Is it Ever a Sin to Stay Married?

God hates divorce. Every married Christian in the Western Hemisphere is well aware Malachi 2:16 A verse that warns and encourages, respectively, any Christian sister or brother who is considering the matter of divorce. I believe most of us agree that God wants married people to be married, and we should do everything we can to make our vows to our spouse and the Lord. After all, marriage is a sacred act, the foundation of the family, and divorce is a universally tragic experience.

But we live in a fallen world Full Broken people and Innumerable Circumstances beyond our control sometimes make our vows fail us. Sometimes, the one who swore to love and protect us steps in hard the spirit And behavior, rather than bringing pain and harm. Sometimes a wife turns away from the Lord absolutely, Or they fall so deeply into sin that they lose themselves, and their ability to love. Unexpected acts of physical abuse, manipulation and betrayal occur, and we are left in a pool of unfathomable heartache, staring into a seemingly shallow chasm between nothing. The promise was made And what.

Leaving aside the dilemmas and difficult questions we wrestle with, we are often left with the uncomfortable, often polarizing question: Should Christians get married no matter the cost? Is it against God’s will to stay in toxic, unhealthy marriages to keep our vows? Some say yes. After all, Jesus turned the other cheek, suffered long, and still loved the crucified. And let’s remember, marriage is a sacrifice, not a vacation. Bad marriages can feel unbearable, but life is not about our happiness, God is enough.

All of this seems scripturally sufficient. What does the Bible say about staying in abusive relationships where behaviors include spiritual manipulation, financial abuse, infidelity, gaslighting, and physical intimidation? Can it even be considered a sin to marry in such tragic, extreme cases?

I believe the best place to start is to first examine God’s heart and purpose for marriage. In Ephesians 5:22Wedding is compared It teaches that Christian spouses reflect this mystery to the relationship between Christ and the church. as God wanted Christ and the church to become one body (Gal 3:28, 1 Cor. 12:13), so he wants marriage to reflect this pattern—husband and wife as one flesh (Genesis 2:24)

In the Catholic faith, Christians believe that the sacrament of marriage is a public declaration of commitment to another person and a public statement to God. A loving union of a couple was viewed As an example of God values and family values.

So what does God expect of those who participate in the sacrament of marriage? Naturally, I can take it back 1 Corinthians 13 verse (Love is patient, love is kind) and then, of course, the pivot Ephesians 5:25 The verse exhorts husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and wives to respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:22) But it really comes down to this: The purpose of marriage is to exemplify the love of Christ to our spouses on a daily basis. Not just for our own growth and happiness, but so that others (our children, coworkers, neighbors, friends) will see the nature of God and give Him glory. By practicing self-sacrifice and unconditional love for our spouse, we both become more like Jesus and therefore closer to God.

So when we talk about God wanting these vows to expire, we’re not talking about leaving a marriage because of bad habits, character flaws, communication problems, loss of attraction, etc. About being “stuck” with a partner who is sinful or spiritually complacent or “suffering” during intense seasons of discontent or discord. That’s life. These (and many more) common challenges are some decent marriage advice to work through with sacrifice, compromise, selflessness, patience and God’s grace. But what if one spouse begins to mistreat the other and refuses to change?

Jesus only names betrayal (Matt. 19:9) as grounds for divorce. Does that mean God expects you to marry a physical abuser? What about persistent, purposeful verbal attacks? What about a reckless and deliberate habit of a husband or wife behaving inappropriately with members of the opposite sex? What would Jesus say to us today if he had the opportunity to counsel his sweet daughter or son who lives with a wife who willfully and permanently breaks her vows without any sign of true repentance? Does he consider it a sin to get married?

Angry couple arguing in the kitchen.

Photo credit: ©Pexels/Alex Green

I believe the answer will become clear as day when we first examine the meaning of sin. Sin is anything that separates us from God. It may be foul language, idolatry, lies, pride, lust, etc. When we continue in these behaviors without repentance, the Holy Spirit who lives in us is grieved and we cannot enjoy a close relationship with Him. But how can something as good and ordained by God as marriage be sinful? Likewise, the innately good, godly things like sex (when married), food, wine, work, entertainment, etc. are misused every day (by millions) and turned into gluttony, drunkenness and idolatry.

I would say that some spouses stay in unhealthy, God-defying marriages not because of the obligation of their vows, but because of sin. Some prefer to raise their children under the roof of a manipulative abuser rather than endure the “shame” and embarrassment of divorce, thus making marriage a ritual and an idol or even a mockery of God. With or without a marriage license, I believe that when a spouse continues to engage in the malevolent, malevolent behaviors mentioned above, their vows have already been violated. By marrying a destructive partner—even in the legal sense—we are not only enabling sinful behavior, we are perpetuating a degenerate, distorted version of God’s design for marriage. Everyone around us is paying the price.

God is certainly not glorified when children watch their mother become a verbally battered mother by staying with an abusive husband and instilling in her children a sick view of marriage. The beauty of God’s ways is not reflected when friends watch a wife insult and browbeat her husband for years without remorse. It is the magnificence of God’s nature to charm friends who watch a husband manipulate money for years to control and dominate his wife.

Note that reluctance and repentance are key categories here. The biblical meaning of repentance is turning from self to God. It involves a change of mind that leads to action. It is never right for one spouse to push the other during anger. It is never right for one partner to tear another down with their words. It never was ok Watching porn or flirting with a co-worker. But I am Do Believe that any/all sins can be overcome will be forgiven Behaviors change when a spouse experiences true repentance, desires change, and gains confidence through proven action.

In a harmful marriage where the spouse is unwilling or unable to change unhealthy habits, I believe Jesus would say our job is to forgive but not to reconcile. Because on this side of heaven, there are still consequences after forgiveness. Galatians 6:8 says,”Those who live only for their own satisfaction own Sinful desires reap the consequences of destruction and death. But those who live for happiness the spirit From it will reap eternal life the spirit.

There is a way to forgive a wayward spouse without bitterness in our hearts. This is the same exact opinion enacted when a Christian pastor commits sexual immorality, adultery, or some other bad act and is rightfully removed from leadership. Should he be forgiven by God, his church, and his victims? Absolutely. But forgiveness does not always equal restoration. Just as a fallen pastor forfeits the privilege of shepherding God’s people, so must an abusive wife forfeit the privilege of union with God’s child.

I feel that the more we idolize marriage in the Christian life, the more we villainize divorce. Divorce is next to the unforgivable sin. We have placed divorce on the pedestal of evil, and from the throne of doctrinal villainy we have raised up all the lesser sins, gluttony, envy, lying, complaining, lust, jealousy, stealing and cheating, shouting, “At least we didn’t. Don’t break our oath to Jesus!”

God always values ​​life above law. That is why Jesus healed a crippled man on the Sabbath, despite the condemnation of the Pharisees. It was never God’s intention to be married to an unrepentant spouse for the sake of “affirming” a ritual that would cause continued harm. When there is evil in this world, so does divorce, and for some of us Jesus is the only true bridegroom. And luckily, his Love never fails, Never Harmful, and ever enduring.

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Jessica Costner He is an award-winning writer and author Hiding from the children in my prayer closet. She conducts Bible studies with direct pioneering ministries inside juvenile detention centers and provides unbiased real encouragement to women.

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