I struggled with the decision of divorce…so much so, that it nearly killed me MANY times. Toward the end of my marriage, I met with a Catholic priest at my church to ask AGAIN for Divine guidance about my abusive marriage. The answer?
“My dear,” the Priest said. “Pray harder and go and love your husband. Reassure him that you are there for only him.”
I swallowed hard. Maybe he wasn’t hearing me? “Father, he berates and physically batters me. What do I do about this?”
I was answered with, “Just listen to and anticipate his needs. You said he was a hard worker. Maybe encourage him to cut back on his hours. He is frustrated and lashing out. Go back to your husband with love and support.”
“Father,” I challenged. “Have you ever been married?”
“No, I haven’t.”
I left that meeting more discouraged and annoyed than I had come in. His advice would surely get me killed, and I was hearing no more “marriage” advice by someone who had never experienced the delicate dance of such a union. I decided I was working toward divorce. I knew the Lord gave to me the intelligence to get myself and my children to safety. I started formulating an escape plan, that I didn’t know I soon wouldn’t even need. My abuser would attack me three months later in a massive altercation that led to his arrest and our parting, also making the news (insert *eye roll* here).
Later, after the general shock of our parting and the emergency protective order actions lessened, I talked to the same priest.
“Father, I am in the process of getting a divorce. What do I need to do to make it right with the church?”
“Were you married in the Church?” he asked.
“No,” I answered. “We were married at a Justice of the Peace’s chapel.” My then-husband wasn’t Catholic and had no intention of becoming such, despite promising my parents he would.
“Then, it was not sanctioned within the “Eyes of God.” There is nothing you need do except dissolve the legal portion of it.”
I was pretty sure the Lord was in attendance to that marriage! I paused to catch my breath, “So, because we were not married in the Catholic Church, I’m an adulterer?” My heart started to race with anxiety.
He chuckled. “No, my dear, just a fornicator.”
Wait, what??? I cleared my throat, “And my children? Are they considered ‘bastards???” Now I was truly alarmed.
Again, he chuckled. “No, the Catholic Church doesn’t see things that way anymore. God made them whole beings, as they were meant to happen.”
I sighed. Good answer, but I had to know: “So, I should probably go through the Annulment of Marriage rites anyway, shouldn’t I, Father?”
“You can, but I think that would be extraneous and time wasting. Your ability to take Communion is still intact. It would honestly be a year and a half of time wasted.”
I left THAT meeting relieved to a degree, but also slightly annoyed. He was a nice enough man, but treated my questions as if they were merely a funny anecdote. It was a bit of a travesty, but it was still MY life! I honestly haven’t been back to church since that day. I choose to pray and reflect, in my own relationship with the Lord! I did my own research on the matter at hand.
So the real question is this: Does God hate divorce? Yes, He does, as illustrated by this Biblical passage:
For I hate divorce, says the LORD the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.– Malachi 2:16
So, the way I read this, is YES, He does hate divorce, BUT He hates violence also! Whoa, mind-blowing moment!!!
Here are yet other illustrations that he hates VIOLENCE MORE THAN DIVORCE. I tell you, this is thought provoking and life changing! I found over 100 references to God being against domestic abuse/violence, in the Bible. Here are just a few that sick with me:
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the ones who love violence.– Psalm 11:5
But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.– 1 Corinthians 7:15
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.– 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment.– Psalm 73:6
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?– 2 Corinthians 6:14
I do not regret my marriage. I gave my all. I believe God brought us together for me to try to change and soften him, which unfortunately did not work. The Lord shaped my character by giving me the character to decide to leave, after learning SO many valuable things about my strength and resolve. I also know He did not want me to be in any more danger and pain, so he has absolved me. I know this to be true because of the blessings and success He consistently provides me. I am at peace with this finally! Amen!