“I don’t believe in divorce.”
As Diane responded to the pleas of her non-Christian friends, the waver in her voice only dignified her desperate resolve. Some might have even called it heroic. Her husband of sixteen years, however, had demonstrated all too clearly by his love of alcohol and rage that he did not share her perspective on marriage. The sacred covenant she entered as a young woman had become his license to drink and hurl insults with no accountability.
After a thousand broken promises and countless wasted hours in counseling, Diane was at the breaking point. For the sake of her children’s safety and sanity, and for the survival of her own withered soul, something had to change.
Unfortunately, her family, her church, and her own Christian conscience spoke in heartbroken, anguished accord: “I don’t believe in divorce.”
Like Diane, many conscientious believers find themselves hopelessly trapped between two intolerable options: divorce or continued misery. These weary guardians of dead or dying unions remain convinced that divorce is a sin; however, they find it increasingly difficult to ignore the conviction that tolerating the destructive behavior of a wayward mate is not the lesser evil.
Meanwhile, the implied message of well-meaning family, friends, and church is, We know you’re enduring unimaginable pain and may even be risking bodily harm, and we don’t know what you should do about it. But for goodness’ sake, don’t seek a divorce!
Not only does this fail to offer hope or provide leadership, but it also creates an incubator for sin, not only for the unrepentant partner but also the suffering spouse.