When marriage conflicts lead to violence, I believe a time of separation is a sensible course of action. And during the period of separation, if the abuser is unwilling to get the professional help he needs to modify his behavior, divorce may be the best course of action to avoid future violence or save the victim’s life. There are far too many women living with abusive men who intimidate and bully them on a daily basis. Consequently, some of these women end up in emergency rooms seeking treatment for injuries suffered during violent attacks perpetrated by angry spouses. The Bible says a man should love and nourish his wife. But spousal abuse is neither a loving, nor nurturing experience. It’s an evil, humiliating, vicious act of violence.
I agree with your pastor when he says God hates divorce. But God hates ALL SIN....not just divorce. That’s why my heart goes out to the many women (and men) who feel trapped in abusive relationships because of the many poorly researched sermons on marriage and divorce. Many of the sermons offer victims no practical insight or counsel, just more rhetoric about being submissive. In my opinion, most women in abusive relationships seem to get more help from compassionate souls working in social service organizations than they receive from many dogmatic Christians groups.
In summary, I think it’s unrealistic to expect a woman to stay with a man who punches her around when he gets upset. Additionally, I also think it’s about time for misinformed Christians to face the truth about an important Biblical fact. The Bible DOES NOT say that divorce is the unpardonable sin.
Verses to Remember
(Col 3:19 NIV) Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
(Eph 5:25-29 KJV) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
(Mat 12:31 NIV) And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
Dr. David Stephens has authored 8 books on love and marriage. Since 1994 he has conducted relationship seminars and served as a coach to couples & singles who desire marriage success. In 2016, he launched the Marriage Success Podcast. He has been happily married to his wife, Angela, since 1988.