I had a dream last night. A lady in the dream had come to know that her husband was not the man she thought he was and he had left her. He just disappeared. There were other people in the room with her, trying to comfort her, but she didn’t want anyone else. She wanted me.
I went through a divorce. I knew what it was like. I was married 14 years and it came to a crashing end.
So it really prompted me to write this blog post, Should a Christian Divorce? I think it’ll really help a lot of people struggling with the decision of whether to divorce or not.
Should a Christian Divorce?
Divorce is never planned when you’re walking down the aisle. It’s never hoped for when you say, “I do”.
You intend to live married to that person forever.
But life happens. The world happens. And while I’d love to tell you that every marriage has a happy ending, that it’s a Disney fairytale life after you get married, many of you will face divorce in your life and most all of you who do, will think to yourself, “Divorce will never happen to ME!”
“Everyone else will get divorced before I do. We are perfect for each other. We love each other.” I worked soooooooo HARD at being a good wife.
I studied Proverbs 31 up and down, backward and sideways. I lined up my life to be in perfect harmony with the Proverbs 31 wife. I wanted to be PERFECT for him.
I made a good home for him, took care of the children, even learned to save money like he wanted me to.
But we can only control ourselves, dear people. We cannot control others…
You’re only responsible for your own actions
We can’t control whether they will see our hearts on fire for the Lord and abuse that. Abuse us. We can’t control whether all our hopes, dreams, and hard work will pay off in the end.
As I became closer to God in my own life, it became a stark mirror to my ex-husband’s life.
He had the choice. He could have chosen to follow God too. He could have chosen to give His life to God. But he never did. He became an apostate and walked away from God and from his family and began living in sin.
To this day, he THINKS he’s saved, but there is no change in him, not in his HEART. For an apostate CANNOT become saved.
And maybe he’s sorry.
But being sorry isn’t salvation.
Judas was so sorry for what he did, he hung himself on a tree over a cliff. His body fell off the cliff, smashed in a million pieces. He was sorry, but he was not saved.
I can’t make him come to salvation. I encouraged him as much as depended on me, but ultimately, before the Lord, I’m ONLY responsible for me and my actions. If HE divorces ME, there’s nothing I can do about it. We can’t force someone to be with us.
What are the consequences of divorce? The unforeseen things I don’t know about?
Divorce is rough. It’s something you will never fully get over.
Years later you will still wake up crying sometimes when you have a dream about it.
You’ll still find yourself grieving over the loss of a marriage that God intended to stay together.
The pain of divorce never goes away.
The loss of something in such a traumatic way never fades completely.
While you CAN divorce, the effects of the marriage are always there. If you have kids, you’ll deal with your spouse until the kids are at least 18-21, usually in a negative way.
You’ll deal with who gets custody and along the ride of life, desires will change, rules will change, life will sometimes change and give you a curveball. You’ll have to fight to keep your kids, fight to keep your life, fight to keep your family together, what has been destroyed.
And that’s Satan’s playground. He WANTS to destroy families. He’s BENT ON DESTROYING YOURS!
You must resist him!!! Resist him and everything he stands for and fight for your marriage and your family, the best you possibly can.
Marriage takes work, but divorce is MORE work. It’s a different KIND of work, but it’s work nonetheless.
Divorce is not better than marriage. It doesn’t bring the peace you think it will. It only brings on a completely different set of problems, but problems still the same.
My hope is that everyone reading this will understand how precious, in God’s sight, a marriage is (no matter how hard it is), and to hold onto it as best as you possibly can. As much as depends on you.
Instead of complaining about your spouse, think of how hard your life would be without him!
Who will mow the lawn? You have to hire someone.
Who will make the money? You have to do that AND be a mom too!!!!! Being a single mom is ROUGH! I have to make the money, care for the kids, run a blog, be the Proverbs 31 woman, tend to the home, and everything else.
One of my friends, who is married with 2 kids, just hired a nanny to help take care of her kids. I’m sitting here thinking, “WOW! I’d love just a husband to help!” I think it’s really cool to have a husband AND a nanny. It makes things run so much easier, but imagine doing THREE PEOPLE’S jobs…just YOU!
If you think your husband doesn’t do anything and you already do everything, you’re wrong. He most likely makes some money. Do you REALIZE how HARD it is and how much PRESSURE it is to try to make money and support your family. If your husband ONLY does that, just makes the money, you already have a cushy life! I’m not kidding!!!
Who will care for your children while you do the husband’s role of making money?
Who will you travel with, not be lonely with, confide in?
There’s so many things to consider.
Signs your marriage needs help
You’re not happy- while this is NOT grounds for biblical divorce for a Christian, it IS sign that your marriage needs help. We SHOULD be happy. We SHOULD have an inward JOY because we are Christian.
Does that mean we go around, with a plastered smile on our face all the time? No. But it does mean that deep down, when no one is around and no one is looking, you should be content and happy.
If you’re NOT happy and you’re a Christian, your relationship with Christ is not what it should be and we have to constantly spend time with God through out the day, making sure He’s first in our lives and our hearts are right. When we are cranky or feel like there’s a lot on our plate, we can sit at Jesus’ feet and just listen to Him and feel His love upon us. He truly cares for us and it’s restful and relaxing. His yoke is NEVER a burden to us. He’s good and kind to us, always, even in the worst of storms!
You fight all the time- if you feel like bickering is “just part of your personality”, you have to change it A-sap! It can often start out playing and joking, but end up mean and vindictive REAL quick. It’s best not to have that type of communication with your spouse at all.
Also look at WHAT you fight about. Are you fighting about money? How can you compromise? Do you constantly fight about how to raise your kids? Have you made decisions together? Are you spending enough time in the situation WITH your partner, truly investing in them, learning THEIR point of view? WHY are they wanting this or that?
You never want to be around him- we spend our time on what’s most important to us. If you’re not spending quality time with your husband, you’re sending him the message that you don’t care about him! It’s a very subtle thing, but our actions speak VOLUMES!
You’re mothering him- are you constantly nagging him to get something done? Constantly feeling like he’s your “third” kid when you only have two children? Do you feel like you can never seem to get through to him to get things done?
If you’re treating him like his mom, he will begin to resent you and you can’t have a happy, loving marriage when one person resents the other. Men need to feel respected. They’d much rather be respected than loved and when you mother him, you’re making him feel very small and disrespected. As the saying goes, “You’ll catch more flies with honey”.
That doesn’t mean to just be a fake kind of smiling person when you’re mad, but it does mean that you want to treat him well, not nagging. The Bible says a nagging wife is like a dripping faucet. It’s better to live on the corner of a roof than with her.
So, how do you get him to do the things he needs to do without nagging? You can’t. You can’t do it WITH nagging either. It’s usually ineffective and just causes quarrels. We can’t control other people and he answers to God and God alone for what he’s not doing. Your best line of defense is to pray! Pray that God change his heart. Pray he will help you. Pray!
Physical intimacy has gone out the window- If you’re not enjoy the physical act that God has blessed us as humans with, it’s a good sign that your marriage is rocky. It also leaves a lot of temptation open for Satan to work in. It can very easily become his playground with your husband. You do want to be very careful and not withhold from your husband.
With that said, you have to be very careful. There are cases of a husband forcing his wife to do certain acts that are unbiblical and you are not commanded to let him.
If he’s had a physical affair with someone, BEFORE you are physically intimate with him (in cases where a woman takes him back), you need to make sure he is fully tested and you are safe from disease. Certain diseases take a long time to show up on tests too, so you’ll want to discuss that with the doctor and make sure you are taking great concern over the issue.
Your relationship is more like roommates than marriage- there is a very distinct difference between roommates/friends and a married couple. If you are acting more like roommates, it’s a clear sign your marriage is in trouble.
You stop trusting each other- trust is a very big part of marriage and if you are not able to trust him, it’s a major sign your marriage is not on good terms. Try to get to the root of the matter. What is it that you don’t trust him about? WHY don’t you trust him? Have you talked to him about this issue you’re facing? What is his response? Does he blow you off like it’s not a big deal or is he sensitive to this fact?
How do you talk about each other behind the other person’s back?- do you find yourself saying a lot of mean things? Maybe you overhear him talking about you to his buddies and putting you in a bad light. When you speak about each other, when the other is not around, it’s a clear indication of how you’re REALLY feeling inside.
Is he ghosting you?- believe it or not, this can happen within a marriage too! You want to talk and he ghosts you. He doesn’t want to talk, avoids the subject, he doesn’t seem to care. This is a bad sign of him giving up and when someone gives up, there’s nothing you can really do to make them fight WITH YOU for the marriage. Find a way to get him to open up and talk. It may require you talking about uncomfortable things, but it’s better to talk uncomfortably than to bottle things up inside.
Your spouse doesn’t want to go to counseling- if you realize you’re having problems in your marriage and want to go to counseling, it shows you want to work things out, but the plain truth is that if he’s not willing to go, he doesn’t care to work things out. Maybe he has a hundred excuses, but it all boils down to fighting to make your marriage work or not. There ARE only two choices.
There’s lack of support- you guys are your own biggest cheerleaders. If you are not supporting his ideas, goals, and dreams, and vice versa, your marriage can’t thrive. Personally, whenever a friend of mine doesn’t support a major decision in my life (a good example of this is friends not wanting me to start this blog that became so popular almost instantly), I cut them out of my life. A good friend is someone who will always be in your corner, want the best for you, and constantly supports you.
There’s no compromising- if there’s no compromise in a relationship, it’s really hard to get along. No one can have their way all the time and no one should be so prideful and stubborn that they are not willing to bend. If neither one of you are willing to compromise on a regular basis, it means that you’re putting your ways ahead of your spouse’s and that is never good.
Goals and dreams are not the same- it can be really tough sometimes, to want the same goals and dreams, but in order to have a marriage that is going in the same direction, focusing on the same path will be absolutely necessary. If your goals and dreams are not the same, you end up acting more like roommates or divorced.
A good marriage will always have the same BIG picture. That doesn’t mean you’ll agree on every little detail, but that the big picture should be the same.
You’re letting your parents into the deeper parts of your marriage- while having parents a part of your life is just fine, including them or allowing them to be included into deeper parts of your marriage, especially where it becomes about picking sides, is a sure sign your marriage is in trouble. The whole “leave and cleave” biblical theology needs to be present. You are no longer accountable to your parents and your marriage is JUST between you two. Again, that doesn’t mean never talk to your or his parents again, it means that your relationship is just two people. You and him. It doesn’t include your kids, your friends, or your outside family.
There’s abuse going on- if there is ANY kind of abuse (emotional, spiritual, physical), it’s NOT okay! My ex-husband was incredibly abusive to me. I got it emotionally, and then spiritually when I became a Christian, and there were a couple physical bouts of it too. He went on to get physically violent with his affair partner, she sent him to jail, and it was since then he stopped. I don’t think he’s physically abusive now, I do think he’s probably changed with his newest woman, but there has been a lot of abuse over the 14 years we were married.
It’s never okay to abuse someone and you constantly have to guard yourself against that as well as guarding yourself and keeping you and your family safe from it from your spouse.
Your spouse continually lies- no one is perfect and someone, somewhere, will eventually tell a lie in the marriage, but if it is a continual pattern of lies and secrets, then your marriage is heading downhill VERY fast. It breaks all trust in the marriage and it’s really hard to show love to someone you don’t trust. With God’s grace, it can be done, but it’s a huge hurdle.
Marriage is like a house
When you buy a house, and you find the lightbulb is broken, you do not go out and buy another house.
That would be ludicrous. You fix the lightbulb.
Marriage is the same.
Maybe you have absolutely NO lights in your house at all and they ALL need to be fixed. Ask the One that CAN help fix them! Ask God to help your marriage and keep you together.
Maybe He will allow it, maybe He will not (He will not FORCE anyone to stay with us; we are not mindless robots, we have choices), but you will sleep better at night, knowing that you gave every ounce of yourself to your marriage to make it work. I stand before you today, blameless in that way.
I tried absolutely everything to make my marriage work. Even when I could have divorced (after he left and had an affair), I didn’t. I prayed for a resolution. I did everything I could to save our marriage. I stand blameless and you want to stand blameless before God too!
Is is ok for Christians to divorce?
The simple answer is yes AND no.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the answer.
For a Christian, our main concern is to glorify God in all that we do. The Bible says that whatever we do, whether we eat or drink, do all to the glory of God. So it’s our heart motive to glorify God.
God just so happens to think marriage is amazing. It’s something He designed in the beginning with Adam and Eve. Adam was alone, He created Eve for him and gave her to him to be his wife.
However, while that’s His standard, His perfect intention, He also is a very LOVING God and He understands that there IS sin in the world.
To God, physical intimacy is the same as marriage. So, if your husband is having a physical affair with someone else, to God, you are already not married.
That doesn’t work so much with laws, right. I mean, if you’re married, your husband cheats on you, you’re still married, and we are to obey laws that govern us. So while you are still LEGALLY married, to God, you’re no longer married and if you WANT to divorce, you can.
It’s not a requirement that you divorce, you CAN remain married, but it IS an option, which leads me to the next point…
When can you divorce?
There are two biblical reasons for divorce.
One is in cases of abandonment.
If your spouse leaves you and abandons you, we are called to live in peace as much as depends on us, so we can file for divorce. They’ve left, they no longer want to live with us, we are allowed, by God’s Word to divorce. Again, it’s not commanded, it’s not required, but it is our option.
The reason being is because if our husband abandons us, we can’t be expected to just remain married and never enjoy the fruits of marriage again. All because of something someone else did.
And there’s no reason why you couldn’t get a divorce after they left and years later, they come back and you remarry each other again. But you do have that option and are not required to marry them again if they should come back after the divorce is finalized.
If they come back BEFORE the divorce is finalized, it is your own decision of whether or not to take them back. Can you build the trust again? Have they changed? Are they truly sorry? Will it happen again? What were they doing when they were gone (affair?) All of those questions are things to consider in your decision of whether to take them back or not.
The second reason for biblical divorce is if your spouse has an affair.
This is a PHYSICAL affair.
There are some people who try to condone a divorce for an emotional affair or a pornography affair or another reason, but the BIBLE is clear for a physical affair.
While being involved in an emotional affair is immoral and sin, as well as pornography being sin, it’s just not reason for biblical divorce.
Sometimes, as in my case, you’ll have both reasons. The husband will take off and abandon you AND go off and have a physical affair(s).
If that happens, before the Lord, you may divorce. It’s not required, but it is your option. God will not hold you to the marriage in the case of abandonment or a physical affair. In this way, divorce IS okay in the Bible, so long as it is under one of those reasons. Again, it always comes down to your heart in this matter.
Will divorcing him glorify God the most, or will waiting for God to work glorify God the most? It’s something that only you can decide and whatever you DO decide, you are free and clear in conscience before the Lord. There is not one right way and there is not one way that is MORE right than another. They are equally right and your choice.
Should I divorce if I’m miserable or if he’s emotionally abusive?
It really stinks if you’re miserable. Marriage can be such an amazing thing or it can be a continual, daily, thorn in your side. However, according to God’s Word, you are only allowed to divorce under two conditions as stated above, abandonment or adultery.
Should I divorce a non-Christian?
This is really a great question that I’ve been asked a few times.
What if you are a Christian and you are married to a non-Christian? THEN, can you divorce?
Or what if the husband goes out, has an affair with someone, the wife divorces him, and he marries the new affair girl. Should he divorce his new wife?
The answer to that is no. Unless his new wife has an affair or abandons him, he should remain married to whom his wife is, Christian or not.
Again, the Bible allows for divorce only under two conditions, abandonment or adultery. There’s not any more reasons than that. Period.
Is it sin to remarry after divorce?
If you have divorced on one of the two reasons for biblical divorce, abandonment or adultery, you are free to remarry. If you have been divorced and you are a Christian, you may NOT remarry UNLESS it was under those two reasons. If you do remarry, you will be committing perpetual adultery in God’s eyes and it’s sin.
Does a divorced Christian have to remain single?
If you are divorced under one of the two reasons for biblical divorce, abandonment or adultery, you do NOT have to remain single. You can if you want, but it is not required. The reason is because it is understood by God that remarriage is something we want to do. And so He allows for that. He wouldn’t condemn us for the rest of our lives because someone else sins and abandons us, for example, to never be able to be married again. It would be mean of Him and He is not mean!
However, if you are divorced and it was NOT for one of those two reasons for biblical divorce, you must remain single as a Christian, yes. It would be sin to remarry under that circumstance. The exception is that if you remarry your spouse again that you divorced.
So let’s say you leave him, you divorce him, and you want to remarry him years later, that is okay.
Can a widow remarry?
Yes. A widow can remarry at any time (in accordance with state laws), according to 1 Corinthians 7:39 and Romans 7:3 IF she is divorced because of her husband’s physical adultery or him abandoning her. If she divorced for another reason, it would be sin to remarry. If her husband dies, she is free to remarry.
Can a divorce be forgiven by God?
Yes, absolutely. There is only ONE unforgiveable sin and that is basically, not accepting God before you die. You can read all about that (or watch the video on it) here where it explains the one unforgiveable sin in more depth.
Just know that, outside of that one unforgiveable sin, every other sin IS forgivable and Jesus is waiting with open arms to restore you to a right relationship with Him. Does that mean that just because He forgives you, you can now go out and marry someone else and commit perpetual adultery? No. It doesn’t. That would be sinning more and show a lack of faith/true salvation in God. But it does mean that if you are truly repentant and ask God for forgiveness, He WILL grant it in His mercy and love for you.
There’s hope for the divorced
What God INTENDED to stay together, He ALLOWED my ex-husband to walk away from.
God picked me up. When my world crashed all around me, He picked me up. He comforted me.
I will never forget what I lost, but each day that I spent with Jesus Christ, it got better. Easier somehow. To put one foot in front of the other and make a new life. And with God’s great love, care, and concern for His people, He made my life better than I had ever known it to be previously.
When Satan came against me through others, to tell me NOT to start a blog, I did anyway.
This blog has changed my life. It’s provided me a life that no one would believe unless they SAW IT. He took me from making $18k/year when I started the blog to now making 7-figures/year in revenue. What a GLORIOUS God we serve!!!
He’s given me amazing kids to raise. Friends that love me and are there for me. One day, He will give me a new marriage, a marriage where we are serving the Lord, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, living for HIS purposes.
One day, He will raise me up to be a woman the world knows. I wait for that day with great patience, that only comes from Him and Him alone.
He’s given me a relationship in Jesus Christ. He’s given me hope. Something to live for.
It was like He said, “THIS relationship failed; he didn’t want to stay, but *I*, Sarah, will NEVER abandon you. I will show you what REAL love looks like, through my Son. I will take your life, make it better, give you hope and a purpose, and then KEEP you, to never fall away from me, to never lose track of what I’ve done in your life to purchase it, you are Mine. You are loved, lemme show you what real love looks like.”
And He has.
Every day, He shows me what love, His love, looks like to the point that I will not ever settle for any kind of love that is below HIS kind of love. When a man says he loves me, it won’t matter unless it’s Jesus Christ’s kind of love. Unless it’s pure and holy, and rooted in God above.
This has made my standards extremely high.
There have been PLENTY of opportunities for me to be with someone else. PLENTY of opportunities for me to marry others or begin a relationship with someone else, but my love for God is unmatched and he must possess the same love for God that I do.
My relationship with God is THE most important thing I have and I will not lose it, wane from it, or put it on the back burner for anything in my life. I’ve been consistent in choosing God over everything else when tempted and tested.
God didn’t INTEND for me to get divorced. But He made provisions once I had been abandoned and left!
If you are facing the decision of divorce, I would say that you should try as best as you can, in your own control, to stay together. Work things out if he is willing. If there is physical abuse, get to a safe place, of course. But remain married and pray your guts out that the God of the universe, would help you and show you what to do.
The marks of divorce in a person’s life are harsh. They never truly go away. What was joined together, cannot be separated, but that doesn’t mean that if your husband divorces you, leaves, or has an affair, your life is over. Far from it. God can do amazing things in the lives of His obedient children!!!
No Greater Love is one of my all-time favorite movies! It’s a story about a woman who abandons her husband and they meet each other in a “happenstance” kind of way again, years later, and reconnect. It’s both an amazing and wonderful movie and if you haven’t seen it, a total MUST!!!!!
Another thing I highly recommend is prayer. Prayer is your best weapon. Pray your guts out for God to change your husband, because ultimately, God IS the only One who can change him!!! Here’s a free prayer binder to help… 💖