When we said “I do” we knew the vows we took before God were sacred, and we want to honor God by honoring the covenant of marriage.
However, do you find that you are in a marriage where there are issues that you do not know how to deal with them, or you are tempted to leave your spouse?
When Christians leave a marriage, the guilt is consuming, and we feel as if we have let God down.
If you are facing challenging circumstances in your own marriage and are struggling with the difficult decision to stay or leave, we urge you to read on…
Christians experience lower divorce rates compared to marriages between unbelievers.
As we look at pure statistics on marriage and divorce, it is not only disturbing but causes us to wonder why so many marriages are dissolving before our very eyes.
Shocking Statistics Of Marriage Today
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According to sociologist and Christian author, Bradley E. Wright, Christians have lower divorce rates. He conducted a study with the General Social Survey (2000-2006) where he gathered the following statistics.
Catholics were the least likely to divorce Divorce Rate: 35%
Mainline Protestants Divorce Rate: 41%
Evangelicals Divorce Rate: 46%
Black Protestants Divorce Rate: 54%
Unbelievers Never Attending Church Divorce Rate: 60%
Believers Attending Weekly Church Divorce Rate: 38%
Regular church attendance plays a major role in the health of a marriage and decreases the rate of divorce among believers. This still leaves divorce rate fairly high in the church with it doubling since the 1970s from 25% to 46%.
Is Marriage A Commitment For Life?
There is consistency throughout the Bible showing marriage to be a commitment as long as both husband and wife are alive.
“They are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22
As Christians, what do we do if we are experiencing marital discord? There is a fine line God draws when it comes to divorce. Each individual situation is unique, and it’s important to seek Christian counseling that is biblically-based.
There are some exceptions that the Bible mentions where divorce is allowed.
When Is Divorce Allowed?
As Christians, we don’t want to dishonor God with sin against his commandments on marriage. There are false witnesses that roam this earth trying to teach that divorce is ok, and God will forgive us.
However, the Bible strictly talks about when divorce is allowable.
- Spouse Commits Adultery
Divorce is not required, and forgiveness and reconciliation are encouraged. If the offending spouse continues in the sinful behavior, divorce is allowed.
“But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Matthew 5:32
- Unbelieving Spouse Leaves
If an unbelieving spouse abandons the marriage after the other spouse has become a believer, divorce is allowed.
“To the rest, I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 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. 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 unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” 1 Corinthians 12-16
Gray Areas For Divorce
There are other circumstances in a marriage that contributes to divorce. How do we know if God forgives us and allows us to leave?
Abuse takes on two forms; physical and emotional. Typically anytime there is physical abuse, emotional abuse is also present.
Before we continue, if you are in an abusive situation and fear for your life and well-being, leave immediately and get help. You can seek the help of family, other believers, a local shelter, the police, or your church.
The Bible does not have specific scripture or instruction on physical and/or emotional abuse. However, if a spouse is inflicting physical and/or emotional harm to the other spouse, there is a clear violation of the “one flesh” design that God meant for a marriage.
We are not giving advice or condoning anyone leaving a marriage based on abuse. Any decision comes down to an individual choice based on the situation.
Lustful Eyes and Heart
What is one to do if the spouse looks at pornography? Is that grounds for divorce for adultery?
The Bible explicitly speaks on how lust with the eyes and heart is adultery but does that release the other from the marriage based on the charge of adultery?
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
Again, this goes back to the fine line God draws in the sand where marriage and divorce is concerned. We cannot condone or suggest that divorce is ok with regard to pornography.
Pornography can become an addiction placing a marriage on the brink of destruction. Not only is it sinful, but it can be progressive in nature. It’s so important to help your spouse who has fallen to get help through professional Christian counseling.
And you are just as important in getting counseling from a Christian counselor as well. They will help you to maneuver this uncharted territory in your marriage and give you advice on direction.
Praying for your spouse fervently is essential.
God Has Your Back!
No matter what your circumstances are in your marriage, know that God will see a way through the confusion and the pain. He is the Almighty Healer of marriages. Don’t hide and suffer in silence, but share with Christian sisters and prayer warriors that can help and pray for you.
Seek God first in all that you do, and He will provide a way. You are loved and valued Sister!
Wright, B.(2010 July 1) Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From The Secular and Christian Media, pp 81, 131-140, 211-234, Retrieved from: