No Other Reasons For Divorce?

Q. How does the issue of divorce apply to a battered spouse and/or if the husband is abusing the children physically? I know of situations like this and there does not seem to be any Bible teaching addressing this because the only valid reason for divorce is adultery or if an unbelieving spouse wants it. In the “real world” these kinds of things are happening and people are seeking answers and they need a biblical response.

A. I believe the Bible only speaks of adultery and letting a non-believer go as justifiable reasons to end a marriage because all other marital issues are meant to be resolved. That doesn’t mean a spouse or children have to tolerate abuse. There’s no Biblical requirement for abused parties to remain in the same house with an abuser. They have a right to be protected while the abuser gets the help he or she needs to be able to guarantee a safe and loving home environment.

According to the Bible, a Christian woman is to submit to her husband in everything as to the Lord (Ephes 5:22-24). A Christian man is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her (Ephes. 5:25-28). There are similar provisions for parent/child relationships (Col. 3:20-21). These principles are rarely taught to couples preparing to get married anymore, and there are even fewer cases where they are followed.

So the issue is not why the Lord didn’t mention divorce as a remedy for other kinds of marital strife. The issue is why people don’t practice what the Bible teaches.

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