People of faith stay longer and endure worse treatment in these painful marriages than most people. They often prefer a bad marriage to a divorce. And if they are surrounded by friends and family who value marriage at all costs, they are very hesitant to leave unless their lives are miserable… very miserable.
I feel honored when a person tells me their divorce story. It requires trust. If they are a Christian or any devoutly religious person, it is likely I’m going to hear a story of tremendous pain. Some of the stories have been so heinous they kept me up at night. Yet these dear women and men were willing to share, so that others could learn from their stories. They also wanted to give hope that there is life on the other side.
Turning Point 1. Fear: I Escaped and Never Came Back
Turning Point 2. Protecting My Children from Direct or Indirect Abuse
Turning Point 3. I Can’t Take it Anymore: Depression, Suicidal Thoughts, Medical Issues
Turning Point 4. Help! I Am Alone with the Abuser
Turning Point 5. This Really Is Abuse!
Turning Point 6. Someone I Respected Told Me I was Free to Go—If I Wanted To
Turning Point 7. An Old Friend Told Me I Was Worthy of Love, Not Disrespect
Turning Point 8. A Friend Walked with Me and Gave Me Courage
Turning Point 9. Prayer: God Told Me I Could Go
Turning Point 10. My Spouse Divorced or Walked Out on Me
I cover these 10 Turning Points in my book The Life-Saving Divorce, in Chapter 5, on page 176-197.
1 Two studies discuss this: Michal Gilad, “In God’s Shadow: Unveiling the Hidden World of Domestic Violence Victims in Religious Communities,” Rutgers Journal of Law & Public Policy 11, no. 3 (Spring 2014); and Leonie Westenberg, “‘When She Calls for Help’—Domestic Violence in Christian Families,” Social Science 6, (2017): 71.
For another first-person story of a woman whose husband cheated on her, read: Adultery, Prayer and the Bible. Find out how the Lord set her free.
Audio interview: Shirley Fessel, author of Redemption from Biblical Battering tells her story of finding peace after divorcing an abusive husband HERE.
For a discussion of the myth that a wife's submission will automatically make her husband love her more, read THIS. Or the myth that being more sexually available will keep a husband from cheating or watching porn or molesting children, read THIS.
For Bible verses that show that every type of abuse qualifies as biblical grounds for divorce, see this overview of Bible verses online. For a chapter on all the key passages in the Bible on divorce, as well as the Jewish and Biblical background, see Chapter 6.
For a list of 5 types of abuse see HERE.
For a chapter giving examples of 150 examples of types of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and neglect) and explaining the term "gaslighting," along with many first-person stories, read Chapter 4 in the Life-Saving Divorce.
For a diagram of the Duluth Wheel of Power and Control and The Abuse Cycle, read Chapter 4.
For a definition of life-saving divorces, read What is a Life-Saving Divorce?