Answering ‘Preparing To Be A Help Meet’ – Biblical Divorce Because Of Abuse?

Answering ‘Preparing To Be A Help Meet’ – Biblical Divorce Because Of Abuse? March 27, 2016

AnsweringAnother installment of giving better answers to the questions asked at Debi Pearl’s site message board for the book ‘Preparing To Be A Help Meet’. Many young ladies ask questions on all sorts of different subjects brought up by the book. There was just one big problem, many of the answers stray into either the outright bad and emotionally unhealthy to dangerous. Yes, typical Debi Pearl borderline abusive. Here’s what we’re going to be doing here at NLQ. Every week, once or twice a week, I’ll be posting up one of the questions from the message board and ask you, our readers, to answer that poor soul’s question in a way that is logical,  rational and the best possible solution, in other words 180 degree turn from Debi and friends answers. As always all spelling and grammar in the posting is unchanged from the original author.

On to today’s question:

Biblical divorce because of abuse?

I have never really experienced divorce in someone close to me before but this past year I have had a couple of people I know really well go through divorce and it has really stirred some deep questions in me. I believe God hates divorce, in fact he states it in His Word but he does allow it in the case of adultry. But what about those who are being abused? I do not want to base my conviction upon feelings but upon the Word of God and I’m really trying to figure out what God would have a woman do in those circumstances. I think divorce is allowable in these cases but I don’t have a good Bible verse to back this up. Both of my friends who got a divorce this year were being physically abused to the point of fear for their life. I can’t see it being wrong to leave their husbands but what does the Bible say about it?

So, I guess what I would love is to see a good disscussion on Biblical divorce, circumstances, etc.

Is divorce allowable in the case of abuse?

What about a person who was divorced before they were saved? Should they remain single or can they marry in the faith?

What about a believer who is married to the unbeliever and the unbeliever wants to leave? The Bible says to let them go but then is this person required to stay single or can they marry in the faith?

I know how much God hates divorce but I want to know how to respond to my friends or others I may come in contact with through my life. Any Biblical help/insight would be most appreciated.

Predictably most of the answers counsel no divorce, even in cases of spousal abuse. There has to be something better to tell this young lady dear readers..


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Deyndra

    The Bible also advises husband’s to love their wives (as they love themselves and as Jesus loves the church). This does not include beating the wife, but actually forgiving her when she messes up or whatever “set him off”. These husbands are not fulfilling their obligations as husbands. No person should have to live in fear of their life, and the Bible strictly forbids murder, therefore these types of marriages are no longer biblical, except to the sick and twisted that ignore or endorse abuse. Divorce should be encouraged in these situations.

  • Aloha

    “Physical abuse until they were in fear for their lives.” Well, that certainly meets the high standard of qualifying abuse in Christian churches!

    But ALL abuse qualifies as a deal-breaker — because any abuse means that one person is trying to harm and kill the other. What could be more indicative that “the two” are no longer “one flesh.”

    In such cases the woman (or victim) is not even taking steps to end the marriage. The woman is recognizing that the marriage has already ended, and getting away from a dangerous person.

  • Nea

    “I know! I’ll go ask a woman who has announced that telling anyone ‘my husband threatens my life with a weapon’ is ‘blabbing’ and ask her about what she thinks about spousal abuse. She’ll TOTALLY be unbiased!”

  • My marriage vows included the words live and cherish for both of us. Since abuse is the exact opposite of showing love, IMO, the abuser has broken his vows and the abuser wife is not obligated to remain.

  • Mel

    Long quote short: How can I help my friends going through a divorce?

    Short response: “I love you. I’m glad you’re safe. [Insert something concrete you can do to help.]”.

  • Aloha

    God hates Divorce! But really doesn’t have any strong opinions regarding physical violence.
    God hates Divorce! So much so that He advises you to stay with a man who is sexually abusing your children.
    God hates Divorce! Yet threatening to kill a spouse doesn’t really concern Him.
    God hates Divorce! While he’s perfectly accommodating of alcoholic, lazy men who waste the family’s income on gambling.
    God hates Divorce! But could care less about unhappy marriages that make everyone’s lives bitter and lifeless.

    * You know, even if I were still a Biblical inerrantist, this just makes no sense …

  • SAO

    Turn the question around, does God want those women to be abused? If yes, then what kind of sadist is he? If no, then, they should get divorced.

  • Astrin Ymris

    An abuser isn’t following Christ’s commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself”, either. Of course, most CPM adherents kinda ignore what Jesus said when he was alive to speak for himself…

  • Nea

    Except you can’t, because the minute you say “Does God want…” people are either going to answer that his ways are ineffable and unknowable to mere mortals (in other words “yeah, maybe he does”) or that it’s up to her to “save” him by showing patience and submission No Matter What (in other words, “if he kills her, it’s just one of those things, y’know?”)

  • Anonyme

    This woman (or possibly teenage girl) sounds like she’s caught between common sense, compassion, and Fundie guilt tactics. I think deep down she KNOWS staying in an abusive marriage “because Bible”, or for any reason, is fucked up, but probably grew up with the same toxic lifestyle Mikey and Debi promote and can’t “deprogram” herself.

    I couldn’t even bring myself to go to the link and read the comments.

  • The Bible verse usually translated as “God hates divorce”, Malachi 2:16, is translated differently by Jewish scholars (the people whose scripture it actually is).

    16If you hate [her], send [her] away, says the Lord God of Israel. For injustice shall cover his garment, said the Lord of Hosts, but you shall beware of your spirit, and do not deal treacherously.

    http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16220#showrashi=true

    If you look at Rashi’s (a medieval scholar) commentary, it says:

    If you hate [her], send [her] away: Our Sages differ concerning it in tractate Gittin (90b). Some of them say: If you hate her, send her away with a bill of divorcement, so that she can marry someone else.

    For injustice shall cover his garment: But this – is it proper to do, that you spread your cloak over her to keep her for you as your wife, and you provoke her and torment her constantly?

    So you have two groups of people looking at the same verse and translating it two different ways. At the very least that tells us the meaning of the verse isn’t that clear. Maybe it doesn’t tell us that divorce it what God hates. Jewish scholars seem to think it means what God hates is men abusing their wives.

  • Joy

    “The woman is recognizing that the marriage has already ended, and getting away from a dangerous person.”

    Yes, this is it exactly. She’s just filing the paperwork to make legal what has already occurred. The abuser ended the marriage the instant they abused their spouse, plain and simple. God does not want His precious daughters living in abusive situations. Period.

  • persephone

    If we go to Jesus’ counsel, he was speaking to a specific situation regarding divorce, and the law and context have to be taken into account, which, of course, these fundies never do, because they don’t really study the Bible, they read bits, cherry pick, and consider any secular education as unnecessary.

    Women couldn’t get a divorce. Men had to grant it. (We still see this in the case of the rabbi who was arrested for torturing men to get them to give permission for a divorce.) Men could divorce for pretty much any reason, leaving the wives with only what they were owed from the marriage contract.

    Jesus was calling out men who dumped their wives with little to no cause, blowing up the women’s lives. Jesus was saying that divorcing your wife without a really good reason was bad and destructive, and undermined marriage.

  • persephone

    Of course, the fundies won’t listen to this, because they’re not going to listen to Jews, you know, the people who actually speak Hebrew, and have been studying the texts for thousands of years, and actually live by this law.

  • Anonyme

    Silly you, taking the Bible as a whole instead of twisting specific bits to push your worldview. 😉

  • persephone

    Crap. That would explain why I’m no longer a Christian

  • Nerdsamwich

    Sure he is. I’m betting he rather hates himself, and feels the need to build up his ego by harming those in his care. The problem with loving your neighbor as yourself is that very few people nowadays love themselves very well.

  • Nerdsamwich

    Really? What about the commandment that forces her to marry her rapist? Or the bit where the soldiers of Israel are told to forcibly marry female war captives?

  • guest

    I think this is a good question. I wish more pastors would lift their eyes from their Bibles and look at the people involved. Would HE, the pastor, want to live with a person who treated him like that? No? Why isn’t he giving the woman the permission he wished she would give him if he were in her circumstances? I don’t think the answer to that question is a “look it up in the Bible one”. It’s more complex and requires looking at people as people, not figures on a chess board that can only move in a given direction or following a certain pattern.

  • guest

    Sadly, that’s the way abuse is seen in the church. Sure, most marriage preachers will throw in a one-liner telling women to seek safety and turn their husbands over to the “proper authority”, but the “proper authority” in the church is not often that interested in the suffering people who form that breaking, or I should say broken, marriage. Most of the time, only physical abuse is considered legitimate abuse, which adds to the problem. Unless he’s using you as a punching bag, you have to stay and submit, woman. That’s your calling.

  • Astrin Ymris

    It’s amazing how the same people who claim that “mere mortals can’t possibly understand God’s will” have complete confidence in their own ability to discern what God thinks about current social and political issues.

  • Victoria

    It sounds like she is at least starting to ask the right questions.