50 Abused Wives and Husbands Answer the Question: “Why Did You Stay So Long?”


People wonder why abused women and men stay with a dangerous spouse for so long. I asked people in my private Facebook group (Life-Saving Divorce for Separated and Divorced Christians) and they explained it. Here are more than 50 answers, mostly from women, but some from men, edited slightly for privacy, anonymity, and clarity.



"Some of us were so brainwashed,

we had absolutely no clue

that we were being abused in the first place.”



“Leaving is so much harder than anyone can imagine,

unless they’ve been through it.

I don’t even try to explain it to people anymore,

except fellow survivors and people still being victimized.”





Outsiders Don’t Understand


—“There is no way for someone that hasn’t lived through what we’ve lived through to understand all the factors that went into keeping us in that situation as long as we were.”


—"Emotional abuse is often insidious and gradual… no one can understand what it is like from the outside. I was blind while in it until God began revealing and opening my eyes. It was then that I experienced all of it as traumatic… not so much while I was in it. Though I knew something was wrong, I just couldn’t pinpoint or I didn’t have words for it. You trust this person who convinces you that YOU are the problem. It’s not fair to say, “Why did you stay?” That’s a complete lack of understanding of abuse!”


—I've had people ask me this question. I stayed for all the reasons. (1) Fear. (2) I didn't want to hurt the kids. (3) I loved my ex. (4) My personal religious convictions. Sometimes I've shrugged my shoulders and replied, "It’s really hard to wrap your mind around someone professing love for you, how they'd die without you, but then threatening to take your life. It’s hard to accept that someone you love so dearly really and truly doesn't love you—and probably never did. Don't you think that would take time to figure out?" It typically helps a non-survivor step into empathy and out of judgment. Or depending on the person, I laugh and say, "Well, you try it sometime and let me know how you fare." LOL. Everyone avoids rejection, by the way. No one wants to look back over 5 years, 10 years, 30 years and realize that they weren't actually loved while they were pouring every fiber of their being into the marriage to make it work.”



My Spouse Had a Dr. Jekyl-Mr. Hyde Personality

—"For me, I stayed because my husband had two personas. I thought the kind, sweet, and thoughtful man was the true version. And I believed that the cruel, heartless man was the temporary result of him being over stressed or overworked and misunderstood. It took me 10 years to realize the truth that the cruel heartless man was the real person. I was invested in our marriage 100% and forgave countless times until I realized I couldn’t stay in that and survive. And that my kids would suffer more and more as he began to turn his anger and control towards them.”


—"Because before an abuser abuses, they lure their target into a close, trusting relationship, making them isolated and dependent. This causes cognitive dissonance, making you doubt your own mind because the person you love and the person who abuses you seem like two different people.”




I Didn’t Know It Was Abuse

—"[I had] no idea for 25 years I was being abused. No counsellor or therapist even suggested it in 20 years. And I [was taught] 'til death do us part.' I figured I'd made my bed, I had to lie in it ... I just had to hold out until I died. Thankfully I didn’t. I'm so glad I left.”



—“I had been taught that I was having "normal marriage problems" and that I was presumed equally responsible--likely MORE responsible, since I was the one who seemed to think that there was a problem.”


—"My husband was arrested [for domestic assault] and has a no-contact order. My home is now peaceful and [the] tension is gone. I never realized what was causing me so much stress until the police officer showed up to my house and gave me a pamphlet and explained things to me. This may sound crazy but I never realized what’s been happening is abuse. It’s like my eyes are opened with him not in the home."


—“Because I didn't see it. Until I did. Then I couldn't unsee it and got out immediately!”


—“[I stayed] until the scales came off! A moment of clarity and my kids and I were gone! I had spoken to a not-so-close friend several times about my destructive marriage (she had also escaped from a very destructive marriage) and she told me if I ever decided to leave her door was open! I called as we left that night and she said we were welcome to stay as long as we needed. She said that it was her turn to pay it forward and I am eternally grateful. Some day it will be my turn to pay it forward!”


—"It's hard to read the label when you're inside the bottle [of poison]."


—"I stayed because I did not understand that all my struggles and suffering were considered abuse. I had truly been conditioned to believe that he was a saint for tolerating me and all my flaws, and that I was to blame for everything wrong in our relationship… and that I was wrong/emotional/stupid/childish/ignorant/overly sensitive/spiritually immature in every perspective/need/desire/opinion that I had.



I Was Trapped: Leaving Seemed Dangerous and Impossible


—"I couldn't find a way to escape.”


—"It was too dangerous to leave.”


—"Fear. People who aren't in it do not understand that it is not as simple as just leaving a bad situation because you know it is bad. It's trying to assess the options, finding the help, finding the resources (of which there are often few), finding the support...while living in trauma...while walking on eggshells...while protecting children from the fragile ego of the abuser. We were just trying to survive. Leaving wasn't a light at the end of the tunnel that we could see. Leaving was an intangible dream.”


—"I stayed because: I was told I had to be submissive no matter what. I felt leaving was impossible. With what money or income? It took me a LONG time to realize it was bad and even then, I didn’t realize half of it until AFTER I left.”


—“I stayed because we moved so much I felt I didn’t have a support system to fall back on until miraculously we moved back home. Then although things were hard, it wasn’t until he threatened to leave me that I felt free to leave him. Something finally clicked. Before this I felt that no matter how awful, at least we had commitment. Then we didn’t have it and it was all over for me. I felt free.”


—"I stayed because I have experienced so much deprivation of love and acceptance in my life, that I believed he was the only one who could ever care for me. I stayed because I was confused and grateful for any and every little good or kind thing he ever did.”




I Knew No-one Would Believe Me

—“Because of people who wouldn't believe me no matter what I said or did.”


—"I hoped and prayed he would change for years, but until the very end, I was doing what seemed safest for my kids, because nobody who could have helped us would believe me.”



I Had No Way of Supporting Myself

—“For me, I had chronic health problems. I tried to figure out years earlier how I'd make it and I knew I would have ZERO support.”


—"Some of us knew what was happening, but we lacked the resources (material, logistical, and/or support) to flee.”


—"I stayed because I had no education to get a decent paying job and no insurance to help pay for the one person who I finally had in my corner, my therapist.”




My Ex-Husband Was Abusive to Our Kids, So It Wasn’t Safe to Separate/Divorce and Share Custody

—“I had a child who would be unsafe with his dad.”


— “[I stayed] mostly because I was terrified of sharing 50/50 custody of the children with him. (He wasn't safe to be alone with the kids. He threatened to take the children away from me and fight me until he got sole custody. He had a lot of money and political pull to do it. But also trauma bonding kept me trapped.


—"I stayed because I believed the lie that marriage is an unconditional covenant and you NEVER break the covenant. I stayed because I was terrified that my kids would have to be with him part of the time with no one to protect them. I thought by staying I was protecting them as best as I could. I now know that covenant was broken a long time before I left. I now know I was in an abusive marriage. I rejoice that I have sole custody and my kiddos do not ever have to be alone with him. Sadly, he hasn’t accessed supervised parenting time, so they haven’t even seen him for a long time now. But we are so much happier and healthier being our own family.”



I Stayed For the Kids


—"I stayed because my daughter has many special needs and high anxiety, and I could not bring myself to cause her any more distress by destroying what little sense of stability she had. I stayed because I had no support system, no healthy or compassionate friends or family, and nowhere I could go. Everyone thought he was God’s gift to me. I had no one on my side.”



I Was Trapped Financially


—"I'm still having to stay because where does a woman with 2 children and pets go? Where does she get thousands and thousands to pay a lawyer? Where does she find an apartment with COVID and nothing available and come up with first, last and security? Where does she get a job that earns 3 times the rent for proof of income all these places ask for?”


—"Financially there was a major incentive to stay. He made this very known to me through financial abuse (I had no access to finances but a seemingly limitless credit card that he micromanaged) so I had “a lot of money” but absolutely no control or agency. He made it nearly impossible to work as a physician because he was no help at all with our kids or running the home, cooking meals, etc. I quit medicine for the last year of our marriage. I felt like I had to, in order to survive in the marriage. Of course then I actually *was* becoming financially dependent even though I was a physician! The abuse just took its toll. I grew up in dysfunction and abuse and so even though I “saw” it, I was able to survive in it... and even look like I was doing well, until the end. At the end of our marriage, I was finally breaking down. Even then it took finding proof of cheating to finally leave. My worst fears have materialized to some extent. We do 50/50 custody. But my kids are still better now. He is financially better off than I am. I went from a beautiful home and a limitless credit card to going back to work/adjusting to a lot less. (Although can’t complain. I was financially capable all along; he just blinded me to this. He made me feel too damaged to ever do it alone). But now here I am, doing it.


—"Leaving is so much harder than anyone can imagine, unless they’ve been through it. I don’t even try to explain it to people anymore, except fellow survivors and people still being victimized.”


—From a husband: "Because extracting yourself from something as emotionally, administratively, logistically, financially, spiritually complex and legally binding as a marriage is tough and needs to be acknowledged as such, especially when our consciences are sensitive and the difficulties are all too acute.”





My Church Told Me to Stay.  Plus They Blamed the Abuse on Me.


—“All of my attempts to get help had been met or preempted with a tone of, ‘That's too bad. You made your bed. Sleep in it.’"


—“I was his wife, so his sin was my fault. I truly thought if I could just be an ‘better wife’ that he'd stop being cruel, stop getting drunk, care about me, etc.”


—"I stayed for a long time thinking that it must be my fault that he was angry all the time. If I were a better wife, this would not be happening…. Then when I saw the Duluth Wheel of Power and Control in a grad school class, the light came on. I then needed 5 years to finish my degree, get a job with benefits and my oldest off to college. I coped by going “gray rock” and by his absences. His long frequent business trips gave us breathing room. My kids used to ask, “How many more days until Dad travels again?”


—"Because I was taught it was up to me to make it work!! Because even though I knew that he had issues, if I loved him enough, he would change. After 28 years he left me for another woman! After all the crap that I endured for his sake. That was when I realized that it was all in vain. Except for my beautiful children, whose hearts were also broken!! Regrets - I have a few! But, all’s well that ends well! God did NOT ANSWER MY PRAYERS!
He didn't answer them in the way I prayed!! Trust me: God totally orchestrated the circumstances for my good!”


—"I stayed as long as I did because I was made to believe I was the cause; and I kept trying to be a better Christian wife. I also didn't know how I would support myself and my kids. But mostly because I didn't want to get a divorce. Eventually it became too much and I couldn't take it anymore. Not that I owe anyone an explanation. Most people are into victim-blaming where it comes to abuse. It's like asking the rape victim why they didn't come forward.”


—"Over and over, I was told I had to forgive and forget or God wouldn't forgive me (and that implied I would got to hell). For my husband, it was like getting a free pass to sin more."


—"I absolutely hate these "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situations. My former church pressured me to reconcile with my husband, and I fought it for a while. They said, "If it doesn't work out, you can still leave him later." I said, "But if I try to leave later, you will tell me I can't because I agreed to reconcile." They said, "No, we won't." But they did exactly that. A few months later, I said, "I still want to leave him." They said, "You can't, because you agreed to forgive him. If what he did was so bad, you should have left him back then. You can't use it as a reason to leave him now. If it wasn't bad enough to leave then, then it isn't bad enough to leave now." No matter what you do, you will not please church leaders and people in your fellowship. So just do whatever you want.”


[Editor's note: I wish the pastors and leaders who teach that the victim is responsible for the abuse would spend 5 years trapped with an abuser and see how they like it. They need to face consequences for endangering the lives of innocent parents and children.]



My Church Told Me Divorce for Abuse Was a Sin. And That God Wouldn’t Approve of Me If I Divorced


—"I had been taught that divorce was always sin. If things were horrific, you could separate, but aways with the intention of reconciling. [There was simply no escaping from him. I would just end being sent back to him.]”


—"I believed it was sin to leave, and my Christian duty to stay. I had to stay in order to please God and not be punished. I was told I must stay for the children. I didn't know then that the effects of experiencing or observing abuse is far worse for children than the effects of divorce.”


—"I stayed in an abusive marriage because THEY told me it was wrong to leave.”


—"There’s several answers to why I stayed. 1) Because I had taken the option of leaving/ or divorcing off the table just to convince myself to be in the relationship in the first place. I had made a promise to myself and God and I wasn’t gonna break it. 2) Because I believed I wouldn't be able to support my kids without his (measly) financial contribution. (I couldn’t at first but now we are doing well) 3) Because I wasn’t willing to lose having 100% custody of the kids. Shared custody would have been awful for everyone (including him). 4) I was reasonably certain that someday he'd screw up enough that he'd end up deported or in prison and since it would be some external force separating us, I’d be able to get a divorce guilt-free, and also get full custody, etc. Which is more or less how my marriage ended. He fled to avoid prosecution and I got a default divorce decree granting me everything I asked for. 5) I didn’t recognize most of what happened as being abusive at the time. In fact, he’d been out of my life for 3 years and I’d been divorced for over a year before I began to recognize that my marriage hadn’t just been bad…it had been abuse.”


— “We stay for a lot of reasons. Our churches convince us that divorce is morally wrong; we have children to think about; we feel trapped; we're programmed by narcissists to believe that we'll never find better; our self-esteem is so destroyed that we believe we deserve to be abused. Then there's church pressure, peer pressure, family pressure, and the list goes on! People will either believe you or they won't. The more you try to convince a self-righteous bystander, the less they're going to believe you. People who don't believe you are toxic. Get away from them.”


—"Because I believed that God would not allow me to leave. I believed in marriage permanence, obligatory female submission, purity culture, no remarriage after divorce, and limited service opportunities for divorcees and those who marry them. In other words, that divorce was the only unpardonable sin.

Because before an abuser abuses, they lure their target into a close, trusting relationship, making them isolated and dependent. This causes cognitive dissonance, making you doubt your own mind because the person you love and the person who abuses you seem like two different people. The isolation and dependence make leaving almost impossible because your entire life is completely enmeshed with theirs. Leaving them means leaving behind everything. After all, if a stranger harmed you, you'd likely leave and retaliate because they don't have that same hold on you. Because trauma inhibits the brain's ability to process time, articulate what you're experiencing, and creatively think your way out. The abuser has been manipulating you for so long that you no longer have your own thoughts. The abuser's voice has taken up residence in your head; you no longer know what you believe. And your (unconsciously chosen) survival techniques that help you survive your abuser often don't help you escape them.

Because he broke me down into a shell of who I had been. I believed it was all my fault. I thought if I could just get it right, he would love me. And I loved it when he loved me. I was grateful he loved someone messed up as me, and total depravity doctrine just reinforced that belief. I didn't believe I was worth saving.

Because leaving is by far the most deadly part of an abusive relationship. As the abuser is losing control, they become more desperate to maintain it. With no assurance that he wouldn't find me, and with family court more interested in enforcing fathers' rights than in protecting their victims, it seemed better to try to placate him than to try to escape him.”


—"Like many women, I stayed because I had been programmed to believe that good women don’t leave. That’s it’s not biblical. That you accept what you committed to. Till death do you part, yadda yadda. My abusive ex made it worse by interpreting the Bible to support his desires and to demand my loyalty and support regardless. By the time I really realized what was happening, he had isolated me to the point where I had no support system. Everyone around us was lied to about me and believed he was a saint for “accepting me.” I had to leave to save myself and my daughters. God brought me out, though. Opened every door. Made it all possible. I would caution anyone: don’t stay when God opens a door. But also don’t leave until He does.”




I Was Filled With Faith and Optimism That My Marriage Would Get Better


—“I kept thinking things will turn around when “this” happens or when “that” happens. Then my mom passed away. She had told me just before she died, “Please leave that man. He is taking you to the saddest place I’ve ever seen you!” My mother saw it the week of my wedding. She begged me not to marry him. I guess her death made me realize I will not live like this any longer.”


—"I stayed because I thought if I just tried a little bit harder things would be good. I stayed because I didn't want to be divorced. I stayed because I was afraid he'd kidnap the kids and take them to his home country and I'd never see them again. I stayed because of the good things I saw in him. I stayed because I loved him. I stayed WAY TOO LONG!”


—"I was filled with hope, optimism, and confidence that God could and would fix MY marriage, just because others had claimed their marriages were healed. I was gullible.”


—"I was hoping for the best, that he would change, and our marriage would be healed. It was not what happened.”



I Saw No Way Out Except Suicide


—"My church told me I had to stay. I wondered if it might be best if I died in a car accident and finally got away from the abuse.”


—"Because I was convinced I didn't have any other choice. I prayed for death. I prayed for him to commit adultery (because I believed that was the only biblical reason). I created cognitive dissonance and lived in a make-believe world until it started destroying my children. I stayed way too long too!”


—"I attempted suicide, was forced into counseling and my therapist was the one who realized what was going on and worked to help me become healthy. Initially, I was angry that I had survived and still in deep denial and utter despair, thinking that I was failing at both marriage and mothering. I didn't know that God could love me even if I divorced. The way out was the hardest years of my life. Now I see life is so much better and I thank God for the chance to live it in peace and freedom.”


—"I stayed because I had become so severely and chronically depressed, anxious, self-harming, and suicidal that I could no longer personally or socially function in any normal parameters or healthy capacity.”



My Church Promised My Submission and Obedience Would Make My Husband Kind and Loving. It Didn’t.


—“Why did I stay? Ah, the question that’s asked so often and I’ve always drawn a blank. Why did I stay? In today’s world of freedom, personal liberty and women’s rights, why would anybody think they had to stay in an abusive marriage? Here's my story:

It’s the same reason we stay in oppressive, legalistic, spiritually abusive churches. We’re taught lies, and we believe them. We’re taught that obedience and submission, as women, prove our faithfulness to God. We’re taught that to deny yourself is the height of honoring the Lord. We’re taught that self-hatred is other-loving. We’re taught that women are deceived, like Eve, and we must not be so arrogant as to think God would direct us to do something contrary to the man He has placed us under.

After all, Adam wasn’t deceived. Silly Eve! Thinking she knew better than God by defying her husband! We’re taught that to question our male authority, or even think of leaving, is rebellion against God. And we want to obey God, don’t we? Yes, certainly. And so we silently, sweetly obey.

With smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts, we write down verses in pretty cursive, decorated with flowers and feminine swirls, and stick them all over our kitchens and bathrooms to constantly remind us to stay in our humble places. Maybe if I’m good enough, kind enough, have enough sex, write enough sweet emails, obey quickly enough, he won’t come home angry this time. Maybe this time he won’t yell and throw things. If I have the children quiet, and they’ve been spanked enough before he gets home, maybe he won’t call them stupid and fly into rages and hit them.

It’s my job to make him happy. It’s my job to placate his anger. It’s my job to make sure he’s not yelling. I must have done something wrong. I must have argued with him about something, even though I can’t remember it, such that God is using my husband to punish me for my sins. I must have some hidden evil in my heart and God is using my husband to sanctify me. If I can just root out all that wickedness, God will bless me with a kind husband. If I can figure out how to avoid ticking him off, maybe God will smile on me, answer my prayer, and I can have peace and relief. If. If I can figure this out. If I can just do it right.

After all, my husband’s a godly man and he’s trying his best to lead our family. Why can’t I just keep my big mouth shut? He works so hard, and he comes home exhausted. Of course he blows his top. The kids are loud, and they shouldn’t be. If only I could get them to hush. He doesn’t mean to raise his voice.

But he’s right, they hesitate before they obey, and he has a right to be angry, just as God is angry when we disobey Him. He has a right to hit them when they fail to say “yes, sir,” because how else will they ever learn respect? He has a right to throw away their art work because they left it on the table after he told them to put it away. He has a right to call them stupid when they really are acting stupid.

He doesn’t mean any harm, so I must be misunderstanding if I go and get my “sensitive” feelings hurt. He said I’m too sensitive, and I just need to kill my pride, die to self, and take correction willingly. He has our best interest in mind. It’s just all part of our training and sanctification. I trust God’s wisdom. I’m sure if I can get my own bad attitude under control, and spend enough time in prayer and in the Word, the Lord will bless my husband with repentance. Or maybe it’s me who needs to repent and it’s just my awful attitude that doesn’t allow me to see him for the amazing husband he’s trying so hard to be. I just need to try harder to stay humble and be more submissive.

These women who abandon their marriages just don’t understand submission. They don’t understand their place. They don’t value their covenants. If they only realized what blessings come when you live a life of obedience!

We’ve made it 15 years in this God-honoring, grace-filled marriage. Praise His holy name! I’m sure in time, as I can learn to be more Christ-like, my husband will respond in kind and maybe the next 10 years I can get my act together more and it’ll be even better. I’m so thankful for these blessings in my life. What a wonderful family I have. God is good. I deserve no better.

I love Him. I will serve Him. I will honor Him. I will obey Him.

And I stay. I stay. Until I don’t.”



My Church Taught that Disagreeing with My Husband was Rebellion Against God


—"Some believed the teaching that a Christian wife is to submit to her husband no matter what, literally until death do them part (this was me, too). He could do what ever he wanted and I could say nothing.”


—"I wasn't allowed to speak up and set a boundary when my husband was spending our rent and grocery money on prostitutes. It was seen as disrespectful."



I Was Told That "To Die to Self" was Godly. My Church Called It "Hating Ourselves to Love Others More."  


—“How I wish these self-hating lies weren’t so attached to us—the part of hating ourselves to love others more, requiring a degree of dying to self that no pastor would ever dream of or could even be found in Amy Carmichael’s book ‘IF.’ But God sees. And He’s been holding the door open yelling, ‘Get out!’ way longer than we know!”


—"I stayed because of the vows I made before God. Marriage has ups and downs and we know it takes work. I told myself If I could only give more; try something different; go to counseling; pray for us, and many other things, it would improve. I wasn’t the type to give up and walk away. I took my vows seriously.”


—"I stayed because I wanted to honor God and do my best by continuing to work on my marriage and myself. I would have NEVER considered divorce as an option. Ever. I believed He was trying to help me grow into a more mature believer and wanted me to be all the things my husband said I should be.”




No-One Else Gets to Judge Us


— "We truly owe an explanation to no-one. Unless the person asking why we stayed is someone who cares, and you trust them to hear what we experienced. Most people don’t fall into that category.”


—"Regardless of the reasons we stayed as long as we did, the important thing is that we did finally woke up and took the steps necessary to get ourselves and our children free. And it does not matter a whit who thinks you “may be exaggerating.” These "blind guides" have not walked in your shoes; they cannot possibly comprehend what you have been through. They are incapable of accurately judging the “badness” of your experiences. NOBODY gets to judge that except for YOU.”


—“You owe no explanation to anyone, especially those who appear to be committed to misunderstanding you.”





How Would I Respond to Someone Who Asked "Why Did You Stay?"—and didn’t really care about my safety?


—"I would say to an acquaintance who asked, ‘It is hard to explain. And I can tell by the tone of your voice that you don't understand. And that's okay. I am so glad you are in a good enough marriage that you don't understand this level of pain and betrayal. That is a true blessing for you, and I am glad for you.’”


—It’s awful when someone questions you. My entire family used that against me. I smiled and pretended for more than a decade that everything was okay, when it was total hell. Then when I finally left, they all turned against me and I had nobody. Because of the simple fact that they reasoned I must be lying. After all, they said, if it was so bad why did you stay all those years. It’s the worst thing for people to say and we need to educate the masses on this! It causes you to doubt yourself, your truth, and the reality of what you’ve lived through.”




Because I Was Told I Must Keep Trying


—From a husband: "Yes, I was on the brink of divorce and moving toward divorce when my wife asked to try again. It took another seven years before we finally divorced. For me, it was really important to know I had done absolutely everything I could do. I don't advise that path for others. I guess, for me, it was the path I had to take before I could learn better. I was really stuck on trying harder, praying more fervently, loving more completely, and believing more deeply.”



—"Everyone insisted that if I could just get it right, my husband would turn and love me. I stayed for 18 years clinging to the notion that "Tomorrow will be different."


—"I was hoping for the best, that he would change and our marriage would be healed. That is not what happened.”


—"I stayed because I desperately wanted the Lord to make ours a story that would glorify His name. And there was much I didn’t know at the time.”


—"I stayed because I thought it would get better because sometimes it was better. I stayed because I understood some of the why of his behavior. I stayed because I wanted the happy Christian family that no one else in my family had. I stayed because I didn't know any better.”




Why did I stay so long when I had 100% obvious biblical grounds for divorce?


  • Because I was taught that divorce was evidence of my own personal and spiritual failure. And I loved the Lord and never wanted to fail in my duty to serve him. (But I am not the spouse who was the child molester who destroyed the marriage.)
  • Because I was taught the love of Jesus in my heart would heal my husband's wounds from childhood. (It’s God who heals, not me. It’s the Holy Spirit who matures people.)
  • Because I was taught that marital sex cured sexual immorality. (If that were true, it would be easily documented scientifically.)
  • Because I was taught the message that GOD+YOU+ME = good marriage. I thought I just needed to try harder. (Merely claiming to be a Christian, going to church, quoting the Bible, and attending Bible studies is meaningless. Anyone can do that.)
  • Because I was taught the message that my righteous prayers would fix my marriage; and by "marriage" I really meant my sexually immoral husband. (God doesn’t promise to fix all marriages any more than he promises to cure all cancer.)
  • Because I was taught that divorce destroys kids. (Research shows that divorce is likely better for kids than staying in a highly destructive marriage.)
  • Because I didn't think I could support myself. (But I did. In fact I did far better than I ever dared hope.)
  • Because I was taught through unspoken messages that my kids would resent me for destroying their lives. (They have thanked me for divorcing their dad.)
  • Because I was taught that marriage problems are 50/50. So I turned myself inside out to figure out why my husband was sexually immoral and doing illegal stuff. (Hint: He was immoral and doing illegal stuff because he chose to.)



FINAL WORD TO  Abuse Victims: It is Okay to Walk Away From an Abusive Marriage


  1. God is for YOU. And He is for you being treated well and living healthy. He truly IS actually for you having a safe and calm life. He loves you and He truly does want you to be happy. He died for you to have peace. In this life and the next.
  2. God loves YOU more than He loves the institution of marriage or religion or membership in a church.
  3. If the cost of saving your marriage is to destroy YOU as a healthy parent and joyful child of God, the cost is too high.
  4. Divorce sucks. But it doesn’t make God look bad. What makes God look bad is when a husband abuses his wife (or when a wife abuses her husband) and they stay and get destroyed, believing that’s the kind of life that God wants for them.
  5. The choice is yours. If it's not safe to leave, don't leave. Pray that the Lord will give you an opportunity and courage.
  6. You are likely to find a higher degree of safety, peace, and calm after divorce. Your abuser may still try to intimidate, harass, or make your life miserable, but most people say the freedom is worth it. However, If you're not ready, then wait.


7 in 10 Christians Who Are Divorced Say They are Happy

Abuse victims aren't looking for happiness. That's a dream beyond their wildest imaginings. They hope only for relief and safety and the ability to breathe without constant anxiety. The good news is that in multiple studies, there is evidence that most Christians are happy and find well-being after divorce. In the Baylor Religious Survey, 7 in 10 Christians who divorced said they are "somewhat happy" or "very happy." These data are from the 2014 survey. Baylor is the largest Baptist university in the world. And note that this graph includes both those who did the leaving and those who were left.

7 in 10 Chrisitans reported they were happy after divorce according to the Baylor Religion Survey 2014 data

Baylor is not the only organization to find that people of faith do generally well after divorce. A large nationwide study of divorcees over age 40 found something surprising. Believe it or not, they discovered that Baptists had the highest post-divorce happiness levels in the survey; on average they were at a 9 on a 10-point scale of happiness (The Ladder of Life). I believe this is due to the warm community and support than many abuse-aware churches offer. If you aren't in one of these encouraging and comforting churches, feel free to switch. About 6 in 10 Protestants switch churches when they divorce, according to LifeWay.

(Sources: 2004 The Divorce Experience; LifeWay 2015 study "Marriage Ministry and the Cost of Divorce for Churches")


Ladder of Life: Divorced Baptists Reported a 9 out of 10 points on the Happiness Scale of all divorced people surveyed. This images is from The Divorce Experience Study (2004)

Are you going through a life-saving divorce and need support and clarity? 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 4 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, The Life-Saving Divorce: Paperback: https://amzn.to/3cF1j25  Or eBook: https://amzn.to/3CCBsnr

Also, sign up for my email list below or HERE www.lifesavingdivorce.com/courage



Start Here



Does God Hate Divorce? God Gave Divorce Due to Hardhearted Abusers & Betrayers


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






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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