Is it ok to divorce an abusive spouse?

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Q. As I understand it, the Bible gives the OK for divorce if one of the partners have committed adultery. However, that is the only case in which divorce is OK with God. So, what about in cases where the husband is beating his wife or children? Why would God not give the OK then?

I do not believe that God ever intends, for one second, that a woman, or a family, to endure abuse. I have encouraged time and time again, women to leave an abusive husband and seek shelter.

There are throughout our country counseling services available to the abused spouse. Domestic violence is a very dangerous thing to deal with. In my eight years working with the Police Department as a Chaplain, I saw more people killed as a result of Domestic violence than any other form of violence committed against another person. Police officers know that the most dangerous call they will ever receive is a Domestic violence call.

Therefore, I help people leave, immediately, if there is a threat of Domestic violence.

Having said all that…….there is a huge difference in separation from a violent partner, and being given the freedom to remarry another. I believe that 1 Cor. 7:10-16 has application for the Christian in this matter.

1 Cor. 7:10-16

10 ¶ But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband

11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.

13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

If a woman is being abused, I believe she has the God given right (1Cor. 7:10-16) to leave her husband. She is then in a position to demand that her husband seek counseling for his character flaw, his abusive behavior. She should remain single, and demand that her husband seek help. If he refuses, she is under no obligation to return to him.

However, she is not free to remarry, at least not at this point.

It has been my experience in these cases that a man who is violent toward his wife and children also has other character flaws. He usually is using drugs, or alcohol. At the very least, he is irresponsible in a number of other areas of his life. When he is separated from his family he has two choices. Seek help and get better, or continue down the slippery slope of a degenerate lifestyle. Either way, a woman will only know the next course of action to follow by allowing for time to reveal the true character of the abuser.

My advise, simply put is this. Leave the abuser now. Do it today. Demand that he seek help. Pray for his recovery. Allow time to help you determine his future and yours. Remain faithful to your husband in your separation, and you will not have sinned. If he seeks help, and learns that the problem is indeed his (and some do) you have won you husband.

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