Divorce and Christianity

Yesterday, a friend approached me with a dilemma that one of her friends is having: she is in a marriage where her husband is an alcoholic and abuses her emotionally, mentally, and financially. He has rage issues and will yell at her and accuse her of things she never did (cheat on him) and call her names. And they have a small child.

My friend (we’ll call her Annie) came to me because she wanted to see if I could give her a Christian perspective on how to help her friend. I told her that her friend was in an abusive marriage and that if I were her friend, I would tell her she needed to find a way out for herself and for her child’s well-being. The answer I got back was very upsetting. Annie proceeded to tell me that the Bible strictly goes against divorce and that their pastor said that the only time a woman should ever divorce her husband is if he commits adultery. Annie also said that a suggestion that her pastor gave was that her friend and daughter could decide to move away from her husband and live apart, without legally getting divorced.

Having grown up in a conservative Christian home myself, I understand where people have conflict with their religion and wonder if what they are doing is for their own selfish reasons or if God would approve. Here’s my take on it. People do all sorts of things every single day that according to Christianity, would not be approved by God- gossiping, a little fib here and there, lying on your taxes, going against your parents’ wishes, not keeping promises- and they “know” that God will forgive them because these are mistakes, no one is getting hurt, and God is loving and forgiving.

Well, getting married to someone who you truly did not know, or that you even knew but chose to look the other way, or thought would change after marriage or having kids is also a mistake! But it’s a complicated mistake that involves the rest of people’s lives. According to the Bible, God forgives murderers, but won’t forgive a woman because she divorces her abusive husband? She is forced to be miserable and face her consequences for life because she made a mistake? And what about how this will all affect their child? I cannot comprehend this “dilemma” at all. Lives are at stake, here. EVERYONE, even among the Christian community, has a different interpretation about God and what God would approve of. My God is a loving God and He would definitely not approve this. EVERYONE has the right to be happy living in their own homes and if they are not, have a right to choose it.

*Disclaimer: I am not encouraging divorce as a resort for every couple with marital issues. However, I believe abuse in the home (or any relationship) is inexcusable and one should remove herself (or himself) as safely as possible as there is no way to “fix” an abusive person unless that person acknowledges it and is willing to do so on their own will.

**Disclaimer: I am not generalizing this viewpoint to all Christians.

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