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My answer to the question regarding living in an abusive relationship was addressing the need to take preventative measures against this type of behavior.  As I said previously, “Christians should be careful to only marry Christians.  We should make sure that the one we marry is the one the Lord wants us to marry; and, starting our lives together with the Lord, we have to be careful to maintain our walk together with the Lord.  If we would be careful to follow these three principles, we can be assured of marriages that will last; that will bring us joy; and that will honor the Lord.”

It is essential that the marriage begins with the Lord, and it is maintained by both people continuing to follow the Lord together.  2 Corinthians 6:14 is very emphatic, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”  Christians should only marry Christians.  To marry an unsaved person in the hopes that you can lead them to Christ is not only unscriptural, but is almost certain to be disastrous.  Marriage was never intended to be used as an evangelistic effort.

So, what do you do if you find yourself in an abusive marriage?  It would be advisable to remove yourself from harm’s way.  It may be necessary to leave in order to protect yourself and any children you may have.  Although separation may be appropriate in some circumstances, this does not mean that divorce and remarriage is allowed.  Let’s read the Lord’s words in Matthew 19:9, “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”  This teaches us that the only scriptural reason a person has to leave their spouse and remarry is in the case of fornication.  Now let’s read 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.”  This teaches us that the wife should stay with her husband.  However, if she cannot stay with him for any reason, she is to remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.  If a woman is in an abusive relationship, she is allowed to leave, but not to divorce her husband and marry another.

What about the spouse that is left by the other one?  1 Corinthians 7:12-15 tells us, “If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”  If the husband or wife should leave, the other one is no longer under the commitment of marriage and is free to remarry.

Of course, if one spouse should pass away, the other is free to marry again as we have in 1 Corinthians 7:39, “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.”

Who we marry is such an important decision.  Marriage can be the greatest thing, or it can be the worst thing in our lives.  When we marry, we make a lifetime commitment and we vow to the Lord to stay together “as long as we both shall live.”  The Lord expects us to keep the vows that we make to Him.  It is sad that so many Christian marriages end in divorce.  Could some of these divorces be avoided?  Absolutely!  If we marry according to the Lord’s will and we continue to follow the Lord together, we will avoid so many of these situations that lead to divorce.