Can She Leave Him?


She had read all the books, seen the counselor, been to the retreats and tried her best.

Yes, she had prayed. Yes, she had cried. Yes.

He still drank, womanized, was financially irresponsible, or whatever, but she felt scared and unloved and hurt.

She hurt.

What most men fail to realize is that most women want to leave to escape the pain. She does not want to leave because she doesn’t love him. She does not want to leave because she doesn’t like him.

She wants to stop hurting – either at his hand, or from his words, or by his lack of responsible adult behavior – it hurts her. And she’s hurt for too long. She does not think she can go on any longer.

So can she leave?

Ultimately, the bottom-line is that we have free choice and literally can do whatever we want to do.

Whether we divorce or not, however, often comes down to one relationship – the one we have with God.

1 John 2:3-5 (NIV) tells us: We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

John 14:15 (NIV) Jesus says: If you love me, you will obey what I command.

In other words, if we know Him, if we love Him, we do what He says. So what does the Bible say about marriage and divorce?

Matthew 5:32 (NIV) (Jesus speaking): But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

Matthew 19:3-9 (NIV) Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

And if we DO divorce?

1 Corinthians 7:10-12 (NIV) To the rest I say this (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

But I married an unbeliever…

1 Corinthians 7:13-15 (ESV) And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.

And if I’m widowed?

Romans 7:2 (ESV) For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.

What does God think about divorce?

Malachi 2:16 (NIV) “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.

God views marriage as a covenant, a vow, between Him and his people. There are a ton of reasons to not divorce, and it seems that if our unbelieving husband leaves us, we are freed from responsibility, or if our unbelieving husband is unwilling to live with us (which some say is represented by abuse or negligent behavior – and others say it is not), then we are allowed to divorce. We are also allowed to divorce if our husband commits adultery, which can also include pornography addiction, according to Christ. Remember, however, that Christ said it is the hardness of our hearts for which these things were allowed. It is God’s heart for us to not break the vow with Him, however, unless we want to come under condemnation. He has made an alotment because of adultery and our husband’s unbelief.  Know that doesn’t make it easy, however, even if we  do divorce.

For a more detailed discussion, please read Family Life Ministry’s Dennis Rainey article. Pay attention to the description one woman gives of her divorce – I don’t know anyone who has divorced who hasn’t said similar things (or their kids have)…

Know also, that even though it says you shouldn’t leave in 1 Corinthians 7:11, if you do, it is for the purpose of restoration.

Also, remember God’s purposes for our lives in 1 Corinthians 7:16 (ESV) How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

You may be the only Jesus your husband ever sees.

And this life will be filled with troubles – the goal is not happiness, but joy in the midst of difficulty.  And, boy, this is super hard, especially when you are in a painful marriage.

And if you ARE considering divorce, please consider Matthew 18 first.  And please be in tight communion with God – so you do what is right in His eyes and have His strength to get through it.

Love to you,

~Nina

What about you? Have I missed anything? How does this issue impact you right now?


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Comments

  1. Amber says

    This is an old post, so I am not sure that it will be seen. But I am thankful I came across it. I am greatly seeking God’s plan for my life and the life of my family at this time. My husband has been out of my house for two weeks now and I have my initial divorce paperwork ready to turn in to the lawyer anytime I choose. My husband and I have been “married” I use qoutes because I feel that it hasn’t really been a marriage since he has cheated on me throughout the duration of it, for 11 years. We have three children, 10,8,2. I found out about his first affair (that I am aware of) almost 6 years ago. We went through Christian counseling, talking to church elders and reconciliation. I had struggled with loneliness, trust and anger for the past 5 years as I was trying to reconcile. I also was tempted one time myself with sexual sin and had to confess to my husband (intercourse was not involved). The marriage was seemingly not happy and it was cold. Intimacy was not where it should be. But I hold on to the hope and prayer that we were walking the right path. Business has been good, another child was born after the first affair, we were saving for our house etc.
    Then on the 8th of September my life shattered AGAIN. I found a texting conversation and told my husband I wanted out. I have since found out that there has been multiple sexting relationships, multiple “one night stands” with multiple women, pornography, internet accounts. Just continual habitual sexual sin. I asked him to leave the house because I was afraid for the turmoil of wanting to physically harm him and I was scared for my emotional well being and I have to care for my children. If this was just me and him we would have stormed this out for awhile, but we can’t have storms in front of our little ones ears. We told the children the truth that we were divorcing due to daddy’s multiple affairs and infidelities.

    I am praying for the Lords guidance. I will stay with my husband if that is his will for my life. I have asked the Lord, how LONG do you want me to be long suffering. How LONG do you want us to live like this. My husband has started counseling but he is at the point right this minute where HE doesn’t feel the power to go on in the marriage. He doesn’t want to come back home right now even if it were offered to him. He is SO VERY LOST and confused. He is a professing Christian. He is professing that he is seeking help and that he wants to be rid of this horrible sin. I am currently not at the point of believing him since he had told me for the last 6 years he was not engaging in the sin when in fact he was and was horribly….

    I am thinking that divorce is the answer to turn him completely over to the Lord. The Lord and him may need some private time. But continuing to pray for reconciliation for my husband. If we did stay together I think I would want new vows anyways, since he never treasured our initial ones. But I know that once you let something go, there is nothing to hold it there, including my own heart. I am so torn and confused and so hopeless right now. I have three little ones and while I desire to wait on God’s timing I am also pleading with him that we need to know what to do as we have little hearts that are constantly breaking through this storm.

    PLEASE pray for guidance for my family. Please please please. It is my desire for healing. It is my desire to break my own patterns of codependency on a man and place my dependency on God alone. It is my desire to do God’s will and to heal my own transgressions. And with all of that I love my husband and cry so deeply for his sin.

    • says

      Oh Amber, how my heart aches for you. You are such a strong lady to have endured and so wise to just know when you needed him to be away. From this moment on you can ALWAYS choose to be on the path to reconciliation – that’s the beautiful thing about being a Child of the King, He gives us free will and he asks us to just follow Him. Regardless of the details, the sins, the counselors, the lawyers and even the children, you have the ability to draw from a well that never runs dry. I do not know, nor would I advise on how God may lead you. I do know that He loves you and He is so proud of you for seeking first the Kingdom of God. May I gently say to you that your desires are good but really all God asks of you is to come. Seek the Audience of One, come to Him, weary, broken, worn and let Him give you rest and healing, you won’t have to do anything but be willing and obedient.
      Also, my husband and I have a Facebook group that prays for children of divorced (or separated) parents/family. There are a lot of good posts from people who have worked with children through this very thing. If you would like to “like” the public page https://www.facebook.com/SundaysAt6 I can then add you to the closed group to protect your privacy in case you want to share.
      Praying for you to find comfort today and wisdom in the days to come. ~katy

  2. In His Image says

    There is one cardinal error in this article (which is sad, since the article was otherwise rather a good one).

    A man’s unfaithfulness to his wife is not grounds for a wife to divorce him. The churches have all compromised on this, because Gentiles are really no more virtuous than the Jews were and deliberately twist God’s Law in order to break their covenants with Him because their hearts are hard. A man’s being unfaithful to his wife is hateful to God, but nevertheless God does not permit the wife to divorce him.

    The article cites Matthew 5 and 19 as grounds for divorcing a cheating husband. These two passages deal with the single exception Jesus gives to his “no divorce” rule: He says that a husband can divorce a wife only in the case of a particular sin. In the Greek, the word for the wife’s sin described in Matthew 5 & 19 is porneia (“fornication”), rather than moichaō (“adultery”).

    What Jesus is referring to is the situation described in Deuteronomy 22, where God told Israel that if it was discovered that a woman was not a virgin on her wedding night (i.e. if she had gone and had sex before marriage with a man other than her future husband), then she could be stoned to death. In Jesus’ day, Israel was under Roman occupation and the Romans took away from the Jews the authority to put people to death, and so the Law of Moses was not upheld. Under Roman law, a wife who was not a virgin on her wedding-night could no longer be put to death. Divorce for this, however — as Jesus explained — was fine, and the Romans would accept it.

    So, to reiterate, the only exception to the “no divorce” rule is when the wife is found not to be a virgin on her wedding night. If that is the case, then she can (and should) be sent back to whoever she’s been having sex with. (Which is what Joseph, being righteous, was going to do with Mary — he was bound to do so, as he didn’t want to raise children with a woman who was not godly. But then God explained that Mary was still a virgin and had not fornicated and that her situation was unique…)

    Finally, the idea that a woman can divorce her husband (or that a husband can divorce his wife) for looking at pornography is ridiculous and totally unscriptural — even if one believes (wrongly) that Jesus permitted divorce for adultery. Adultery in the heart is indeed sinful (and deeply hurtful to one’s spouse) and must be confessed and repented of, but adultery in the heart is not the same thing as adultery in the flesh and should not be treated as such.

    Think of the position held by those who are arguing for divorce based on pornography use. Their argument is founded on three premises:

    1. Pornography is “adultery in the heart”.
    2. Jesus permitted divorce for adultery (He didn’t — see above).
    3. A sin “in the heart” is as bad as a sin “in the flesh” and is to be punished as such.

    Hence, working backwards from point 3 to 1, we have

    3. adultery in the heart = adultery
    2. adultery in the heart = divorce
    1. pornography = divorce

    So let’s accept all of their three premises and apply their principle that we should treat a sin in the heart in the same way as we would a sin in the flesh. If divorce is permitted for “adultery in the heart” (i.e. pornography), then to be even-handed and not show partiality based on our own preferred sins, then “murder in the heart” (i.e. unrighteous anger/hatred) should be treated the same way as actual murder. So are those who insist on their right to divorce a pornography-using spouse also prepared to serve a life sentence in jail (or go to the electric chair) for the hatred they’ve felt in their hearts? Can you hear the crickets chirping?

    The notion that a pornography habit is grounds to divorce one’s husband or wife is an anti-biblical one which needs to be stamped on by the church, but instead is encouraged. All this just goes to show how hard-hearted modern men and women have become. It’s so sad that men and women put their own happiness before the covenant they made with God, and it grieves Him. God hates divorce.

    • says

      Yes, this is a heart matter. I think if more women and men understood before they were married that a covenant is binding and that you sign on to radical forgiveness when you marry, they might be a bit more cautious. Hosea and Gomer are great examples of radical forgiveness. Gomer was the adultress and God told Hosea to take back his wife. I think the Body believes that God excuses our unwillingness to obey the command to forgive. We’d rather say “They committed an unforgivable sin” and we are the better person. God wants us toextend our spouses the better same grace He extends us . Regardless of the sin. 1 Peter 3 also gives parameters for a wife whose husband doesn’t believe: demonstrate Christ and he will be won to Christ. When we forgive we come to understand very deeply the principle of grace. God hasn’t broken his covenant with us for our sins especially unforgiveness and divorce, so why do we and segments of the Church encourage this? Marriage takes a radical faith and heart to forgive like Hosea and Gomer.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Interesting hermeneutic. Not sure if I agree with the “only the man can freely commit adultery without consequences” inference as a result of the interpretation, but am going to look into this. Do you have sources who suggest this? I can see your point about hatred and murder, but am wondering if there’s a little difference as there often is a “carrying out” of activity associated with lust – even if it’s just one person who is involved. Am thankful for the dialogue and am interested in further discussion. :) God knows I don’t know everything! :)
      Glad you are here!
      ~Nina

  3. says

    ~ In “Can She Leave Him?” (http://ninaroesner.com/2013/05/09/can-she-leave-him/) Nina wrote “What about you? Have I missed anything? How does this issue impact you right now?”
    Well Nina, it is impacting me right now. I don’t believe I have the final word in the matter, and I do want to obey His every command, especially in these matters. So feel free to humbly, gently, kindly and respectfully show me any Scripture I have missed in the matter.

    Today I am waiting for my soon-to-be-ex to sign the Marital Settlement Agreement that was drawn up in legal jargon by my $5 a minute lawyer to reflect what she and I agreed on in our emails. If she signs it, then it goes to the judge 5/22 and if the judge accepts it and implements it, we will be divorced. How did we get here?

    She wanted all my stuff out of the house I enabled her to buy because she felt overwhelmed by my stuff being in every room of the house in one form or another. My arrangements were not up to her standards. She refused to make the second bedroom into an office/study where all our stuff, including all my stuff, could be organized in a neat and orderly manner. I didn’t realize that it would have to be organized in a manner totally acceptable to her. Then she decided that she wanted me and my stuff to dwell someplace else and the two of us be together on weekends. This grieved me so much that I hunkered down into my foxhole to watch what would happen, and sinfully decided to let her have her way, by me moving my stuff out to another dwelling. Sinful because I believe
    ***Matt 19:6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no one must separate .” – – –
    ***1 Cor 7: a husband is not to expel, leave, divorce or separate from his wife.
    There is no exception! The genuinely saved husband must not expel, leave, divorce or separate from his wife.

    So I sinned by moving me and my stuff out and began the Matt 18:15-17 process because she had made it clear she didn’t want to live with me and my stuff. Furthermore she made it very clear, even though she professed salvation (member of church, daily 20 min quiet time and attended church at least one service a week) that she did not believe the following was God’s Word for today’s women, was only for Book of Acts times and women in primitive societies, and she had no intention of obeying these Scriptures: Colos 3:18; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-6; 1 Tim 2:11-13; 1 Cor 14:3; Ephesians 5:21-33; Romans 13:1-4.

    So I began the Matt 18:15 process and respectfully told her how offensive and grievous it was to me that she didn’t want to live with me and my stuff and had no intention of obeying the Scriptures above. She blew me off and refused to discuss the matter with me. Then I got her to meet with a church elder and his wife to do Matt 18:16. She defended her position and I told them how upsetting it was to me, but the poor elder and his wife said the problem was too big for them and that we needed professional help. We sought help from two professional counselors, one a believer and the other not, and they both told us there was no hope for us and that our differences were irreconcilable. That left Matt 18:17, so I told it to the assembly and got a church delegation to join me in confronting her. She blew me off and refused to discuss the matter and got mad at me for telling the church about our situation. So I understood Jesus’ instruction to me was for me to “treat her/him as you would a pagan/unbeliever/Gentile or a tax-collector.”

    The word to the believer married to an unbeliever is given in 1 Cor 7:11 – 15, that if the unbeliever no longer wants to live/dwell with the believer, the believer is free to leave; and if the unbeliever has separated her/himself from the believer, then the believer is no longer maritally bound to the believer in the Kingdom of God, and free to marry another believer.

    I knew that if she were a genuine believer, it was God’s will that I not go to civil court and get a divorce (1 Corinth 6:1-11), but since Jesus’ Word was that I should treat her as an unbeliever, I believe it was acceptable to God to file for the divorce and I did so. Because of 1 Corinth 7:2,5,9 I believe I am under command to be married and the only way I can marry another is if I divorce my beloved kicker-outer. All prayers welcomed and all wise Scripture insights are also most welcome.

  4. says

    There were times in my marriage when I seriously considered divorce. The only thought stopped me – my reason was NOT my husband’s unfaithfullness while God allows only this reason. So I decided to trust God. And slowly but surely He makes me happy in our marriage – even THAT is not too difficult for Him! So, ladies, believe in miracles!!!

  5. Trying hard to trust says

    This is exactly what I needed. My husband has not even patted me in the shoulder in 3 months, let alone hugged me. At this point he’s saying and doing things to sabataog my efforts to fix our marriage. I’m currently doing the Respect Dare, but can’t do anything that involves him. I have considered giving him his divorce many times (I’ve told him he can file, but I won’t), but every time I cry out to God that I’m ready to throw in the towel He says “not yet, trust Me”. Pray that I can hold on for God’s timing and that I respectfully learn to place boundaries when my husband does things to sabataog our marriage. Also pray for my kids who see all of this and aren’t blind to what’s going on, they’re the real victims.

    • trixie1466 says

      Trying hard to trust,
      As you requested I prayed for you just now. May you feel God’s overwhelming presence on this Mother’s Day.

      • curious says

        I thought lust was desire for someone. I’m not sure all people who have a pornography addiction actually have desire for that person. So how would that apply?

        • trixie1466 says

          Why are you looking? Getting sexually stimulated looking at someone other than your wife/spouse is a betrayal of trust you pledged to your spouse. That is why it’s adultery. God considers idolatry, adultery as well. Jeremiah 3:9 Judah defiled the land as did Israel and committed adultery with stones and with wood.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Matthew 5:28. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

  6. Juan Cavazos says

    Good to know the reason for all the starving kids, raped young girls, kidnapped women, battered women, etc is because God is paying attention to your marriages. Please stop being so self-absorbed in your own lives to free up time for God to focus on the people that are truly suffering and don’t have the ability to leave their horrible situation; as you all do.

    • says

      Dear Juan,
      Nina’s blog is focused on helping women become better wives, moms, and people in general. I am sorry that you are such a hurting person that you feel the need to attack people who are trying to make a difference for good. These women are not self absorbed but focused on God and others. We all are aware of the evil in this world. I know God is good and that evil is a result of people choosing to live apart from God.
      The free will God has given us gives us the ability to choose do evil things as well as choosing to do good. God is good but He will permit us to do evil. No one will get away with anything in the end. God has the ability to bring incredible good out of the evilest of acts. The last chapter has not been written
      Simply walking away from challenging situations may seem to be the easy way but may end up being neither easy nor right.
      Again, I am sorry that you feel the need to attack people who are trying to live by godly standards I pray that God will heal you body, soul, and spirit and help you to love and forgive those who have hurt you.
      Hugs,
      Mary

  7. says

    My situation is a bit different from some of the redemption stories here, but also proves God’s great love for us and how He always has a plan for our lives. My husband and I are both believers. We were married for 18 years when I was the one that was unfaithful. I walked away from him and basically walked away from our boys. He was the one that filed for divorce, but probably only because he was quicker to act than I was. I walked away from God when I walked away from my marriage. We were divorced for 10 years. Last year we remarried on our original anniversary. I returned first to the Lord with no idea that I would ever return to my husband. Several months after I recommited myself to Christ, He began to tell me that I would be back with my husband. I didn’t know at first if I even wanted that, but I just kept feeling that He was leading me there. So I waited and watched what He would do. He has worked a miracle for my family. We are now working hard to live a biblical marriage. We are both growing in ways we might not have grown if we hadn’t traveled the road we did. I wish I hadn’t made the choices I made, but I have been forgiven much and therefore I love God much. I praise him daily for my forgiveness and this chance to do it over again. Where there is God there is always hope. God’s timing is His own. We can’t always know His plans, but they are mighty.

    • Nina Roesner says

      What a beautiful story of redeemimg grace! :) I marvel at the ten years, and the hope now… just amazing. God is good, all the time! Congratulations, beautiful!
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  8. Emily C. says

    I, too, am in the midst of a reconciliation and redemption story. I had been married to the believing husband of my youth for 13 years when he told me he wanted to leave and get divorced. I knew that we had problems; not only had we both been emotionally abusive and consequently cold and detached, but I knew of a situation of adultery with (though was unaware at the time that he was in the midst of a different relationship) and was in denial of my own recurring bouts of emotionally adultery with various men. Refardless, I had never been so devastated.
    We walked out the path of using a mediator to finalize the divorce papers. I continued to beg and plead with him that this was not irreconcilable. I prayed and cried for months. Christmas week he contacted me a number of times and said he was seeing hope; for the sake of our 2 kids he was willing to at least try once more.
    It’s been a painful, devastating, but rewarding couple of years. There is still much work to be done but we both saw counselors individually and together. We continue to walk the painful road of healing but God is faithful.
    We could have divorced. We had “biblical grounds”. That may have even been easier than all the work we’re doing. But let’s be honest. There is no “ease” of divorce either. “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.” We could have walked away; we both felt like God has more. But we are thankful and hopeful that God can be given glory as we continue to walk with him and we know that he will redeem what was lost. He is an amazing God. I am not responsible for my spouses actions; I need to daily seek his will for how I walk out today in obedience and trust God for my husbands heart and actions.

    Tough topic. Thanks Nina for putting this out there.

    • says

      Emily,
      I did not have the maturity, relationship with Christ, or desire to save my first marriage. I have repented of my attitude not because of any difficulty in my second marriage of 38 years but because I saw my sin. We had biblical grounds, too, but the devastation it caused in our daughter alone would have been worth the work. I give you credit and pray that you will have great success in repairing your marriage and restoring the love and trust. God can change anyone and anything with a little cooperation on our parts.
      Hugs,
      Mary

    • Nina Roesner says

      Emily – Praise God. Thank you for sharing this with us – beautiful story, very encouraging! :) Praying for continued healing for you both! :)
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  9. says

    Reblogged this on Peacefulwife's Blog and commented:
    Thank you to Nina Roesner for this – I believe it contains much godly wisdom for women in extremely difficult circumstances. Praying for each of you who are hurting!! I thank and praise God that He can bring beauty from ashes. He can restore the years the locusts have eaten. He can take what was meant for evil and use it for His good purposes. HE is mighty and able. How I wish that each wife who is hurting right now could sneak a peek into God’s throneroom for 5 seconds. God is at work. He is not ignoring any of His precious children. He is good, all the time. People may be sinful and evil, but God is always good.

  10. says

    PLEASE I encouarge all wives that have ever been betrayed by their husband weather it be a physical affair or affair of the mind(pornography) please read ‘HOPE after Betrayal’-Healing when sexual addiction invades your marriage- By MEG WILSONIt truly will be like fresh water that you can always keep going back to! Also google her. She really is a vessel used mightily for God in this area..one reason because shes been there, done that! I promise you will be encouraged by her book sooner or later. God’s first concern is for your relationship with Him-not your circumstances.P.S. you can find her book also on Amazon and EBay.Though it may seem out of reach there is hope after betrayal!… even if that means having to start over after divorce.

  11. Linda Farrar says

    All of you brave ladies are so encouraging!
    Although all of our relationships are unique and imperfect ..The value for me is that we are faithful and like minded in our desire to be more like Jesus … :-)

  12. Nikki says

    This topic truly hit home for me today. I don’t know why I felt the urge to speak up. Maybe it’s because no one knows me but I am sure there are some who know my pain. My husband too was unfaithful and a child was born from it. And I was ready to leave and take my children with me. I didn’t want to deal with him or the situation, nor did I know if it would happen again. So I did the only thing I could do….I prayed and cried! And prayed and cried. Because of this, my faith has gotten so much stronger, THANK YOU JESUS! The pain is still there but it’s not as strong as before. I’ve obeyed my heavenly Father and forgiven my husband. We are trying to work things out which I know will take a long time and the trust is definitely shattered at this point. But I know that EVERYTHING is for the good of God. And we will survive this ordeal. The strange thing is, I’m grateful for the struggle…. I’m a better person and Christian for it… Blessings to you all!

    • Nina Roesner says

      Nikki –
      You are a woman of great faith and amazing perseverence! Amazing what God is working in your life – and it blows me away that you can see the work ahead and still be grateful. Congratulations to you, strong and dignfied one, who has put her hope in God, and will be held as righteous as a result. May we all learn from your example. Prayers to you – thank you so much for sharing!
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  13. says

    I agree with most of this and it is a hard situation to deal with and I know because I married at 20 only to have my husband cheat on me after a year and confess about it right before we reached our 2 year anniversary. I wanted to work it out but he decided to leave and after he left I grew closer to the Lord snd then he came back and decided to leave again. The yo-yoing is what made me feel crazy and I didn’t want a divorce since my parents had divorced when I was young as well as thinking it was an awful sin. But knowing he was unfaithful even at being newly married it was too hard to trust him and I let him go. God hates divorce because it hurts people, He doesn’t hate people He sent his son to save them. And God actually gave Israel a bill of divorce for her adultery:
    Jeremiah 3:8 NIV
    I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery.
    (Yes that means He is divorced!)

    It’s where your heart is what the question is, are you walking in love and by His Spirit. We can fool man with our actions and words but not the Lord for He knows the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    Malachi 2:10-16 NIV
    Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another? Judah has been unfaithful. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves by marrying women who worship a foreign god. As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the Lord remove him from the tents of Jacob—even though he brings an offering to the Lord Almighty. Another thing you do: You flood the Lord ‘s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord , the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

    The Lord will hold the man responsible for how he treats his wife. Wives must trust in Him who is the lover of their soul and Savior.

    1 Peter 3:3-4 AMP
    Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.

    I might also mention Love is long-suffering not forever suffering. Wives or husbands know their spouse probably better than anyone else since they are with them day by day. Jesus said we would know people by their fruit and although we need not be critical we should also not be blind to reality.

    I went through divorce and it was devestating and I was only married for 2 years that time but God healed me and I now have been remarried for 6 years and although its been better in many ways, it still has been challenging. I must say that if a wife(or husband) wants to leave because she(he) thinks it will be better with another man(woman) she(he) is operating out of the wrong motive. If you don’t allow God to work on you and heal you then your problems will follow you with the next spouse.

    As well as if you dont want to leave because you’re afraid of what people think that is not the right reason either.The Lord is your judge not people and not even yourself.

    1 Corinthians 4:3-5 NIV
    I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

    Well that is my 2 cents or I guess it was more like a dollar. LOL

    Thank you for the post and I think its good you address these issues because people need to know the Truth.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Thank you for your comments – and honestly, I think we are ALL guilty of adultery with God, we all have things that are more important than He is to us at varioius times in our journey. And it is probably true that there are a bazillion “adulteries” in any given marriage, too. I find it flabergasting that God would have Hosea marry Gomer – a wayward woman – knowing that she would not change her ways… Why He puts up with us… :) Guess He loves us so very much indeed. :)
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  14. says

    I have to say that marriage is not always an act of god. It is sanctified through God, but it is not an act of God, it is a choice made by men and women in our era who are not always well counseled to their marriages. Sadly, we are not living in a Titus 2 world.

    Many young ladies deciding to marry are invoking their independence much in the same way as they declare their maturity with premarital sex or alcoholism. In this light, marriage is not always a sacrament and instead often is an act of degradation and self destruction. A declaration of self and separation from the moral authorities in our lives. It takes a little more than a few thousand dollars in party planning and a swagger down the aisle for God to be present in a a marriage.

    Even in our political climate we are seeing the struggle between differentiating a Holy Sacrament from a Civil Ceremony. We cannot invoke God against his will. A thousand Hail Marys can’t wash away the corruption when the nature of the union at its soul is corruption.

    Our social services and government programs feed on this as that it allows the laws of man to define marriage rather than the laws of God. It strips us of our ability to tell the difference. To marry in the eyes of God and to marry in the eyes of Man are two very different things; agape love versus the willful, selfish, possession that we have seen love represented as in the last few decades.

    We as Christians absolutely cannot make statements about which marriages God is or is not acting within, because we do not have the knowledge of God, we can’t see behind doors or into hearts, but I think we do need to acknowledge that things can be mislabeled and there are people who do so deliberately and that there are relationships that are founded on the intent to deceive another person for personal gain.

    Reconciling yourself to die for another persons sins is not Christlike, it is suicide. Unfortunately when we are in the position to choose whether to boldly walk deeper into hell, or to turn back, we have to know in our heart of hearts whether we were born to die on a mission and a woman who is being abused has a lot of smoke, mirrors and gas lighting to try to see through when making that decision.

  15. Tahwana Gillman says

    Nina, this answered a lot of questions for me. My husband of 25 yrs left me abput a year and a half ago and now lives in another state.He said he wanted out but has not moved forward with any legal action. I have decided to stand for my marriage and will not file for divorce. It will be his decision. I knew we had issues that needed to be worked out and am now during this time seeking God to change me and him. Your post just confirmed to me that I have made the right decision. Thank you!!

    • Nina Roesner says

      Tahwana – I hate the waiting, don’t you? There’s so much work. :) I pray your marriage is restored and that your God is glorified. Lean on Him – I don’t pretend to know what your situation says, and there are others much smarter than me out there. :) Praying wisdom for you, baby. Does your husband believe?
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  16. Jennifer says

    God’s perfect timing is amazing. 6 years ago this week I filed for divorce from my unbeliving, adulterous husband. It was the most painful decision I had made. We had been separated for months – which felt like an eternity. I had been through professional counseling and had come to the point that I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. I had to let my husband go, he was in God’s hands. Within 6 weeks, his attitude towards me was different. He started attending church. It took many months after this, but he truly had a change of heart. The miracle God worked in his life has been such a blessing to us and our marriage. I dropped the divorce proceedings and we have been on a path God designed for us together. I learned just because you CAN leave or divorce for biblical reasons doesn’t mean that you have to. It’s not easy. Even today there are struggles. But putting faith in God to guide the path, and then making the tough decisions God asks of you, is worth it in the long run.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Jennifer –
      THIS is beautiful. And what I believe God can do, if we will but cling to Him and obey in spite of what we see on the outside. :) So important to not wrap our identity up in others, but in Him alone. Thank you for sharing!
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

    • sally says

      Jennifer, your testimony is so encouraging for me and many others. Praise God, for nothing( or no one) is impossible with him.

  17. Leah says

    I love what you’ve written here. I stand in agreement with you and Sally, it isn’t easy… at all. You’re also right that it isn’t that we don’t love our husbands… we just want to escape the constant and/or repetitive pain. Sometimes, I just wish that I had a “how to guide.” How to respond, how to deal, how to hope, how to be a light, how to not wish that I was _____ who has a husband that cares and doesn’t do x, y, z. My only peace and comfort is knowing that I am growing in Christ… and being able to pray for His continued help because I can’t do it alone.

    One thing that has really been helping me lately is just finding the strength to sing praise, even for others. Thank You, Lord that I have my husband… because without him, I wouldn’t have our son. Thank You, Lord that I have friends who get to experience joy in doing the things that they desire. Sometimes all I can do is take the focus off of myself… off of my own heart… and just move with the rest of the world. If I don’t remember to lay it at the feet of Jesus, it sometimes feels like forcing myself to be numb. I am so thankful to have a Heavenly Father who I can be open, honest, and cry out to for this.

    It is so easy to get caught up though.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Agreed – and like you, we are all learning how to cling to Him, regardless. :) Check Jennifer’s story above – amazing. :) I hope it encourages you.
      Love you to pieces, love that you are here, baby!
      ~Nina

  18. says

    If you think a man is difficult to deal with when you’re married . . .
    Men wounded by divorce Re umpteen times more difficult. If they remarry their wife will also add interest to your life.
    Set yourself to win h to Christ and to you. Love is a response to finding something beautiful. Be beautiful from the inside out. Be beautiful in character. Be beautiful with your words. Be beautiful I’m heart. Take care of your exterior but concentrate on your interior. And when you have no love to give, give them God’s love.
    Hugs,

  19. sally says

    Nina, I think you pegged it right on with scriptures to back you up. I have been standing for the restoration of my marriage for a few years now after God stopped my plans to divorce my unbelieving, adulterous husband. God has softened my heart to love him and pray for his salvation in spite of what he is doing. When you said its hard in a painful marriage, you weren’t kidding. But because God is so faithful and loving I have had the peace and joy throughout this journey. I do think people give up way to quickly because of lack of patience for God’s perfect timing. But I believe the rewards of a restored marriage with my one flesh husband and father of my children is worth the wait. And more importantly is his soul saved. Praising God for His will.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Sally.
      I stand here in humble amazement at your great faith. Prayed tons of praise for your faithfulness, Him within you, and prayed for your marriage. I’d love to interview you about what you are going through if interested. Please contact me if you are interested – http://www.therespectdare.com has a tab for that.
      Love to you,
      ~NIna

  20. Kathie Sullivan says

    I struggle with the issue of divorce when I am counseling women who are in marriages that are difficult. Some women want to leave because of “emotional abuse” and they call anything that hurts them “abuse.” All of our husband say things that hurt us from time to time — what is the line that says something is “abusive” or not. I see women in dangerous places — with violent husbands — and I cannot advise them to stay where they fear for their lives. The verses in Scripture are clear — marriage is a covenant vow — so this issue is such a struggle. I have to be on my knees when helping women through these issues — God is gracious, loving and merciful — even if these women chose divorce. Some churches have made these women feel like second class citizens (don’t let them teach, etc.) if they have been divorced. It is the only “sin” that some people feel God will not forgive — and I have seen that so hurtful. Hence, the struggle with this issue!

    • Nina Roesner says

      Agreed. I did a search on what the Bible had to say about blasphemy (which is the only unforgiveable sin, according to Scripture) and ended up with a list of abominations. Given that I’ve had “hauty eyes” (pride) and a “lying tongue” in my life, I guess we’re all in that boat. http://www.openbible.info/topics/abomination

  21. says

    Even though she has no intention of obeying these Scriptures: Colos 3:18; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-6; 1 Tim 2:11-13; 1 Cor 11:1-8; 14:34; Ephesians 5:21-33; Romans 13:1-4; 2 Cor 8:13-15; 9:6-14; Acts 2: 44-46; 4:32-35 (“ours” marriage vs “yours-mine” marriage); I intend to keep my wedding covenant because I understand from the following that breaking covenants is a deadly sin: Eccles5:4-7; Psalm 15:4; Ezek 17:14-19 and Romans 1:”31 foolish, covenant-breakers, unloving, ruthless. 32 Though they understand the righteous requirement of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only continue to do them but also to heartily approve of others who practice them.” [Mounce]
    So I accept my responsibility to keep this our covenant with the beloved Kicker-outer even though separated and divorced.

    ∆ Before God and all these witnesses we accept our responsibility and declare our commitment,
    ∆ to Love each other and cherish each other as God’s gifts to each other,
    ∆ to respect each other and to accept each others’ differences,
    ∆ to share each other’s feelings and to forgive each other,
    ∆ to pray for each other and encourage each other,
    ∆ to grow in loving God with each other,
    ∆ to support each other in serving God and supporting God’s purposes for each other.
    ∆ to Love each other with all of our hearts and we intend to Love each other all of our lives.
    ∆ With God’s working and willing in us we commit ourselves to making our home a place of joy as long as we both live.
    ∆ We covenant before God and all present, that in our marriage we are bound together in
    our solemn and intimate union to be one flesh, one living and loving being.
    ∆ We covenant before God and His angels that it is our solemn and life
    long responsibility to unselfishly and compassionately cherish each other in our intimate
    union according to His Word, the Holy Bible, and to His glory and honor.

    [Together] We ask God to enable us, to work and will in us,
    [Him]+++ to endure each others’ shortcomings patiently and kindly.
    [Him]+++ to love each other free from personal vanity, pride and boasting.
    [Him]+++ with a kind and gentle heart, to keep from offending each other, avoiding rudeness and bad behavior.
    [Him]+++ to esteem our union so highly that we have committed ourselves to seeking what is good for US, rather than what is good for each of us alone.
    [Him]+++ with love for our union and the good of our union, to even overlook each others’ screw-ups and mess-ups for the sake and love of our oneness
    [Him]+++ to prayerful grieve alone for each other and our oneness when we screw-up and mess-up, never making fun of each other’s shortcomings, never tossing them in each other’s face or throwing them out against each other in public or to outsiders.
    [Him]+++ to always be ready to believe the best about each other and our oneness, with unfailing hope for our oneness.
    Pray for us.

    All prayers welcomed and all wise Scripture insights are also most welcome.

  22. Trying hard to trust says

    I am hoping and praying for a miracle and keep referring to Romans 8 to keep my hopes up. He told me on Sunday that he plans to leave this summer. I asked him to try counseling again and we’re meeting with a local pastor on Tuesday to discuss options (please pray that my husband will respect him and listen to him).

  23. Nina Roesner says

    Prayers for you during this tough time. I know you are hurting. Keep turning to Him for help and encouragement. My heart is heavy for you in this time of suffering.
    ~Nina

  24. Amber says

    Thank you for this post. I am going to post about my situation to hear insight in to it, but I want to thank you for yours. I have a feeling that my husband and I will proceed with the Divorce but I will always be praying continually for a reconciliation.

  25. Amber says

    Is he still adulterous? Does he have sex with these women? My husband has been having one night stands over and over again. He also has had long term emotional/sexual affair as well. I am struggling with the Lord to know…how many “murders” to my soul do you want me to allow. I read a lot about women who have a husband that “has cheated” but I wonder…are they cheating as much as mine. Have they been with MANY women, have they used protection or put their wives in dangerous positions of coming down with disease. I am going for my second blood work in the course of my 11 year marriage on Monday. I am just searching the Lord and begging him, have I forgiven 70 x 7? Do you desire for ME your precious princess to continue to be used and abused? I know He loves my husband and that my husbands soul is just as important as mine and that I can be His Light to my husband, but when do I say…”this light sadly must be put out” and let the Lord’s light shine all on it’s own to him.

  26. trixie1466 says

    Your welcome. I share my story as a testimony to God’s great love for us and the healing power of His love. It’s been a few months, I think, since I made that comment and while we’ve hit a couple of snags, we’ve both continued to grow. I have been so amazed at the way my husband has seemed to step up as a leader since going through the Respect Dare. I think he’s been inspired to work harder at it, but also I’ve been able to see the leadership that was there before that I just didn’t recognize. I will pray for you, your husband and your marriage today. :)

  27. Nina Roesner says

    I’m so sorry you are going through this, Amber. Praying for you. I don’ t know if you have felt led to follow the advice in Matthew 18, but would encourage you to ask God if it is time.
    Please stay in touch with us. Know you are prayed for.
    Love to you,
    ~Nina

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