Does A Divorce Mean My Faith Is Weak?

No, not if you needed a life-saving divorce to save your life and sanity—and your children's.

In fact, it takes tremendous FAITH to say, "I will protect myself and my children because God loves us and cares about us." It takes tremendous faith to say, "I know there are people who oppose my decision, but I will do what I must, regardless of their disapproval.” You can say, "My faith in the Lord requires me to be wise and to reject spiritually manipulative messages that keep us in danger."


What kind of messages do we need to reject?

If your spouse has a pattern of behavior that shows that only their emotions, wants, and desires matter, and they have no care for your wellbeing, then you need to REJECT the messages that say—

  • —"A person with a full measure of faith would stay and pray"
  •  —“Your marital status matters more to God than you do.”
  • —“If you were just righteous, God would answer your godly prayers and heal your marriage.”
  • —“Don't give up before the miracle happens, because many people's marriages have survived.”

I'm not at all surprised when devout Christians tell me their marriage "survived" despite terrible betrayals and abuse. In our faith communities, there are messages that put enormous pressure on the victimized spouse to hold it together—at any cost, regardless of the destruction to their own life and sanity and their children's wellbeing.

These messages often are applied universally to all marriages, recklessly disregarding an abused spouse’s life and sanity. If the Lord is life-giving, and wants to release people from bondage, then telling people to stay and die isn’t in line with the heart of God, as you can see in this blog, and video.

God's Law Protected the Vulnerable Spouse

Staying is sometimes dangerous. The Lord knew that. Although God wanted marriages to be loving and undefiled, many are not. God gave a way of escape. Throughout Scripture, the Bible has laws that protect wives from men who wanted to take advantage of them or treat them with neglect or cruelty. (And of course, those laws protect men too.) Over and over Scripture allows—and even commands—divorce to extract these vulnerable women (and men) from their abusing, betraying, or grossly neglectful spouses.

Identifying Spiritual Abuse (The 27 Myths of Divorce)

There are at least 27 false messages that imply that people of great faith would stay in their marriage no matter how damaging it is to themselves and their children. (Some of these messages say that divorce is universally destructive to kids, which it is not. Divorce is actually good for kids if it gets them out of a tense toxic home.)

These messages suggest that only people of lesser faith would divorce. People and organizations that promote these messages may have good motives, but their advice also may have tragic consequences for the people they hope to serve. Divorce saves people from domestic violence, suicide, and homicide.

Did Jesus Want You to "Stay for the Miracle"? No.

People who want you to "stay and pray," miss one of Jesus' key teachings. We know of Satan's temptations of our Lord in the Wilderness. Remember the Three Temptations of Christ? The second is Satan tempting Jesus to throw himself off the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem, saying that the angels will appear and miraculously rescue him "lest he dash his foot against the stones."


Jesus rebukes Satan for demanding God provide a showy miracle upon command, telling Satan, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God."(God doesn't like being manipulated, either!)


Jesus is saying it is a sin to go into danger (or stay in danger) and demand a miracle. That is testing the Lord your God. That is presuming on the Lord. It is acting dangerously and pretending it is faith.


It takes tremendous faith in the Lord to follow Jesus and defy well-meaning friends, pastors, and marriage-at-any-cost organizations who seek to shame us to stay in danger. Jesus showed this kind of courage when he healed the woman tormented by a satanic spirit on the Sabbath in Luke 13. The religious leaders were furious, but Jesus defied them. And the freed woman gave glory to God. (Video version of Luke 13)

You can be a wise and spiritually mature person and walk away from a destructive marriage to save your life and sanity. You too can give glory to God for releasing you from bondage.

For more about the false messages that trap people in dangerous marriages, see the 27 Myths of Divorce.  You can click on each one to learn more.

Myths of Divorce that Aren't Likely True for Committed Christians

(Click the link to learn more)

Myth 1You divorced because you just fell out of love.   

TRUTH: No. Many divorces are life-saving.

Myth 2: You just didn’t take God-ordained marriage seriously.

TRUTH: Life-saving divorcees took marriage very seriously. Their spouse didn’t—with their actions, not just their words.

Myth 3: You just didn’t try hard enough.

TRUTH: People in the most destructive marriages try harder, and longer, than most people.

Myth 4: You didn’t attend church enough.

TRUTH: Churchgoing doesn’t make dangerous marriages safe, and it doesn’t make dangerous spouses magically change.

Myth 5: Christians have to forgive over and over again, forever.

TRUTH: Christians can forgive and get out of a destructive marriage.

Myth 6: You’re exaggerating! We’d all know if your spouse was that bad.

TRUTH: It is almost impossible to spot dangerous spouses from outside of the marriage.

Myth 7: It’s your fault, because “it takes two to tango.”

TRUTH: It only takes one destructive spouse to make a marriage dangerous.

Myth 8It’s your fault, because you’re not perfect, either.

TRUTH: We don’t have to be perfect before we call for a stop to abuse and cruelty.

Myth 9: You can’t demand good treatment. Christians have no rights.

 TRUTH: It is godly and biblical to call for justice and loving treatment, for ourselves and others.

Myth 10: It’s your fault, because you didn’t give your spouse enough sex.

TRUTH: Cheating or sexual abuse is never justified. Your spouse’s sexual addiction or deviance can’t be fixed by giving them more sex.

Myth 11: It’s your fault, because you deserve punishment.

TRUTH: No one deserves abuse or cruelty—ever. God calls us to love one another, not mistreat and betray each other.

Myth 12: It’s your fault, because you didn’t submit enough.

TRUTH: Submission doesn’t prevent abuse. If there is abuse, commanding more submission makes things worse, not better.

Myth 13: The person who files for divorce caused the divorce.

TRUTH: The person who betrays, abuses, and breaks the vows is the one who caused the divorce.

Myth 14: Divorcing bestows a curse on your family.

TRUTH: A life-saving divorce brings God’s freedom to the family, not a curse.

Myth 15: God will heal your marriage if you pray enough.

TRUTH: God does not promise to heal all marriages in answer to our prayers. Sometimes, he answers our prayers by helping us get out of a marriage when it turns dangerous.

Myth 16: It’s God’s will for you to suffer quietly in your marriage.

TRUTH: God’s will is for justice, love, and truth to be lifted high—not for his children to live in silent suffering and bondage. Jesus does not want you to be abused for his glory.

Myth 17: Marriage is God’s best way to mature you.

TRUTH: God matures us in many ways, not only through marriage. He can mature us through a life-saving divorce and through rebuilding our lives afterward.

Myth 18: God forbids all divorce, and divorce is the unpardonable sin.

TRUTH: Scripture shows that God gives permission for divorce.

Myth 19: Your divorce will shatter the image of Christ and the church.

TRUTH: No human being is powerful enough to shatter the image of Christ and the church. Abuse and betrayal dishonor Christ, not life-saving divorces.

Myth 20: If you are godly, you can marry any Christian, and it will work.

TRUTH: It matters whom you marry, because a healthy marriage takes two to build, not just one.

Myth 21: Divorce will destroy your children. You should stay for the sake of your kids.

TRUTH: Dangerous marriages harm children by making them victims of cruelty, or witnesses of it. Life-saving divorce can get them to safety and help them to thrive.

Myth 22: It takes two parents to raise good kids.

TRUTH: Emotionally healthy single parents and stepparents can do as good a job of raising healthy kids as anyone else.

Myth 23: You can’t divorce your spouse, because they don’t know any better.

TRUTH: We can put a stop to abuse even when the abuser doesn’t “get it.” We can love someone, and leave our dangerous marriage to them, at the same time.

Myth 24: If you stay and suffer, you might save your spouse, and you will glorify Christ.

TRUTH: Your spouse is not abusing you because of your faith, and Christ is not glorified by your anguish. Staying and suffering is no guarantee you'll win an abusive spouse to Christ

Myth 25: You can only divorce if they hit you.

TRUTH: Emotional/verbal abuse, financial abuse, and spiritual abuse are all unacceptable forms of treatment and are grounds for divorce, both from a biblical and legal perspective.

Myth 26: Husbands must cleanse and sanctify their wives.

TRUTH: Jesus cleanses and sanctifies us, not our spouses. Husbands cannot and should not try to take the place of Jesus in their spouse’s life.

Myth 27: You cannot divorce because you are one flesh and have a soul tie.

TRUTH: Our bond with the Lord is eternal and cannot be ended.

©2020 Gretchen Baskerville, from the book The Life-Saving Divorce


Are you going through a life-saving divorce? I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." Just click the link and ANSWER the 3 QUESTIONS. This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it.  Also, sign up for my email list below.


Start Here


Physical and Emotional Abuse & Infidelity


God Allows Divorce to Protect Victims


Does God Hate Divorce? No, Most English Bible Translations Don’t Say That


How to Find a Good Supportive Church


What If My Pastor Says It Would Be Wrong to Get Divorced for Abuse?


Divorce Saves Lives: The Surprising (Wonderful!) Truth About Divorce Nobody Told You

Will I Ever Find Love Again? Dating After Divorce: Good News

Finding Happiness and Health After Divorce


Thriving After Divorce: These Christians Tell their Stories

Self-Doubt, Second-Guessing Ourselves, and Gaslighting


Children and Divorce: Researchers Give Hope


High Conflict Divorce and Parenting


Recommended Reading List and Free Resources for Christians and Other People of Faith


Common Myths






GET THE BOOK! The Life-Saving Divorce is about divorces for very serious reasons: a pattern of sexual immorality, physical abuse, chronic emotional abuse, life-altering addictions, abandonment, or severe neglect. This book will give you hope for your future, and optimism about your children. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



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