Q. I know the Bible says that unfaithfulness is the only reason for divorce. The couple are Christians, but her husband is verbally abusive to his wife. Very mean. I told her to get out and now he is filing for divorce. I can’t believe that God would want her to stay with this man. Does she have to stay married to him and if she gets divorced, never marry again?
A. As I understand things, a believing wife is not required to stay in the same house with an abusive husband, but if they’re both believers neither party can obtain a Biblically acceptable divorce except for reasons of marital unfaithfulness (Matt. 5:31-32). According to 1 Cor. 7:10-16 if the husband who wants to leave is not a believer the believing wife can let him go. But if a believing wife leaves a believing husband for any reason other than unfaithfulness she is not supposed to re-marry.
The reason the Bible is like this is because the Lord’s goal is always reconciliation. He does not want a woman to be the victim of an abusive husband, and he does not want a man to be abusive toward his wife. Instead He wants the couple to reconcile, with both parties fulfilling their roles in the marriage as defined in Ephesians 5:22-28. This can be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit when both parties obey Ephes. 5:22 and submit to each other out of reverence for the Lord.
Although you seem to be advocating for the woman in this situation, you can’t know all the facts for certain. Be careful not to get into a position where you’re at odds with God’s will for this couple. That means staying within Biblical guidelines, even if you don’t understand or agree with them. If they decide to go against His will, be sure it’s their decision alone.