A Question For Christians: Should Battered Wives Leave Their Husbands?
Posted by Job on November 21, 2009
I would like to hear a scriptural response on this topic. It can also be expanded to include wives whose husbands are abusing their children. I wish for it to cover two areas.
1. Remaining with the abusive husband versus separation.
2. Permanent separation versus temporary conditional separation.
3. Separation versus seeking a legal divorce.
Of course, according to scripture a wife is free to divorce a husband who sexually abuses his children according to the specific explicit statement of Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:9 (“fornication” in the King James Version should instead be translated as “sexual immorality). I would also assert that a woman is free to divorce a husband who rapes her according to the same specific statement. However, I am unaware of a specific explicit statement on the matter of divorce in the case of physical violence. I would like for anyone who can make a sound Biblical case on the matter that divorce is acceptable for wives who are being physically abused to make it.
I also have the opinion that separation is a completely different matter from divorce, and that a husband or wife can separate if there is a compelling reason (i.e. not being done capriciously or as a manipulation tactic), and that abuse of any sort towards a spouse or child is obviously a compelling reason, as is (for example) addiction to drugs or alcohol.
This is a very difficult topic, so I would like to hear Biblical opinions on the issue. Thank you.