Marital Abandonment

Dr. Ab AbercrombiePensive Woman

Don had been married thirty years to the wife of his youth. Together they raised three children, built two careers, and seemed headed for late-life contentment. Suddenly Don’s wife announced, “I don’t love you. This marriage has been a mistake from the beginning. I want a divorce.”

Janice had been married 19 years when her husband left her without explanation. Within weeks, he abandoned his job, relocated, and refuses to speak to his wife and children. As a stay-at-home mother, she is without financial support and terrified for her future. Her husband has “left the grid” and refuses to respond.

Both couples profess Christ and previously demonstrated evidence of salvation and fruit within their respective homes. Regrettably these stories are far too common within God’s Church, and the Body is facing an onslaught of spousal abandonment. There is increasing need for biblical counsel on this topic and we must examine God’s Word on the matter.

As a biblical counselor I have repeatedly heard that  “abandonment” is biblical grounds for divorce. I have heard it from pastors, leaders, and individuals who have been deserted. But does Scripture support this claim. Jesus said:

“It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE ‘; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matt 5:31-32).

Jesus never wavered on this point. No other reference to an acceptable divorce appears in Scripture. And even the matter of sexual immorality is to first be addressed under the biblical themes of forgiveness, reconciliation, and obedience to the admonition that God hates divorce (Mal  2:16).

Often the victim of abandonment will have no choice. The spouse who leaves may initiate a divorce and refuse reconciliation. On this point, the rejected spouse has little recourse. Yet too frequently, the abandonment results in a prolonged separation, with the absent spouse taking no steps toward a permanent ending. What then should be our counsel?

Many times abandoned spouses are encouraged to initiate divorce, wrongly claiming biblical absolution for doing so.  Other times counselors rely on the wisdom of compassion, citing the suffering and hardship of the one left alone. And finally, counselors justify their advice to divorce with secular reasoning such as the need for financial support, personal rights, and individual protection. But counselors must be cautious in setting misplaced sympathy, legal rights, and human judgment ahead of God’s standard.

The only biblical exception noted on the issue of abandonment deals with the departure of unbelievers. If only one of the partners is a Christian, he/she must remain with the unbeliever as long as he/she wishes to stay. However, Paul wrote:

Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace (1 Cor 7:15).

Obviously this release is not given to a marriage that is equally bound together (2 Cor 6:14). In this case the admonition of Christ is clear:

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt 19:6).

God never ordains marital separation because it requires the cutting of flesh for the union to be severed. Regarding the division of marriage, Scripture states:

“For the Lord God of Israel says

That He hates divorce,

For it covers one’s garment with violence” (Mal 2:16, NKJV).

“Violence” is God’s description of divorce. It is a cutting and murderous act that the Christian must avoid at all cost. And even when one spouse is injured and vulnerable when abandoned, he/she must not advance the violence by terminating the union.

Clearly this path of endurance is hard, and even unjust. Yet our counsel must be God’s counsel…no matter the intensity of our empathy and the secular measurement of fairness. God calls the believer to go far beyond the perseverance of the world and to do the unexpected. Peter wrote:

For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly (1 Pet 2:19).

Abandonment is indeed unjust, and the suffering is great. But when our “conscience” (mind and heart) is on God, He promises “favor” (grace) in our endurance. He further encourages us to make certain we do not add to our suffering through a sinful response to mistreatment:

For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? (1 Pet 2:20a).

God always calls His children to answer sin with righteousness. In spite of our circumstance we must answer injury with stability, trust, perseverance, and faith. We are called to do the right things even when others are acting wrongly. Continuing Peter wrote:

But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God (1 Pet 2:20b).

Doing “what is right” means following God’s standard without regard to the actions of others or the uncertainty of one’s circumstance. This call is without exception and is meant for application in the most severe and extreme situations of life. When suffering injustice, believers are prompted to remember Jesus as our example:

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously…(1 Pet 2:21-23).

The grief of abandonment is great and the earthly consequence can be dire. Many times divorce cannot be avoided because the absent spouse, along with the courts, will require a legal ending. But when the option remains with the abandoned one, he/she must rally and rely upon “Him who judges righteously.” Paul wrote:

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:17-18, 21).

Kurt left Jennifer suddenly after twelve years of marriage. Kurt’s departure shocked his pastor and became the focus of much anger and discussion within the church. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact Kurt for support and reconciliation, the Church Body began to advice Jennifer to divorce for her own protection. According to her friends, she needed “economic support and legal protection” from the potential actions of her sinful husband.

But Jennifer searched the Scriptures for answers. She even hoped for some exception that would allow her to pursue some legal remedy. But repeatedly she was shown God’s disdain for divorce and His call to endurance. She committed herself to “what is right” (1 Pet 2:20) even if she suffered. She entrusted herself to God, even as the world advised her to take an alternative route.

One year passed without her husband’s return. Kurt was involved with another woman. He wanted Jennifer to initiate a divorce but she refused. For reasons unseen, Kurt never took legal action. Jennifer waited as her house was sold at a loss. She moved with her children into her parent’s home. She took a job to support herself. She continued to trust and wait.

A second year passed without change while she continued to pray for restoration. The church, stirred by her perseverance withdrew their counsel to divorce and joined her in prayerful intercession. The men of the church continued to reach out to Kurt, confronting his sin while encouraging his repentance and return to Christ.

Jennifer met every threat with meekness and grace. She remained quiet when threatened. She did not defend herself when accused. She did not slander her husband but prayed for his recovery.

In the third year Kurt returned. Broken, sorrowful, repentant, and humble, he begged forgiveness. And Jennifer extended grace, much like the grace she had received in the midst of this unjust trial.

The residue of sin is hard. Their time of recover was lengthy and riddled with emotion and pain. Yet in the end, God’s favor (1 Pet 2:20) was sufficient and their marriage was restored to the glory of God. Together Kurt and Jennifer found the promises of God to be faithful and true, seeing that even the travesty of abandonment and the defilement of immorality could not overcome God’s love and intent for the marital union.

Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed…For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong (1 Pet 3:13-14, 17).

 

 

61 thoughts on “Marital Abandonment

  1. I disagree with your arguments. Divorce is allowed for desertion and abandonment and that includes abuse. A person who calls his or herself a believer but hard-heartedly abandons or abuses their spouse cannot be a believer (1 Cor. 5:11-13) , so 1 Corinthians 7:15 applies and the believer is free to divorce without condemnation.

    Moreover, you cited an incorrect translation of Malachi 2:16 (see the ESV, the latest NIV, or the HSCB for correct translations).

    And your application of those passages in 1 Peter is unjust: those passages were for slaves and for believers who were being persecuted by pagans for their faith; they were not speaking about marriage.

    • Barbara,
      Clearly you have known many women who have been injured by the actions of sinful men. I am grateful for your love and compassion for the hurting. However your comments are dangerously incorrect:
      1. First, the article is not about the issue of abuse, but abandonment. To some degree the Scriptures noted within the article have relevance to marital abuse, but there is more to say on this difficult topic concerning safety. Therefore your reference to abuse is unrelated.
      2. Be careful in your claim that Scripture allows divorce for “desertion and abandonment.” Where is your scriptural argument to support this claim? Your blanket statement that one who abandons or abuses a spouse “cannot be a believer” is simply untrue. How are you able to judge the content of one’s heart regarding salvation based upon behavior alone? I agree, one who abandons should be challenged and examined regarding his/her relationship with Christ, but to assume every spouse who sins in this fashion is unsaved is an egregious error. Therefore your application of 1 Cor 7:15 in every case of abandonment is wrong.
      3. Regarding the passages from 1 Peter, again you are incorrect. There is a reference earlier in the chapter to slavery, and there is the encouragement to express oneself rightly in an ungodly society by submitting to “every human institution” (1 Pet 2:13). But read the entire text.
      In speaking of suffering, Peter uses Christ as our example, reminding the believer in the last verses of 1 Peter 2:
      ” For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH ; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return ; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously ; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness ; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls” (vv 21-25).
      Then take note of the first verse in 1 Peter 3, that contextually continues this discourse on suffering:
      “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior” (1 Pet 3:1-2).
      Clearly 1 Peter 2 and continuing contextually to Chapter 3, holds relevance to the wife who is suffering unjustly.
      4. Finally, your statement that my use of Mal 2:16 is incorrect is interesting. I quoted directly from the NKJV and your stand is that it is “incorrect”? Perhaps other translations are more appealing to you. Instead of saying divorce “covers one’s garment with violence” others read:
      NASB: “…covers his garment with wrong”
      ESV: “…covers his garment with injustice”
      NIV: “…and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,”
      Where is the error: violence, wrong, injustice…In any translation the Lord conveys His disdain for divorce and the harm in brings to the individuals involved. But primarily He speaks of the violence/harm/injustice toward Himself. It is His covenant that is divided through the sinful action couples take. The greatest offense is to the Lord God Almighty.
      Barbara, I pray you will continue to minister to the hurting, but godly ministry requires “truth in love” (Eph 4:15) to be effective and God-honoring. Be careful with your assumptions and bias that you, and others not be led astray.
      God bless you,
      Dr. Ab

      • Thank you very much for your article and thank you for using what the word of God says about abandonment as the final authority. I think it’s so easy to be in a hurting place and look for justification in the bible against the wrongs that are being done. But no matter how much abandonment hurts, embarasses, etcetera, The bible never said to divorce because of this. Its hard to minister to others out of a place of bitterness and familiarity or being able to relate to their pain. But, I believe its all about the testimony, not us. If God said he hates divorce, why do we try and fit it in to our lives as exceptions? I’m not a spectator, I have been living this for about 6 or 7 years. It’s really hard to forgive when you are looking at it in the natural. But, when you see offenses the way God sees, and remember his grace that saved you, it changes. We have to exercise the freewill he gave us to be obedient to his word and stop making excuses. Our lives are not our own.
        Thank you again.

        • Well said! I am going through a divorce now. My wife initiated it and has no grounds for it scriptural. It is easy to try and ease my conscience by condemning her. Which at times I have. We are called to be conformed to the Lords image. To rail against my own flesh would condemn myself as well. It is all about what gives him honor and glory. With God’s grace I will go forward,serve him, and pray that the heart of my wife would make Christ her desire.

          • If a so called “Christian” abandons their spouse they have broken their vow before God and have disregarded the instruction of the Lord and His Word. If we apply apply the principle in Matthew 18:15-17, and they ignore you, you and 1 or 2 other believers, and then the church, they are to be regarded as a heathen (unbeliever). Most churches do not practice church discipline though. My ex-wife left and ingnored my appeal, other believers, and the instruction of the Church, therefore I regard her as a deserting and unbelieving. The state I live in was more then happy to assist her in her unruly and treacherous behavior in which I was deprived of my parental rights and defrauded out of thousands and put in debt. I didn’t believe in divorce or suing another believer so I was left vulnerable. Our family court legal system is a circus and a racket, where the judges and attorneys are all in it for money. Truth and justice to the highest bidder! Things have gotten smoother and I have had some of my parental rights restored. God will restore back double for my sorrow and affliction. He will fully vindicate me and recompense the proud doer. It is the Lord who bestows honor, He will restore to me double for all my sorrow and affliction. I would have despaired unless I believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

        • The world isn’t always cut and dry. That Woman had resources not all Women do. Some of us have to carry on in another marriage if our last one our Husband left within money, no house no way to live. Sometimes God sends us another resourse to help us survive, that is he sends us another love if the last union wasn’t a holy one or one that took us away from our walk with God. 1 Cor 7:15

      • Dr. Ab,

        Thank you so much for this very encouraging article on marital-abandonment, as well as your in-depth response to the communication rebuttal related to the subject. I was abandoned in November of 2014, and I have been in emotional torment ever since. I honestly feel like my husband is running from God’s calling on his life. I say that because as soon as I decided to grow closer to God, chaos moved in with us. I lost my job, and he left me, saying he was going for a walk, but never came back.

        I was distraught, angry and afraid because to my disbelief he was leaving me with no recourse but to become homeless. He and our Pastor were close friends from way back, and I later learned that they were trading email communications, during which the Pastor was plotting to assist the devil break up our home by helping my husband to leave me, rather than to counsel him on a different way to deal with our issues. I was crushed. How could a Pastor do this? Each additional attempt I’ve made to communicate with that Pastor has resulted in a rash of rejection, which further breaks my spirit. I had quit going to church, which I’m sure made the devil very happy. I’ve spent the last year praying and asking God to forgive them and to help me forgive them.

        I’ve wished I could erase them from my heart and from my memory, but something compels me to pray for them. I know it’s God. My husband hasn’t filed for divorce. I told him that I wasn’t planning on filing because I know God hates divorce. I told him that since he left, he should file because it doesn’t make sense for us to live this way if he’s not coming back. But prior to disabling the only email address I had for communicating with him, he hatefully commented that I should stop trying to contact him and also wrote “I’m just going to leave you legally bound to me out of spite.” (Which makes no sense.)

        More than anything, I just want God to give my husband the kind of experience with Him that will change his heart and his life, so that he will want to live for the Lord. I keep interceding for him, all the while my heart is so broken. I’m up and down some days, but I’m at least back to work, and God saved me from potential homelessness. I know He has a plan. I just get so tired of wondering what to do.

        When I found your page, I was looking for a loop hole to file for divorce, as I asked God to either bring closure to this situation or reconciliation. Now I have confirmation that it’s not God’s will for me to file for divorce. It’s in His hands. I just have to trust Him.

        Thank you again for your blog. It’s really been a blessing to me.

        Dee

        • I just wanted to say your story sounds so similar to mine. I dont know quite what to tell you,I dont pretend to have the answer. Every situation is not exactly the same.
          For myself,I can only say that I keep praying God to keep my heart pure before Him. So I pray and try to search and be honest with myself,and I also try hard to pray good for my husband.
          And the Lord is blessing me abundantly so I do believe it is as I was once told- marriage is the umbrella under which we are protected once we stay under it -the covenant. Actually,the same husband would tell me this:) (I smile because I also maintain my sense of humor.It goes to helping).
          I hope you too will be blessed,continue to guard your heart and most of all,trust God. We really dont know the way:” His ways are not our ways,His thoughts are not ours( paraphrased).I guess this is where the “Serenity prayer” is most fitting!

        • I just wanted to say also,I pray for God’s blessings on everyone here. I am grateful for the article and grateful for everyone’s story. Not that I wish this on anyone,but its helpful to know that you are not going through this alone. Do you know how many times I’ve asked God,help me to understand- how does someone who claim to be a Christian,who you’ve seen praising and worshipping God,turn around and behave so despicably and hurtful to you,their partner? Yes,people get divorce,but a Christian? Especially the mean treatment before they leave? Not only does it hurt,but it can confuse you,affect your spiritual growth.
          But thank God that He is faithful,and able to make “all things work together for His glory”. I believe that’s what He’s doing with me now,as He blesses me,teaches me and reveals so much of Himself to me.
          I am so happy,and I love the Lord.
          Glory to God,and blessings to all.

      • Dr. Ab,
        Thank you for your article. Its message spoke exactly what I needed to hear exactly when I needed to hear it. I am grateful to God for providing it.

        • I too am grateful i was searching for answers and I’m glad to have found confirmation. I’m currently going through abandonment from my husband of 28 years. This has been difficult since he left without explanation. I’ve lost a friend and husband to find out later he was pursuing yet another woman. I can do no more I’ve worked diligently as a wife. I will continue my journey with God for the sake of my son and trust God will guide our path.

      • ♡♡♡ great response ♡♡♡ my husband has left the home and abandoned the children n me with out a reason but I just keep on holding on to the lords word and hand to help me .

        • God’s grace is sufficient for us Mabel. That is what the Bible says. I too went through a lot of pain and suffering when my 15-year-old daughter and I were in our home and my x husband turned the elec, the water, the phone and any other lifeline off in the home, just so he could get back into the home. He sexual touched my child and this was the worse thing a man can ever do to a child and to the wife, in my mind. God walked my daughter and I through hell on earth and back, and GOD NEVER LEFT OUR SIDE. We kept warm because we had a fireplace that was keeping us cozy. She went to school and a friends house to shower and eat and I ate at work and kept warm and fed at work until we finally sold the home for peanuts because he tried to run the car throw the home to kill us and himself. That was enough for the police to come and arrest him and put him in jail. Mabel, give all that you are going through to GOD and HE will walk you through it all with strength and courage I promise you this 🙂 <3 Maryann

      • The bible clearly states your quotes Dr. Ab. I am presently in that situation. I have prayed many prayers and drank many silent tears. However, if the God of the Universe, Jehovah Himself has stated His sole grounds for divorce, and the fact that he wishes nothing better than the separated spouses to return to each other and make up acknowledging each other and God’s commands..than it is clearly stated. God created marriage. He knows His expectatations for it, and even if we fall short of them, we can correct them through God’s council. His wonderful son Jesus Christ came to give His life for us and suffered great betrayal at the hands of man and even his own followers and deciples. Are we to expect any less? And when such times occur are we to react as worldly men or follow the example of Christ? I am suffering deeply for the abandonment of my spouse…a year this 25th on our anniversary day. It is the hardest thing in the world to bear…especially with our son. However, as the Bible states, “What is joined together, let no man put asunder.” Thank you

  2. Dr. Ab my preacher preaches the same thing. However he suggests we only use the original King James Bible as others can lead to confusion. What is your stance on this as I see you use the NKJB?

    • I agree with your pastor that we must be careful about the translation of Scripture we use. That being said, I believe the NASB to be an appropriate, word-by-word translation that is well accepted by scholars for its accuracy. Many translations are troublesome and have liberal leanings that undermine the intention of the original language. But while I find the NASB to be accurate and appropriate…you are under your pastor’s leadership. I recommend you adhere to his preference. However, he should be willing to explain his reasons for the exclusive use of the KJV. Ask him to teach you why this is important. Thank you for your comment. God bless you.

      • I’m blessed by your stories concerning the young lady who marriage was restored…..I read marriage ministry rejoice marriage ministry…and you and her blessed me with he help of Jehovah to be still wait patiently and continue to pray for my prodigal husband to return…he was the reason I believe in Jehovah today…he just left the ways of him…I’m left abandon and I believe Jehovah is gonna bringy prodigal back toe and restore our marriage….I thank u for sharing

      • Thanks you for your message of truth…now, I wanted to know if the unbeliever husband leave, based on 1 corthintian 7 15, god. Want us to live in peace,however I do not want to divorce and will never sick divorce,but my unbeliever husband want to divorce he is leaving with an other women had a child together and. Now have a second child with an other one,…
        Should I pray for him to come back? Or just leave it to god and live as I’m without getting divorce?!

  3. Thank you so much for this article!

    I was recently married in June 2012 and was abandoned by my husband in 8 months. He was the leader of our Adult Bible Fellowship and I was a brand-new Christian when we met in the class.

    There were so many red flags that I have ignored including him wanting to get married in a month after we dated and his stepping down from the fellowship group because he wanted to follow his “convictions” that were against the pastor’s and fellow leadership. He also did not give me an engagement ring when he got down on his knee to propose marriage and I paid for the wedding expenses because he was broke. He said he has been an elder at other churches out of state for years. He professed to be a Christian for almost 2 decades.

    I was so devastated to say the least because his reason for the divorce was because of my diagnosis of borderline personality disorder where I get extremely angry and in despair. I know I get enraged at times having been physically and emotionally abused in my childhood. Looking back, I was enraged in the marriage because during the marriage he was controlling, manipulative and callous.

    Our church has pursued him for unbiblical divorce (he was called a false teacher and a wolf by them) and he willl probably be excommunicated but in my heart, I am still praying for his repentance and restoration of our marriage. Thank you for sharing Jennifer’s story. It helps me to persevere in the Lord but also realizing that he may never come back to me and the Lord. God bless.

    • I am so glad to find this sight because all the other sights left a bad taste in my spiritual mouth. I was married Feb 2014 and two months later he left me for no reason we dated as teenagers and reunited after 32 years. he was my first everything and he never married until he married me and neither had I been married. I prayed before I married and felt it was the will of God, but I had lost hope because he said he made a mistake and he did not love me and I am so lost and confused now he is talking about moving back to New York in august with his ex. please keep me in your prayers as I stand and believe God for my marriage.

  4. I like the way you deal with it, straight to the point and not straying from the bible. I would looveeeeeeee to talk to you Mr Abercrombie. I have a very very difficult issue in my estranged marriage and frankly I don’t like phony pastors. You seem quite real and on par with the bible. I’m from Trinidad and Tobago. Please contact me at (1868) 382-9298 when you’re available

  5. Could it be possible that if a person who confesses Christ and later walks away from a marriage could be classed as an unbeliever. The reason I asked is because I remember reading that if a persons sins and refuses to repent the church has to class or treat the person in sin as an unbeliever. So having said this if a Christain is wrongfully abandoned by a Christian spouse would they then be classed as an unbeliever due to their unrepentant state and further more if the unbeliveing spouse leaves the victim is no longer bound. That’s my thoughts and I’m just wanting clarity as this is my situation also 🙂

    • “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” – Matthew 18:15-17

      You make a good point. This following verse came to mind after reading your comment:
      “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” – 1 Timothy 5:8

      I really love the article, but these other verses in God’s word should not be left out of the equation.

      “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” – 1 John 3:4-10

      “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” – 1 John 4:20-21

      “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

      Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” – James 2:14-26

      If a man abandons his wife he is not providing for his family, he is worse than an infidel. If he refuses to hear the church, he is to be considered a heathen. If he says he loves God but hates his wife, who is a Christian, then he is a liar. If he abandons his wife, who he has vowed to God to care for until death, how does the love of God dwell in him that would prove his faith in Christ? The Scripture is clear. The man who abandons his wife is not a Christian. As the Bible says, such a man is worse than an infidel, a heathen, a liar, and has no real faith in Christ because his works don’t prove it.

      A Christian woman, married to such a man, should pray that God will grant her husband repentance, and that is all she can do.

      “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” – 2 Timothy 2:24-26

      • I am the woman married to such a man and I do pray, I believe in the powers of the Almighty God in Heaven, the power in the healing blood of Jesus and I believe my help comes from the Holy Spirit, my Advocate – I also believe praying for my husband, the OW and all of our families is always the very best thing to do.
        I believe in the covenant of marriage and I believe all truth is God’s Truth. His Word’s are the light for this path we are on.
        New American Standard Bible
        “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 9:6)
        What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
        (Mark 10:9)
        Blessings

      • Thank you for providing the “full” counsel of God on this topic. We must be faithful as much as it depends on us but I think God has grace for those who follow Him and through no fault of their own find themselves abandoned by their spouse. My husband graduated from seminary one year ago, I went from full-time work (supporting him through school) to part-time work so that we could be in ministry together. Within the space of 4 months, we went from having what I thought was a happy marriage to him walking out and never agreeing to any sort of counseling. I have not pursued a divorce but we have agreed to legal separation. As he is no longer living with me, I don’t want to be responsible for his decisions. I’ve told him I will not ask for a divorce as I do not want to be the covenant-breaker. I perused the Mt 18 route to no avail, he has cut off all communication with any Godly people and has ceased attending church. He has not given me any indication that he has any plans for our marriage other than to end it; even though I have offered on numerous occasions to go to counseling, even after he has left the home. He will neither claim nor deny Christ. How can I judge this on anything other than his fruit? It breaks me to think this person may actually be an unbeliever but he certainly does not seem to have *any* concern for the cause of Christ.

    • I am glad to find this site,reading everyone’s story has been helpful. Now I dont feel so alone,how to explain what I feel.
      I too have a question on this. I understand all your article says,but have to admit that I am conflicted. My husband also left me,and its now going on 5 yrs.
      He was to all extent and purposes a Christian believer,more so than me. Worshipped,talked in tongues,love the Lord,it seemed.I was the lost one,knew little abt such things.Then I was baptized and started getting myself together,and suddenly he was as nasty as ever,until he left.
      I call it a case of him and unforgiveness,but sometimes I wonder,was he ever really a christian.
      Would it take someone who was a christian this long to acknowledge their mean ways?I was just reading abt the person who doesnt repent(2Peter2:20-22) and the part abt “overcome” makes me think this way. Maybe he is already overcome?
      I am not in a rush to get a divorce but I have to admit to being concerned abt certain legalities.If anything happens to him,am I still responsible,for his debts,etc?I dont know why he hasnt gotten one.He had threatened to.Someone said maybe he doesnt want to pay for it.Someone told me recently maybe he already divorced you,and you dont know( you can take out an ad in the paper?)
      Now I wonder if maybe he has; if he has other children; all sorts of things. Suddenly you wonder how many lies did this person tell you,what is truth,if they could behave like this while insisting they are a christian. I should mention that for a while he would try to talk with me as though nothing is wrong,after an incident in which he caused me to be homeless. Not a word of apology,or asking me how I managed,just talking as normal.
      It feels like you are living life in such a limbo,waiting for “I’m not sure what”.I really want to do the christian thing but sometimes I wonder if he is not some borderline psycho something that I should cut ties with completely.

      • Hi Petra,

        I so understand you as I am in the same situation. My husband studied the Bible for a while, never wanted to “commit,” to it. I found that he was much more interested in materialism than I was. He preferred it over my son and me. I am not perfect as I could have expressed love orally more to him. However, yes, after feeling at the bottom of the barrel it is hard for a wife to do so. I realize now, I should have humbled myself much more than I was willing to do by apologizing more or simply affirming him as he needed that on a constant basis. But, I did try to work with him on our marriage and ministerial counselling etc..for many months before he left me the twice in two years. He had been “talking” to a woman at work for years about our marriage. She would call and text him at all times. Another “friend” of his also counciled him on leaving our marriage. He now lives with him, and is seeing the woman at work on a daily basis. He does not communicate and when he does it is always in anger, resentment, bitterness, blaming, accusing, and negativity. Like you, I have prayed to God. I have filed a legal separation due to financial necessity as we both need to file taxes to the government, and I have no monies from him. I miss him greatly and I love him very much. I know that marriage is God’s Holy Institution. It is not a game to be played with, therefore, I will not seek divorce. However, at this point, all there is to be done is to pray to the Almighty Jehovah through his wonderful son, Christ. He is all powerful, and will work on all the broken marriages. However, even through Angelic direction as He reaches out to our prodigal spouses, if they have hardened their hearts toward Him, they will have to answer to Him and to life’s consequences on account of their choices. We cannot force them as much as our hearts ache for them. Continue to pray and ask God through His wonderful son, to intervene in your marriage and restore it helping you both to a full restoration forever. God bless you through Jesus’ name.

  6. I really love the way you deal with it. thank God for people like you. who teaches Gods standard without dilussions.
    Thanks and remain blessed.

  7. Thank you. This article is really good and the comments worth reading for I see tons of scripture used by all!!! This is a tricky subject if much scripture is used to find the answer. I think we have two concerns. #1) what is the spouse who leaves says that they are “believers”? #2) what is the Churches involvement in a situation where the believing spouse leaves?

    The comments do a great job in trying to decifer both. And I have head more than twice the call to Matt. 18:16 to bring the unrepentive spouse to the Church for correction and admonisment.

    I have used these and let me tell you my story:

    My wife left me saying “controlling and manipulative” husband. But what I have noticed is that many Christian women who have left their husbands say these two key words.

    The day she left I called her church councelor and she said she left me because of “abuse”. Mind you that I have never hit her, swore at her, called her degrogitory words or shown any sign of physical threat of violence.

    After a few months I called the Church because I thought they should know my wife felt blessed to separate from our marriage. The Pastors and leaders said they thought the counselor did The right thing for the Church believes separation is ok for “abuse”.

    So, I asked if a few of her Chrsitian friends would call her and share what the bible says about separation. They were unwilling. For many did Nit want to get involved and looked at her seperation as just a fight/flight mecinizm and not really a sin.

    After 10 months I asked again but no one replied. I then asked the Church Pastors to call her but they to were unwilling because they said they don’t reach out to people like this but says if she initiates the call they will respond. What believer is going to want to call the church while in sin? Or when they already believe that the church blessed their departure for “abuse”?

    I did have one if our old church pastors saying he was willing to have someone call (he asked the Pastor who originally refused to call her). So, I will let you know if that transpires. But only because if his initial response I don’t thing I will get much support.

    So, I have a believing wife (so called) who is still in Church without the Church or her Believing friends willing to talk to her about the “sin” of abandonment.

    I say all this because as one person noted “Church disapline” is no longer practiced in most Churches except those who make the Padtor angry by bringing in a false teaching.

    It things were handled correctly, Matt. 18:16 would be the correct procedure to take for an abandoning Christian spouse. People would be more than willing to call the brother or sister in sin and the Church Elders/Pastors would instill proper Church correction and disapline on the grounds if two or three witnesses. But, as it is, this all seems to be left and many faithful spouses suffer due to the Church’s lack if biblical response.

    Shame on us, and shame on the Church 🙁

  8. One “extremely” important fact that was overlooked in this article is “marriage counseling”. Now, the author will probably note that “marriage counseling” was not the subject of discussion.

    Well, I have only one word for you, “bravo”!

    Not that Marriage Counseling was not addressed but that it was not used as a go-to.

    The first response you will receive from your friends and the Church is “Have you gone to marriage counseling yet?” But this is unbiblical (not biblically founded) and problematic. Many times the Church pastors instead of speaking directly to the person one-on-one will suggest you seek on-going counseling in the Church with your spouse.

    But, the bible never condones the Church getting in the middle of marriage arguments and disagreements. And may infact overstep their authority. This is where the “you always” and “you never” statements seem to come out. Abandonment of the believer should be addressed as sin an not as “marriage problems”.

    Although we say that temporary separation is needed for abuse this really has no foundation in scripture and actually goes against the commands of Paul not to separate except for an agreed time for a (presumed) short duration of prayer and fasting.

    Yes, safety issues should be addressed but I am telling you, separation is not always the answer. For, if we condone where the bible is silent we create a vacuum where we have all these women separating from a believing husband because he abused his “rule” or “headship”.

    If we left our employers every-time we thought they abused their power we would all probably be jobless and homeless.

    Accidental abuse of power will happen. But we must look at what scripture says when it does. For all suffering of a wife could be classified as “abuse”.

  9. I was in midst of despair and filled with hopelesness when my husband has walked out while I was at work back in March 2104.

    Until today, we have only meet each other 4 times throughout this long distance separation as he is living in USA Tenessea and I am in Singapore.

    He had committed emotional infidelity and was exposed by Lord. Church members in Singapore has reached out and counseled us and he promised to make it right but suddenly planned ahead and pack all his belongings and took off went back to States.

    I was left high and dry with new apartment our future home in Singapore ready to move in by Oct 2015. I have supported him and paid for house downpayment and would share my last bread with him.

    For the past 4 meetings, it was me that pleaded with him for reconciliation and paid for his trip back to Singapore so I could see him. I was deported from States and so because of that he has no hesitation to abandon me unjustly and would tell me constantly he would changed his number etc so I would not be able to find him.

    I am very saddened and devasted by his crude brutal rejection. I have hang on to hope that he may have light in his heart as he is a Christian and wound missed any churches sermons. This is worth part that totally breaks me into million pieces. How could anyone has 100% attendance at church, raving about charity and outreach to the poors and have sponsered child via Christian site would have hardened his heart to me also a child of God.

    I love my husband very much and hope against hope I want to believe my marriage would be restore.

    Please pray for me and pray for wisdom in my heart that I could bravely accept reality on whatever unjust crude rejection my husband showed and shouted at me via phone and email that I will always turn to Lord for protection and peace.

    Thank you.

  10. My husband filed for divorce, and we are currently in the process of moving forward. I have nit supported it, nor have I made ut easy for him, but the “called to live in peace” part has caused me to just let whatever has to happen, happen. We have two kids, married 15 years, and he says into relgious, too prudent, that he never loved me, and hes just not happy. I am treating him as an unbeliever, becausev whey her he is saved or not, he is willfully disobeying God. He even told my pastor ‘i know what u should s o, but I’m not going to do it’. I agree with you, I have submitted to God to suffer and wait. If God is going to bring my husband to repentance, then I just need to get out of the way for that to happen. But in the meantime, my husband is committed to divorcing me, and I am left with letting it happen.

  11. I came to this site because I feel that my husband has abandoned me emotionally and physically. He is hyper critical, never wanting to talk or spend time together, we have not been intimate in a year, and only three months of the previous fifteen, and a year ago after 22 yrs of marriage he stole money/ allowed our acct to drain, opening private accts- where he has never added my name. He also bought property without me abt four mos. ago. He does deposit money into what used to be our joint acct, effectively now having me on an allowance. He asks for my receipts, yet won’t provide his. He “plays the husband card” frequently, orders me to submit. There have been weeks or longer where he slept in a diff part of the house. But for now we sleep in the same bed. We try to avoid speaking to avoid argument. We are professing believers, and I feel that I have prayed and hoped for many yrs. but the human side says … A girl’s got needs. It is so difficult to be living with someone who doesn’t love you except to provide for you financially. That alone is not a loving relationship.

  12. Thank you so much for the article. I am an abandoned husband who is a father of five. We have been married for 12 years next month and I have been abandoned for over a year and a half. I have contemplated dying, giving up etc. But Christ has put me here to serve him and to be a father to our five children. I have a great church home and is finding the courage to live and hold steadfast and wait on the Lord to brings wife back. It is hard being alone and it’s like déjà vu becaus my mother abandoned me as a child now I’m going through it again. Keep my family in prayer.

    • Praise the Lord! I have been grieving since my husband who adored me left March 2014. We had a love story but the enemy found a crack and tore us apart with his plan. He walked out on me and 30 minutes later met her at the airport so they could drive across country together. He apologized but did it all any ways, counseling and a priest did not stop him. THE DEVIL IS A LIAR! We haven’t spoken in almost a year but Praise God..He is in the restoration business..He has saved me..bound my wounds and filled me with hope and faith. Do I still grieve, yes.(much less now) Do I still have moments where I want to give up .yes but I have a wonderful church I serve in(God led me to after my husband left), I pray, I seek God, I bind and loose and I believe in His promises. Rejoiceministries.com is full of testimonies of restoration. It does exist! Do not let anyone tell you otherwise, (especially those that know nothing about abandonment )convince you that God cannot restore your marriage. Landry..5 children! God bless you. You have your own personal army to pray with!! Remember For the vision is yet for an appointed time..wait for it Habakuh 2:3–Ask God what He wants you to do!!!!

    • Hi Laundry,
      I hope by now things have gotten better for you. I understand you as I am presently in the same situation. But remember, that all marriages have problems. And if your wife has chosen to leave rather than to fix them as God has commanded, you can only pray to the Almighty Jehovah for his guidance and Angelic support in restoring your marriage. Please don’t leave God ever..as He is the creator of marriage. He who does not abide by God’s arrangement of marriage will inevitably answer to Him. Keep praying and studying God’s word. Teach it to your children. Respond if you wish. May God bless you in Christ’s name.

  13. This is just what I needed this morning. My wife is planning on moving out soon. We have 4 kids and have been married for 19 years. Nothing I do or say will change her heart or mind. She received horrible advice from our church recently. It was from a “counselor” that we have both agreed over the years has ZERO right to give advice on ANYTHING. First visit and, “I think it’s in your best interest to move out.” Are you kidding me!? I won’t go into all the details, but we are devastated beyond measure.

    I can attest to the fact that every prayer I have ever wished for has never come true – especially the one to have my wife come back to us. I haven’t lost faith in God and don’t hate him. I know he only gives us what we can handle and has a master plan for everything and everyone. But I can admit I started to not want to pray every day like I normally do and my prayers got weaker and weaker. Almost to a point where I could fold my hands and say, “Sup? Amen.” THAT is how bad I’ve gotten. I’m currently reading Grace Filled Marriage and will continue to apply God’s grace in our situation.

    For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.

    For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience?

    But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

    As God and Jesus continue to show patience and love in every situation, so will I strive to do. I pray for the strength to do so and weep at the keyboard as I continue to realize our life together is coming to an end.

    God bless you all.

  14. My husband also walked out on me two months ago saying he was “tired of trying.” When we met he seemed to be a believer but his life since shows no fruit.
    As I read through the comments, I lifted each one abandoned up to the Lord. I’m so sorry you had to go through this.
    Even though this was posted a few years ago, Thank you for writing this articled thank you for leaving it available. I have read it several times and am looking for the Lord’s leading as I walk through this storm. My life verse for the past two months is this: James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him [or her] ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally [in abundance], and upbraideth not [doesn’t scold or make me feel badly for asking for wisdom] and it shall be given him [her]. inserts mine.
    God is omnipresent, past and future. He is too big to ever be late in coming to my rescue.

  15. Dear Dr Ab,
    Yesterday I posted a comment,and after I did that,in further browsing the site,I came across the article “Language of scripture” and I have to tell you,I did some cringing(ouch). I saw that I had done exactly what you said, with the labelling!
    I can only believe that God led me here,to give me the answers I so desperately sought and clear the confusion from my mind. Along with a conversation with a fellow believer last night,I see so much more clearly- basically the ways of God and the lies of the devil.
    Her theory was that perhaps God was allowing our seperation to work on us individually and in the right time,will bring us back together again.
    As I think of that,I remember also Pharoah and how God said He was the one who had allowed Pharoah’s heart to be hardened.
    I now see with the help of your article,that I’m not really looking at things as spiritually as I should.
    First,I keep saying and telling myself that I dont feel like I love my husband,”this man”. ( To understand better,I should perhaps admit that we got married because I was pregnant. And it was an abusive relationship from the beginning) .
    But I am wrong for saying that,and being deceived. It is still a marriage,a covenant before God.As a believer,my duty is to look at things spiritually.
    One,it means I am looking for those fleshly feelings. And secondly,God isnt asking me to love him,my husband, but to be obedient to Him,Father God.Do my part(physical/ wifely duties) and leave the spiritual part ( my “needs/ feelings”,my husband’s behaviour/ lack of) to God.When I do that,then He will give me and my husband those other “emotions” or whatever else is necessary .
    But the call is to obedience with the love of Christ(1Corithians 13).
    So in truth,I too am being as disobedient as my husband,just not manifesting it as he did in walking out.
    Also,I believe that truthfully,it is also abt me seeking my own freedom- independence .That secretly there is a part of me that wants liberation from accountability in a relationship.On my own,there is no accounting or interference from doing as I please when or how I want to.If I can make up my mind abt getting a divorce,and do it,or better yet, if my husband goes ahead and files,I now have that “space” I secretly prefer. It is scary when you realize the lies you can believe,the deceptions!
    But,glory to God that He loves us not to leave us in darkness.
    I am grateful for finding this sight.I pray for you that you continue to be lead by the Holy Spirit to uphold His name.

  16. I loved your post! My husband left me four years ago after 38 years of marriage. He left for a girl Over 20 years younger then him. He professes to be a Christian and he was a deacon at our church. My question to you is , I know God is a amazing God who is merciful and gracious and gives a sinner many changes to redeem himself. But do you think after a period of time if a sinner doesn’t repent and change his ways the Lord will give up on him? Or cause his life to be difficult to get his attention? People have commented to me that the Lord will left a sinner , live in sin for a period of time, then God will do something to get his attention if he doesn’t repent. I have tried to find something regarding this in the bible but came up with nothing. Can you give me your insight on this?? Thank you

  17. I was maried in 1996 to a christian woman. Three yeas ago She told me She didn´tlove anymore amd asked to leave the house. I refused to do it since We have two daughters (14 and 11 now). Shortly after She said that to me I discovered She was chatting with a former boyfriend who lives in Miami We live in Colombia South America). Since then She first had an adulterous relationship with this man who traveled several times to our city to see her. She broke with him last year and now She is seeing a young man here in our city.

    I have remained faifthful to her. We are living in the same house because I dont see why I have to leave. She is the one who comitted adultery. I have been praying for her repetance but so far She continues living on her sinful lifestyle and openly saying She is doing her life and shows no remorse no regreat.
    It is important to say that I gew cold in my relationship with the Lord prior to what happened. All this brought me back to the Lord´s feet which I am thankful for . I continue praying for her. The elders of my church advice me to keep my position as the head of our home and pray for the Lord to clear things up focusing on her repetance but also in the urgent need of not allowing light and darkness abide together.

    I would like to hear your insight on my situation. God bless you

  18. i seriously can not hide the joy and happiness i feel inside of me right now, I have been having issues with my relationship for some time now and after i came in contact with this great man all the problems in my relationship were gone after i did what he told me to do incase you are out there having any problem with your relationship or any problem at all you can contact this great man for help through his email iyareyaresolutiontemple @gmail. com
    Thanks Prophet Iyare you are really God sent

  19. thank you for this topic … i was married since 2001 when i decided to work in abroad year 2013 my husband left me 3 yrs ago and during that time until now ill become a person with disability because i have an accident before and needed for a total knee replacement operation and he said when i return in my country he will left me…its so painful because i was not able to have work because of my situation and needed another a total knee revision operation now …. i am seeking a good advice that i think will fit my decision already on my mind and i thank for this article to enlightened me..i tried before to make a legal action for my husband because he leaving me on my situation .so many questions on my mind how can i raised my child especially on my difficult situation …. i pray to God… God is good… He provides my needs every single day of my life… trying,praying and asking God to give a forgiveness to my husband and don’t allow my husband cannot repent his sin before he left in this world … i hate his sins against me but i’m aware about his soul …I always look at my days before God give me a salvation i’m a sinner but He loves me and forgive my sins..and yet saved by His grace.I always cried and praying to God to help my husband to open his mind and have to repent on Him … God His Good I encourage all the women or men that experiencing abandonment by his husband or her wife don’t give up….readily, give a forgiveness for them remember were blessed .. and they were cursed because of what they did to us…ask more patient,strength and love from God and He will restore us …Just continue in attending church services ,hold the promises of God… and don’t forget to pray with love always… God Love Us….

  20. Perfect article to set the Christlike tone any believe should have in the face of such betrayal. I’m living through this now and I’ll spare everyone the distraction of comparing hurt and pain from our stories (I guarantee I would ‘beat’ everyone here). Our standard for responding to abandonment and immorality is set by the one we claim to follow; his life that we are folllowing (supposedly) is crystal clear. I find these recent years with all my exploring and discussion that there are 2 people in the church: those who search the scruptures to find excuse to take “reasonable offense” and stop loving their spouse (love is patient and keeps no record of wrongs suffered), and those who live in the crucible to let our God refine them in the trial of lovingly waiting for their dear and yet deceived friend (for life) return after a long journey away from home.

  21. I appreciate the scripture cited here and everyone telling their stories. However I’m still so uncertain if I should file divorce or not. My husband emotionally deserted me almost immediately after the marriage ceremony. He doesn’t talk to me unless its about money, I never know where he is unless I can smell alcohol then I know he was at the bar, which happens 2-3 times per week. Once a month he doesn’t come home, doesn’t answer his phone. He has said he has alcohol issues but doesn’t have action showing a desire to change. He is neither emotionally or physical intimate, this has been going on for 20 years. I try not to worry so much and give it to God, I trust His plan is much better than mine, but I wonder if He would rather I leave because not only are these issues decades old with no action showing a repentant heart but my husband will on occasion, once a month, try to involve me in serving the devil; whether it be excessive alcohol use, worshiping money and stealing from others to make more. I don’t think my husband will ever file for divorce because he likes to have someone at home doing right with our kids while he is out serving the devil. Any scriptural certainty will be greatly appreciated.

    Praying for Gods direction

  22. Dr. Ab,

    What are your feelings in regard to legal separation? I am currently going through this process, my wife filled and I agreed to her petition, but at what length would the Lord require me to wait this out? She walked away from church counseling and, at this point, have no idea if she claims to be a believer. In my mind, legal separation is no different than divorce, it has all the same parameters except being legally married.

    • Separation is a dangerous step and often is simply a prelude to divorce. Recognize that God’s ideal. Paul wrote: “But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband” (1 Cor 7:10). God’s standard is that the couple remains together. However if sin brings you to separate, then steps should be taken to restore the marriage and take the division no further. Paul continues: (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife (1 Cor 7:11).

  23. I am very grateful for this commentary. My Christian husband abandoned me and his 2 daughters 6 years ago. I came home and he was packed up and gone. We eventually lost our house. My husband has been living with another woman since leaving. She actually bought a house 9 minutes from where l live. This is a man who did a 3 year discipleship program and went to men’s Bible study. We clearly were not in the best place when he left but we made vows to God. I have been told by many, many people to take care of myself and get a divorce which is not scriptural. I actually did 3 counseling sessions over a year ago with my husband. He told the counselor he was filing and didn’t file. God spoke a promise that he would restore my marriage and l stand on it. But even without the promise, God’s word is clear. He hates divorce. This is a very embarrassing and humbling place. If you focus on yourself, you will get discouraged. My brother told me my daughters want me to get a divorce and l told him that l am exalting God’s word above everything and everybody. The holidays are really hard 6 years later and my heart was feeling heavy and God led me here. I am encouraged even when my heart is heavy because God is glorified in ways we can’t imagine and may never fully know. For everyone standing, let us keep our hand in God’s hand and pray for one another without ceasing! God’s grace is sufficient!

  24. I just want to say thank you for this article. I was looking for spiritual as well as scriptural answers. I am at a turning point in my faith after being abandoned by my husband. He too has cut off all contact. I am going to meditate on this scriptural advice and I do believe it is a confirmation of what God has told me to do. Please Pray for myself and my husband and our family.

  25. In reference to the first comment by Barbara. Her argument is that it is ok to divorce someone who abandoned you because their sin of abandonment must mean they are an unbeliever. First, we have to also consider that before someone is removed from the church, there must be a process. Consider Matthew 18:15-17. I think this applies also to a marriage. Secondly, the Bible never says that as a Christian you are free to initiate divorce from your spouse because he/she is a unbeliever. The Bible does not call believers not participate in calling the shots to end a marriage with an unbeliever, and any efforts to terminate the union are conditional upon the unbelievers’s choice to do so… Not the believer; and if the non believer chooses to do so, then the believer is to allow him to leave. 1 Corinthians 7

  26. Thanks for the precious article. My “Christian” wife left after 2 years of marriage. She’s been gone for 6 months and has cut communication. I’ve been labeled abusive after she stepped on my boundaries and ignored my needs throughout. My sacrifices weren’t enough to work to take our blended family to the next level. Not long after meeting her, I made the mistake of fornicating with her, so I married in haste witin 5 months, in part because of the guilt. There is a stupid tax to pay when you don’t get to know the hidden heart of a person. People are either growing away from the Lord or growing faith. Marriage is acceleratant to this process. You can’t serve two masters. The spouse who walks may indeed be a Christian albeit with significant faith, attachment, trauma, and/or selfishness issues, which can quickly be assesed in dating, if you’re walking in the Spirit daily. Oh, how I wish I’d stayed in the fellowship with God, obeyed God and listened to my father about my marriage decision. There are some incredible lessons in the suffering and there should be a book on this topic, especially if an onslaught of Christians are leaving spouses and not divorcing. The long suffering required demands that the Christian body act. There is great news in all of our suffering. Romans 8:28 applies right now. The critical juncture is if and when you decide not to label the spouse who left as an “unbeliever.” Her/our pastor said I had no Biblical grounds for divorce. His confrontation of her was what appeared to be mild at best, but some confrontation/inquiry was better than none at all–and may turn out to be just what God had in mind. I received abundant clarity from a pastor from the marriage crisis phone line at Focus on the Family. Christian believers “runaway” rather than abandon marriages. As with the prodigal son, he ranaway but did not severe. Only adultery (or death) can severe a marriage or give a Christian permission to move on. Undoubtedly, I am in the potter’s furnace. Having the right perspective is key. The suffering alone and feelings of persecution and victimization are real. Sin is being done. The bible is inundated with stories of suffering and calls to wait for God’s redemption. Joseph suffered at the hands of family. The prodigal’s father suffered too. Abraham had to offer up his son. God had to suffer by offering up his son. Each account of surrendering and trusting God blossomed into a beautiful flower beyond all imagination. Our suffering is a call to faith and our faith will please Him. It is a call to be streched way more than we imagined. It is a call to out God first, so He’ll receive worship and prause. Remind yourself, this is only for a season. I believe God will use the time to tug at the other person’s heart. If they are saved, chastisement is very real. Reaping and sowing are very real. Don’t dispair. Consider the lillies. His eye is on the sparrow. He wants to feed His children with great relationships. God will not leave you desolate. He will give you a way of escape if your runaway spouse does not embrace the call to repent and return. Resign from the roll of the Holy Spirit. Let Him convict. Fight this battle on your knees and with supporters. Call prayer lines and post on websites if you are all alone. You and I cannot lose if we hold to our most precious faith. May the peace of God fill your hearts and minds. In Christ’s name, amen.

  27. In searching for answers and direction from God did the holy spirit lead me to this article. Dr. Ab thank you for allowing the holy spirit to use you for a moment such as this. I will continue to trust God even though it hurts so much being abandoned and watching my daughter suffer because her father no longer sees her or speak to her. Please pray for me as I pray for reconciliation.

    • Today I’m reminded of God’s perfect timing. I was also lead to this article in search of confirmation. I believe we serve a good loving God, and everything we experience serves a purpose. Abandonment hurts. It’s cruel. It’s devastating. It’s unimaginable. Unlike a death, there’s no closure. After three years of waiting, praying, studying, researching, and hoping I’ve realized my relationship with God has grown stronger as a result of my husband’s decision to leave me, and his step-daughter. My marriage is in Gods hands. He’s in control, not me. Divorce isn’t an option, nor a solution. This article confirms it. In the meantime, while I wait to hear from my husband, I’m leaning on God for courage, strength, wisdom, direction, and affirmation. God wants me to want and need Him as much as I want my husband. I believe God is working with my husband too. My self worth and value is restored because of my faith, and trust in God’s word. He loves us. I continue to pray for myself, for you, and our spouses, believing in God’s Will to be done in our marriages.

  28. My wife separated from me four months ago. I have been seeking reconciliation with her, this after being accompanied by Counselor for 6 months. Even so, she did not want to stay. She left me with two young children. I get confused between continuing to wait for God to restore us or to have to go ahead and ask for a divorce. I only think of divorce when I am downcast, sad and angry to see her so reluctant to stay separate. But I would like God give me the strength to expect a miracle (Luke 18: 1-6). There was no adultery, but there was pornography. I made her confession of regret. Her reaction was to new accusation against me. What could you advise me?

    Thanks for article!

  29. Please pray for me as I stand for my marriage. My husband has left me. He hasn’t contacted me. I’ve been encouraged by family, friends and the church to let my husband “go” & to protect myself legally by filing for divorce.
    I feel anxious and depressed and know that Satan wants our marriage to fail.
    Pray for my husband’s heart to be humbled. Pray for me to be strong while I wait. Please pray that I will feel the Holy Spirits love and guidance as I wait for my husband to return to the Lord and to our marriage.

  30. All i can say is God has led me here tonight. Am a kenyan lady. my husband abandoned me with a six day old baby and went to live with another woman. a secretary in their office. we had a holy wedding ten years ago. today the baby he abandoned at day six is three years.

    being abandoned is painful, sad, i sometimes contemplate suicude. Our first born daughter cries all the time missing the daddy.

    am surprised this abandonment thing happens across the globe. but i also that God for his sufficient grace in my life and the life of my two babies. I WILL WAIT UNTIL GOD BRINGS HIM BACK TO ME. WE SAID TILL DEATH DO US PART. I WILL KEEP THAT COVENENT. Thank you all for sharing your encouraging stories

  31. My wife and I have separate for the past 7 months now, she blamed me for everything going wrong, her family disowned her for 7 years for being with me because of the colour of my skin, we had issues in our marriage, we were referred to Christian counselling by our Pastor, I overheard her in a conversation with her older sister (who she recently has been reunited with) badmouthing me and saying racist and stereotypical things about me. I confronted her about them she refused to even admit that it was her sister on the phone that she was speaking to, she intiated the separation saying the arguments are stressing her out she’s going to live with her father. she said that she would attend counselling in the new year instead she just begun stonewalling me ignoring phone calls blocking me from social media and saying our marriage is over and she wants a divorce. I messaged her sent her flowers, birthday cards, attended private counselling and trying to fix things, wrote a letter, she gave it all to the police, claiming I’m harassing and following her (I ran into her twice in 4 months) I had to attend the police station to be told to stay away from her and accept that the marriage is over. Its been 7 months now, she continues to bad mouth me via social media and I haven’t received any divorce papers yet, what is she waiting for? What should I do? I need some biblical direction too, I used porn as a replacement because things dried up in that department for a while we had both became overweight , work during the week was tiring us out, she’d always sleep early, I’m a night Owl, I tried really hard to stop it, I didn’t want it to happen in our marriage , so right up to our wedding night , I abstained, but no intercourse on our beautiful wedding night in Jamaica pushed me over the edge caused me to use it once again, I deeply regretted falling back into it, so a year later when I finally admitted to her that I’d used it and wanted to stop using it and that I used it when she didn’t want to or I was frustrated, she blamed me for all our problems, she mocked me for it and didn’t want to help me with support stopping. I connected the Internet and all my devices using covenant eyes that’s how badly I wanted to stop.
    she refused counselling or support from the Pastor of our church (she had told him I’d been used it, he would of advised her that it’s biblical grounds for divorce) she became hostile over a very trivial squabble with my youngest sibling over 6 months ago , stopped attending family gatherings Christmas, birthdays, etc. every argument we had she would bring up my sibling and compare me to her, she sat in church with us all in front of the pastor said she didn’t want to continue the fued with my sister and they’d meet up and move past it, after we left church she didn’t want to, but began to seek counsel from a racist sister who only seeked forgiveness and became a shoulder for her to cry on a bad mouth me to. When we separated she told me to tell my sibling thanks for wrecking our marriage!I’ve made poor choices in our marriage too, I’ve recently learned from her social media pictures she’s with someone new, older and the colour her family would accept, I still haven’t received any divorce papers yet, I’ve prayed continually but I’m unsure of what action I should take now!

  32. Thank you for this article.

    I’ve been praying for guidance and the Lords wisdom. In the end, I lean on the side of this article and it’s scriptural backings as true. I knew this is where Jesus was leading me and reading your article and reading the scriptures it is still clear, I must not abandon my wife but endure and faithe through. (Faithe: verb). I use faith as an action word “faithe” through.

    If my wife initiates and leaves and abandones and divorces, I will continue to pray for her salvation.

    Amen!!!

  33. My husband was violent with me. It started soon after we got married. I never told anyone just cried silent tears. After 23 years my son told the pastor. Husband still denies it. Pastor said he doesn’t know who to believe. Now that I am stronger and talking about it, he decided to leave. He then filed for divorce and got his divorce last month. I didn’t ask for alimony even though I was a stay at home mother for 20 years. I don’t know if this is abandonment or not. I don’t know if this is biblical or not. the pastor said I need to put my hope in God that ex will change. I said he will never change.

    • I am sorry for your suffering…This article is not about abuse, which is a separate biblical issue. When physical abuse occurs within the Body, the Church has an obligation to intervene with the abuser, calling him/her to repentance and the seeking of help. Matthew 18 provides our template for Church intervention when sin of this type has overtaken an individual and family. Your pastor should have confronted the abusive sin and provided support and refuge for you and your children until the home environment became safe. Too often, the church has failed to address the abuser and to protect the abused. Your husband’s departure is abandonment…however he left in avoidance of truth. His divorce of you is unbiblical; a truth for which he is accountable. I do not know your husband’s spiritual status, but given the repetitive and long-term nature of his abusive activity, i would be concerned that he does not have a saving relationship with Christ. If that is the case, 1 Corinthians 7:15 states: “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.”

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