What if you are being abused, is divorce okay?
Questions Listed Under Divorce
Click on a title or click open the "+" icon to reveal answers to each question.
Perhaps. Perhaps not. In other words, I cannot answer this question unless I know a lot more about the abuser, the abused, the nature of the abuse, and the attitudes expressed when the abuse is confronted. Self-protection and seeking to end the abuse is one thing; divorce is often something else. It is recommended that you speak with your pastor to receive specific and qualified counseling on this important subject.
What are the conditions the church allows for a divorce?
The church is not the authority for rules and conditions regarding divorce. God, in his Word, is that authority. "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' 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 5:31,32).
Marital unfaithfulness and malicious desertion are the two reasons God gives to allow divorce. Otherwise God says, "'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" (Malachi 2:16).
Is divorce a forgivable sin according to the Bible?
I do not know what prompted your question, but in an attempt to give an adequate answer, I will stress three things: First of all, divorce does involve or give evidence of sin, real sin, on the part of one or both of the marriage partners seeking the divorce. God's revealed will and desire is that marriages be lifelong.
Second, the sin or sins normally connected with a divorce are certainly forgivable. Christ paid for all sin and God delights in pardoning all sinners. The personal enjoyment of forgiveness, of course, assumes that the sinner is brought to repentance and thus takes both the sin and the work of the Savior seriously. Only a lack of repentance and a willful despising of the gracious working of the Holy Spirit in unbelief fit the "unforgivable sin" category.
Third, some have been observed saying that, despite all this, divorce is sometimes treated as though it were unforgivable. This may stem in part from pastors and spiritual leaders striving to stress the seriousness of this sin coupled with its epidemic spread in our society. There are seldom any real winners, only losers, in a divorce. This may also stem from the popularity of what has been called "planned repentance" in divorce cases. This means that people willfully and wrongly seek a divorce with the conscious plan of "repenting" afterward, after the deed is done. Biblically speaking, that is not the pattern of true repentance. "Repentance" that is humanly planned and produced is not the real thing and is not accompanied by forgiveness.
My husband was spending all his time in pornography. Is this grounds for divorce? Is this adultery?
I am hoping that when you wrote that your husband was giving attention to pornography, this indicates that his sinful behavior pattern is a thing of the past or at least that there has been some measure of remedy already applied. Pornography use and addiction is a horrible and destructive kind of sin. You—and your husband—have my sympathy and my prayer that things will change fast if they haven't already.
You ask if the use of pornography is a form of adultery. While there are exceptions (e.g., law enforcement or legal representatives examining items to determine what is or is not illegal), generally speaking it is adultery in the eyes of God. It is the kind of sin that Jesus emphasizes in passages like Matthew 5:27-28, that is, adultery in the heart. God is interested in our thoughts and words as well as outward actions.
You also ask if this sin is grounds for a divorce. It might be, but is not necessarily so. More information about your husband's attitude, motives—toward you as well as toward the pornography—needs to be examined. If divorce were granted on the basis of all sins of the heart (parallel to hatred being murder as explained in Matthew 5:21-22), few marriages would endure because all of us are guilty on a daily basis. So I must repeat, your husband's sinful activity might be expressive of attitudes and a hardness of heart that would be tantamount to a breaking of the marriage vow and a callous disregard for the marriage bond. But it might not be. You deserve and should receive competent pastoral counseling. Ditto for your husband, the sooner the better.
Until more information is known, my counsel would be that you seek to help and rehabilitate your husband in love as long as you can. Be an agent of preserving and enriching your marriage rather than someone seeking to end it. May the Lord guide and bless you as you sort these things out!
- What we believe
- Spiritual Help
- How we serve
- Christian Aid & Relief
- Adult Discipleship
- Campus Ministry
- Christian Giving
- Congregational Counseling
- Lutheran Schools
- Military Services
- Ministerial Education
- Multi-Language Publications
- Special Ministries
- Women's Ministry
- Youth and Family Ministries
- Northwestern Publishing House
- WELS Administration
- News & Events
- Streams media
- About WELS