Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Call it Divorce or Separation - Just Save your Life

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This issue has cropped up again, and it totally tears me up when I hear of women who lose their lives unnecessarily. Let us consider this scenario. An unfaithful husband asks the wife to grant him a divorce cos he now loves another and wishes to be able to remarry after they're separated. Being a Christian woman, she refuses and remains in the same house with him as they begin counselling. The man, unwilling to lose his job or his lover, fakes therapy, and then plans and kills the wife.

The scenario above is a real story and it shocked me that off the back of it, some people are still quoting God hates divorce, and marriage is for life/till death. I agree that God hates divorce, but the second is up in the air. Now there are some people that are vexed when I question biblical basis for practical living. This may be the time to stop reading.

For those still reading, back to the story which you can read in full on Gbemisoke's blog, not only did the husband kill his wife, he killed their two sons too. Without mincing words, he is a monster and is deservedly in jail. I do not want to blame the woman because her heart was probably in the right place, but maybe if she had left, her life and those of her sons would have been saved. Also, maybe the devil would have found no foothold in the mind of the adulterous man to make him a murderer too.

I say the woman's heart is in the right place because a lot of us for various good reasons do not want to see our marriages end. There are the children to consider, and in some cases, you may still love the man and want to save him from himself, for instance if he is being unfaithful to you, or losing his faith in God. But there are other more selfish reasons people do not want to consider divorce. There is pride and wanting to save face among friends, or simply wanting to continue benefiting from the perks of legal marriage.

Some of these people when they're Christians hide behind the marriage-is-for-life dogma. I personally believe that this doctrine of 'indissolubility of legal marriage' is a human construct that uses a literal bible to coerce people. Jesus said he came to teach us, not the letter of the law, but the spirit.

The "NO DIVORCE" rule has its roots in the Roman Catholic history while the church was still closely tied to the state and soliciting for mass membership. With the decree, a rich heiress is kept tied to her husband (sometimes the pope/king) while he is free to commit adultery. Also, poor women were assured that if married in the church, their husbands would not be able to divorce them.

Before I expound on my own understanding of divorce within a Christian context, read more heart-rending stories.
A Senior Pastor of United Evangelical Church, Rev. Sunday Alfa has murdered his wife,a mother of 4 for refusing him sex.The wife,Mrs. Rose Alfa was murdered in the Mission House at about 3am in Igojo, Ubali Village near Okene in Kogi State.

We learnt that before the woman gave up the ghost,she had confessed to a Policeman,who was taking her to the hospital that she did no wrong to her pastor husband and that the man came in the night in the room she was sleeping to demand for sex, but she refused because she gave birth to her last baby in October last year through cesarean section and the doctor asked her to abstain from sex for some time.

We gathered that the woman had divorced the pastor and went to Benin City to live with her brother,Mr. Alex Abah.

Four years later,the pastor went to meet the wife relations to beg for forgiveness and pleaded with them to allow his wife come back to him because he had been promoted to Senior Pastor and it was compulsory for him to bring back his wife before they could effect the promotion.
The wife’s relations agreed and allowed her to go back to the husband.

It was during his stay with the wife that the pastor eventually murdered her over sex. Source
This second tale is one we're more familiar with, it also ended in death. Titi Arowolo was allegedly killed in their home by an abusive husband. She left behind a motherless baby who will be an orphan if the husband is convicted to death.
During her testimony yesterday March 20th, Adetoun Oyakhire, Late Titi Arolowo's stepmum, told a Lago High Ccourt that Titi's alleged killer, her own husband, Akolade Arowolo, once chased Titi out of their home with a knife. She said:

Shortly after their wedding, there was a quarrel between them and Akolade pursued her out of the house with a knife. Titilayo was still breast-feeding at the time and her daughter was just three months old. Akolade snatched the baby and took her to his parents’ house at Ejigbo. Titilayo ran to our house that day and told us everything. Titi also told us on another occasion that Akolade had threatened to throw her off the penthouse and her dad told her to report the case to a police station but she never did.

She told her father that she was tired of the marriage and was going to file for a divorce. She stayed with us and when her father was leaving for Kano, he told her not to go back to her husband’s house. But Akolade came back saying he was a changed man and the deceased eventually moved back to his house in April (2011). Source

Now, the favorite quote of "no-divorce" proponents is God Hates Divorce. I agree, but He also hates adultery, and many other sins that yet exist within most Churches. In fact, one of the 10 commandments says, Thou shall not commit adultery. This I think is the reason Jesus agreed with the adultery clause in Jewish marriage laws that allows divorce.

I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." Matt. 19:9
If I may go further, in the bible, our relationship with God was often likened to marriage. Yet God gave us freewill, the knowledge of good and evil, AND SIN. And when we use that will the wrong way, and are unfaithful to Him, we are divorced. Lets look at the OT. (Jer.3: 8 and 14).

I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.
God Himself, said He divorced Isreal. And this is not just separation or allowing them to leave, he gave them a certificate. However, if you do not consider this enough of a rationale then consider 1 Cor 7:10-11. What the above underlined tells me is that the teaching to avoid divorce is not set in stone.

To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

The truth is that when we vow till death do us part, we also vow to be faithful, love and cherish. A lot of abusive spouses and Christians who insists an abused person must remain in a false marriage, seem to forget this. They encourage victims, who are mostly women, to be matyrs for Christ but forget that Jesus has already died that we may be saved.

Imagine that the victim stays in such a marriage till she dies at the hand of her husband. She may go straight to heaven for sticking to her vows, but the man is condemned to hell. How Christian is that?

Some 'no-divorce' proponents say that in marriage, the couple becomes one flesh and you can no longer tear apart what is one flesh. But Jesus said in the sermon on the mount (Matt 5) about adultery,

29If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
This shows how much the Lord hates adultery. In this analogy, Jesus justifies it as a reason for one to "tear off what is one flesh". He calls it by name when He goes on to allow it as a condition for divorce in v32.

In my marrige, I would forgive like a good Christian if there is repentance. But will I blindly bear abuse, physical or emotional,  for years? Especially when it has become an everyday affair? I will quote Paul in Romans 6:1,

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Finally, I want it to be clear that my stand does not mean I take marriage or divorce lightly. I consider divorce just one option out of many for healing a troubled marriage, and depending on the sanity of the couple, should be the very last option.

Below is what I would do personally, or what I will say to someone I know, Christain or not, in an abusive marriage. I define abusive as where violence, infidelity or emotional trauma is a regular, daily or weekly occurence and not just a one-off event.

Your life is precious - to you, to your loved ones, and to God. Please leave or ask your spouse to leave the home. Seek therapy and support for a period of time. If the abusive party genuinely repents, shown by consistent changed behavior and accepting regular counselling, forgive them and return to the marriage. 

If they do not repent, or revert to abusive behavior, do not wait around, they are like the original unbeliever, and have left the marriage in spirit by breaking the core vows. 1Cor 7:15 says a Christian is not bound in such cases. Seek legal divorce with a clear conscience, and live your life to the full afterwards.


  1. This topic has deservedly been the issue on most bloggers mind for some time now. I agree with your views Myne, in fact this can not only be said of marriages, but to all kinds of relationships we get into. My fear now is that these incidences will serve either of these two purposes:
    Either discourage people from getting married completely or enlighten them on looking carefully and intently before they leap. I pray it is the latter.

  2. I think the key is in your fourth to the last paragraph i.e. not taking marriage/divorce lightly. We must understand that a standard needs to be set by the church. The moment the church gives a go ahead for couples to divorce (for whatever reason), it will trigger a mass rate of divorce as witnessed in developed countries. Ild like to focus more on a side we have overlooked which is the fact that there is physical abuse up to even plain first degree murder going on in homes in Nigeria and little is being done about it. Isn't this the reason why some people are taking advantage of it? If police/govt were more up to their responsibilities, would we be talking about this issue today?

    On the biblical issue on divorce, I think the bible is plain on this. Don't divorce unless in adultery/unfaithfulness has taken place. And even when you do, you cannot remarry. When two people go to the alter and 'swear' by the bible to be together 'till death do us part', they are making a vow to each other in the presence of witnesses and God. If one does not trust the wife/husband he/she is about getting married to, then don't go and make that vow. Choose wisely.

    Having said the above, I totally understand that the victim's life is important. I will advocate temporary separation, counselling and whatever needs to be done to make the marriage work. If they still want to go ahead and divorce, that's their decision.

  3. Umm, i agree with you Myne, the bible is to be read by the spirit not by the letter, so sad, i wonder if the no divorce people would say that if the women involved where there own sisters, i doubt it , its just dogma really, God help us!

  4. Okay, this is a really clear analysis you have done. Thumbs up, myne. Actually, I don't talk or comment on these issues, but I have zero tolerance for domestic violence. I have never witnessed it with my physical eyes and pray never to witness it.

    Well done..

  5. Really, a detailed analysis......

    Hmmmn, this divorce issue . I know God don't like divorce but He don't like the death/abuse of the spouse either. I advocate for always trying to make a marriage work BUT biko, if one's life is being threatened, its time to GET OUT!!! I would say separate and see if it can be worked on.....from a safe distance. BUT, what happens if the person isn't willing to change or in this case pretends to change only to finish what he already started?

    Someone once said that the question anyone about to get married should answer is, 'if this marriage doesn't work out, and I separate, am I willing to be single for the rest of my days?' The biblical injunction is to remain unmarried upon separation i.e. as a christian, you can only marry one person n if it doesn't work out, you have to remain single.

    I shared the story of a young lady in her 20s on my blog last month, she divorced after 4 years of an abusive marriage and I ask: Does it mean this lady will remain single for the remaining perhaps 60+ years of her life on earth?

    I really need answers to this questions!

    1. Hi Omoregee,

      The young lady in her 20s who divorced after 4 years of an abusive marriage is really a dicey situation. I read a book written by a popular pastor (of blessed memory, a couple of years ago that seems to address this situation somewhat.

      He quoted some scriptures to drive home the point, that is someone is not pleased to live with the other party, he/she is free to go.
      "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace" - 1 Corinthians 7:13. A guy/lady that is not pleased to live with you is in quote "unbelieving" and can then leave, somone that can plan to murder you is definitely unbelieving.

      I have been married for 7 years, had major issues with my wifebut never considered leaving. Even if i have had a crush or two on someone else, i just can't consider leaving my wife. When the other person gets to the level of scheming to leave, the the person ain't pleased to live with the other party & should be left alone.

      Not advocating for loseness in marriage but there are some things one can't just fix. Try to make it work, but know this, that the grace of GOD is available even for the divorced.

      I Corinthians 7
      27Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

      28But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

      29But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

      30And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

      31And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

    2. @Omoregee, I know a story similar to that. In fact I found the lady on Blogsville. Her name is Bucky, she is a devoted christian, loving mother of three and a graceful wife.

      She has been divorced before infact it was a very bitter experience for her, and during her five years of marriage with her ex husband she couldn't conceive. She went through alot, divorce was in the picture, went away. During the four years before she met her now Husband, she walked with God and he walked with her and washed her clean.

      She is now happily married to a man that treats like the QUEEN she is and has three gorgeous children(still counting lol).

      My point: divorce does not mean DENIAL.

      God always has the final say, bible or no bible GOD can rewrite a story of anyone. It is about trusting and believing. Some people get it wrong from the get go and the marriage is wrong all together. (that happened in my family). Prayer or no prayer (if its the wrong spouse, it is the wrong spouse).

      And No it does not mean the lady is single forever (well except if she wants that and she is happy and content that way). She should trust God, get through the healing process and begin to rebuild her life again. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. God as some might fail to know (he is not a respecter of any man, he is a merciful God and he is a God of many chances). I call him, God that changes things but never changes. God of PLENTY CHANCES. SOOOO.her hope is not lost, if anything I rejoice with her. THANK GOD.

    3. What's the link to her blog? Heard many good things about this lady.

  6. Hmm... we pray to God that we never find ourselves in such a situation so that we never have to make a decision that compromises our faith.

    Regardless when push comes to shove, doesn't the Bible excuse divorce in the case of infidelity?

  7. I so agree with being alive...an old proverb we know says He who fights and runs away will live to fight another day!
    I also want to say this, in the first instance with the pastor, the family of the deceased got it all wrong. He came back to call his wife because of "his position in church" not necessarily because he missed her, loved her or wanted her back. Its such a big shame that we value our "societal" and "religious" stance more than the life of a person. Its heart breaking to know that her relatives didn't ask the right questions as to why he should take her back.
    We really ought to realize that this life we are living has NO SPARE!!! once we are gone, that's the end!!!
    Fancy chasing someone with a knife and the person still stays in the home..That's madness!!! (my opinion)

  8. WOW!Myne, you hit the nail right on the head, it is really sad the way a lot of women are "dying" emotionally and most of them having to die in the most cruel and unnecessary manner if they had lived with the title of this post. "Call it Divorce or Separation - Just Save your Life" I like!

  9. i tend to agree with ur detailed analysis..

    like someone commented on Gbemi's post..yes God hates divorce but he loves people....

    being divorced is not a ticket to hell...sure you'll have to live with the consequences on earth but eternity is the ultimate.

    God forbid bad thing but divorce over death ni o

  10. Well well check you OUT. PASTOR, EVANGELIST, PROPHETESS, DEACONESS MYNE WHITMAN. Opening the bible passages and going in depth into marriage. AS IN... GBONO FELI FELI...(devil has nothing on u jor).

    I like the analysis and use of biblical references broken into different parts. THANK YOU.

    I believe women should or men in such situation should use wisdom and wisdom means GET OUT NOW.

    I have nothing to say other than, mehnnnnnnnnn i sheee a different light to u ohh...

    bows out..lol.

  11. I agree with you Mynne in totality. Abusive relationship is something one need to run away from without looking back. I'm a bit apprehensive of the issue of 'if he has changed', how do you determine that? Akolade came back 'changed' and he killed Titilayo, that pastor came back 'changed' and he killed his nursing wife because of sex. My own 2 cents, run, run and run............... I will share this on my blog as I'm passionate about dealing with domestic abuse/violence.

  12. Very SAD! Yes God hate divorce, He also hates murder, wife beating and a cheating husband. Trust me, God loves a smart/intelligent wife/sister who love her life.

    Myne, good to be back here again.

  13. This topic is very sensitive and funny there was a day I made a video about this topic, was thinking of posting it online via my blog, but I changed my mind. I get angry when I hear that women are mistreated by men or killed. Like I get real angry, I know am that type of woman who stands for women in many things. I rather be not married, happy and singe than to be with a man who beats me. No woman in this world, on earth, in the next life to come should be with a man who mistreats her, doesn't respect her, beats her, pls pls pls.

    Even God will ask "we women" that it is okay to leave such a marriage than to die for the sake of LOVE. I tell you, this topic is something that I take serious.


    Thanks for sharing, I hope a lot of more women would become educated and know that it is alright to leave an abusive marriage. Shikena!

  14. In-depth piece. But is divorce really the answer? Because even in countries where divorce is as easy as abc, there is still a high rate of murder amongst spouses. I think the prophecy about men being lovers of their own selves in the last days is being fulfilled. May God help us choose our spouses, wisely.

    And yes, if a woman is already in an abusive relationship, pick up your kaya, and zoom off! Even if you don't give him a divorce, the Bible says it's okay to be separated from him!


  15. I can only speak from my own experience. Marriage is a truly sacred thing. But if one half of the marriage has checked out and placed a DOA tag on the marriage...then it's over.


    No divorce is commendable. Salvaging one's sanity and life are necessities.

  16. On a lighter note....Claps.

  17. I wonder if we are looking at this from just one angle? What if God is the one shaking all these marriages and not the devil as we are quick to point to?
    What if the problem is that people are now worshipping 'Marriage' as their God and not the Lord Most High? What if people have built an altar to 'Marriage';

    What if that's the problem? That we have lifted the institution and not the Institutor so high, that it has blocked our view from seeing the very One who created it and what He wants from it.

    We are looking at how 'God hates divorce' and 'it's a Western culture' and 'devil is attacking marriages' but what if it is people who have elevated marriage to such a height that it has now begun to displease God and so He has decided to shake things up so that that which is not rooted in Him will not stand?

    There is No way, absolutely No way, God will condone violence and abuse over being 'divorced'...is He a God that delights in wickedness?

    What of those who are married to someone that God didn't 'send' them to? When the shaking comes, you think you would remain together because 'God hates divorce'? When God shakes, He shakes everything...let's not be deceived. The fact that you've taken vows in church will not stop God's shaking from upending everything that is not rooted in Him...everything.

    Perhaps, this is another way to look at what's happening...think about the times when you did something outside God's will for you...did it last? How did you feel? Did you still have that 'peace-that-passeth-all-understanding?'

    What happens when you try to hold on to something that you know deep down inside that God is not a part of?

    God will be Sovereign and if you choose to serve Him with all your heart, then you must surrender all to Him...you must inquire first then act and not act and expect Him to bless it. If you believe that God hates divorce then make sure you know without any shadow of a doubt that He (and not the church service) joined you to that person because if He did not...forget it...it's not standing and if you force it...then get ready for a life where God has been relegated to the background or done away with completely.

    Marriage is honourable but it is only a part of the Plan..

  18. Myne thanks for sharing this is great. Both storied are tragic but I don't think the divorce came from the Catholics I believe the Catholics are one of the few denominations that stick to many of the strict teachings of the Bible especially the old testaments. Even still I have yet to meet a priest that will learn of abuse and encourage a couple to stay at least not in the us but in Nigeria yes but not because of the church but because of traditions. Many believe that for the sake of the children you should stay and bare the burden or the abuse because the children will one day get older and wipe the tears from your eyes. As for me that is too much pressure on a child and a risk. The church teaches to be. Careful and to take your time is selecting a life partner and where there are surprises I.e. things you did not know before you married it is encouraged to try and see if it can be worked out but in the case it doesn't then there are grounds to Leave. Many of these laws were written to protect the women when men were getting new wives left and right and the woman maltreated and sometimes chased away they become old hags with no one to marry them no one to care for them.....a world were women depended on men but we r in a different era and I think most people are on the same page except some old folks back home (ex my mother in law)if marriage causesyou too much pain walk away!

  19. Thank you so much Myne. You analysis is so on point.
    I'll go ahead and point folks in the direction of this piece.

    What stuck me the most about the story was that it happened here and not in Nigeria. I always thought that it was a Nigerian thing, women staying even though they were hurting. Now I know better.

    1. Thanks Gbemisoke, I think it happens everywhere. Some men are just wicked, but women have to be wise o.

  20. I actually like our analysis on this one Myne. You explained your points step by step and were not quick to castigate the bible like your last post on Matured singles.

  21. I used to be one of the "stay put and pray" people but no more. Like someone already said, God hates divorce but knowing God he hates wife beating and murder more. Now, I am not saying divorce the man. If your life or mind is at risk, divorce the space! Only the living experience change o!

  22. Even my eyes couldn't be speechless on this subject as individually discussed by Myne and variuos commenters. I used to hate divorce. I still do -
    with an improved understanding - I hate divorce now because God hates it. Before my proper knowledge of divorce from the Creator's supreme point of view, I was eagerly opposed to divorce as a result of my cultural adherence without in-depth vetting of my traditional beliefs - yet often I felt I should beat up a fellow man when he was aggressive to his spouse, shouting at her, or worse raising his hand on her. A decade after (I'm now nearing my mid 20's), however, I encourage divorce for people even before going into marriage. Why? As a counsellor, I hate double standard and one-sidedness as exhibited by most people irrespective of their religious standing and education, so I give people, especially Christians, the option of divorce as a contingency plan or exit strategy. But also seriously, I encourage them to try to poke the postule and see the pus oozing out - in other words watch well, improve your self-knowledge and pursue your relationship or friendship in line with God's Word. My hate for domestic violence is much greater. Go into the union the right way, with the right partner and for the right reasons, and if you must divorce your once sweetheart follow the appropriate precepts of your belief system or religion. You safety matters. Your wellbeing and progress are even vital. Your life is invaluable for you and your loved ones, including your offspring.

  23. I agree with almost everything that has been written on the post, the other thing I want to add is this, when women are in such abusive relationships, they keep schtum and there are no consequences for their so called abusers, I've heard women make such comments as "it'll be a disgrace on me if people know", what disgrace? what have you done?, you've not done anything wrong, he has, so if a man puts his hand on you, you tell on him, you tell his family, yours, his friends, his co-workers and if you're in a country where you can, you put his backside in jail! In this life, if we can get away with many things with no consequences, we will, so you don't let men like this get away with their behaviour, in my experience, most men who behave this way are cowards and they usually want to keep a good image outside, by women telling on them could be a great deterrent. I pray that God will give women in these situations the courage to do what is right, you don't want a stranger bringing your children up, so do whatever it takes to get out of such situations.

  24. Nice read and i want to say thanks for this post.


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