5 situations where a divorce is justified before God


Erika Strassburger

There are many reasons why someone can seek divorce without violating sacred vows made before God.

My greatest wish for couples who are facing problems in their relationship is that they are able to resolve their differences and be happy together. Unfortunately, not all marital problems are so easily conquered.

I often receive messages from readers who explain their serious and devastating problems in their marriage. I always strive to help them identify the problem, suggest ways to treat their wounds and help them rescue their love. Some situations, however, require immediate action. There are many people who need the courage to escape from their toxic relationships as soon as possible.

Though there are men who are victims in abusive relationships, women are most often on the receiving end. Women who are abused often avoid divorce due to fear of loneliness, financial hardship or because of their fear for their children’s wellbeing. I once had a reader confide in me that she feared for her life, because her husband had made threats to kill her if she ever mentioned divorce again.

My intention in writing this article is to shed light on valid reasons for a woman or husband to seek a divorce without violating sacred marital vows made before God.

Here are five situations when divorce is justified before God:

  1. Physical, moral, psychological, sexual and property violence

Any form of domestic violence is considered a crime. God condemns violence in the same way. He said, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:28). “And the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).

A man who loves his wife (and vice versa) according to these commandments, will abstain from any violent acts. If he does not, he will break this divine law and will not be worthy of the woman he married.

  1. Idleness

The Lord said to Adam, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Genesis 3:19).

Since the Lord commanded man to labor and inspired his Apostles to give the same instructions, there is no excuse for a husband or wife who does not want to work or provide for their family.

A man’s family is his stewardship. The Lord will punish those who do not uphold their sacred responsibility in saying, “Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30). Obviously, the Lord would not require anyone to stay in a marriage where, due to the neglect or laziness of a spouse, the family is not being provided for.

  1. Criminal activity

If your spouse is involved in criminal activity such as robbery, drug trafficking or extortion, the Lord doesn’t require you to remain miserable in your marriage. However, if the criminal activity comes to a halt and sincere repentance occurs, including complete abandonment of sin, it is up to you and your spouse to decide how to move forward.

  1. Addiction

You and your children have no obligation to stick with your spouse if they are addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography, sex or anything causing harm to the family – especially if they are unwilling to seek help or rehabilitation.

Titus 2:11-12 says, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” The Lord would never command a person to remain married to a spouse who brings emotional, financial and physical difficulties because of worldly vices.

  1. Adultery

The Lord was emphatic, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Adultery is so grave in the eyes of God, adulterers were often put to death as punishment in the Old Testament.

What spouse could enjoy living with someone who is exchanging the love of their family and salvation for worldly pleasures?

In some cases, sincere and complete repentance, including cutting all ties with any lovers other than their spouse can be an alternative option to divorce. Everything depends on the spouse’s commitment to change, and the victim’s ability to forgive and heal.

Extreme Cases

It is imperative to never lose sight that God hates divorce. A marriage joined through God, should not be separated if possible. But, in some dire circumstances, divorce is necessary.

Unfortunately, not everyone lives up to God’s standards regarding marriage, and their family suffers for their selfishness. Thanks to the goodness and mercy of God, you have no obligation to remain beside someone who does not respect you.



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