Can a Christian woman divorce her husband if she is really, really unhappy?

So, the topic for this post is whether it’s OK to get divorced.

I noticed a lot of people getting divorced these days in the church, and trying to justify why they are allowed to divorce and why they should be allowed to pursue remarriage. So I’m first going to quote from an article from Focus on the Family by Amy Tracy.

She writes:

God is very clear, however, that He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). He also says, “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6). According to the New Testament, there are two justifications for divorce: infidelity (Matthew 5:32) and desertion (1 Corinthians 7:15).

Now, I had always taken the rule of Dr. Laura for this. She says that you can get divorced for adultery and abandonment (as above), but she allows allows for physical abuse and drug addiction. But it looks like the Bible is more strict than Dr. Laura, even.

Now with that Biblical standard in mind, take a look at this post about a woman who professes to be a Christian who is divorcing her husband for unhappiness, which I found on Sunshine Mary’s blog.

Look:

So how are we to understand women like Jenny Erickson, and the many other Christian women like her, who claim that despite thousands of years of Christian and Jewish tradition, despite the clear commands in Scripture not to separate from one’s husband, despite the commandments against adultery, nevertheless the Lord God Himself has made a special exemption just for her?  Because He wants her to be happy, so if she needs to be a faithless woman who breaks her vows and becomes an adulteress, then hey it’s all good?

[…]After secretly filing for divorce from her husband, Mrs. Erickson’s pastor caught wind of the situation and attempted to discuss it with her.  When she refused, the pastor went to her husband about the situation.  Mrs. Erickson has since railed against her soon-to-be ex-husband and her now ex-Pastor because they actually had the nerve to call what she was doing a sin – which, according to the Bible, is is.  Let’s read through a few quotes from Mrs. Erickson:

Thankfully, my faith in God is stronger than my fear of men, and I feel like I’m finally getting right with Him again after years of wandering in the wilderness.

[…]Here are a few more things that Mrs. Erickson claims:

It’s odd and strangely freeing to not know exactly where I’m going to be a year from now. I’ve always been the girl with The Plan. The Plan has changed every now and then, because hey, life requires adaptation, but right now there is No Plan other than love my girls like crazy, work hard enough to pay the bills, and rely totally and fully on God.  I’m sure His Plan is better than My Plan anyway.

and

I needed a time-out for my marriage — possibly a permanent one. But every person that tells me I’m going against God’s will by separating from my husband drives me further away from wanting to reconcile with him.

Details aren’t needed. Leif is the father of my amazing children, and I want nothing more than to be his friend again someday, regardless of what happens in our marriage. But things have been very broken between us for a very long time, and it took every ounce of courage I had to take the step that went against everything my religious culture told me but somehow I knew God was telling me was right.

and

To be told that this beautiful, wonderful thing I have learned exists in my soul, this thing that gives me the strength to flip my life over when nothing else has worked, this thing that has made me braver than I thought possible, and made me rely on God more than I ever have in my entire life … to be told that this is a perversion of His plan for me?

These points must confuse a lot of women because I have heard these rationalizations used by many Christian women who are leaving or have left their husbands.  Therefore, allow me to clear up the confusion that seems to be rampant (but it really isn’t confusion, it is willful disobedience), lest any of my sisters in Christ are considering following Mrs. Erickson’s example.

God’s plan for you will never include violating anything written in the Bible.

If you hear a voice whispering in your ear, Here’s the plan; what I want you to do is... and the plan includes going against clear commandments in God’s Word, then it is not God who is speaking to you.  God’s plan for your life, sister, never includes you filing for divorce.  Not ever, not under any circumstances, no matter what your husband has or has not done, no matter what you want, no matter what would make you happy.

So, I think we need to be really careful with spousal candidates who claim to be Christian – we need to make sure that they really are comfortable with being led and with the authority of the Bible to overrule their feelings. In fact, you can check to see if a person takes their faith seriously just by trying to lead them to take the Bible seriously. You just have to read the Bible and think about how to live it out in a marriage, and then talk to your spousal candidate about what you’ve discovered. You want to present to them your plans and your reasons for those plans, and explain what you need them to do in order to make the plan work. This is a great way to see if they know what marriage is really about and how they feel about what’s expected of them if they marry YOU.

Sometimes, it’s really obvious that the person is not a good candidate for marriage. If you tell them your plans and then complain about arrogance, ego and how your questions would turn off any woman, then you are dealing with someone who is going to divorce you. And they might have already divorced someone else – like Erickson. The name calling in response to you trying to to make the Bible have authority over the roles that you each play in the marriage is a sure sign of impending divorce. Basically, you have to beware of anyone who is feelings-driven instead of Scripture-driven and detect them early. There are things to do in a marriage that need to be done whether anyone feels like it or not. You can’t be married to someone who responds to rational discussion about plans and duties with verbal abuse.

98 thoughts on “Can a Christian woman divorce her husband if she is really, really unhappy?”

    1. The over looked understanding of the word is “what god has joined together’ I think that’s why he hates divorce.
      What if God didn’t join you together? . in many cases god has not joined some marriages together, they decided on their own and if it is bad for either or both then rightly so.. divorce and ask god to send your marriage mat ok..we make marital mistakes as well as when we try and do things without gods guidance.. sounds like she recognizes this and Satan will never never have you at peace only god.. I admire her as many women aren’t confident enough to admit mistake rather put it on god saying he hates divorce and stays miserable .. I can’t help but believe god doesn’t want me miserable.. he wants what’s best for his children..

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      1. Let’s be clear about what the Bible teaches.

        If you are a believer, it is a sin to ENTER into a marriage with an unbeliever.

        If you are already married to an unbeliever, so long as the unbeliever wishes to stay with you, you may not entertain divorce (1Cor. 7:12-13).

        Sometimes people make it sound like divorce “just happened to them” (like they were passively receiving it) — but I think the active voice in 1Cor. 7:12-13 should also be understood that the believer should not do anything to drive the unbeliever away.

        It is still a sin to divorce.

        Now the question of interpretation is over 1Cor.7:10-11, “To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord: the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.” There are many good books written about this e.g., Jay E. Adams, “Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible” (Zondervan; first edition 1980, 2nd edition, 1986).

        In terms of the language of JOINING, the word ‘covenant’ when properly understood —
        Marriage is not a contract (i.e., you do stuff for me, I do stuff for you).
        Marriage is a covenant.

        So what is a covenant? One of the best writers (Gordon P. Hugenberger, “Marriage as Covenant”) has argued that covenant as “an (1) elective, as opposed to natural, (2) [family-like] relationship of (3) obligation (4) established under divine sanction.” So what’s going on? The two parties (1) chose to enter into a covenant relationship, which now (2) creates a new family (or family-like) relationship, and there are (3) obligations, and (4) it is overseen by God.

        The first marriage covenant in Genesis 2, Adam says “[Eve] is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). Not surprisingly, Paul’s command in Ephesians 5:28 “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies” echoes this sentiment. Adam was effectively saying, “Treat her [,God, ] as you would treat me.”

        Did two people take a verbal vow somewhere? Like, “…for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, …” Well, it really doesn’t matter that God wasn’t actively joining these two people.

        When two people say those words, they are inviting God to oversee their marriage.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for this clear and comprehensive explanation.

          I have seen as many “christian” excuses for divorce as I have for abortion – all are disgusting and all go back to us wanting to be our own “god.”

          God bless you for taking the time that I would not to write this truth in love.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. So therefore we can divorce a. Ad situation of a mistake and correct it just as any other mistake we make in life that god did not ordain.. what he has joined together, I agree, that’s why I think he hates divorce cause it was not in plan if when he join them together, cause he knows what he is doing… we don’t, bless her for revelation knowledge of who she is in Christ…
        You know how to parallel some people think pregnancy not married say look what god gave me” totally overlooking the fact that it was a result of sin, justification.. just vacation from the real truth

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  1. Hi! I’m an atheist, so you’re obviously coming from an entirely different place than I am, and this is probably a conversation I’m not entirely welcome in. But I feel a moral obligation as someone with a lot of experience with what happens to families over time, to say for the record that I think this is terrible advice for leading a healthy family life.

    Here’s the way I see it:

    Meeting other people is complicated. If you are setting your ideals of Christianity above the meeting of that other person, understanding their feelings, understanding who they are — then you are setting yourself up for a fall. People are way more difficult than simple readings of difficult books. And I see this as a shallow and superficial reading of the Bible and of Christianity. If you want to pursue your Christianity, I see that as a perfectly fine pursuit. But if you allow this kind of obedient and uncomplicated Christianity, which sees the Bible as literal truth, to dominate your life, I see that as unconducive to good family life. And I’ve seen enough Christian families crumble apart around me to know that this is a major part of the trigger of that.

    As I said: I’m an atheist. But I know my Bible. Some of the best relationship advice I ever got was from the Bible. It talks about looking at people rather than looking at ideals. To make things work with people, not with what you want those people to be. It sees this work of meeting the other, seeing the other and accepting the other as the work of growing up and becoming an adult. Engaging fully with the complicated work of meeting other people is what allows the passage into simplicity and truth. Not trying to start from simplicity and truth and inflexibility. The motion has to be the other way around.

    It’s from Corinthians. You’ve almost certainly read it:

    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

    11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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    1. There is nothing simple about a Christianity which demands someone take the Bible more seriously than their feelings or that demands keeping one’s vows.

      Western Civilization depended on arranged marriages and formal courtship for thousands upon thousands of years. This seemed to work out pretty well. It allowed men and women to marry each other for reasons other than happy feelings and thoughts, and it acknowledged marriage as something that involves more than a husband and wife. Most importantly, it allowed civilization to grow and expand despite plagues, barbarian invasions, starvation, and war.

      There’s been a slow movement away from this tradition for the past century. The result is astronomical single-parenthood (mostly mothers), divorce rates, and out of wedlock births, not to mention a divorce court system that punishes men and can be triggered by simple paperwork by women – for any reason or none.

      Regardless of your belief system, the statistics simply don’t lie. Marriage – as it has always been known – is an endangered species of human relationships. This post illustrates duplicitous behavior among Christians, but the same behavior produces similar results no matter what people believe.

      If love is primarily emotional and marriage vows are mere formalities, then we should expect the very thing we find. This post, on the contrary, advocates love based on something more than feelings – something based on an immovable vow made after two people really understand what marriage means, what their expectations are, and after agreement is reached on the most important things in their lives.

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      1. I appreciate your move away from the “romantic” view of marriage, which I have my own issues with. However, I am worried by your demand that The Bible should be taken as more important than what I believe ought to be the most important thing in your life, which is the people to whom you have responsibilities, obligations and bonds. The Bible, despite all of its power and wisdom, is just a book. It can’t be hurt by you — but your wife or husband can.

        When I try to sort the allegiances in my life, my wife and child come first. If my political ideals, my career, morals or habits start to interfere with my family or to put them in danger, my first instinct should be to protect my family by accepting who and what they are, rather than to try to make them someone they’re not. That’s what I mean when I say meetings are complicated and the Bible — THIS view of the Bible, at least — is simple.

        Your argument about arranged marriage, etc. does not seem to work at all. It is what philosophers call an is/ought fallacy and an “argumentum ad antuiquitatem” (an argument based on historical precedent). You can’t argue from the fact that this has worked for a while to the idea that that’s how we ought to live today. Many things have been done for millenia which we now know to be morally wrong. Slavery, for instance, was accepted for thousands of years (and accepted in the Bible, incidentally). That does not mean we should or could do them today.

        But your final point is where I believe we can find common ground: I believe that a marriage which is open at first about who and what the other person is, is a marriage with better prospects. But I also believe that any marriage which does not accept the fundamental truth that people change, is more likely than not trouble waiting to happen. I have quite a lot of experience being married, and I have watched a lot of marriages go wrong on this issue. In ten years this simple fact will be true: the person you married will be someone ten years older, with many different experiences and ideas. They will have undergone a major shift of personality, self-image and vision. They will have new hopes, new dreams, new traumas and troubles.

        If your religion does not equip you to deal with that, then you’re not so much committing yourself to God, as you are committing yourself to divorce — something the much higher divorce rates among Christians than atheists seem to attest to.

        I don’t think there’s anything that should keep religious people from enjoying a long and healthy relationship. By I do think that putting some interpretation of a book over the real people you can and will hurt with this idea is just a profoundly unhealthy way to approach a long-term relationship.

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        1. “However, I am worried by your demand that The Bible should be taken as more important than what I believe ought to be the most important thing in your life, which is the people to whom you have responsibilities, obligations and bonds. The Bible, despite all of its power and wisdom, is just a book. It can’t be hurt by you — but your wife or husband can. ”

          Except this post is about a Biblical position to have when it comes to marriage, not whether a Biblical position should be held in the first place.

          ===
          “If my political ideals, my career, morals or habits start to interfere with my family or to put them in danger, my first instinct should be to protect my family by accepting who and what they are, rather than to try to make them someone they’re not. That’s what I mean when I say meetings are complicated and the Bible — THIS view of the Bible, at least — is simple. ”

          Two things. First, the article is talking about picking a spouse, not about what to do after you are already married. Second, -everyone- has a worldview, and that worldview precedes how we interact with others, even our families. You yourself do. The Christian worldview includes husbands and wives maintaining their families and helping each other.

          I’m confused about the “rather than trying to make them someone they’re not”. Surely there are plenty of bad habits that people have that, if you care about them, you’ll attempt to help correct.

          ===
          “Your argument about arranged marriage, etc. does not seem to work at all. It is what philosophers call an is/ought fallacy and an “argumentum ad antuiquitatem” (an argument based on historical precedent). You can’t argue from the fact that this has worked for a while to the idea that that’s how we ought to live today. Many things have been done for millenia which we now know to be morally wrong. Slavery, for instance, was accepted for thousands of years (and accepted in the Bible, incidentally). That does not mean we should or could do them today. ”

          Ah, but did I commit such a fallacy? I never indicated that it was better or worse on a scale other than divorce rates (which are the standard definition of a broken family). On that scale, the appeal to history is entirely valid. Whatever was done before had lower divorce rates, regardless of whether it ought to be done.

          As for slavery, Biblical slavery is something that most people don’t study very much, because they think American slavery in the south is all they need to know about the entire idea. However, Biblical slavery was closer to modern debt than anything else you could compare it to in America. Slaves were freed at regular intervals and slavery was typically entered into to pay off debt. Most of the Old Testament law regarding slavery was designed to protect slaves from harsh treatment, incidentally.

          Beware the fallacy of progress, also. It is far more tempting to modern minds than any appeal to history. In fact, I’d argue that history is typically ignored. Better to learn from it.

          ===
          “[But] I do think that putting some interpretation of a book over the real people you can and will hurt with this idea is just a profoundly unhealthy way to approach a long-term relationship.”

          Again, this is a point beyond the scope of the article. It can’t easily be argued from the minutia of Christian moral and ethical behavior -why- we ought to observe such things. However, if you want to know more about why Christians accept the Bible as more than some ancient myth, this website has plenty of information.

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          1. Josh: You’re making some really good points here, but I’m quite simply too tired to write anything coherent now, so I hope you’ll forgive me. I will try to come back and reply to you later.

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        2. One thing to correct in my post. Part of what is in the article -does- deal with what to do in a marriage – that is: honor your vows instead of divorcing because you’re unhappy.

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          1. I know there’s been some dispute about the figures in the US (I’m not familiar enough with the numbers there to dispute them, but they do seem fairly well-established, so I’d want to look into that. But I *do* know the relevant data for several countries in Europe and the findings are robust across those, controlling precisely for actively religious people, my recollection is of studies using self-identified religious people who attend service at least once every six months.

            But I’m actually willing to concede the point, because even were it not so, even if divorce rates were higher for atheists — my question is whether the terms of the relationship are fair. I’m unsure of the soundness of putting ideology above personal feelings. I have a lot of experience in my parent’s circle of friends of people putting political ideology — communism — over their marriages and families. It did not end in happy places.

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        3. Oh and another atheist myth is that slavery is condoned in the Bible:
          http://www.mandm.org.nz/2009/06/sunday-study-slavery-john-locke-and-the-bible.html

          False again. I swear, I read two sentences of your comment, and both are false.

          Just out of curiosity, are you pro-abortion? Because abortion is worse than slavery, since you actually kill an innocent person.

          Most atheists are pro-abortion:
          http://www.gallup.com/poll/154946/Non-Christians-Postgrads-Highly-Pro-Choice.aspx

          And it’s Christians, not atheists, who ended slavery:
          http://townhall.com/columnists/dineshdsouza/2008/01/14/how_christians_ended_slavery/page/full

          On atheism, there is nothing wrong with either abortion or slavery, since there is no way to determine right and wrong in an accidental universe except by personal opinion. Nothing is right or wrong on atheism. For an atheist, slavery is “normal” for different groups in different times and places, but there is no design for human behavior that says that slavery is wrong in all times and all places. If you lived in a time when slavery was legal, you’d own slaves, and it would be the Christians trying to stop you, just like we are trying to stop abortion today, and you guys are all for it. It’s the same thing – using violence to get what you want at the expense of others human rights, and it’s not wrong on atheism. There are no “human rights” in an accidental universe. On atheism, moral duties are like traffic laws – they are made up, and if you can get away with breaking them as you make yourself happy, go for it.

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          1. Whenever I hear from people that the Bible permitted “slavery”. I refer them to Exodus 21, which is actually more of an indentured servant than a slave. Because of America’s horrible past and treatment of Africans, people now equate slavery with that.

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          2. I can’t agree with this. While the Bible did say — and I love this quote — “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” And while certain parts of the Bible does take a (for its time) fairly good radical stance on slavery, it is quite simply not an adequate reading of the Bible — one that takes account of the facts of the text — to say that slavery is not condoned in the Bible.

            The Bible is a book major parts of which accept slavery as a fact and urges subservience. I think that Locke’s argument (this was a very nice exposition of it) is a bad one. Locke was a smart guy, but he’s not firing on all cylinders here. I also think that if we look at the social and political context of the Bible composition, we see a society which has slavery as an integral part of the economy. The semantic slipperiness of the word ebed, while an interesting fact (is it indentured servitude, bondage, slavery?) I think it is completely safe to say that major parts of the BIble offer no moral challenge to a major moral ill.

            That having been said, I will readily concede that religious people have done great moral good. I have nothing but admiration for the brave Christian men and women who ended slavery. And it is obvious that their Christian beliefs were integral to their struggle as it was to the civil rights movement. But this was a throwaway point and not central to my main argument. I am not arguing that Christians do bad things or that Christianity is a moral wrong. I am arguing that all things need to be morally considered. I find that if you place your faith ahead of the needs and personalities of people around you, it will likely lead to bad outcomes. And that’s almost a point that is true regardless of which ideology we are questioning. It could be anything from socialism to capitalism to Buddhism to Christanity — or my own beliefs and ideas. While there are moments to put strongly held beliefs first, they are few and far in between. I don’t believe that the sorts of low-level conflicts of worldview you describe are insurmountable, and surely it would be a better idea to live and let live?

            When it comes to abortion, well. I doubt we’ll get far on that. While I acknowledge the moral complexity of abortion up to a point, I am pro-choice. But let me just say that it is important to me that while I understand you and I probably will never get anywhere on this issue, it is important to me that you acknowledge the fact that I am a fellow human being and that I hold the position I do because I do not believe a fetus under a certain age is a human being. And you do. That’s a profound difference of opinion, but both sides hold the position they do *in good faith*. If you agree with me in nothing else, I hope you agree with me in that.

            *

            Now, so far I was enjoying this exchange, but your last point I have heard before. And I hope you will forgive me for saying that I find it offensive. Let me explain:

            “On atheism, there is nothing wrong with either abortion or slavery, since there is no way to determine right and wrong in an accidental universe except by personal opinion. Nothing is right or wrong on atheism.”

            Atheism is a broad concept meaning you do not believe in a God. There are many ways to not believe in God. Some subscribe to what you are arguing for here, known popularly as “moral relativism” (though that is a bad term). Some, most in fact, will not accept this description.

            Most atheists will say that there are strong moral truths which are either objective or at the very least inter-subjective. There are obvious moral imperatives to most atheists. To suggest, as you seem to do, that we are amoral or immoral is just infuriating and hurtful — as I hope you now understand. I have strong moral feelings and intuitions just as you do. In fact, I have studied ethics in philosophy for a great part of my adult life and I strive every day to be a good person. But my moral views differ — in places strongly — from yours. And I find that to be an interesting fact which we should reason about. Perhaps even argue about. But we should always acknowledge the basic human and moral nature of our “opponents”. I feel you to be slipping in this regard in your last point.

            “For an atheist, slavery is ‘normal’ for different groups in different times and places, but there is no design for human behavior that says that slavery is wrong in all times and all places.”

            Well, yes, but no. There is nothing that magically “makes” slavery wrong in the Roman Empire when everyone was doing it. And a fat lot of good it would have done the slaves if it did. I believe that moral changes happen when we reason about them or when we fight them out, politically or militarily. What made slavery wrong? We did. Over a period of some 150 years just a short while back. Does that excuse the Romans for having slaves? Of course not. Everything they needed to see that they were hurting other people profoundly was right in front of their eyes.

            “If you lived in a time when slavery was legal, you’d own slaves”

            Yes, but *I* would not be living at such a time. I would be a different person. *You* would not be living either. In fact, you would probably own slaves as well. As many Christians did in the pre-civil-war-South. Until other Christians got the message.

            So when you say:

            “On atheism, moral duties are like traffic laws – they are made up, and if you can get away with breaking them as you make yourself happy, go for it.”

            You are saying it to someone who gets up every morning and goes to work trying to reduce the amount of suffering in the world, trying to make the world better. I do so out of a sense of moral duty and moral obligation to my fellow humans. I hope you now see why this argument is wrong, offensive and hollow.

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          3. The New Testament doesn’t address slavery because the Church is not a government body. The bible’s stance on slavery is different than the modern world, however. The Old Testament states that the failure to let slaves leave bondage after seven years was one of the reasons for the Babylonian captivity. The Bible separates the atrocities of slavery from the institution itself. As history has unfolded, the degeneration of slavery to atrocity is inevitable.

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          4. Release, you say you are pro-choice. Pro-choice about what? Choice of cars, choice of schools to send your kids to, choice of chocolate or vanilla? Are you anti-choice about murder and rape and pedophilia?

            You say that the fetus is not a human being. Well, what is it? A fish fetus? A cat fetus?

            You also say that all things should be morally considered. I agree. Whose morals shall we use?

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        4. You are missing something major: Christians are squarely and firmly in the “man is basically evil” camp of the world. Therefore, as a Christian, I view someone who wants a divorce or to engage in homosexuality as not merely violating God’s commands but as leading to their own self injury; while it is not a complete understanding, we might think of original sin in terms of an addiction. To accept bad behavior is little different than to be an enabler. To point out why someone is wrong in what they are doing is to direct them to the first admission all addicts must make, that they actually have a problem. A christian confronting someone about sin is something akin to an intervention – not a perfect analogy but sufficient for our purposes.

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          1. Apologia: I understand that you are doing what you are doing as helping that person, but I think that we should focus more on the actual human flourishing of those people rather than on the heavenly law that they may or may not be violating. Gay people or divorcees didn’t seem to lead better lives in the past when condemned. They are leading *much* better lives now, in terms of objective measures of wellbeing, than they were 50 years ago. Doesn’t that count for something?

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          2. Drunks may feel happier if they have a drink, but that doesn’t mean are they better off; for example STD rates are still rising among gay men, and they have always had elevated rates of suicide and drug abuse. Because of self-reporting is an inherently flawed methodology, much of the released data is by the APA should be considered suspect. Your statement only works if atheism or a positive view of mankind is accepted.

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        5. “In ten years this simple fact will be true: the person you married will be someone ten years older, with many different experiences and ideas. They will have undergone a major shift of personality, self-image and vision. ”

          Release, thanks for your comments. On the above quote, I have been married 31 years (and we dated for 5 years before that) and my wife has not “undergone a major shift in personality, self-image and vision.” I’ve seen no shift in these things. However, 10 years ago, I left the anti-Christian camp and surrendered my life to Jesus. So, I am picking, respectfully, on your use of the word “will.”

          My wife will be the first to tell you that our marriage has never been safer than in the last 10 years, when I underwent a radical transformation but she did not. So, all I am saying is that I think you are presuming that people WILL have a major shift in their worldview over time and that this will be potentially destructive to the marriage? (If not, I apologize for poorly stating your thoughts.)

          And, I was just going to say that my marriage provides a counter-example to this thought. Here is one spouse in the marriage undergoing a radical shift in his entire worldview and it resulted in a significantly more stable marriage – according to the other spouse. And, BTW, I do think it is pretty rare for either spouse to undergo such a process – I do not think it is common. People tend to be stuck in their ways and when there are conflicts, that can surely be a de-stabilizing factor just as much as a worldview shift can be.

          In summary, I don’t think major worldview shifts of either spouse are at all common, but when they occur, it is unclear to me that they are necessarily de-stabilizing to the marriage. I think it depends on the specifics of the worldview shift. The most de-stabilizing thing I could do in our marriage was to remain an anti-Christian (I called myself an atheist, but wasn’t being honest.). My wife stayed in our marriage based on Biblical and early church authority.

          In the article above, barring any other information, it looks like the woman just got tired of putting the hard work in and wants to be “free” to do whatever she wants, independent of anyone else’s feelings or clear Biblical instruction on the subject. In fact, she more or less says so. She is looking to satisfy her own desires without considering the Higher Authority that she claims she is subject to (by calling herself a Christian). There does not seem to be any indication of a worldview shift on either party. In fact, she believes she is being called by God to do this. It’s a tingly feeling for her.

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          1. WorldGoneCrazy: Thank you for your interesting, personal and well-reasoned reply. You’re right to point out some faults in my arguments and to nuance and develop things I sort of papered over.

            “my wife has not “undergone a major shift in personality, self-image and vision.” I’ve seen no shift in these things. However, 10 years ago, I left the anti-Christian camp and surrendered my life to Jesus. So, I am picking, respectfully, on your use of the word “will.””

            And you are quite right to do so. This was quite simply a wrong way of putting it. My point, to word it more carefully, was rather this: after 31 years of marriage, you will be 31 years older and have a completely different life experience to draw on. If nothing else in your life changes, if you hold the exact same beliefs and desires, then at least that will have changed. That’s a big change. And other significant changes may come. My wife, actually, has gone in the same direction you have, from being a stronger atheist than I am to sorta-kinda-believing in God now in the 10 years we’ve been together. (So there’s hope — even for me! ;-)

            My point is that such a polarisation is something that all married people should be prepared for. You need to live with the fact that you are travelling through time with your spouse. And goodness knows who you’ll be in 20 years. You need to be prepared for something radical to shift — and you need to be ready to accept and work with that change when and if it happens. Because if nothing else, growing older changes someone. I believe that the post above seems to draw in a different direction, in a direction of putting the authority of the Bible over the personality and desires of the people we are with and engaging with those as they develop.

            We change the people we are with, and they change us — profoundly.

            So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that we don’t disagree as much as we seemed to initially, and I thank you for giving me the chance to better articulate my point. I hope you found it more agreeable this time.

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          2. Release, yes I do like the way you put that much better – thank you! I might add to your well-put thought that the biggest change for me has been embracing the Biblical God. And while that has been a source of tremendous improvement in my particular marriage, I can see how when someone “falls away” from God or even from the values that were shared with his or her spouse, this can be a tremendous source of conflict.

            From the Biblical Christian perspective, which I know you don’t share, we are nevertheless to do everything in our power to save the marriage and to not separate for convenience, which are arguably the vast majority of divorces. (There is an interesting analogy here to abortion, BTW, which is almost always done for convenience – of the mom anyway.) Thanks for your reply!

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    2. My Christian wife and I had this discussion this evening about our marriage. The roles of Man and Woman in today’s modern society have no room for anything traditional. There is no Father role and Mother role these days when both work full time jobs to pay for cell phones, cars, Internet and cable .. let alone the basics of shelter, food and clothing. These stresses are so clouding our reliance on God. Our reliance on the fact that we truly believe (that is.. my wife and I) that Jesus did die as God and man and forgives us our sins. Jesus died for his church like I should die for my wife. Providing for her.. honoring her.. cherishing her.. but how to make the case that I do that and my contentious wife is a constant dripping like a leaky roof or a Chinese water torture.. well.. maybe not that bad but.. honestly.. the daily criticism.. the negativity.. the half empty bottle…. I’m in sales and I am forced to be positive every time I pick up the phone.. for 26 years I can take the dripping and survive.. We have had so much potential joyful activity together if it is honestly realized.. and yet.. today.. she relies on feelings rather than commitment. With Christians..love is a contract.. a commitment where feelings sometimes and typically do follow.. An eternal God is hard to compare to temporary feelings of unhappiness.. I honestly can “survive” with Joy through just about anything and find joy and even happiness with an attitude change and some imagination.. I think the lack of the spirit of God.. the joy of that Spirit.. a focus on the half empty that grows over years to a waterfall leaking of eventual emptyness is a spiritual dilema.. one that thinks the other side of the fence is so much greaner.. like a dream that when focused on becomes so much more real and attainable in comparison.. yet the broken septic field nourishing that false dream is never seen.. I believe Satan plays up the desire for desertion, divorce.. He hates to see loving couples play out the Jesus/church relationship in healthy families nourishing strong..moral children.. Prayer.. prayer prayer and a change of my attitude.. perhaps will turn this around or.. she will divorce me.. as I won’t divorce..

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  2. I see nowhere in this particular write-up where she talks about all of the work she and her husband have put into restoring and repairing their marriage, so as not to violate clear Scriptural teaching and equally clear (early) church orthopraxy.

    Divorce destroys the children of the marriage – regardless of their ages. For that reason alone, the father of lies simply loves it.

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    1. @Release: Hiya! I am a Christian and I love how your mind works! I feel exactly the same way about the atheism vs. morality conversation and believe that this is where people often miss it: Christianity is not about morality, it is about accepting the legal covenant made available by the saving grace of Christ’s death and resurrection. Walking with God after salvation leads to major changes in one’s life which includes a higher pursuit of love and peace (a higher calling) and what human beings will call “morality”. The core of our salvation is an escape from legal wrong (attributable to sin) by deliberate acceptance of Christ as our redemption.

      Where I do not agree with you is on your reply to @apologieditor on the view of homosexuality and divorcees where you say they appear to lead better lives; especially because we, as Christians, neither see homosexuality or any other form of sin as wrong based on moral grounds, but spiritual laws which are fundamental to our belief. We understand why God set these laws in place; we fail (daily) in keeping the laws, but we understand the grace made available through the legal covenant in Christ’s blood and sacrifice.

      Our call does not seek to condemn the divorcee, homosexual, liar or thief purely based on their actions (else we condemn ourselves as we also sin (are sometimes ourselves embroiled in sexual ambivalence or even divorce) and are constantly pursuing perfection), but to lead such person to a place where the habitual action can be seen for what we believe it is – a form of slavery itself, albeit based on free choice or personal freedoms.

      Unfortunately, we do get emotional sometimes in our discourse and the lines tend to blur between morality and spirituality; do forgive this, and misconceptions get told as though they were truths.

      Anyway, this is where I differ with you on your generally sound argument and position and I just thought to share. You have a great mind.

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      1. Donna, I know your response was directed elsewhere, and it is a good one. But, there is one small point I would disagree with. You say:

        “especially because we, as Christians, neither see homosexuality or any other form of sin as wrong based on moral grounds, but spiritual laws which are fundamental to our belief.”

        I may be missing what you are saying here, but homosexuality and divorce certainly ARE wrong on moral grounds, at least according to the Moral Law Giver. They are very deep offenses to Him, as is all sin. Furthermore, they are also objectively and morally wrong on secular evidential grounds, as WK’s many posts have proven. It is most fitting and natural that the secular data would line up with the commands of God, just as all good science does as well.

        I do agree with you that they are also wrong on spiritual grounds. For instance, divorce is a sin against the spouse, any children of the marriage, society as a whole, and the God Who created marriage. The first 3 victim categories of this particular sin are captured in the secular evidential data, and all four are captured in the Biblical data, I do believe.

        I just wanted to throw that little clarification in. God bless you, Donna!

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  3. OK.Point stipulated that God has always hated divorce and Mrs Erickson has used a really superficial, and I believe, invalid reason to dissolve her marriage.

    In the OT , God himself made provision for divorce under Mosaic Law. Why? Maybe He recognized mankind’s propensity for failure, and in a sense, allowed something less than perfect. Then, from the New Covenant perspective, the Perfect has come in Jesus Christ. So if a couple are truly born again, Christ lives in them through the Holy Spirit So first off I’d want to see if they are really in the Family and tackle it from that angle. What’s the most important? Your ‘happiness”??? It begins and ends with their relationship to Christ and to each other. Nothing is insurmountable to us in Christ.

    But to decree “No, Nay , Never” regarding divorce although that may be God’s perfect will, I think may a bit of a legalistic overreach on our part. I can think of a bunch of reasons like pedophilia, spousal abuse, drug use/dealing any criminal activity and anything that would place the spouse and or the kids in danger as a reason to terminate the relationship. And I think God would understand.

    Again the whole question revolves around their relationship to Christ.

    Laus Deo

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    1. Uncle Jed, WK did note early in the post that there are legitimate, Biblically-approved reasons for divorce even among Christians.

      FWIW, WK, my pastor has wrestled with the topic greatly, and he, too, fits into the “adultery, abandonment, and abuse” category (we are going through Matthew and of course that came up, and he also did a very thoughtful Song of Solomon series)—the latter especially if children are involved; if a man starts beating up his wife, it’s often unfortunately only so long before he starts hitting the kids, too, and the wife’s responsibility is to protect her children. (Spankings are, of course, another matter.)

      Good post, WK. I dare say knowing what a woman (or man) thinks about this particular and sadly very, VERY public divorce (I’ve read about it in so many places, Christian and non) might be a big indicator of their worthiness.

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      1. I think I agree with your pastor, and I might even throw addiction in the list, like Dr. Laura does. However, I just want people to put in more effort before the wedding day to puzzle these things out, so that divorce is not needed.

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    2. Jesus answers why there was a provision for divorce under the Mosaic Law. From Matthew 19 we read:

      7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

      I think it’s also inappropriate to bring up all the other reasons that you mentioned for divorce. If there is one thing that we have learned, the safest place for children is in a house in which the father resides. If you want to all kinds of criminal activity, just remove the father and move in the mother’s boyfriend or non-biological male. This will increase every bad outcome for children that you can imagine. So bringing up the criminal activity that you did is simply an evasion of the real issue.

      I agree with your last sentence: those who are in Christ will not divorce.

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      1. That’s a good point. People think that divorce will make things better, but actually you have to compare how bad things are in the marriage (and that badness normally passes in time) with the badness that will occur if there is a divorce. It’s worse for the kids to be from a divorced home than from an unhappily married home, I agree.

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    3. Jesus explained the OT allowance for divorce (and I believe this applies to the regulations of slavery, etc) was because if no civil divorce was possible the alternative would be murder and abuse. Rather God regulated the manner in a way to prevent the sin nature from causing harm. The Church has a higher standard because it purely a religious institution and not a governmental body.

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  4. Jenny sounds just like my wife… She’s happy now and walking even closer to God than when we were together. Wow. Who would have thought that leaving your husband was a way to become closer to God?

    Screwed up world we live in…

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    1. Timothy, I think you are making the case that if a type of divorce which is sinful (outside of Biblical bounds) occurs and good results from it, that is not justification for the original sin, right? I wasn’t sure if it was that or the opposite. But, I was just going to add that there is strong Biblical support for “not sinning even when good results” in Romans 3, e.g., especially versus 5-8.

      And I might add that the fact that God may choose to work His good through evil is not a reason for us to do evil. I have actually heard that used by New Atheists when it comes to abortion. They will say “well, if you believe that aborted babies go to Heaven, why aren’t you for MORE abortion, not less?” Frankly and most sadly, I have heard the same argument used by professing “Christians.”

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  5. I’ve been giving this some thought recently, and personally, I think the abuse and addiction can be related to desertion. But, the whole article points out the bigger flaw in the way we look at marriage today. I’m not sure what we see it as, but it’s certainly not for better or worse, sickness and health, until death. It’s certainly not a union made to be seperated by God only, not man’s whims.

    No-fault divorce? Is your spouse a car?

    Marriages are no longer life-long commitments and people don’t see them that way. It fits in with the rest of societal views that are separating people from responsibility, and marriage isn’t a responsibility. People seem to think they have a “right” to marry whoever they want, and a “right” to divorce as they please, with no responsibility to their spouse, and children if they’re involved.

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      1. Thanks for the link, but I did know about no-fault divorce. I think this an area where the Church as a whole is failing it’s members. We talk about a lot of things, but divorce isn’t one of them. At least, the seriousness of it.

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        1. I agree with you. I can’t stand the thing. I don’t think that the church does a good job of talking about social issues in general, but at least you hear about abortion and same-sex marriage. You never hear them explain no-fault divorce, yet that is the thing that is killing the faith of children.

          Recent study:
          http://phys.org/news/2013-03-children-divorced-parents-religions.html

          And:
          http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-05-024-v

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  6. When the Bible speaks against “inordinate affection” (NASB “passion” or Greek “pathos”), I think it may be referring to emotionalism.

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  7. I was googling for an article like this, but I think the church has taken such an idolatrous stance on marriage. Of course there is too much divorce in the church. But there are also faithful spouses of God who are doing everything they can to try & save their marriage. Until you know a person’s circumstances, you have NO right to say a person HAS to stay married. God hates slavery & oppression. Is God so concerned with us following the “command” of marriage that He overlooks our cry for help?? Some of us have prayed our hearts out for years, sought counsel, gotten advice, loved our spouse when we’ve continued to be oppressed. I think I would rather get divorced than spend the next 50 years of my life absolutely miserable. Will God say when I get to heaven “Well done good & faithful servant. You managed to stay married to a jerk your entire life & you survived.” I would rather hear “Well done good & faithful servant. You prayed & did all you could with My help & I told you it was time to move on. This enabled Me to reign freely in your life. You were able to serve Me wholeheartedly without the restrictions put on you by an unbelieving husband. You went on mission trips, you served the poor, & you lived your life entirely in service of Me. Welcome to my kingdom & here is your reward.” Some of us cannot serve God the way we want to with such controlling spouses that don’t even believe in God.

    I advocate everyone to seek God on this matter. It is definitely not a frivolous decision. God takes it seriously. But He also takes the cries of His children seriously. And if that means the only answer is the oppressed spouse to file for divorce, so be it. And before you judge me, like you’ve already judged every other divorced person, I am still unhappily married. I have no way out right now. 3 kids and no job.

    I totally agree with this woman’s quotes: “But things have been very broken between us for a very long time, and it took every ounce of courage I had to take the step that went against everything my religious culture told me but somehow I knew God was telling me was right.”

    and

    “To be told that this beautiful, wonderful thing I have learned exists in my soul, this thing that gives me the strength to flip my life over when nothing else has worked, this thing that has made me braver than I thought possible, and made me rely on God more than I ever have in my entire life … to be told that this is a perversion of His plan for me?”

    So what do you suggest a person in such circumstances does? Remain faithfully married in misery??

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    1. My heart goes out to you, Melissa. Thank you for posting this: now I know the absolute Hell I put my wife through the first 21 years of our marriage. Makes me wonder if I would or would not be a Christian today, had she divorced me as she was totally in the right to do. The only thing that kept her from divorcing me was her faith in God and her teachings on the outright sinfulness of divorcing even an unbeliever, based on her understanding of that passage.

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    2. The marriage vow says “For better or for worse” for a reason. Sometimes it’s mostly “for better” and we usually go into marriage thinking it will be. But sometimes it’s mostly “for worse” and we don’t get to break our vow in such cases. God doesn’t allow the breaking of vows, even if we feel we “need” to in order to be happy. Your happiness is not what is most important. It is more important that you do what is right.
      The good news is that people who have bad marriages and stay in them are usually much happier in 5 years than if they divorce. Obviously, that isn’t true for everyone, but it is more often the case than not.
      A marriage is supposed to be a picture of the love and commitment between Christ and the church. You, if you are believer, are the church. Thus, you are supposed to love your husband as you want God to love you. You are supposed to forgive your husband as you want God to forgive you. We humans are often completely sinful and unlovable. I doubt you are exception. Yet God continues to love you. If God doesn’t give up on you when you sin and fall short, you shouldn’t give up on your husband either.

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    3. —”Will God say when I get to heaven “Well done good & faithful servant. You managed to stay married to a jerk your entire life & you survived.” I would rather hear “Well done good & faithful servant. You prayed & did all you could with My help & I told you it was time to move on. This enabled Me to reign freely in your life. You were able to serve Me wholeheartedly without the restrictions put on you by an unbelieving husband. You went on mission trips, you served the poor, & you lived your life entirely in service of Me. Welcome to my kingdom & here is your reward.””

      God will never tell you that it is “time to move on” (i.e. divorce). He doesn’t contradict His word and His word is clear that He hates divorce. I Corinthians 7:10 is clear that God Himself is commanding that a woman should not divorce her husband. If you get divorced, you can still go to heaven, but you won’t be getting God’s commendations for it. You may tell yourself that you are getting rid of the “restrictions out on you by an unbelieving husband” and doing more for God. I can guarantee you God will see it differently. He will tell you that you left the mission field He had for you – your husband. He will tell you that you robbed your children of their father. He will tell you that you gave up when it got tough instead of loving His creation – your husband – with the love of God as you were supposed to.
      The Bible says that a man who neglects his family is worse than an unbeliever. I think this also applies to a woman. Titus 2:5-6 says that a woman is “to love her husband…that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Your first mission field is your family. Before you spend your energy saving the souls of the heathen overseas or serving in the church or sending money to missionaries, your first priority is saving the souls of your husband and children and taking them to heaven with you. Until you have that under control, that must be your mission and consume all your attention. To do that, you need to stay married, work on loving your husband, submitting to him, and serving him as a testimony to the gospel. I Peter 3:1 tells us that a woman with an unbelieving husband is to be in submission to her husband that she may win him to Christ. That is your calling. Be a light in your own home, to your own husband and children. Their souls depend on it. A little misery and grief on your part should be counted joy for the opportunity to see your own family come to Christ. If Christians in other countries can suffer and die for the gospel, surely you can endure a bad marriage for the purpose of fulfilling God’s call on your life to win your family to Him.

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    4. FWIW here is a book presenting a debate featuring four different views on the issue of divorce and remarriage in the Bible. I know that’s not necessarily what someone wants to read when they’re in the midst of the emotional turmoil of marital, but it’s a good resource for getting differing perspectives on the subject for (whenever) those who wish want them.

      For those who don’t mind the selective material found at the google books site, you can peruse much of the above volume here.

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  8. I married a man who professed to be a Christian, he even walked the walk by not having sex before marriage. The truth is that he led me to Christ and has now spent the last 6 years basically leading me away from Christ. His behaviour is anything but Christ-like. I stay because I believe that God does hate divorce but a tiny part of me really wants to believe that God would not want me to suffer in this way.

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      1. The truth is that no matter how I approach him the result is always the same – he attacks my character and my spirituality.

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    1. My heart goes out to you. I wonder why he would lead you to Christ and then lead you away? Was his belief in Christianity based on feelings alone? Or, did he once believe that there was good evidence for it, and now he doesn’t? Or, does he just want to sin at will?

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    2. Confused,

      God has already made clear what He expects Christians to do in your situation in I Cor. 7:13-15 and in I Peter 3:1-4. He says that you should not divorce an unbelieving husband, but should model a Christian life in front of him and respect him and try to win him to Christ.

      There are plenty of areas of life where the Bible doesn’t specifically speak and one must use wisdom to apply Biblical principles to the situation. This isn’t one of those. This one is addressed directly, so there is no question what the right thing to do is.

      Think of it this way. Every Christian is called to be a missionary of some sort. There is no such thing as a pew-sitter in the Kingdom of God. For some people, that means going to a foreign country. For some that means being a witness at work. For some that means teaching apologetics or Sunday School or writing a blog.

      For you, your primary mission field is your husband. God has placed a man in your life that needs to see a real Christian life, up close and personal. He’s given you an incredible opportunity and mission to save the soul of the one person who has a closer connection to you than anyone else. Don’t walk away from the mission God gave you. Make it your goal that everything you do – respecting your husband, praying, talking, eating, drinking, breathing, having sex, giving, sacrificing, learning, sharing and everything else – is focused on winning your husband to Christ. If a missionary is sometimes called to leave family and country and wealth and many other things for the sake of spreading the gospel, so too are you called to give up that which is not necessary, including your own desires, in order to fulfill the call which God has placed on your life.

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  9. This is just so sad. To write an article in judgement without any mention of the grace of Jesus is missing the most incredible gift he gave us. Some women are facing emotional and physical abuse. Jesus can move past any and all sin and divorce is no different. I pray that any woman reading this knows there is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus and that he loves you no matter what.

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    1. “I pray that any woman reading this knows there is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus and that he loves you no matter what.”

      I realize that this is a different issue from divorce, but I have a question for you. We have a female abortionist in our town. She says she is a Christian. She says that she is helping women – that is why she kills their babies. Is it true that “there is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus and that he loves you no matter what” for this abortionist?

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        1. Good, because for a moment I thought that, instead of telling this abortionist who I regularly speak with that she is trading her soul for blood money, Rebecca might prefer that I tell her that “there is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus, and that he loves you no matter what.” :-)

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  10. My wife is divorcing me. I am willing to do anything to work with her. Things such as counseling, separate, anything, however she just wants to end everything after 20 years. I am beside myself. I am trying to trust God and do my part,but it is not easy. I am trying to forgive her as well but it is hard not to be bitter. Thank God for good Christian friends, faith, and this article – thanks mr knight!

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    1. I’m beginning to realize from the astronomically high break-up rates of lesbian couples that women are much better at breaking up relationships over “unhappiness” than they are at working through the tough periods in order to keep a commitment. This is why many women support no-fault divorce. It works like this: 1) They don’t want to be rational about who to marry, they want to be emotional. 2) If they don’t feel good, they want to be able to easily nuke the relationship, especially while they are still young.

      I’m saying this as a virgin, who has married parents, whose friends are almost entirely married. I have no personal feelings about divorce, I’m telling you that most women love it, they rely on it, because they love to indulge their emotions and intuitions rather than do what works to prepare for marriage: being chaste, pre-marital counseling, STEM degree, financial restraint, etc.

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    2. Tom, I am sorry for your wife divorcing you. Your offer of forgiveness and possible reconciliation is 100% the right Christian thing to do. I have seen some messy ones – where a spouse left a particularly strong Christian. In fact, Jesus promised that He would break up families over “nothing more” than HIM. Sadly, this includes long marriages. :-(

      I have noticed that as the world gets darker, nominal “christians” are bailing on God because they believe it will be easier for them. They are right – in the short run. I have seen apparently strong Christian couples divorce – sometimes it is the husband leaving, sometimes it is the wife.

      God gives both the husband and wife free will to obey Him or not, just as He gives us all free will as to where we will spend Eternity. The “left behind” divorced spouses that I have seen recover the best are the ones who continue to pray fervently for their leaving / left spouse and continue to offer forgiveness, and possibly (if there has not been significant abuse) reconciliation. The “left behind” spouse knows that he / she has done everything possible to be obedient to God, Who hates divorce and will not be kind to the one initiating it and carrying it through.

      This is the only advice I can offer. I am sorry for what you are going through, and will pray for you. God bless you, Tom.

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    3. Tom,

      Your wife, like mine, has fallen under control of the Enemy. Your wife, like mine, needs you, her husband, to pray for her and stand with her even if it isn’t by her side. Love her like Christ loves His church with patience, endurance, kindness, mercy and grace.

      My wife did the same to me two years ago. Stand for your marriage. You will still be married in God’s eyes, even if she divorces you. Honor your covenant. That covenant cannot be broken by an unscriptural divorce. God will equip you to follow Him on this mission as her husband.

      This is the worse that that we vowed to endure. Endure it. Lean on Him. He will carry you through, just like He carries me! He has grown my faith like you wouldn’t believe during this trial.

      Message me on FB (E r i c B a t t l e s) if you would like. Standing is a very hard road, but you don’t have to do it alone.

      Yours in Christ,
      Eric

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      1. At what point do you feel that you have done everything possible, and have extended grace and reconciliation as much as you can?

        Would it be upon the remarriage of your estranged wife?

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        1. Joe,

          I made my vow for “as long as we both shall live.” I made that vow, not only to my wife, but to God, my children and all of their children.

          God gives us our spouses. I didn’t choose her. God chose her for me. She is a gift. I believe that abandoning my wife, through divorce, no matter the circumstance, is denying God’s will for me.

          I don’t need to know why. He knows. I choose to obey Him and ask that His will be done. Not mine. He supplies EVERYTHING I need to do that. He will never ask us to do something that He doesn’t provide the MEANS with which we need to accomplish it.

          I will stand until the day I die. That will be when I have done everything possible!

          We can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives us strength. Phil 4:13

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          1. I mostly agree with you, except upon her remarriage. At that point, there is no way you could ever accept her back as your wife, and while that doesn’t mean not to extend her kindness and compassion, the prayers for restoration would have to end.

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          2. She would not be “married” in God’s eyes, so she would not be in mine. She would be guilty of sins of sexual immorality, but as He would forgive her if she repented, I would do no less.

            Her decisions don’t dictate my obedience. God doesn’t command divorce or prohibit reconciliation. I will err on the side of love, grace and mercy. My prodigal will ALWAYS have a husband to whom she can return. ALWAYS. That was my vow. For as long as we both shall live.

            Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph 4:33

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          3. I agree.

            Is it just me or does it seem like an increasing number of women, including middle aged women who claim Christ, are abandoning their marriages and walking away from any sort of orthodoxy at all in terms of Christian theism – not just their marriages, but all but the most shallowest form of American Churchianity?

            I have also been told by a couple of Christian women that the use of hormonal contraception has made many women, Christian and otherwise, literally crazy. I have seen this with a number of friend’s wives – in the 40’s and 50’s range.

            I would appreciate some feedback on this, because it seems demonic.

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          4. WGC, check this out:
            http://www.austin-institute.org/research/divorce-in-america/

            Excerpt:
            “Indeed, across 25 data sets and over 125 years, wives are consistently more likely to file for divorce than husbands. These results are remarkably resistant to the time period of the data, which is surprising since economic opportunities for women have expanded dramatically—giving women outside options—and divorce laws have been altered, typically in their favor.”

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          5. Yep, it’s the women who want out.

            Sorta puts to bed the old thing about men having middle age crises – new car and new gal kind of thing.

            I see the reasons cited, but I just wonder about the hormonal aspect of this too. Many of the middle aged “Christian” women I see are just plain nuts. And I don’t mean just a little nuts. Menopause, yes, but I’ll bet hormonal contraception pushed them past sanity.

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          6. I think the desire to be happy *in this life*, even if it violates promises made before God, is scary and unBiblical.
            The other thing I see often is choosing the wrong men for emotional reasons while rejecting the advice of wise advisors, then wanting out. Naturally if a woman chooses a man based on emotions, then there is a higher chance of divorce. But I also think that in general Christianity is presented to women as if the rules didn’t apply to them. Emotions are a private hotline to God that overrides moral obligations to others. Not all women, but many that I have encountered, and the divorce numbers bear that out.

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          7. The ones I am seeing are basically happy marriages with strong families, but not necessarily ones based originally on pure Biblical principles, but where the woman goes bat sh!t crazy – feel free to edit that out.

            Not putting this all on the women, of course, just saying it is something I am seeing.

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          8. Yes. I mean, I seek out the very best Christian women: the ones who are serious about marriage, sex differences, homeschooling, pro-life, pro-marriage, etc. I know they exist! But I am seeing the same as what you are seeing. Women blowing up marriages to Christian men even when they have children. One in her late 40s went on to start a fitness business. It’s just a complete disrespect for marriage as an enterprise that requires self-sacrifice. Very self-centered and reckless to the consequences.

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          9. Stay the Hell away from women, WK! It’s too late for the rest of us! :-)

            Just kidding. Find yourself a nice woman who has spent a few years on the sidewalk in front of your local abortuary, and marry her. it is still no guarantee, but you KNOW she at least has a long history of doing things that don’t feel good.

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          10. Yes, the most important thing I have learned is that some women use words to paint a picture of themselves that they want you to like. For example, they talk about marriage, children, homeschooling, etc. But in their actions, they postpone marriage in order to have fun and thrills, travel, and put off the things that they claim to want some day. My advice would be to judge women based on what they invest in, not what they say about the future. Beware of women who paint a picture of the future that they are actively fighting against in the present.

            I would say that I have made mistakes by giving the wrong women a chance. My criteria for dating avoids women who are not virgins, who do not have STEM degrees, who do not move out, who do not have work experience, who do not have savings. But in practice, I tried with bad ones anyway. The good news is that my criteria is correct. The bad news is that I wasted my time on losers who won’t be ready for marriage until they are 90.

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          11. Right!

            Now, suppose you have a woman who made some mistakes in her youth, but which she has repented of. She has spent the last few years maintaining a Biblical lifestyle that has many examples of doing the hard things for God that makes her unliked by the world. You should scoop her up, because she has clearly learned from her past mistakes.

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          12. That’s what I thought too! I saw that it worked for one woman I mentored (she married well and is doing great), but personally, I would not do it again because it did not work for me.

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          13. I agree with the idea that there is something demonic going on.

            “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

            I think Satan knows his time is short and he has deployed every weapon he can get his hands on. One of which is to tear apart the homes of good christian families.

            Since I know Satan is also very religous, I find it no surprise that most of the women that I have seen abandon their husbands in divorce, become even more “religous”.

            In my case, my wife for 12 years would rarely ever speak about God with me or partake in any religous conversations, it was like pulling teeth. Now after her divorce, she is active in her church, and always talking about how God has a plan for her and blah blah. I think that this is mostly a coping/justification mechanism to help her internally deal with some of the horrible things she did. I mean, how could it be wrong, if now suddenly you are so much closer to God, right?

            Perfect playbook of the Devil. He told Eve, you will be even MORE closer to God if you listen to me and do what I say.

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          14. Yes, Joe, this is what I am seeing – your marriage and breakup played out in early to normal middle age. And, yes, some of the women become more “religious,” to compensate, I guess. Probably unsaved, not sure. Definitely nuts.

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  11. Eric,

    I think your intentions are honorable, but not scriptural. Yes, you should always extend forgiveness, but there are always consequences for ones actions that according to God’s law must not be overlooked or taken lightly.

    Deut 24
    2and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, 3and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, 4then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. Do not bring sin upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

    You might choose to support her financially or take care of any needs she might have, but we are strictly forbidden to receive back a woman that has been remarried.

    If she just goes out and plays the harlot, then I suspect you could take her back as your wife, as I think is demonstrated in the book of Hosea.

    But, once she has been married to another man, you cannot take her back under any circumstance without breaking God’s laws.

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    1. So, are we following ALL of the Law laid out in Deuteronomy, or just some of it?

      Deut 21:18-21 says our rebellious sons should be stoned to death by every man in the town. Are we disobeying God by not killing our sons?

      Deut 22:22 says that we should kill both the man and the woman who are caught committing adultery. Are we disobeying God by not killing them?

      I can go on, but there’s no need. I am not a Hebrew. I am not under the Mosiac law. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. He came and died and His death fulfilled the requirements of the Mosiac law. That was the point! We COULD NEVER fulfill the requirements of the law. Because He did, we don’t have to!

      Galatians 5:2-6 NIV
      Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. [3] Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. [4] You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. [5] For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. [6] For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

      Paul says that if we are going to follow one part of the law, we have to follow all of it (vs 3). We cannot pick and choose which parts of the law we follow. If we pick one, God will hold us accountable for them all. Verse 6 leaves no room for doubt! All that matters is our FAITH which is manifested in how we LOVE!!!

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        1. WK,
          I appreciate the link, but it doesn’t address what Joe was claiming to be Law that I would not be following. It also doesn’t address Paul’s exhortations to the Galatians (and US) concerning following the Law at the expense of grace.

          Followers of Christ are called be imitators of Him and behaving in a manner that glorified the Father.

          Matthew 22:36-40 NIV
          “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” [37] Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ [38] This is the first and greatest commandment. [39] And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ [40] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

          If we follow these two commandments, we will be following Christ and therefore following the Law as well, since Christ FULFILLED the Law.

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          1. Eric,

            I do admire your commitment.

            I do understand that we have moved from law unto grace. We don’t stone people anymore. Under the law that’s all there was, punishment, there was no Holy Spirit, so they had to have a law to guide them, and part of that was dictated punishment for things God found sinful. However, God’s laws do not change. If adultery was wrong in the old testament, it’s still wrong today. If homosexuality was a sin then, it still is now. If we shouldn’t take back a remarried woman then, we shouldn’t do it now. If the 10 Commandments stood then, they stand now. God did not take back any of his laws, he did not change his mind about anything that he said was wrong and now make it right. He simply allowed for a sacrifice to be made that would provide us forgiveness when we break the laws.

            If you took back a remarried woman, are you going to be stoned for it and go to hell, no, of course not. This is where God’s grace and mercy comes in. But, it clearly is not what he would want us to do.

            At least that is my view on it.

            By the Grace of God, perhaps your wife will not remarry and God will do a great work in your life and restore her unto you.

            Joe

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          2. Thanks Joe,
            I appreciate and welcome your thoughts.

            I do question why you left out verse one.

            Deuteronomy 24:1-4 NIV
            IF a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, AND he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her AND sends her from his house, [2] AND if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, [3] AND her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her AND sends her from his house, or if he dies, [4] then her first husband, WHO DIVORCED HER, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. Do not bring sin upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
            (emphasis mine).

            There is one “if” which describes a specific circumstance and a whole lot of “and” that make this even more specific. I’m sure that there are some to whom this would apply, but I am not one of them.

            1. I didn’t find her displeasing or anything indecent about her.
            2. I didn’t write her a certificate of divorce.
            3. I didn’t send her from my house.
            4. I didn’t divorce her.

            The rest hasn’t happened and hopefully won’t. But even IF she married another and he dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce and sends her from his house or he dies, this still won’t apply to me, because I did none of the other things that would make me or her fall under the provisions of this law.

            I still have yet to receive an answer from anyone about how we choose which of the laws we follow and which ones we don’t.

            No one has responded to what Paul instructed the Galatians concerning those who were trying to make them follow the Old law.

            Can we wear clothes of linen and wool woven together? 22:11 says we can’t.

            Are we to make tassels on four corners of our cloaks as 22:22 says we should? If I don’t have a cloak, should I get one so I can?

            I truly don’t understand how you determine what is ok and what is not ok. Especially, in light of the clear and concise writings of Paul concerning the law and how it applies to followers of Christ, specifically the Gentiles, of whom I am one.

            Thank you.

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  12. My husband is an alcoholic. He has been very physical abusive in the past, but after several incarnations, he is now only verbally and mentally abusive. He has been to rehab 2 times. We have been together 17 years. I have been supporting us mentally, financially, and spirtually for the last 10. I have recently lost my job and have threatened to leave him if he doesn’t quit drinking. He now hides drinking in water bottles and then accuses me of being crazy when I get anger that I know he is drunk. I am sick of the mental abuse, the financial struggles, being 20 hours away from any family, not allowed have friends or go to church, because he doesn’t like them. I no longer hab insurance, and barely able I hold myself together for my children. I pray all day. I don’t understand why God would want me to stay in a marriage if it literally is sucking the life out of me and I feel like there is no hope.

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  13. The whole reason I got married was because of guilt. Guilt of having premarital sex. Tired of guilt. It has been a long twenty years. No to divorce?. How about suicide then.

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    1. I pray that you aren’t serious about harming yourself. I’ve been there and I understand hopelessness. Why are you so hopeless?

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  14. My husband has told me after six years that he is not happy. He claims his source of unhappiness is attributed to my quitting a full-time job (a year ago), taking a part-time job to return to school to finish my RN degree. He does not know if he can get past my decision. A decision I spoke to him about, before I did it. He believes I took advantage of him and broke his trust. He is considering leaving. We both are Christians, we do not have biological children together. This is a second marriage for the both of us. He has two daughters in college. We have not had sex in three years. He shows no interest in me emotionally or romantically. The only thing he has ever provided is financial support. I have prayed and prayed until I cannot pray anymore. The more I pray for the restoration of our marriage, the worst it gets. It is not getting better. I have not been happy with him for the past three years. I almost moved out two years ago, but my mom said I was being silly.
    He did not bring up divorce, but I am sure he is thinking about it. I saw a card for a divorce attorney in his wallet. I know he has been pondering on how to dissolve the marriage. He has some money saved, which he wants to hold onto. I am sure that is the main reason he has not done anything, yet. He knows he would have to provide spousal support for a temporary period of time, if he left.
    I am tired of living like this. I am tired of praying to God to save my marriage and it keeps going downhill. How I can pray to save my marriage, if my spouse is praying to end the marriage? We did not start off like this. Things were really good in the beginning, hence why we married.
    I suggested marital counseling. He says he knows he needs counseling, but takes no initiative to get help.
    How can God save a marriage if two people are not in the fight together?

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    1. Hi Jessie,
      I am sorry for what you are going through. God bless you for working toward your RN degree – nurses are awesome, and many heroes of our faith were nurses, including Harriet Tubman and Irena Sendler!
      Your husband has free will, and his free will is telling him that he is justified in leaving his marriage because he is unhappy. If he claims to be a Christian, you can easily show him that our Savior does NOT allow “unhappiness” (which we ALL are at points in our marriage) for separation or divorce from his spouse. If he claims to be a Christian, which is someone who FOLLOWS Christ (even when one is unhappy, especially when one is unhappy), you might ask him why he is considering stepping into such a horrible sin as divorce – which God HATES, BTW.
      Your job is to remain obedient to Jesus Christ and not step away from Him. So, you should not separate or consider divorce or even make moves in those directions. You should try to return your husband’s evil, like his withholding sex from you, with God’s good, like perhaps giving him small gifts or preparing a special meal or whatever you think might “heap burning coals” on his head so that if and when he steps away from your marriage, you will have clean hands in terms of your obedience to Christ. (If it is YOU who are withholding sex, you need to repent of this.) It sounds to me like you are already an amazing witness for our Lord by tolerating these difficulties.
      Make your husband do the sinning – don’t allow yourself to do it. You will be amazed how joyful you can be in this difficult situation if you just base your actions on those of Jesus and stay as pure as possible for Him!
      You will rarely hear my advice from counselors, even so-called “Christian” counselors, and that is because the churches are more like the culture than vice versa. The main point I wish to make is for YOU to remain “clean” on this issue – if your husband is dead set on sinning, you cannot prevent it, but you can be certain that God will reward you for your faithfulness to the marriage, to your vows to God too, while your husband will be punished, should he decide to step into such a detestable sin as divorce.
      God bless you, Jessie – my heart goes out to you. You are not alone.

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  15. World Gone Crazy, thank you so much for responding. I was not sure if anyone would. I feel so alone right now. The flesh is telling me to file for divorce, but the holy spirit is telling me to remain pure. God will deal with my husband. I was getting ready to make a poor decision, but after reading your post. I decided to not go through with my decision. I love my husband, and I wanted to protect him from the judgement that is sure to come if he travels down this sinful path. I now realize that I cannot protect him. I am going to step aside and let God deal with him. Bad things have already started happening to him, but he does not know why. I know why…

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    1. Yes, you are doing the right thing. Remain as pure as humanly possible to Christ. Do NOT be the one who steps into sin. Pray for your husband’s repentance – not for his suffering, which might or might not be necessary to his repentance – and, to the best of your ability, try really hard to return his evil with good. Even when you think you cannot do this, ask God to do it for you – the Holy Spirit in you can do things that you cannot do on your own – and He can return your husband’s evil with His good. This way, you will be as blameless as possible before the Lord Jesus Christ, which is your number one concern. You will also be able to remain surprisingly joyful through all of this.
      If he says he wants a divorce, do not get angry. Just calmly reply with “What did Jesus say about divorce?” If he says he doesn’t care what Jesus says, or deflects from that, make sure he knows that being a Christian is about following Christ, even when, especially when, it is difficult. You COULD be dealing with an unbeliever whose salvation is on the line, or just someone who wants to sin in direct defiance of Christ’s main and plain teaching on the subject of divorce.
      Many blessings to you, Jessie, and prayers coming your way!

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  16. I like your perspective here, WK. Recently I recommitted to the Lord to get up every day and before doing anything else read some portion of scripture. Following that, I pray. God speaks to us through the Holy Scriptures, and I believe that when we offer ourselves up to Him fully, He can conform our hearts to His will. There is much wickedness in each of our hearts by nature. Since feelings proceed out of our hearts, feelings cannot be trusted. God can be trusted. His words can be trusted. If He says that He hates divorce, then He isn’t being ambiguous. If we find that we don’t love our spouse, the solution isn’t leaving, but rather committing to love God more, to run after Him, to scream and wail at His feet, pleading for His help. We should, like Jacob, contend with Him until we have His blessing upon us. We can be sure in this of one thing, that if we ask anything according to His will, He will hear us and grant us what we ask. What better thing to ask of Him then to conform our hearts to His will, to see as He sees, to love as He loves. Our spouse is His child, and like Him, He wants us to love them and never leave or forsake Him. God can and will heal our feelings and cleanse us from unrighteousness if we give Him control.

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