Christians in Divorce Court

Divorce Court - AdobeStock_114416567When it comes to the issue of Divorce and Remarriage, God has a court. The question comes, “Who decides when there are or are not legitimate grounds for a divorce?”

There are 3 spheres that allow divorce:

• When immorality enters into a relationship —it is an allowance by God.

• When there is a non-Christian married to a Christian and the non-Christian deserts the Christian then that is an allowance for the Christian to proceed with a divorce allowed by God…


Removal from the fellowship of God to be excommunicated as to be under Spiritual death (1 Corinthians 5). (This is where there’s immorality, beating, or being a “striker,” being a violent person, for a person who’s not taking care of his family, etc.) It’s where the “supposed” Christian will not come under authority.

Before Divorce: A Death Must Occur

To sum it all up —a death must occur. For a woman is bound to her husband as long as the both shall live, as the Scriptures says. But when one dies, she is no longer bound. So a person can die physically —therefore, the Covenant has been broken. Or they can die Spiritually and therefore, the Covenant can be broken.

So the question is: WHO determines (the legitimate grounds), and HOW is it determined.  Who decides? After discussing this whole issue of “removing people” from the fellowship in 1 Corinthians 5, it then continues in chapter 6. This is where it is explained HOW it’s to be done. (So chapter 6 is the continuation of chapter 5.)

Kingdom Decisions

God has set you up to judge the “whole world.” Judgment is a part of the role of the people of God. They render decisions on behalf of God Himself. Kingdom decisions are to be rendered by Kingdom People. That is because only Kingdom People obligate themselves to Kingdom rules. The Church was never intended to be a “2-hour building” that you went to for services once a week. It was intended to be an “expression of the Kingdom intentions” of the King. That’s why when Jesus prayed He said, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

So like it or not, judgment is a part of the role of the people of God.

A couple that decides that they want a divorce for “irreconcilable differences” (which there’s no such divorce for) needs to realize that everybody is irreconcilable to everybody else. You are very different from your mate. You’re supposed to be. God intentionally made you different. The issue is not the differences —we’re to turn them into “complements rather than conflicts.” But His point is, that you don’t go to the unrighteous, who have no Kingdom view of marriage, and don’t understand that God is the author of marriage. They’ll simply grant you (because you agree on your own terms) a no-fault divorce.

Kingdom Decisions

He’s not putting down judges, because you must have Civil Government. But when it comes to matters of the Kingdom, they’re to be decided within the Kingdom, and then they can be confirmed in the government.

In verse 7 (of 1 Corinthians 6), he says if you go to a Secular Law Court —you’ve already lost. You’ve lost for 2 reasons: number 1 you’ve destroyed your testimony, and number 2, God is against your process.

And so he raises the point here that the church is to act as God’s judging agency. Now this ought to solve a very important issue that many Christians are very confused about whenever you hear a person say, “Well, you’re not supposed to judge.” They are wrong! You are supposed to judge. The Bible tells us to judge. It tells us in 1 Corinthians 6 “to render a judgment in the Church.

Rendering Judgment

Christians are supposed to judge. In fact, Christians who are right related to God, are the best judges. That is because they’re going to judge predicated on a righteous standard. The righteous standard is God Himself. It is manifested in and through His word! Because Christians have access to Truth, we can render judgment.

In Matthew 7 (verse 1), people misinterpret the passage where it says “Do not judge, lest you’ll be judged.” Is that because you aren’t to judge? No, in verse 2 it says, “for in the same way you judge, you will be judged, and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” He’s not saying, “don’t judge” but, BE CAREFUL, WHEN YOU JUDGE. Because the same judgment you use against another will be the very same judgment God uses against you. So think twice before you jump out there judgmentally. In other words, he’s saying, “judge carefully ” —not don’t judge at all!

Judging Carefully?

How do you judge carefully? (Look at Matthew 7:3). Don’t judge folks who have something wrong with them “speck-sized” when you’ve got a tree-trunk hanging out of your eyeballs!

The problem today is, we have people judging other people when they’re as “messed up” as the folks they’re judging. Don’t condemn somebody else for something you’re doing and can’t get a handle on. (This can be further illustrated in John 8 with the woman who’s condemned for committing adultery.)

In the scriptures, when God established His courts, they carried authority with them. Deuteronomy 17, (starting with verse eight) shows that God’s court systems were to be taken seriously. And how powerful they were! (Numbers 5, starting with verse 12 illustrates this.) 1 Corinthians 10:11 says, these things were written for our example.

Regulations VS Revelations

The Old Testament, you can use it —NOT for it’s REGULATIONS, but for it’s REVELATIONS. That is, the principles still applies even though the specific way of carrying it out —God may not use that anymore. And the principle is —that God wants his people to render judgment, on God’s behalf, related to any kind of litigation issues. And we’re constantly dealing with them. Do you go and sue them downtown? God’s clear —you take it to the church.

What’s the process? It’s in Matthew 18 (starting with verse 15). So the first thing you do is, you handle it personally. If your brother has hurt you (or your mate has hurt you) the very first thing that you do is try to fix it privately. YOU NEVER CARRY A PROBLEM BEYOND ITS NEED, TO BE KNOWN. What makes it a need to be known? Matthew 18:16 —if he doesn’t listen to you. He’s not open for correction. He is not repentant. But it’s a legitimate thing. He says, by then, with 2 or 3 witnesses, every fact is confirmed. Two or 3 witnesses would mean that there would be a legality attached to the process now. It became official… it had witnesses.


So you take 2 or 3 witnesses to confirm that you tried and they won’t —that you are trying to fix this marriage, but they won’t. This is so that it’s not your word against their word, that you can VALIDATE that there is a sin and that that mate is not willing to correct it.

What happens then? In Matthew 18:17 it says, “tell it to the church.” Why do you tell it to the church? Because that’s the extended family —that’s the environment where God’s decisions are rendered.

And if he will not listen to the church, LET HIM BE TO YOU, AS A GENTILE and TAX-GATHERER.” In other words, HE IS TO BE VIEWED AS SPIRITUALLY DEAD! He is rendered a gentile, or a tax collector. Not only were tax collectors sinners… they were also ostracized because of their occupation. Jews didn’t have fellowship with tax collectors. In other words, they are spiritually dead. They, may be a Christian… but you can now relate to them… as though they are spiritually dead.

Rendering Heavenly Decisions Concerning Divorce

Why? Verse 18. God gives the church the ability to act as His earthly court, rendering His heavenly decisions. “Whatever you loose on earth, will be loosed in heaven, whatever you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven.” The church’s job is to bind and loose. That simply means to “exercise authority on behalf of God.” AND IF YOU WANT TO BE BLESSED, THAT’S THE COURT YOU GO TO.

In verse 19, He says whenever you gather together to render decisions, I’ll be in the midst of you. “When you gather together to make judgments using My word, applying them to the situations of life —that’s when the rubber meets the road.” The church is God’s extended family court. And just like you don’t want your children taking your family business out to the street, God doesn’t want His children carrying out kingdom business in the street to people who don’t have a Kingdom mentality.

Subject to God

But here’s why people don’t want to come to the church. They don’t want to come to the church because they don’t want to subject themselves to God. They want to go to somebody who will agree with them. Also, they don’t want to be rendered a “righteous decision,” they only want to be rendered THEIR decision.

So, how does this relate to marriage and divorce? 1 Corinthians 7:39. As long as the mate is alive… either physically or covenantally… then you are bound to that person. And the most you can do (1 Corinthians 7:10), is separate and remain unmarried or be reconciled. You don’t have grounds for a divorce as long as they’re alive.

If they are dead, they must be dead by God’s coroner. And God’s coroner is the church. Once they’re declared dead, then a declaration of death is always a freedom to remarry —because a woman is only bound to her husband, as long as he lives. So once he either dies, or is declared to be such (as a tax gatherer or a sinner) or as 1 Corinthians 5:5 says, “put him in the realm of Satan.” At that point, the party is free to remarry. Why? It’s because God has canceled out the previous marriage.

God hates divorce.

He never demands divorce. God only permits it. But He does allow it, when death occurs in order to preserve and protect the innocent.

There are 3 options the Christian has (and by the way, the reason God says to be married “only in the Lord” is because GOD DOESN’T WANT IT TO BE HEAVEN and HELL EXPERIENCE TO BE MARRIED, if they can help it), a person whose mate commits covenantal death has 3 choices:

• To restore them to the relationship based on restitution.

In fact, that always ought to be the 1st option, to see if we can fix what got broke. What if your mate does something that causes covenantal death, but they’re sincerely repentant? And how do you know they’re sincerely repentant? The Bible says “let them bring forth fruits of repentance.” There must be a demonstration or restitution that pays back the offended party, that lets them know they’re serious in their heart about what they just verbalized with their mouth as demonstrated by their actions.

They must be restored based on “their fruits of repentance.” And if they’re sincerely repentant, then the goal should be, if at all possible, to seek to restore them. (That’s the reason why God accepted the marriage of David to Bathsheba. God took restitution out on David. He lost four of his sons as David had declared that the man who did this crime should be punished four-fold. So he lost four of his sons as payment back to God. He set him free to marry only after he had received restitution.) So if you’ve offended your mate, you need to pay them back.

• To divorce

When your mate has become covenantally dead, that is, to have them declared so by the church, which frees you up. (This was the option Joseph was going to take with Mary. He decided to put her away privately, when he thought the mother of Jesus had been immoral.)

• You can choose to live continually with your covenantally dead spouse.

This applies even though they’ve committed an act and even though they’re unrepentant for their sin. (1 Corinthian 7:13-15) Here he sets the scenario, that the covenantally dead person or the unbeliever (he’s either an unbeliever, or he’s functioning as an unbeliever), wants to stay in the marriage relationship. If he’s willing to function, as her husband, and she’s willing to function as his wife —He says don’t leave.

Evangelistic Opportunity

You need to LOOK AT IT AS AN EVANGELISTIC OPPORTUNITY. He’s not saying you’re staying there and he’s beating on you. He’s not saying you’re staying there, and he won’t work. What He’s talking about is his willingness to stay there under the covenant of the family. Even if you have grounds (for divorce), if they’re willing to function properly, even though they’re not spiritually on track, then you “sanctify them.” If you love them and care about them, but they’re not on track, you may want to stay, pray, and watch God work through you to bring about a change —to bring that person back.

What do you do if you’re already coventally dead? GOOD NEWS —God has the ability to raise people from the dead!

This article was gleaned from an audio tape titled “Divorce Court” from the ministry of Dr Tony Evans. This was just a portion of what he had to say from a message he gave, based on 1 Corinthians 6:1-6. There are several excellent illustrations that aren’t written in the contents of this text. Please consider contacting the ministry of Urban Alternative through the web site at to possibly obtain this and other helpful information pertaining to marriage, divorce, re-marriage and other important topics.

— ALSO, Concerning Christians and Divorce —

Gary Thomas addresses this issue of Christians and divorce. We encourage you to read:


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Filed under: Separation and Divorce

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53 responses to “Christians in Divorce Court

  1. (USA)  My husband and I have been married for 23 years and now we are facing divorce. We are both in the preaching ministry and have attended the same church together where we both teach Sunday School, and sing in the choirs. I also do the Sunday bulletins and monthly calendars for the church and also assist the pastor in different functions of the church administration.

    Jealousy has become the problem with my husband. He can’t understand why Pastor is using me and not him in these areas of ministry. He became so jealous that he has gone to the counsel of elders at the church and accused me of having something going on with our pastor. My husband has since then left the church (his choice) and I left to try to support him in his dealing with all of this. I went to another church with him one Sunday and he did not want me to go with him.

    This jealousy has also spilled into other relationships in my life. I have a very close female friend that he has accused me of having a sexual relationship with. All of these accusations have left the privacy of our home and has moved through the community. I don’t know what else to do but divorce.

    I ask him if we went to another church together and the Pastor at that church promoted me in the ministry would he feel the same way. His answer was yes and he would leave that church. When I am doing the praise and worship on Sunday mornings he has made comments about me to our daughter about me and the praise and worship I was doing. Much like Michal did when David was dancing before the Lord, it’s like he despises me for what the Lord is doing in my life. Please can you help me with this problem?

    1. Maybe he’s noticing something that you are not. A man can tell if another man is interested in his wife or girlfriend. I don’t know what type of personality you have but maybe it’s too friendly and you need to cut it back a notch. Why is he accusing you of your girlfriends? If guys are touchy, touchy or kiss each other more than normal I can see why he feels that way. I don’t because you didn’t really explain why he feels that way. Plus you never denied any of his complaints. What’s really going on because people aren’t born with a jealous attitude? They are given a reason.

  2. (USA)  I don’t know what the solution to the problem is. But I’m 100% certain divorce is NOT the solution to the problem.

    1. (SOUTH AFRICA)  Yes Dear, Divorce is not the option lol. I have almost same situation as you. I am in the singing ministry. The Bishop uses me in the church and praises me openly even before my husband, about what I am doing in the church. But my husband is jealous and says well, I don’t play the piano professionally and other things not necessary to write. Even my ministry, he was trying to frustrate. But I am praying for him and thank God. God is working on my husband now.

      He is not yet 100% supportive, but I can see that God will work out his will and soon I believe, my husband will be involved in my ministry and appreciate what God is doing through me.

      So, my advice to you is to pray for your husband and ask God to open his eyes to help him understand; it calls for wisdom not Divorce. God bless you.

  3. (USA)  I am divorced but my husband still stays with me. I did not want the divorce, I did it because that’s what he wanted. But since the divorce we have been really close. When I asked him why he got the divorce he said it was because we were not growing together. I was going one way and he was going another way.

    So then I asked him, “Well, why did you move back in with me?” and he said “because of the kids” (I am not working so he is paying all the bills). But today I told him that once I start this new job in January he can move out and he can just pay me the child support for the kids.

    So my question is, should I really put him out or should I let him stay? I really had hoped that maybe we would get back together (remarry). He also told me he was not seeing anybody and is not planning on dating because he wants to make sure this is what God told him to do. Then he told me God told him he needs to stay here with me for the kids. So I’m like, “how is God going to tell you to divorce me but yet still stay in the same house with me? Isn’t that a sin to shack up and not marry?” We still do everything married people do.

    Please, I need help. What should I do (put him out or try to work it out)? Do you all think we might get back together? I wish we could go talk to some one but he said he doesn’t need to talk to anybody.

    1. (SOUTH AFRICA)  Dear Shay, If your husband wants to stay with you, please don’t send him out. Try now to understand him and do the things he pleases. Let him see the efforts you are making, showing him you still love and care about him.

      If making love with him now you are divorced is making you feel guilty, then try to find a time to discuss it with him. Tell him how you feel. Tell him you will appreciate it if you no longer make love outside of marriage because you are sinning against God by doing so. Further discuss with him to know what he wants from you now. Forget about yourself; be selfless this time around and ask God to give you the type of selfless love Christ has for us. God bless you.

  4. (SOUTH AFRICA)  Dear Shay, I also feel confused because your husband divorced you and now wants to stay with you and "play" married. He says he is only doing it for the kids so my first reaction is to move him out and get on with life.

    You have however, mentioned that you have become very close which indicates that, given time, your relationship could grow stronger and your husband may request a remarriage. Perhaps setting a date for him to consider remarriage or not would be the best way to go. He needs to know just living with you for the sake of the kids is not good enough for YOU.

    I am not a counselor so could be very wrong but do know that with God’s strength anything is possible. Do not be hasty in your decision. His decision to divorce you in the first place did not come from God as "God hates Divorce".

    Please try and get marriage counseling you will be surprised at how helpful it can be.

  5. (USA) Dear Shay, I can well understand why you would be confused because of your situation. I’m confused just reading about all of this.

    I agree with Rose that what it seems like your husband has done is to “stay with you” and “play” the role of being married — yet without actually being married. He gets all of the perks of being married… living in your home together, being with the children each day, having you when he wants you and yet when he doesn’t, he can claim you’re divorced (which is true) so he doesn’t have to follow through with the responsibilities of a marital partner.

    Something is wrong with this picture though. Either your husband is in this marriage, “for better or worse” and you both work on the “worse” together to make things “better”, or he needs to feel a little more of the sting of making his decision to divorce. Pray about your decision though and go with God. It seems like your husband shouldn’t have the perks of being married without making the sacrifices it takes as well.

    I’m not trying to stir up problems, but I want you to see the fuller picture as it is. From what I surmise, there is a lot of confusion going on here on both of your parts.

    On your part: I can see your heart being revealed between the lines of what you write in your letter. I see confusion and hurt. You wrote, “I did not what the divorce, I did it because that’s what he wanted.” There is a lot of pain revealed in that statement alone. I also sense that you feel hopeful because you let him move back in and through this time you say you have “been really close.” And yet I also sense that woven through all of this is anger.

    You want to push your husband to fight for your marriage and not cower back behind the divorce decree. That’s probably why you made the statement to him about his moving out and making child support payments once you start your job in January. You’re trying to shake him up a bit hoping he will wake up and step up to being committed to marriage once again. (It’s the principle of trying to stir him from “functional fixedness” that the article “Why Doesn’t My Spouse Change – Functional Fixedness” talks about, which is posted in the “Save My Marriage” section of our web site.) But you’re confused as to how much you can push without driving him away.

    On your husband’s part: I perceive that he’s also very confused. There are some good things about him — thankfully, he didn’t abandon you and the children financially. (Sadly, many men do.) He obviously loves your children. If you’re both growing closer to each other through this time, he must be displaying some good qualities or you wouldn’t experience such a positive result in your relationship at this time. But your statement about his “not seeing anybody and is not planning on dating because he wants to make sure this is what God told him to do” reveals confusion on his part.

    God hates divorce. It would go against His nature and what the Bible says about divorce if he divorces you because you “were not growing together.” Just because you were “going one way and he was going another way” isn’t a biblical reason to divorce. It’s a great reason to come together in prayer and ask God to show you how to grow together rather than apart. It’s a great reason to go to a counselor or a pastor and/or to find other ways to help you to start growing together again. (We have hundreds of articles on our web site alone that can help you with that mission.) Sure, it will take a lot of work, but perseverance through trials is God’s way of doing things, not divorcing! God doesn’t tell people to divorce for this reason. Your husband must be confused on this.

    Also, if you haven’t committed adultery or you’re not an unbeliever who wants out of the marriage, then you haven’t broken covenant with him and he really doesn’t have the right to “date” anyone else, even though he divorced you. If he does then HE commits adultery and causes someone else to do the same — that’s what the Bible says. (You might look at the article we have posted in the “Separation and Divorce” section titled “Scriptures on Divorce” for more insight.)

    I perceive that both of you are operating out of confusion and maybe a lack of relationship skills — particularly with each other. (My husband and I have been there and have done that in the past — so I recognize that readily.) You see what the world says about love and marriage and you seem to be going along with it.

    A person can think that if their marriage is a certain way that is negative for a period of time, then it will continually stay that way or grow worse. But that doesn’t have to be true. God can cause a new thing to grow within your marriage relationship. If he can resurrect the dead and He can create the heavens and earth and that which is “good” out of nothing, He can certainly resurrect a dead marriage and create “good” within your relationship — even out of a vacuum of nothing or even out of that which is presently bad.

    How great is your God? (That’s going to be the title of the Marriage Message I’m working on for this week.) A marriage doesn’t have to be flushed just because it’s in troubled waters right now. If you’re both Christians, then God can work within and through you to teach you new things and help you to repair that which is broke. But it will take open hears and minds and spirits and follow-through to what He tells you to do to let God do His creative work.

    Shay, what I would recommend is first to pray, and pray, and pray some more for God’s insight into this. If you’ve done that — then do it again. And then I’d recommend that you go into the “Marriage Counseling” section of our web site and read through the articles and what we have posted, asking God for insight and wisdom. This will give you a good slant on the type of counselor or pastor you will seek for advice. If your husband won’t go in for counseling — then you start. I’m sure you need insight as to what YOU should do. The ministry of Focus on the Family (for which we supply a link) is a good place to start. They will start by giving you free counsel and then they will point you elsewhere if you need more than they can give.

    Also, the book, “Love Must Be Tough” by Dr James Dobson would be a GREAT one for you to obtain. It talks about responding to a spouse with tough love and from what I read in your letter, this book could help you. There’s a difference between reacting to a situation through giving wise, respectful, reality-based tough love, and reacting out of angry tough love — one CAN bring healing — the other can bring more damage. Reading the book “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs and/or even the CD by that title (that the ministry of Focus on the Family makes available) would help to tie this concept together for you.

    In all of this, I would recommend that you start working on your own issues. Pray and ask the Lord what you did in the marriage that could have harmed your relationship with your husband. Don’t look at your husband’s emotional “stuff” — let God work on your husband. You may want to go through the “Save My Marriage” section and the “For Married Women” section of our web site to see what the Holy Spirit, our Wonderful Counselor points out to you.

    Whether you and your husband ever remarry or not, it’s good to get yourself as healthy as possible and work through your own issues. If you need to apologize and ask your husband for forgiveness for anything, do as the Lord prompts you. Don’t let it be dependent on his apologizing. That is between him and God. Do what you can and see what God does from there.

    I believe as you’re doing this, God will show you whether you should ask your husband to move out or not. He may need that as “tough love” or perhaps God will show you otherwise. But don’t wait for your husband to do his part, do yours and see what happens from there. Don’t worry about how much time it takes. It’s human beings that are fooled into looking at a time frame to “move on with our lives.” Go with God’s time frame — not anyone else’s — including your own. We know of a couple that were divorced for 12 years before God moved them to reconcile. Look to the God of hope — He will direct your steps rightly.

    I pray this helps.

  6. (USA)  I have often noticed that many people who live outside of California or states with similar laws are confused by the term “irreconcilable differences” with regard to divorce. I myself was one of them until I obtained a California divorce. I used to think, “irreconcilable differences,” just meant that the two people (often celebrities) had simply given up.

    However, when I filed for divorce myself, I discovered that since California is a no-fault state, there often is NO OTHER available legal reason that can be placed on a divorce decree. The only other choice that can be selected on the forms there as a reason for dissolution (i.e. divorce) is incurable insanity.

    So, although I divorced my husband due to his adulterous and abusive behavior, the official record states that it was due to “irreconcilable differences.” I simply had no option of selecting "cruelty" or "adultery" as a cause.

    Personally, I much prefer that system, even though it is (very) often misued. As a formerly abused wife I greatly appreciated the fact that I did not have to try and prove his (always) hidden abuse in court. It was much easier and much, much safer that way. Quite frankly another route may have gotten me killed.

    I believe that much must be done to reduce the divorce rate in this country, but I do not believe that eliminating the no-fault divorce laws is the way to do it.

    Women (and men) such as myself depend on these laws to help keep us safe and speedily remove us from dangerous situations. There is an epidemic of abuse in the nation and it would not make sense to endanger those who need those particular laws the most.

    Encouraging better pre and post-marital counseling is a better solution.

  7. (USA)  Rachel, First I want to say how sorry I am that you suffered abuse. However, I think one SHOULD have to prove that, and as a Christians we should prove such accusations.

    If someone is an abuser, No Fault Divorce still just sweeps that under the rug. So it does our society no good to just file for irreconcilable differences and not address the problem of abuse.

    Second, it protects those who are falsely accused of abuse. As you said in your own post, it’s abused more than not, yet you want it to protect the minority of cases involving abuse or infidelity.

    I’m sorry, but I think there should be consequences to such behavior, and simply quietly divorcing someone just passes the buck on the problem to some unsuspecting person in society. So the abuse or the infidelity continues.

    However, if these folks had to spend time in prison, lose ALL their assets, etc, then I believe many will seek to make real changes in their lives.

    No fault divorce hurts far more than it helps, and there is a way to achieve the protection you seek while still obtaining a conviction against those who choose to abuse. We should do what is right, not what is easy or safe.

  8. (USA)  Tony, I completely agree there should be consequences for such behavior, but the reality is it can be very difficult to prove. Of all the people I talked to about what happened to me, whether priests, co-workers, or therapists, not one suggested that I call the police. They recognized what a tricky problem it can be.

    I never even got a restraining order against my ex-husband because I felt his fear of going to jail was what kept him from causing me serious harm. I felt that if he felt he had nothing to lose because I had already pointed him out to the law, he would only get much worse.

    I never felt as if the police or courts could protect me from him, and I am terrified of him to this day. He was always careful to make sure that there was nothing I could use against him in a court of law. So, with no legal recourse against him, there was nothing I could do but leave.

    So yes, I fully agree that it is just passing the buck. But sadly, I don’t believe our current system is very effective. Restraining orders are often just a piece of paper with no weight behind them.

    One time, after he had choked me, I told him I was calling the police. He actually handed me the phone. He told me, "Go ahead and call them, you don’t have a mark on you (I got him off me fairly quickly), I’m the one who is hurt (I had to hit him to get him to stop choking me), if you call the police I’ll tell them that you assaulted me. I’ll even make sure you lose your job because of it."

    So, I ended up taking HIM to the hospital myself, and had to listen to his threats and insults the entire way. Surreal isn’t it? When you go through something like that, you feel like the whole world is backwards.

    So yes, he is out there somewhere, a free man, and I worry often about what he will do to someone else eventually. I wish I could have done something but there was simply nothing that would have held up in court.

    I also have had four close female friends over the last three years. All turned out to have had abuse in their life. Two were abused by partners (one was repeatedly raped by her husband) and are now remarried, one is currently being verbally and emotionally mistreated and is worried about what to do as she has three children. The fourth one left her abusive marriage after 25 years and has been afraid to be with any man since. All are spiritual women, all communicated their problems to their church. None of their abusers has spent a day in jail. They also felt/feel that they have limited options.

    Here are some even scarier statistics to show what I mean:

    According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002: Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.

    About 75% of the calls to law enforcement for intervention and assistance in domestic violence occur after separation from batterers. One study revealed that half of the homicides of female spouses and partners were committed by men after separation from batterers (Barbara Hart, Remarks to the Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, April 1992).

    50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005), available at

    So yes, it would be wonderful if more abusers could be made to suffer the legal consequences. The problem is, right now it often only seems to happen if their victim is dead or beaten to the point of severe hospitalization. Abusers who aren’t physical can be even harder to deal with legally as it is often a "he said, she said" situation.

    Also, while I said that it is very often misused, I’m not convinced that abuse is an extremely minority reason for divorce in this country. I think it is merely under-reported.

    Some more statistics:

    Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. Source: Commonwealth Fund survey, 1998

    Violence is the reason stated for divorce in 22% of middle-class marriages. Source: EAP Digest November/December 1991.

    Studies by the Surgeon General’s office reveal that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44, more common than automobile accidents, muggings, and cancer deaths combined. Source: Journal of American Medical Association, 1990.

    Things are improving at least. It used to be (even ten years ago) that when people talked about abuse, they only spoke of battery. Now there is much more education and resources available on other types of abuse. Hopefully our younger generations will be better schooled in what constitutes appropriate behavior and will have more options at their disposal. But it will take time.

    1. (AUSTRALIA)  Rachel, only those who have lived the experience know what you are talking about. Not many professionals in the court system can recognize abuse and because abusers are good at impression-management, they manipulate judges and rarely are the women protected. Here is a great explanation of how abusive people manipulate the system and how the system colludes with them to further the injustice:

      Pastors of churches may have been given the authority to execute Matthew 18, but they don’t always have the tools to deal with abusive situations. You can’t expect them to be trained in all areas. If someone comes to them with a brain hemorrhage, they can’t perform brain surgery and they will have to refer them to a neurosurgeon. Similarly, they could do more damage if they try to deal with abusive relationships. They need to have the training to recognize the dynamics of abusive behavior, including covert aggression, thinking errors, diversion and blaming, feigned assent. Otherwise, they will deem a person changed or repentant just because the offender says and does the right things. But the change of behavior is not matched by a change of heart and it is only a matter of time before the problem re-emerges.

      Rachel, it is not your fault he is a free man and able to re-offend. You are not the perpetrator. Put the responsibility where it belongs. You are not responsible for monitoring his behavior or making sure someone else isn’t targeted. He can choose to change, and a person serious about changing doesn’t ask for support from the victim. To demand any more from a victim trying to heal is repugnant.

      1. (USA)  Even the stats both you and Rachel bring up indicate that abuse is present in a minority of cases. Yet no-fault divorce is present in a majority of divorces. Therefore, that means that even more spouses are being abused by no-fault divorce than by any of the other types of abuse you cite. Yet you still want to keep around no-fault divorce.

        If you’re truly against abuse, wouldn’t you go after the largest set of abuse cases, those involving spouses who perpetrate the emotional abuse of a divorce against a spouse who is NOT engaged in any sort of marital misconduct?

        I’m with you, we should be against abuse. And breaking your vows because you are not happy is a form of abuse against an innocent spouse. We must end ALL abuse now, not just those abuses that are politically correct.

        1. My ex-wife is a cruel and vindictive woman. She has threatened to kill me with a knife twice and threatened to kill our children. She has also struck me numerous times (to no great effect). Can I prove that? No, I cannot.

          The problem with proving spousal abuse is that most of the time the ONLY witness is the one abused. If you eliminate No Fault divorce, you condemn the victims of abuse to remain victims. A judge is not going to condemn a woman for abusing a husband (ever) on his say-so. And waiting for the church’s judgment on the issue? She’s a pastor, just like her abusive father before her. So no shock, her superintendent supports her and her post-separation claims that I was abusing her the whole time.

  9. (USA)  My husband just divorced me and dumped me like I’m garbage. I feel so bad. Please help me find comfort. Why did God let this happend to me?? I’m Indonesian and I’m a Catholic. I love my husband and I thought he was a good Christian. I always love the Lord but why has He let this happen to me?? Now I feel He turned His face from me…….. Please pray for me and thank you very much. Maria

  10. (SOUTH AFRICA)  My husband just moved out of the house after our six years of marriage because of he is cheating and his parents do not want me. He wants a divorce. It is so confusing because he is changed. Within two months after I found out that he is cheating, he is a very different person. The worst part is, he is a man of God who is serving in the protocol at church. He can even counsel others when they have their problems.

    I don’t know what exactly went wrong in our marriage. I really love him. I ask God that he says he will never leave me nor forsake me but look at me, I am so stressed that I even ended up being hospitalized.

    Why did God have to put me in marriage in the first place if he knew that my husband was going to hurt me after six years? Please somebody, pray for me. I need answers. Thanks.

    1. (SOUTH AFRICA)  Kgabo… I am praying for you. He has truly not forsaken you; you can be sure of that.

    2. (USA) Kgabo, My heart really goes out to you over the horrible way your husband is treating you. It just shouldn’t be. He should know better. Actions such as his, makes Christians look like hypocrites, and sometimes, rightly so. Too many are living in hypocritical ways that entertains the enemy of our faith instead of promoting the gospel of Truth, Faithfulness, and Love. How horribly sad on so many levels.

      I can well understand why you would be so confused and be experiencing great pain. Your marriage and home has been attacked and at this point is in shambles, and the man you gave your commitment to, is the one who caused it. That is an over-whelming reality that is difficult to deal with.

      But please, please, please don’t blame God. I can understand the temptation that one can make to think He orchestrates and controls the behaviors of man. But He no more “put” you into this marriage, than He “made” your husband cheat on you. These are all choices that people make. Yes, He is involved in different ways, but He gives us all a free will to follow His ways or walk away.

      The thought that came to mind is that you have been through an experience that can be likened to a massive heart attack. The severity of it is indescribable. Your husband will in no way be able to understand how horribly he has damaged your heart and the innocence of the trust you once had for him and how this will change things within your heart for the rest of your life. It’s so severe that it’s something that could kill your trust in men forever. I’ve seen that happen many times.

      One minute things are going along in a way that you thought was “normal” and fine, and the next minute, you are blindsided by this painful event — the likes of which you could never explain — a severe, paralyzing attack straight to your heart and soul! And within the moment that his adulterous actions were revealed, NOTHING functioned or worked the same. The pain, the fear, the confusion, absolutely EVERYTHING in your thoughts and movements changed, and your future would never be the same. 

      Lets face it, you DID suffer an attack on your heart and experienced a paralyzing stroke upon the way you knew how to do things when your husband’s betrayal came out. How could someone you so deeply trusted and gave to, with every part of your being, betray you in a way that is so heartless? How could he erase your feelings and all of the history you have together and how could he do something this cruel to you? How can you wrap your mind around that? It’s not only that you had a heart attack, but your husband — your marital partner stabbed you in the heart with this news.

      Please know that if I could give you a new heart and a new outlook on the future, believe me, I would. But painfully, “from this day forward” you will have to learn how to live a new “normal” — one that will take a LOT of work, and hopefully someday, help from your husband. But even WITH his help, the recovery time will be painful and shaky and terribly long and will seem impossible at times! 

      I can tell you, though, that you WILL get through this and you CAN come out of this stronger, and hopefully healthier than you ever could think possible at this time. I’ve also seen that happen many, many times before. God can give you a new heart and a new hope and a healthier future than you could ever imagine possible right now as you lean upon Him and lean upon getting through all of the difficult therapeutic actions you will need to exercise to get to that healing place.

      Just as a surgeon will many times have to cut away dead tissue so the new can heal and regenerate, God can apply the words written in the Bible into your life where it reads, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you…” (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Through His Holy Spirit — the Wonderful Counselor can guide you to the help you need. The dead and hurting emotions you feel right now, can be cut out, worked through and healed as you lean into the work that needs to be done.

      But I won’t kid you, this won’t happen without a lot of “blood, sweat, and tears” being shed and MUCH painful work being done on your part. And here is the unfairness of it all. YOU didn’t commit the actions of betrayal, but YOU are the one who will have to pay the highest price to get to a place of recovery. That’s what happens when we live in a fallen world where sinful choices are made. Those that shouldn’t have to, often suffer the most. And just like with heart attack and stroke victims — they are the ones who have to put forth the horrendous effort it takes to be able to heal. The important thing is to lean into the healing… It will be painful, but as they say, without pain, there is no gain. That is more than just a saying, it’s often the truth, as it is in this case.

      I pray for you that God will strengthen and heal you as you lean upon Him. I pray that He will move upon your husband to open his eyes to the sinfulness of what he is doing. I pray that the Lord will show you how to go forth with your life one day after another — that He will give you help and hope.

  11. (AUSTRALIA)  Rachel said she had to put her cause as no-fault even though the cause was abuse. I think you will find most of the no-fault are not really no-fault. Those that walk out without reason may be violent or weirdos and I am not sure any person would want to be reconciled with either an abuser or a weirdo. I mean, if you are not engaged in any sort of marital misconduct and are a perfectly reasonable spouse, and your spouse simply leaves despite all your efforts to reconcile, just because there is a no-fault option, that person is a sick spouse and there is not much one can do to coerce such a person to stay because there is free will.

    No-fault divorce is not ideal. But without that option, unless there is one for abuse, lives are at stake. Not just for the victim, but for the offspring as well. Anyone against abuse would prefer the option of no-fault because it is better than the alternative. In an ideal world, no laws would be required to keep people from wanting to violate others. Every marriage would honor God.

    There is no such thing as politically correct abuse, just the definition created to recognize this insidious, unspoken, hidden, domestic terrorism. All too often, the world conveniently redefines abuse for its own purposes, which is an unsurprising tactic (Dr George Simon, author of In Sheep’s Clothing, does a great expose in Truer words have not been spoken than in Jeremiah: “The heart is desperately wicked.”

    1. (USA)  I believe in most states you can also divorce for cause. I believe most states allow you to divorce a spouse who is incarcerated. So it’s misleading to suggest that we need No Fault Divorce. No, we need folks to get serious if they are being mistreated and put the full weight of the law on their spouse.

      If there is a choice of for fault, or no fault, then choose a fault divorce. Especially if you claim to follow Christ and are seeking a divorce.

      If you choose a no fault divorce when there are other choices, are you not lying? There is fault, otherwise you would not be seeking a divorce. Sure, no fault is easy. But then so is stealing. I think we who claim to follow Christ are held to a higher standard. I think the road we are called to travel is described as narrow. If a path seems easy, perhaps we need to question if that’s the right path.

      Personally, I don’t think it’s a lack of choices, but a lack of will that leads people to choose No Fault Divorce.

  12. (USA)  My wife has left me after having a miscarriage a couple months prior. She has seemed very happy and seemed to deal with everything fine. She has been persuaded to leave me by her mom and a guy from work who left his wife and two kids the week after she left me. Her mother has been diagnosed with mental problems. I don’t think my wife is in her right mind.

    I feel like a lot of her actions is something her mom would do. She was a Christian girl and had very good morals but has recently moved in with her mom and filed for divorce. She also said that God can throw her in hell. She keeps telling me to back off and let her go and that our 1 year old daughter will never suffer from this.

    I have fought hard for her but I feel like it’s pushing her away. I love my wife and my family and would do anything to get them back. Is it right to just let her go and hope she comes back? Also if anybody knows what I could do to get her back, I am willing to try anything as long as it’s Gods will.

    1. (USA)  What you can do is pray for her. Remember that this battle is not between flesh and blood, it is in the spiritual realm so get on your knees and pray. Changes may not come as soon as you like but pray that the Lord help you operate in love when dealing with her. Not in a self-seeking love, but an agape love. When you see her, speak to her refuse to get angry by her actions or words. Know that Satan is using her. When you look at things in that way you begin to see the need that the person has for your prayers, even though they might not realize it.

      Be the best father you can be and the best person you can be and use this time to develop a closer relationship with God. If you think about how much HE loves you and wants the best for you, you can begin to put your mind at ease. Let your focus be to glorify Him and He’ll handle the rest. Also when you start to get down, think about Jesus. Think about all that he endured to give us an opportunity at salvation. Meditate own his love and then you’ll see the need to operate in that same kind of love. God bless.

  13. (USA)  I’ve been married for 110 months now. Before I married my husband I had a car, a good job and a beautiful apartment. After my husband and I got married I gave up my apartment to move in with him. Well, 10 months later im 33yrs old I’m living at my fathers house with no car and I lost my job.

    During the time of my marriage I have lost weight because of the stress he’s constanly putting me through; we physically fight. He has called me every name but the child of God; he puts me out the house every 3 days. The one I’ll never forget he told me to get out the day before my mothers burial. His son steals my things and he does nothing about it. My husband leaves and don’t come home for weeks. And everything that goes wrong is always my fault. One minute he says he wants to work it out and the next he changes his mind.

    I feel used and abuse; I feel worthless and I don’t see where things will ever get better. I cry all the time and I pray but I still feel like crap. This man hates me and I can do nothing but take it because I believe once you get married you can never get a divorce. I wear a “mask” every day acting and pretending to be ok when I’m not. I have to wait til everyone goes to bed just so I can cry at night til I fall asleep.

    I have thousands of questions in my head but I’m starting to die inside. Anyways, I’ve been through too much in my life and I really felt like my life was starting to get better when he asked to marry me but all I did was back track. Oh yeah, and he claims to love the Lord sooooo much. I cheated on him because I felt so alone; I needed comfort and I still need comfort. You just dont know how this man has hurt me.

    1. (USA)  Cidney, my heart goes out to you. No one should experience such pain at the hands of those who have pledged to love and cherish us. Just know that your comfort comes from the Lord if you seek him. Keep praying and study the Bible. He may be a believer but may not realize that he’s not a follower. Pray that his eyes will be opened and in the meantime, if you’re choosing to stay, operate in love. The only way to overcome evil is with love. Do not cheat on him. Do all that you can to make your walk blameless.

      You mentioned that you thought your life was going to get better with marriage. Is that because you felt like marriage would validate you, make you feel worthy of love? If so, find your identity in Christ. Really meditate on how much your Lord and Savior love you. He gave his life so that you might have eternal life!!! There is no greater love than that.

  14. (USA)  I think this article sends the wrong message and here’s why:

    Who are we to decide whether someone is spiritually dead? To me the term spiritually dead suggests that someone is beyond repentance. There is a difference between someone being beyond repentance and someone refusing to repent.

    If you had a child and that child becomes wayward, at what point do you give up on that child and decide you won’t deal with that child again? Would you divorce your child and adopt another to take his/her place? If that child finally came to a place of repentance and returned home (as the prodigal did in the Bible) would you turn that child away and say “I’m sorry. I thought you were spiritually dead so I found another son/daughter to take your place.” I don’t think most people would, Christian or not. Then, why is it so easy to make a conscious decision to do your spouse that way? Why is it easier to give up on a spouse than your offspring? One gets unconditional love but the other doesn’t.

    Yes, I do believe that there are certain times that one should separate from a spouse that is abusive and a detriment to another’s health, but the suggestion below:

    “If they are dead, they must be dead by God’s coroner. And God’s coroner is the church. Once they’re declared dead, then a declaration of death is always a freedom to remarry— because a woman is only bound to her husband, as long as he lives. So once he either dies, or is declared to be such (as a tax gatherer or a sinner) or as 1 Corinthians 5:5 says, “put him in the realm of Satan.” At that point, the party is free to remarry. Why? It’s because God has canceled out the previous marriage.”

    Are we sure that God has cancelled the previous marriage? Look at God’s marriage to us. How many times do we fall away from Him? Does He ever leave us and refuse us when we finally repent and turn from our wicked ways? No. He’s always there. Will He correct us? Yes. Does He allow us to live as we choose with no consequence? No. But as long as we have breath in our bodies, we have the opportunity to return into fellowship with Him as long as we don’t commit the unpardonable sin.

    Where in the Bible is the Church described as a coroner with the power to declare someone spiritually dead? Yes, Paul does warn the body of Christ about allowing individuals with blatant sin to operate in the Church. If the person refuses to repent, then he warns that we should rebuke them in hopes that the person will see the errors in their ways and turn from their sin. That person is welcomed back if they repent and turn from their wicked ways. So while we are to judge the fruits of other Christians, its for loving correction. If that person that bears bad fruit is not willing or ready to repent we do have an obligation to refuse to compromise with sin or allign ourselves with wicked works. However, there should be much prayer and petition for that person to see the errors of their ways. We have to operate with the love of Jesus Christ in our hearts so our focus should always be unconditional love.

    While some things are true, I think this article is a little misleading on some level.

  15. (USA)  My husband and I have been married for 39 years. He and I are both saved and have been active in the same church for the past 26 years. Suddenly last year my husband began an affair with a woman from work. Our marriage had been having problems and I had tried in many ways to fix these things. I could tell that he just did not love me the way he once did. But I could not get him to work on the marriage with me. Finally he told me that he did not love me and was in love with some one else. He has left me and filed for divorce a few months ago. He has now moved in with the other woman and her family.

    I want to save my marriage. I am praying and crying out to God every day for answers. I do believe that he can resurrect a dead marriage. We still communicate occasionally and he always seems like he is so happy. The woman is 22 years younger than he is but he says that he doesn’t know if he wants to marry her or not. He still says he doesn’t love me anymore. What do I do while I wait for God to change his heart?