filed for divorce from my abusive husband and I have similar feelings about God and the church (also from a legalistic background). I am looking for a new church, given that my pastors have told me that I have no Biblical grounds for divorce, and they unknowingly continue to enable him to walk in pride and to deny the reality of what he has done to our family. I am planning to visit a different church this weekend – one that I know to be more grace and love than law. I am hopeful to be able to find healing for myself and my children – in a way that I can reflect on our past as positively as you seem to. Thank you for such an encouraging perspective.

  2. KarenR

    thank you again for your work here. I decided to post today because my pastor preached out of Matthew 5 section on adultery and divorce. He allows for divorce because of adultery and separation if there has been physical abuse but only for a time. He did not discuss what would happen after a temporary separation. Is the abuse party just supposed to go back and try a little harder? He made no mention as to what should happen after this period separation was concluded. Was a woman to go back to her abusive husband?it seemed pretty cowardly for lack of a better word because he allowed for separation for physical abuse but did not suggest that perhaps a woman should permanently leave the marriage by getting a divorce.

    Of course he quoted the divorce statistics that indicate almost half of marriages now end in divorce. The overall feeling today was that people often seek divorce for rather trivial reasons. And divorce to statistics would be a lot lower if we would all quote on quote just try a little harder.

    I left feeling pretty discouraged because over a year ago I left my marriage after 20 plus years of dealing with emotional and verbal abuse. We did counseling for over 7 years I have gone to leadership at my church but I left feeling today that I just should have tried a little harder. I know that’s not true but that’s the logical conclusion one would come to after hearing the message today. It seems as if pastors don’t want to confront the possibility that some men are unrepentant.

    Some men are evil. As you state so eloquently here divorce is often the logical conclusion as a result of habitual chronic and unrepentant violation of the marital vows. Once again, it felt like people put the institution of marriage above its individual members. And that marriage should be saved no matter what.

    • I’m so sorry, I know exactly how you feel after a sermon like that. It seems like nobody in the audience even lets their minds wander past “separating for physical abuse FOR A TIME”….what happens next Jack? Why don’t you spell it out? Because you’ve never lived it, that’s why. You probably have no idea what happens next, and nobody’s going to press you on it.
      Because divorce statistics, that’s why.
      BRILLIANT!
      Let’s count ourselves blessed that God opened our eyes – and you did everything a human being could do, and you survived for 20 years. You are amazing!
      ((hugs))

  3. Forrest

    If you enter into a contract (covenant) with another person where that person has deceived you or has misrepresented themselves and your decision to enter into that contract (covenant) was influenced by that then the contract is usually viewed as invalid. Seems to me that it is no different in a marriage to an abuser.

    • Precisely. I’m not sure why more people don’t make this connection.

    • TruthSerum

      This is exactly what happened to me. I was deceived and later told (8 years later after years and years of verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse), that he was diagnosed as a child with ADHD. He said I fell for the guise, so now I have to live with it. Not!!! I never committed to a lie.

  4. LivingInHisGrace

    I have a question…

    What do you say about a woman getting remarried to a new person, after having been through a divorce with an abusive husband? I’m really torn about it. I want to honor God in all I do and I’m looking for some godly counsel.

    I’ve had so much freedom after I was rescued from my abusive marriage and I truly believe God has rescued me!! I repented of my sins I committed that aided in me ending up where I did. However, I was so very naive when I got married. I’ve come from a somewhat dysfunctional family and made choices based off my distorted understanding of life. After marrying the man I thought was my knight in shining armor, I was completely under his control. He kept me from living the life of freedom that Jesus Christ died for me. Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm then and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” These words I have found so much comfort in. Knowing I’m bound to the law of grace in submission to the loving God and savior Jesus Christ! However, I’ve also been reading from some authors (favorites too) of mine who discourage the remarriage of someone who was once divorced in an abusive situation. The hardest part was there were so many scripture references too! Here are some-
    Luke 16:18
    Mark 10:11-12
    Matthew 19:3-9
    Mark 10:2-9
    Matthew 5:32

    I’m torn because at first I had a lot of hope in believing I was going to be given a second chance. That maybe I could meet someone who loves God so genuinely that he will also love me. I’m not bound to this…if God wants me single then I surrender. But I had such, unebated and joyous hope in knowing I had another chance. But then I was crushed after reading some articles from John Piper, R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur on this subject. I’m not blaming or accusing these men…its God’s inerrant, Word they are basing their arguments off of. It’s just I’m really struggling with it. I don’t want to twist or justify God’s Word just to satisfy my own desires. But somewhere inside of me I feel as though these men were not 100% right.

    I feel lost and hopefully I’m not being overly dramatic but can someone please give me some insight? I really appreciate it.

  5. TrumpetSounder

    One of the consequences of a dysfunctional, destructive marriage is that the children learn that abuse is normal. Often the children then grow up to be abusers themselves, or they become victims of abuse. That makes sense, right? We pattern our behavior after our parents, for good or bad.

    But how can we explain when a child in a healthy home, with stable parents, learning great patterns of behavior, then becomes either an abuser or a victim? How can that happen? Don’t they know better? Haven’t they been taught better?

    Unfortunately, the answer is, no, they have not been taught better. If marriage is taught at all from the pulpit, it’s what it should look like. Which is good. Our sweet, good girls and boys are not taught to recognize evil and run away from it. They are taught platitudes, such as just hold on, just pray, no one is without sin, clean up your own heart first. All of which is true. I agree with every one of those statements.

    But the truth doesn’t end there. The truth is that abuse/coercion/marginalization/manipulation is wrong. It is evil. It has typical thought patterns and actions. It has deep, deep ugly roots which can only be healed by the Father. And if left unchecked and unaddressed, it will never stop. I repeat, if left unchecked It. Will. Never. Stop.

    Often a victim of abuse feels “so stupid” for being so gullible, for letting this happen to them. I say how were they supposed to know, since they haven’t been taught? Who is at fault — those who get sucker punched, or those who see the sucker punch happening but don’t give a warning? Or, worse yet, when the victim cries out for help, she/he is told it’s somehow their fault, that if they had tried just a little harder, God could have fixed their marriage.

    So, yes, pastors have an extra burden of responsibility. Sorry. Goes with the job description. But we rank and file Believers, as part of the priesthood of the believer, have the same responsibility to know the Scriptures, to teach, to protect. And when someone has been sucker punched by their spouse or significant other, to not ask, “Have you prayed about this?”

    • Hi TrumpetSounder, I changed your screen name for your safety. If you don’t like the name I chose for you, just email TWBTC (The woman behind the curtain, twbtc.acfj@gmail.com ) and tell her what screen name you would like to use.

      Welcome to the blog and thanks very much for your comment. AMEN to everything you said — preach it sister!

      I encourage you to read our New Users Info page, as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on this blog.

      We hope you stick around and continue to share and encourage us. 🙂

  6. In God's hands

    Hello. I am in a separation from my abuser husband ( married for about a decade). He left home some months ago. After he left home I found out he was in an emotional affair for years with an ex-girlfriend. As soon I found out he went already to see her in person (she lives a good way away). I asked him to come back many times. We have a child.

    He was a verbal abuser. He blames me for everything, even for his other relationship. All the beauty he saw in me in the beginning became the target of abuse in our marriage. He is very cruel with me now. He makes me feel I am nobody and the other girl is the right person. He used words like: [details removed to protect the commenter’s identity]….. Horrible. In his illusion she is amazing!!

    I was reading the bible trying to understand my position in marriage. I told my husband God put us together for a reason. He replie God does not have anything to do with it, we were together because we decided to do it as people!!
    We are both Christians. I am still in shock!!

    I am still afraid about divorce. I am reading articles like this one to understand my spiritual rights. The day I found out about the other person I had a big call saying to show up in the place where he was staying and not tell him. It was so strong I went and I heard him talking with a friend about her. It was so painful but I know it was God who want me to be free of this big lie.

    I don’t know if I am going thru PTSD because I am very nervous, I don’t sleep well. I feel I still love him and I still want him back. (Sometimes I think I am crazy because of that).

    He made me feel so guilty for everything that it is something inside me believing if I do things differently he will change and we can restore our marriage. I know (in my mind) the problem is him and not me. Even our child has a hard time during visitation ( we are sharing our time with the child). On the other hand I am worry about divorce ( emotionally and spiritually), also because he may give me a hard time with it. I am walking over eggshells with everything now. I know God has a plan B for me but I am confused. I want my family together but I want my husband to love me in the right way. It won’t happen, it did not happen, it won’t happen. And now he betrayed our marriage with his decisions. I did not know about a Narcissist person until a month ago.

    I still don’t understand what is happening. How he can be ok leaving his wife and child ( half way) for a phone relationship. A lack of empathy for my feelings, still keeping control and make me feel bad for everything, including talking about her and what he feel for her (to be honest sounds more as a fantasy than real feelings).

    I am holding in God in all of this but I still have a huge weight about my marriage on my shoulders, feeling so guilty if I apply for divorce, even if he was the one who left and has somebody else!

    Thank you for helping so many people who are victims inside doors because the abusers don’t show their real selves to the world. Many times I though if I was a victim of physical abuse I won’t need to be worry about finding support and explaining my situation thinking people won’t believe me. I told a friend one day that I think he has a weird joy in hurting me and she made a bad face like if I was crazy… I feel alone in my confusion and pain. I know God is with me and my hunger for him is increasing every day because I know I need him to be with me to cross this tunnel.
    Thanks and blessings.

  7. Ellie

    Excellent article. According to Scripture God does make a way out through Divorce legally for abuse victims. […]

    • Hi Ellie
      I removed some of your comment to protect you identity and because you had said the bible doesn’t allow remarriage after divorce for abuse. We don’t agree with that. I encourage you to read our key posts about divorce and remarriage. If you read this post you will find links at the bottom of the article to other posts, including one that deals with remarriage.

      Welcome to the blog! 🙂
      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

Trackbacks

  1. Our position on divorce – GBFSV SPIRITUAL ABUSE VICTIMS' RECOVERY

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