When Does Bible Say Divorce is Right?
First off, I am not going to preach about does Bible say divorce is evil. I think God gave us divorce for a reason, if you are with a Narcissist, you have good in your soul and he/she is feeding off you. Also, while I don’t believe every word of the Bible is to be followed (because, bacon!) as far as living a good life full of love, there is a lot great information there. I do believe in God, I believe He loves me and you immeasurably, I also believe there is evil in the world, and that’s how we ended up where we are. So when does Bible say divorce is right? Let me share some backstory:
A Good Christian Girl~ How a Narcissist Snared Me
I grew up in the church. And in a very conservative homeschooling community. Let’s just say, because there were only two kids in our family, my mom and I wore pants, and we didn’t make our own bread, we were super modern and didn’t quite fit in. Even still, a lot of the attitudes wore off on me as a kid. Namely, I never considered divorce as an option. After all, God HATES divorce, right?
I always thought if two people were married, they would be committed 100% to each other. So they would work through stuff and they would be fine! That’s what I saw my parents do, that’s what happened I the books I read, That’s how I thought it worked, as soon as understanding was reached between partners, they could move on and be stronger.
I spent the first five years or so of my marriage trying to do that and always being frustrated and in pain, but still believing if he only understood HOW he was hurting me, surely he would change! I was judging him to react as I would react, and could not understand how he couldn’t/wouldn’t.
The pain of that eventually led me to the knowledge that he was emotionally abusive, and then to the knowledge that he is a Narcissist and there is actually no hope for him. Even so, I tried to make things better, livable, because I was pregnant with my youngest when I finally figured it out and I just COULD NOT handle what I had discovered.
Even as things kept getting worse. I found that believing the man I had married, the man I had known for a decade, was so empty and horrible inside, was almost impossible to comprehend. It was something that has taken me YEARS to accept, as I am more and more able to see beyond his mask.
When I Left
I left him in 2015. I finally exploded about all the things he was doing, gave him the proof I had, and watched as he took my car keys and refused to let me leave the house, as he called my parents to “prove to them what a liar I was” (side-note, this action is pretty much the most insane thing he has done to my knowledge, my parents would NEVER take his word over mine and didn’t even like him for the first five years we were together. Needless to say, they like him even less now). I have never in my life seen such contempt on a person’s face as the contempt on his when he told me what a liar I was.
Hoovered Back In
After I left him, he decided he couldn’t live without me, and started going to church three days a week, he got baptized (in front of the whole church), he agreed to counseling, and anger management. He begged for forgiveness and eventually, I believed him. We got back together two months later.
I really thought he had changed, and he did actually. The only thing is, no matter how many times you dip down in the water, a tiger cannot change his stripes. He may change some of his behaviors, but at his core he is still the horrible person he has always been. He isn’t raging his never ending criticisms anymore, he just says them and then gives me the silent treatment if I don’t agree. I guess that’s better, but not by much.
Do We Have Biblical Justification for Leaving a Narcissist?
My point is: does Bible say divorce is justified under these conditions? Does Bible say divorce is acceptable from a person like this? Abuse is widely accepted as an acceptable reason to seek divorce, but is it only physical abuse? Or does emotional, verbal, financial, covert abuse included? Do we need to seek permission from the church to leave our spouse (as some other bloggers have maintained)? Does this fall under the umbrella of being unequally yoked or should we as wives be attempting to win over our unbelieving husbands by our good deeds?
Save Them By Our Example?
Let’s address that last point first, as I think its most relevant here. My story is a perfect example. He has been “saved” or so he says, but the abuse has not stopped. I will say that most of his abuse he probably doesn’t even see as abusive, since his family behaves the same way and he thinks nothing should ever change, ever. That does not excuse his actions, merely explains them. However, he does not exhibit any of the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22 The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control) so I highly doubt he has actually accepted God into his life.
When does Bible say divorce is acceptable? When you are unequally yoked, as in, you have faith (or empathy or morals or compassion for others) and he does not?
2 Cor 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers, for what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
Yes, I think this falls under this heading, even if he claimed to be a christian before you were married. It wasn’t the truth. I don’t feel this is actually something we can condemn ourselves for however, the action of marrying a Narcissist. Very few people go into a narcissistic marriage knowing what they’re doing. Usually they present a much better version of themselves to get you to the alter/level of commitment where its super hard to leave.
I still feel I was tricked into marriage, a bait and switch, where he was one man before we were married and another IMMEDIATELY after. So in all honesty, the man I chose to marry left me a long time ago (and abandonment is another biblical tenant for divorce).
Do We Need Permission From The Church?
Also, I don’t think we need permission from anyone to leave our partner. No one knows what we deal with and I feel having to “justify” our actions is re-victimization. If we feel unsafe, if we feel abused, and we know their behavior is abusive, and then they refuse to change (or say they will and don’t), then we should feel totally justified in leaving.
They have voided the marriage vows to love and honor, over and over and over again, why should we be held to a different standard? You have the right to protect yourself and do whatever you can to protect your children as well. No other person has the right to tell you you cannot do that, and no other person has the authority to give you permission either. You have to take back your authority from the narcissist and give yourself your freedom.
When does Bible say Divorce is Okay?
Going back to does bible say divorce is acceptable though, this verse spoke to me and convinced me that my marriage is NOT the best, and that God will bless (and has) my efforts to remove myself from it.
2 Timothy 2:22-24 & 3:6
22.Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23.Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24.And the Lords servant must not be quarrelsome, but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2.People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3.without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4.treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure, not lovers of God- 5.having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 6.They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women.
Sounds like a Narcissist, right?
I don’t know about you guys, but that last verse about worming his way into my home and taking control really felt like my story. And as much as I hate to admit it, I was gullible, first because I was only 17, second because I really wanted to believe there was a miracle. Both times he fooled me.
So does Bible say divorce is acceptable from a Narcissist? I definitely think so. I believe they are some of the few whose hearts are so hard they will never find God, as much as that pains me to say. The same reasons a Narc does not really improve in therapy are the same reasons God is not able to change their heart, it requires humility and the willingness to self reflect, and a narcissist will never be able to do that.
Facing Religious Oppression
I am not your pastor, have never gone to Bible school. But I do know religious oppression of women by men is super common and I expect to face that in spades when time comes to leave him again. I am not planning on staying at my church, I’m not planning on justifying my choices to them either. God knows my story and what I deal with daily.
Some of us though, may not be as “rebellious” as I have been raised 😉 and maybe you need some ammunition when suddenly you’re faced with folks who would judge you for “abandoning” your husband. You hold this to your heart and know you’re making the right choice. And you can answer their question about does Bible say divorce is ok, confidently.
Narcissistic Eroding of Your Self
A Narcissist will change you, they will drag you down to their level and stomp you into the mud until that’s all you can see. They will thwart whatever purpose you have been put here to fulfill, because in their mind your only purpose is to serve them. With a Narcissist in your home, peace will not live there. You will be tired and depressed and barely holding on for the rest of your days. Now tell me, does this sound like the abundant life God wants for us? Does this sound like a life we can make a difference in the world living?
Allowing Evil to Thrive
No, sadly I am coming to realize that by staying with a Narcissist, we are actually enabling evil to thrive in the world. Yes, we do it for good reason, and yes, maybe we can’t leave just yet. But let’s be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that the longer we allow a Narcissist to call the shots in our lives, the longer we miss out on living our purpose.
It might hurt, in fact, it’s almost a guarantee. It’s going to be really really hard emotionally no matter how much you prepare. But you know what would be worse? I never know what kind of life you could have had because you were too afraid of the pain to try. I’m scared too, no lie. But I am determined, he is not my whole story and I WILL close this chapter soon.