What Does the Bible Say about Divorce for Abuse?
When a woman* finds that her husband is not a safe person either physically or emotionally, the biggest question I often see her struggle with is, “What now? Divorce is not an option. I made vows before God, and I must keep them.”
This is a personal question that each person must answer individually before God, and I will never encourage anyone to do anything contrary to the Holy Spirit’s prompting in their own heart. Whether you go or whether you stay, I want you to be led of God, and I will support your decision either way.
However, it is impossible to wrestle with this decision without adequate information about what the Bible says about divorce. So many have heard “God hates divorce,” but that is a massive oversimplification and a complete misrepresentation of the scripture!
Below I’ve provided many links to places where you can study the topic of divorce for yourself, especially as it relates to divorcing an abusive or emotionally abusive spouse. (Including a link on this page does not necessarily constitute an unconditional endorsement of a particular author or speaker.)
The various authors here show that Christians not only can but sometimes should seek the protection that God offers them through divorce. Again, this does not necessarily mean that you should; that is between you and God. But it does mean that should you come to the conclusion that divorce is your necessary recourse, there is no condemnation for you. God loves you and has graciously provided divorce as a way of escape and protection from a hard-hearted spouse.
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links
Note: To keep the information here from feeling too overwhelming, I’ve placed an asterisk beside a few of the most concise and least technical resources. You may wish to start with those if you aren’t in a position to dive in super deep right now.
Divorce is Sin…Says Who? (There are many other great articles about divorce on this site too.)
God’s Protection of Women (free download, used by permission)*
Recovering from Spiritual Abuse (divorce teaching begins around 10:00 mark)
Finally, watch this brief Playmobil illustration explaining the four causes of Biblical divorce: