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When Is it Okay for Christians to Consider Divorce?

The matter of getting a divorce is a taboo subject in Christian spheres. While talking about divorce is never something positive, it is an important topic for believers to regularly discuss.

There is so much wrongly assigned shame to those who get a divorce, and as Christians, we have no right to invoke shame into the hearts of our fellow believers.

If you are considering getting a divorce, have already gotten a divorce, or have a loved one going through a divorce, you are in the right place.

Deciding Divorce

Growing up, many of us saw our friends’ parents or our own parents go through a divorce. This can be a tragic time and can leave the children feeling as though they are the ones to be blamed. I have many friends whose parents were divorced, and it has affected them to at least some extent.

One of my friends from college resorted to considering self-harm after her parents were divorced because she felt she was the one to blame.

If you are a child of divorced parents, know that it is not your fault your parents got divorced. It can be hard to believe this but know that it was never your fault.

With this being said, there are biblical reasons why Christians should consider a divorce. The most talked about reason is adultery.

The Lord tells us directly, “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9).

As Jesus tells us, anyone who divorces his wife or her husband for any reason outside of sexual immorality is guilty of adultery. This means that Christian couples can divorce when unfaithfulness is involved.

Christian couples can divorce if one is unfaithful to the other because all trust is broken at this point. Marriage is an intimate covenant before the Lord, and it should be treated as such.

If sexual immorality comes into the picture and a husband is unfaithful to his wife or a wife is unfaithful to her husband, they are breaking the covenant they made before God.

Not to mention the spouse that remained faithful will be heartbroken and may never be able to move past the hurt. While it is possible to move forward in a marriage after unfaithfulness, it can be difficult and can pose many problems.

However, if sexual immorality has occurred within your marriage, this is a biblical reason for divorce. If this has happened to you, know that you are not alone, and it is no fault of your own. While many try to point fingers at the spouse who remained faithful for something they did or didn’t do, know that it wasn’t your fault.

Your husband or wife was unfaithful to you, but God never will be. He is always there for you, and He loves you no matter what. Never for a second does He place blame on you, nor does He view you as lesser.

If you are the spouse who committed adultery and was unfaithful to your wife or husband, you need to assess your actions and recognize the sin you have committed.

Your wife or husband may be open to talking about the issue, going to marriage counseling, and working toward a resolution; however, it is important to understand the consequences of your sin.

It could be that your wife or husband chooses to get a divorce because of your unfaithfulness, and you may never have a repaired relationship again.

This can be painful, yet all married couples need to think before they act and come before God when they are having feelings of being unfaithful. By giving these feelings over to God, He can help you and lead you back to your wife or husband.

More Reasons for Divorce?

Another reason why a Christian couple can get a divorce is if there is abuse. Abuse directly goes against the definition of godly marriage, as Paul writes in Ephesians 5. If your wife or husband has abused you in any way, this is grounds for divorce.

If your spouse has hit you, beat you, verbally absurd you, or emotionally abused you, there is no reason to stay in the relationship. Sadly, if you remain in the relationship, it is unlikely that they will change.

They will continue to physically, verbally, and emotionally abuse you to the point that it could send you to the hospital. If you find this to be true in your life, know that this is a valid reason for divorce.

God does not want you to remain in a marriage where your spouse harms you in their actions and words. A husband is supposed to build up his wife, love her as Christ loves the church, and take care of her. He should not be hateful in his words, physically abuse her, or harm her in any way.

More awareness needs to be brought forth about abuse because not many people view it as a biblical reason to have a divorce. They believe they need to remain faithful to their spouse despite the abuse they are enduring.

There can also be a strange phenomenon when the abuser causes the person who is being abused to feel as though they deserve the pain when they really don’t deserve all the hurt, pain, and emotional damage they are receiving.

Nobody deserves to be abused in a relationship, and in no way does abuse bring glory to God in a marriage. If your husband is not treating you kindly and in a way that reflects Christ’s love for the church, it might be time to consider getting a divorce.

In the same way, if you are a male and your wife has been abusing you and hurting you, it could be time for a divorce. There is a false belief that only women are abused within a relationship or marriage; however, men are just as likely to be the victim of abuse in a relationship, whether verbally, emotionally, or physically.

What Does This Mean?

While it can be frightening to think about getting a divorce, sometimes it is the only way to freedom. If your spouse has been unfaithful to you, you can try your best to work things out with them, yet you cannot be certain it won’t happen again.

As humans, we are creatures of habit, and your spouse might be unfaithful to you again. It is ultimately up to you to decide, and I encourage you to include God in your decision. Consult Him in prayer and ask Him the best way to go. He is faithful, and He will guide you in all your ways.

On the other hand, if you are a victim of abuse, it is best to highly consider a divorce. Unfortunately, not many people change their habits and will continue to abuse you to an extent. You don’t deserve this, even if your spouse has made you believe you do

You deserve a spouse who loves you, cares about you, and wants the best for you. Even though you are married to an abuser now does not mean this is your final destination.

Getting a divorce could open up your heart to someone new — someone who loves God, loves you and obeys God in his or her actions.

Throughout the entire process of divorce, pray. Don’t neglect your time with God, and don’t neglect your own well-being. Remember to eat, sleep, and allow yourself time to grieve.

You loved the person you are getting a divorce from, and it could be that you still love them. This can be a difficult season of life for you but know that God is with you every step of the way. He never leaves you, and He never forsakes you (Hebrews 13:5).

Matthias David
Matthias David
Working in His vine, as He does even more at mine.
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