In Summary
  • First, it is a marriage between a man and woman, as stated in the Bible.
  • God expected each spouse to embrace the idea of being their ‘brother’s keeper’, however, with sin and self-centred living, we cared more for self that others.

Hello Kitoto,

I know the church frowns on divorce, but what if you are in an abusive marriage? My husband of six years frequently beats me even in front of our young children. He has promised me numerous times that he will not do it again but he keeps breaking this promise. Tell me, would you rather I died in this marriage or walk away from this loveless marriage and keep my life?

Hi there,

I may not be able to speak for other religions or churches since this issue of divorce and remarriage has been on the discussion table for a long time.

However, let me start by stating the foundation upon which a Christian marriage is built. First, it is a marriage between a man and woman, as stated in the Bible. Most religions and cultures seem to believe that too. Secondly, it is meant to be a long-term love commitment where spouses practise the element of love.

These elements include, endurance, perseverance, selflessness, treating your spouse better than yourself, patience, empathy, and many more.

Being the creator of marriage, God expected each spouse to embrace the idea of being their ‘brother’s keeper’, however, with sin and self-centred living, we cared more for self that others.

The purpose of marriage was to show the likeness of God on this earthly life by practising true care and nurturing godliness. With self-centeredness came marrying for selfish reasons. This is when marriage started its downhill journey towards separation or divorce. Did God intend this to be the case? No.

WEDDING

Several years ago, I attended a wedding in Nairobi. It was an elegant wedding. The gentleman had been an acquaintance of mine for years.

It was a joyous time, but as soon as the wedding was over, the abuse began, both verbal and physical. After a month together, the woman had to leave.

She was so emotionally wounded and distraught, that she decided never to get married again. Her trust for men has never been recovered.

After 20 years of staying single, she decided to adopt a child but vowed to never remarry.

If it is not abuse, it ends up being adultery and unfaithful practices that kill trust in a marriage. Some marriages have ended day one while others have endured for the sake of the children and extended family. Many spouses, particularly women, have suffered greatly at the hands of cruel husbands.

Others have lost their lives and even those of their children due to such abuses. Neither the word of God nor the laws of the land tolerate such abuse. Abuse of any kind must be confronted and stopped. The question you ask is being asked by many women, and men — should abuse be tolerated for the sake of keeping a marriage?

ABUSE

Many men these days are being abused by their wives too. In addition, many church ministers’ marriages endure silent abuse to which they must stand and say no to.

I have met many pastors (men and women) in abusive marriages. I have talked to some Bishops facing the same dilemma, so, really, if we are to be honest, we are talking about a problem that has become a cancer in our society, affecting all regardless of race or religion.

Many marriages have ended badly, and yet this was not intended to be so. God created marriage to be the institution that practised love at its very best.

Here are my thoughts on this subject

Confront abusive behaviour of whatever kind firmly, don’t hide it:

The Bible teaches about speaking the truth in love. What you should avoid is to use language and tone that could trigger further violence. Those who capture and confront abuse in its early stages have a high chance of giving their relationship the help it needs. Hiding or assuming that you have the power to manage and change the abuser is both naive and ill-informed. Many people hide such abusive behaviour due to cultural reasons, controlling behaviour from the abuser, or fear of appearing as a failure.

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