It is so tragic when a wife must live in fear of violence from her husband.  This is not how the Lord intended marriage to be.  The Lord instructs the husbands in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”  The kind of love that Christ has for His church is self-sacrificing which expresses His great, great love.  This is how husbands should love their wives.  The husband who is dedicated to the Lord will treat his wife in such fashion.

The heart and intent of the Lord is made clear in Malachi 2:16, “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord.” (NASB). In almost all cases, divorce is forbidden by the Lord.  This shows us how important it is that we seek the Lord’s guidance before we enter into a marriage relationship.  Of course, people can appear to be different than they really are, and some people can change drastically over the years. 

So…here you are in a bad marriage where domestic violence is involved.  What can you do and still honor the Lord?  FIRST OF ALL, the husband and wife should pray together and ask the Lord to help in the marriage.  If the husband will confess his sin to the Lord and stop the violence, they can begin to rebuild a relationship of love and trust.  If the husband will not pray with his wife, then the wife can certainly pray individually and ask the Lord to change her husband’s heart and take away his violent nature.

If that does not work, I recommend a good Christian counsellor who can help both the wife and husband realize that “they are no more twain, but one flesh” (Matthew 19:6) and should live their lives in harmony with the Lord and with each other.  “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).  It is so important that the husband and wife be of one mind in their marriage. 

From what we have in the Bible, the Lord allows divorce in two situations.  The Lord Jesus says 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.”  Unfaithfulness in the marriage (fornication) is a scriptural cause for divorce.  We also read in 1 Corinthians 7:13-15, “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 deserts his wife, then the wife is no longer under the bondage of marriage and is free to go on with her life. 

Now, let’s read 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, “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.”  The Lord instructs the wife not to depart from her husband.  However, I believe the Lord would not have the wife live in fear of her life from the man she married.  Perhaps she must leave in order to protect herself (and possibly her children).  In that case, she is instructed to, “remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.”  If she must leave, she must not marry another man, but be open to reconciliation with her husband if he has truly repented and desires to live the life of a Christian husband. 

However, if the husband should then begin a relationship with another woman, or simply desert her with no intention of reconciling, the wife would be free to remarry, but “only in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:39). This means she should only remarry if she is certain the Lord is leading her to marry.  (CC)  (525.2)