37 - Is a bad marriage better than a good divorce?
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37. Dear Dr. Smith
Is a bad marriage better than a good divorce?

Thanks to those of you who responded to this question on Facebook. (you can read those responses immediately after my response) I promised that I would eventually give my input in the debate. Well, here it is...

I must say that I am in support of what most of you have said. Having dealt with a number of marital issues and understanding the complexity of some of them, I agree that sometimes a good divorce is better than a bad marriage. Let me try and clarify quickly. I am not advocating for divorce, however, there are some dehumanizing situations that go against the will of God, that call for a separation or possible divorce.
For example, physical abuse, anger, pornography, incest, incrassation, etc. Some of these behaviors and or their consequences, have long lasting physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual implications for the children and even the spouse. Sometimes, "if your right hand offends you, you have to cut it off." (i.e., after you have done everything possible to save the marriage, including getting pastoral and professional help)
No one has the full answer as to what is God’s will for a really bad marriage except God Himself. I therefore rest each case in His hands. By the way,
my response in not an argument for re-marriage but an argument against a very bad marriage
If you disagree with me feel free to write to me, I promise that I will respond to your disagreement.


Responses on Faccebook:


The best divorce is the one you get before marriage!

What kind of problems does a marriage have to be having to be considered "bad"? Abuse, violent rage, lack of trust, basic needs un-provided for, disregard for the basic marriage vows, constant unrelenting adulterous behavior, nightly un-provable rape? Then ANY divorce would be better than THAT. God hates divorce. It is not His ideal for man. However, neither was multiple marriages or slavery. Having compassion for the hardness of sinful men, He allowed us divorce. In the NT, a woman may leave her husband (and not lose God's favor) if she would remain unmarried.



I don’t know Doc. Why stay in a bad marriage and continue suffering?



Really????!!!! I don't Agree. It's not good for anybody, especially the children. To wake up every day unhappy And miserable can't be the better way. Divorce shouldn't be the first, second or fiftieth resort but if after outside intervention and much prayer. If this is not working then YES, a good divorce is better than a bad marriage. Or at least a separation.

I agree with xxxxx, pastor what do u say?

I strongly disagree with ur, un-happily ever after?

I do not believe that a bad marriage is better than a good divorce because, you have put out your all to make it a good marriage. Pray, fast, forgive and wait, but no change just a continuation of his offending moral behaviour. You have to decide whether to walk or stay.

Hummmmm, that's an interesting question...I definitely want to know your take on that.

I'm not marriage expert, as you know we've only been married for 3 1/2 yrs....I guess if there's kids involved and a marriage very dysfunctional parents can do more damage to their kids if they stay together without working out their issues. So in that case a bad marriage is not better than a good divorce. However, if a couple can work through their issues than a bad marriage can become a good one and never end in divorce.

Ok, ok, so what's your take?  (FB Response)

I don't think there is something like a good divorce. I think by Gods grace a bad marriage can turn around!  (FB Response)

Marriage is made in heaven, there is never a bad marriage, only a bad situation, that is the reason why we have to put God first in our lives, because there is never a good divorce.   (FB Response)

Divorce can be compared to death an eternal separation, and so can a marriage (bad) and I interpret bad in the sense that both parties are just there; no communication in fact where there once was life it's death. Conclusion both ... death. (FB Response)

Speaking as someone who has experience a bad marriage and a "good" divorce, I have to disagree with that statement. I strongly believe in the institution of marriage, but not at the risk of physical and mental health or safety of an individual. Blanket statements like this can put many women at risk of losing their lives and/or endangering their children.

In my situation I was never physically abused, however I was definitely emotionally abused. My ex husbands sexual addictions and lies were also intensifying and becoming more difficult to hide. My body was starting to crack under the pressure and financially we had nothing left and we were getting deeper and deeper in debt. On the flip side, now I am almost never sick, I will be completely debt free by the end of this summer and I have more money saved then I ever had when I was married. I am not a divorce promoter, however I don't think that blanket statements like that can work in every situation.  (FB Response)

Hmm! A bad marriage if there are children, could perpetuate trouble for the next generation. But what constitutes a bad marriage? I think a 'good' divorce could

create a cycle for the next generation also. Whichever way you take it, someone gets messed up.  (FB Response)

No marriage could be bad if entrusted with God... And we as Christians, divorce has never been an option however bad a marriage may get, save if one of the parties to the marriage involves in an adulterous affair....that’s what I think. (FB Response)

I thinks it better to have a bad marriage than a divorce as one day it may get better and not worse. Like xxxxx said, divorce is death eternal. With help, the help of God the marriage can work out. So I don't think a divorce is necessary.

Every situation is different. Going straight to God's Word will give the answer for every situation. I have seen the most ghastly marriages healed, and ones that did not appear to be in much trouble, end up in divorce. In cases of divorce among Christian husband & wife - without adultery - well the bible says no remarriage. So life alone it is...

There is no such thing as a “bad marriage”. Marriage is a gift from God. He ordained it from the beginning (Genesis 2:24), therefore if is not bad, there is only bad people in marriages. There is no such thing as a “good divorce”. God is good and anything that He is in is good also. It is written in Malachi 2:16 “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Therefore, He would not be pleased when a man or a woman takes it upon themselves to break apart something He has joined together. Marriage is good, it is an institution ordained by God. It is Holy. Do not try to make it unholy!

Wow, I like it, this is deep, what about being unequally yoked.. Would this ever class as a bad marriage or would God still expect us to make the best of our vows to Him?

What about a professed Christian trying to kill his spouse...