Overview: This is Myth 11 of 27 Myths about divorce that aren't likely to be true of Christians who love God and take their faith seriously. These messages make us worry if we're pleasing God. They contain little accusations that our motives aren't right. They make us second-guess ourselves when we try to get ourselves and our children to safety. Many of us have heard these messages all our lives and wanted to avoid them.  So although these myths may be true for people who are selfish or immature, they aren't true for a person who invested their heart and soul into the relationship, even when the other person didn't.  See all the myths on one page. See the next myth.

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.

This myth says you are to blame if your spouse abuses, hits, slaps, mocks, punishes, or ridicules you; calls you names; ignores you wants or needs, denies you food, clothing, or basic needs; acts indifferently toward you; withholds things you enjoy; or monitors or controls you.

Some people who feel guilty about a past sin (often sex, youthful rebellion, abortion, criminal behavior, etc.) come to believe that the abuse is God righteously punishing them. This is not a right understanding of God.

The Bible promises that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NIV). Jesus has taken the punishment for our sins on himself, on the Cross. The debt has been paid. We have been washed clean because Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.

In this world, we all may still have the natural consequences of bad behavior (such as needing to apologize and make things right when we say or do something unkind to a friend).

But God doesn’t get revenge on us or punish us with abusive marriages to teach us a lesson.

That is not the kind of God he is.

For example, when religious authorities wanted Jesus’ permission to kill a woman caught in adultery, Jesus told her he did not condemn her.

He let her go free (John 8:1-11). Our God is a God of mercy, forgiveness, and love.

You aren’t supposed to die for your own sins. That’s Jesus’ job. God loves you and forgives you.

And if God has forgiven you, maybe it makes sense to forgive yourself. Jesus’ Great Commandment calls his followers to love one another. Abusive behavior is certainly not love. Three times in Ephesians 5, husbands are called to love their wives. Abuse and neglect are not signs of love.

If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 
—1 Timothy 5:8


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. Supporters and people helpers are also welcome.  I’ve written a book about spiritual abuse and divorce for Christians. Also, sign up for my email list below.



Start Here



Does God Hate Divorce? He May Hate Divorce, But He Hates Abuse & Betrayal More!


Physical and Emotional Abuse & Infidelity


God Allows Divorce to Protect Victims


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






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For more on the myths of divorce, buy the Life-Saving Divorce.

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