Does God expect me to live with a physically abusive spouse?

Hello J,

Thank you for contacting BibleAsk.

Jesus made it plain that there should be no divorce except in the case of marital infidelity “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:32).

But that doesn’t mean that you should stay in a dangerous situation. Physical violence and abuse is against the law and the authorities should be notified at once when it happens. It is the duty of the abused mother to protect herself and the children from any kind of serious violence by temporary moving out. If criminal charges are taken against the abusive partner, this could serve as a wake up call that will shake him hopefully bringing about a change of action.

But if the abusive spouse refuses to respond to changing his behavior, then a separation is advised until there is a change in behavior.  The Scriptures do not condemn the separation (not divorce) in this case.

God is in the business of healing, changing lives, and restoration (Isaiah 61:1). So, the abused members should allow the Lord to convict by His Spirit the abusive and bring him to repentance. There is incredible power in intercessory prayer (Matthew 7:7, 8). There are many examples in the Bible to the fact that God can and does change evil people into saints.

The wife should continue to hope in God and try to keep the marriage. Reconciliation should always be the ultimate goal (John 13:34; Ephesians 5:21). For God honors the marriage covenant “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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