Christianity -- Christian Living/divorce

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QUESTION: Hello,

I have been in an abusive marriage to an unbeliever  for 6 years and I am finally making the decision to get out of it. Of course I have been subject to a barrage of nasty comments and attacks by fellow Christians telling me that I am sinning and that I have to go back to my soon-to-be ex-husband and naturally it has shaken me quite a bit.

The abuse was mostly verbal and emotional and sometimes got physical. I have read many interpretations of the Bible and there seems to be no general consensus on whether or not divorce and remarriage is OK. Seriously, even just knowing that I could remain single and I wouldn't have to return to my ex-husband would ease my mind ten-fold. I don't even want to think about getting remarried at this point as I want to put those plans into God's hands.

I have a few questions. First of all, is it OK for me to just be divorced? Is being divorced living in a state of sin and unforgivable? Also, my unbelieving husband is filing for the divorce, I have not asked to come back to him but recently in a conversation he has told me things like "It's over, move on with your life" or "We're finished!". I was initially the one who wanted the divorce but over time we have come to an agreement to mutually divorce and keep it friendly. So am I free or not since he is an unbeliever and consenting to the end of the marriage? Also, I just don't understand one thing. If God is a God of grace, love, and mercy, how could He ever expect or wish for someone to stay in an abusive and neglectful marriage? A man can beat his wife, rape his kids, come close to KILLING his wife and she has no right to leave, but if he has an affair with the next door neighbor then she is free to leave? It just doesn't make any sense based on what we know about the love and grace of God. I know why he calls us to remain married to unbelievers, to try and save them, but I've tried! I have taken my ex-husband to church, I have prayed for him, I have suggested marriage counseling multiple times to which he never wanted to go. What am I supposed to do? I am 24 years old.

Will I ever be able to live in peace?

ANSWER: Hello Cristina,
Thank you so much for writing. As I respond to your questions, I will give you scripture to support what I am writing. God's plan for  marriage to last for a life time, but because of sin our relationships do not always follow God's plan. "God hates divorce" Not the person's who divorce. He hates divorce because of the pain that everyone experiences when there is a divorce. Divorce usually takes place because one or both spouses is being selfish.  "Abuse is an act of selfishness"
Cristina,Yes, it is okay for you to be divorced. (Matthews 19:8)You may want to read the whole chapter as well.

The bible makes allowance for divorce when an unbelieving spouse deserts the other willfully and permanently.(1 Corinthians 7-12-15) You stated "He is filing for divorce" You do not, and would be wise not to return to an abusive husband. Do not worry about what others are saying Just follow the word of God and continue to pray. I am disappointed that your Christian Church members are being so judgmental, and are not covering you with prayer and supporting you.  (I will be praying for you Cristina)

You many not want to share any more information with those at the Church. Pray and ask God to give you comfort and peace as you go through this storm, and "This storm will pass) you may not feel this way now, just know, in the name of Jesus this storm will pass!

Try to pray everyday and when you go to church and the people ask what is happening? Put a smile on your face and respond "God is working it out and I am talking to Him and trusting Him,because he has all the answers." Don't stop attending church, you need to worship God, and you need the fellowship. Just don't discuss your situation with anyone but you very close friends who love and  support you.

Trust God, He is going to work this out. Remember to pray and read your bible every day, you may also want to start journaling your feelings, then when you get through this storm you will see how good God is.

Your soon to be ex-husband has free will, and he chose to do what he wanted to do. Remember we each have to accept Christ for ourselves. Keep praying for him to come to the Lord. No, You do not have to go back or even talk with him, just keep praying for him. This will bring about forgiveness which is for you not him. Yes! you will have peace, if you choose to be peaceful.
Also ask God to forgive your husband and to forgive you for the times you were not so nice((You remember those times:)

The pain and hurt will pass, it will take time, but you will fell the love and joy in the Lord. There is no reason why you cannot remarry because of God's Grave and Mercy.Please wait at least a year Cristina and develop and closer walk with the Lord and to give your heart to heal. Then ask God to send you a Godly husband that will love you and not do you harm.
(Read Ephesians 5:22-25:)

Also remember to get marriage counseling prior to marriage, Should you decide to remarry one day.  May God Bless and keep you in His perfect care. I hope this response was helpful to you. Please feel free to write again with any questions you may have now or later,

Blessing,
Dr. Swaby  


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dr Swaby,

Thank you so much for your response, it seems like a small light of hope in other things I have heard. I guess my question now is how do you respond to the Bible verses that say if someone divorces and marries another, they commit adultery. Or that a husband and wife are bound to each other as long as they both do live.

There is so much argument and differing opinions. It's hard to know who is right and who is wrong. I have some people telling me I should reconcile with my husband because that is my only option. It just doesn't seem right. How can the unbeliever and abuser have all the control and us, God's chosen people, be forced to submit to them and their abuse? It just doesn't make any sense. I have been suffering so much and my heart is not at peace.

Answer
Hi Cristina,

Thank you for your response. first I would suggest that you stop listening to all the advice that is causing you distress, Remember, God gives us wisdom and the foundation for a strong marriage is that "both" spouses have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

You stated that your husband was an unbeliever,the bible is written for believers.
Our Heavenly Father wants you to live in peace, he does not expect you to live in an abusive relationship nor does he expected to go back to him. Your ex does not have control, God does.

Let Go and Let God Cristina, let go of the pass and reach ahead for those things God has planned for you. Pray and ask God for guidance and direction, and for his perfect peace.  Continue to stay in Church, pray and read your bible. "Trust God!"


Dr Swaby

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Dr.M. Swaby

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I am able answer to questions on salvation, marriage and family, forgiveness and divorce as well as other biblical and life related question. I am a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor, I am able to research and answer questions according to the Word of God.(Bible) I enjoy guiding others to explore what the Word of God says about living our lives according to His Word. The Word of God answers all of lifes questions, which if followed will give us a life that will weather the storms, at which time we will find that we are still standing even in the mist of the storm. Remember, the Word of God promised us "That he will never leave us or forsake us" May God Bless and keep you in his perfect care.

Experience

I am a licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor, I have done marriage Counseling Pre-Marriage Counseling, Biblical Counseling, and Counseling with teens. I love sharing information that will assist one with their walk. Even when we make a mistake it is important not to give up, but to repent ask forgiveness and get back on track. I enjoy encouraging and praying with my fellow Christians.

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Member of National Christian Counseling Association

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The National Christian Counseling Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor Certified Temperment Counselor

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