Wife leaving marriage: Are Christian women leaving their husbands for frivolous reasons?
Many Christians actually believe all or most women who divorce are leaving behind a good thing.
There’s an assumption that whatever problems the couple had, they could have addressed them via more patience, prayer, submission, sex, or the ever-popular “hang in there because we’re all called to suffer for Christ. Plus you made you’re bed, now you have to lie in it.”
But are all Christian women actually leaving behind fantastical relationships? Are they walking away from “great guys who had normal human struggles?“
The reality is, godly women don’t rush out of a marriage when something is off. Like every tenacious, loving, empathetic human being, they enlist every good virtue they possess to fight for their marriage.
They work hard. They love. They die many deaths. They pray, read all the marriage books, and listen to all the sermons.
A Wife Leaving Marriage: The Truth
Here’s the thing.
I’ve heard from hundreds of women who escaped their marriages (or their husbands left,) and so far, nobody has said they left because
- He left his socks on the floor.
- He didn’t cook her favorite meal.
- He didn’t plan date nights.
- He didn’t pick her up on time as he said he would.
- He didn’t call her during the day to check how she was doing.
- He didn’t enjoy her favorite music.
- He didn’t like her mom.
These women escaped because
- He lied and cheated on her as a lifestyle. She gave him chance upon chance to change, but he never did.
- He withheld sex from her, and he didn’t want to work on it—months and years of sexual and emotional neglect.
- He squandered their money. They barely scraped by.
- He was addicted to substances, and it wrecked their lives. She hang in there for years, often decades, trying to help him. But finally realized she couldn’t save him from himself.
- He was addicted to pornography and didn’t value them enough to commit to getting healthy.
- He wanted to be the god of her. Decide what to wear, who to be friends with, how to live, what to do with her life. He nitpicked her to death. Until there was nothing left.
- He felt entitled to everything – her body, her time, her money, her friends, her resources, her respect.
- He hit her body. Her soul. Her mind. Her emotions. Her sexuality. Her spirituality. Over and over again.
- He led a double life that put her life and her children in danger.
And much more.
Wife Leaving Marriage: Christians Have it Wrong
Church, when we say “nowadays people leave marriage for all kinds of petty reasons,” let’s remember there are many who don’t.
Especially Christians who have been shamed and guilted into staying, who have little (if any) informed support, and pastors and leaders often tell them to pray, love, and stay.
Many spouses stay past their breaking points. They give multiple opportunities for their spouses to change. They don’t leave the first time they were harmed. Or the second time. Or the sixth.
So when they finally escape, let’s start believing they tried.
And popularize “People leave marriages because their spouses have hard hearts.”
How To Create Safer Communities
“Domestic Violence is #2 cause of death for Black women, #3 cause of death for Indigenous women, and #7 cause of death for Caucasian women.” – No Visible Bruises, by Rachel Louise Snyder
Churches are not as safe as we think they are. One study reports 1-in-4 highly religious U.S. marriages have interpersonal violence. Source.
The Abel and Harlow study revealed that 93% of sex offenders describe themselves as “religious” and that this category of offender may be the most dangerous. Other studies have found that sexual abusers within faith communities have more victims and younger victims. Source.
Bare Marriage has a fantastic article exploring this topic, with lots of data: Check it out Are 70% of Divorces Really Caused by Women Divorcing Frivolously?
We must do better.
If you’re part of a church and faith community, you can talk to your pastor, ministry leader or small group leader and recommend training resources like SAFER CHURCHES Seminar (affiliate link) by Sarah McDugal, which will equip leaders and the church community to create a safer faith community.
In this seminar, you will learn the signs of an abusive relational system, the tools of abuse that every abuser employs, what true, biblical forgiveness look like in an abuse situation, how to discern who the real perpetrator is and much more.