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roddma

Fundies, Divorce and Adultery

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roddma

Why do Fundies ignore where the Bible says divorce is allowable in cases of adultery? I get a little ill at FB comments telling Anna she is brave to stay blah blah I point it is acceptable for her to leave according to the Bible. Her sister divorced.

Edited by OnceUponATime
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FundieFarmer

A lot of people still stay and work through it and are held up as examples. So, that's partially why.

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Gimme a Free RV

Because somewhere in the Old Testament (and remember, legalistic fundies LOVE the OT) one of the minor prophets, I believe, says God hates divorce.

Personally, I'm thankful for the Biblical clause for divorce in the case of adultery.  I didn't want to spend my remaining years on earth tied to a wandering-eyed spouse with an over-inflated sense of pride and the ability to tell lies that even HE convinced himself were true.

Anna has the perfect Biblical "out" and I wish she'd consider it.  The road ahead, I fear, is going to be miserable for her.

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molecule

Many will point out that while it is acceptable ("a biblical divorce") to leave a spouse who cheats, it isn't a requirement.

For women in fundamental groups, it might be easier to place hope in a husband changing than it is in the alternative--leaving to be a single parent with no employable skills and a lifelong belief that kids should be raised by their mothers. It probably seems like there are two choices: one that is hard and likely to stay hard for years and contradicts values, and one that is hard but might get better and is consistent with values. If I were Anna, I would probably stay, too--at least this time.

 

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Gimme a Free RV

When I decided to divorce, the only one of my Christian friends out of the entire Christian community I know who was strongly opposed to the idea of me filing for divorce was, not surprisingly, a Gothard afficionado.

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Depressed
polecat

Fundies are "allowed" to divorce in cases of adultery, but they also get some kind of special brownie points for staying (the wives do, anyway). Speaking quite carefully -- one wife I know had a husband in a quite precarious situation who was found not just committing adultery but committing a criminal act of "adultery," and she, ever the faithful wife, stuck by his side throughout his prison term and was waiting for him still a faithful wife when he was released and was held up to us as an example as model wifehood. I found the whole situation repulsive (and more than a little sad).

As for Anna, I understand why she stays. She doesn't have much of a support system at home in her parents and certainly not in her in-laws or wider church community, she doesn't have many if any marketable skills and she has multiple little ones who are dependent on her. She's in a tough spot. With time, she could be better positioned to leave. Or, maybe there will be a miracle of some kind and Josh will change (or she'll find freedom some other way).

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roddma

JOsh change? Not entirely impossible, but I think she has a better chance at gettign struck by lightening.

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desertvixen

I can see why Anna stays - for one, I think she really does love him, but also it's hard to be a single mom who might or might not get support from your family when you have four small ones.  Hell, I'm a single mom with one older kid, two college degrees, a job with good benefits, and it's still no walk in the park.  I can't blame her for being scared and for wanting to stay in the situation she knows.

Agree with @polecat on the special brownie points - and not just for fundies.  My best friend was married to a guy who cheated (long-term affair with someone he knew before they met) and she initially stayed because she a)felt she had few resources because he was a controlling jerk and b)didn't want her kids to be in a broken family like her own.  She definitely got brownie points from his family (essentially, all three of the brothers had cheated on their wives, and probably the dad had as well) but finally left him because he cheated again (with the same woman) and because she realized she hated the person she had turned into being married to him.

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StepMonsterInLA

My ex cheated with a "friend" of ours and I was devestated to need to file for divorce to protect myself. 14 years since, another lovely marriage 2 babies and almost 20 years of perspective...I am incredibly HAPPY to be free of them. Except for the shared child. But they deserve one another. I had one little kid and the thought of embarking upon life as a single mom was terrifying. The unknown was so scary. Anna with many little kids and no education!  Paralyzingly. 

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Jingerbread

The women are allowed to leave only because the law says so.  If fundies approved of women filing for divorce over adultery, that would empower women and make it harder to mentally eat them into submission and having their vaginas ready 24/7 for when the man wants to park his car, or hide the snake, or however what's-his-name so eloquently put it.

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Jezzable

Some pastors preach the permanency of marriage:  Voddie Baucham is one.  He has a podcast on the subject. 

Quote

GfBC holds to the permanence view of marriage. According to the permanence view, there are no biblical grounds for divorce under any circumstance (and thus, no remarriage after divorce). In this sermon from Matthew 5:31-32, Dr. Baucham gives a Biblical defense of that position and explains the differences between the three predominate views held by evangelical churches today.

 

John Piper is another pastor who teaches this view:  

Here's one of quite a few negative reviews on Amazon about the dangers of this book:
 

Quote

This book wreaked havoc on my abuse-filled marriage. Because of this book and other pieces by John Piper, I was compelled to stay in a miserable marriage for years before I decided that God did consider our "marriage" a picture of the Gospel. How could it be if one person doesn't know God and wants to abuse his family? This book damages . . . left my relationship with Christ hanging by a thread. Thankful that God is greater than Piper . . .

 

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roddma

I grew up Church of Christ which allows 'scriptural' divorce, which also says you can leave an unbeliever. The parties can't remarry unless they are widow/er and 'only in the Lord'. If they marry before the other spouse dies, they commit adultery. I find the remarriage belief comparable to church of England's belief in divorce and remarriage. Here's one explanation
http://venicechurchofchrist.org/voice/mdrterminology/

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RosyDaisy

Former CoC here. I actually asked a preacher if it was ok to divorce on grounds of abuse. He said no. I said that's one of many reasons I will never attend a CoC again.

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missegeno
For women in fundamental groups, it might be easier to place hope in a husband changing than it is in the alternative

For anyone in their first romantic relationship, it's easy to hope that you can change your partner. it usually takes some learning and a few failed relationships to actually grasp the limits of what you can expect to change. Unfortunately, fundies get locked in before they can learn a damn thing.

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Wine time!
ophelia

I think a lot of wives are blamed for the fact that their husband cheated on them. And since they are the ones to blame for not fulfilling their spouses needs they are in no position to leave the husband and instead have to make things "right" again. Additionally they have zero skills to get a life of their own. Fundie women and girls are taught they need the headship of a man and that they are in no way capable of living alone, yet raising several (little) kids.

 

My hope for Anna is, that she won't get pregnant again (wishful thinking, I know) and will leave Josh once the kiddos are older. Maybe she is already planning her escape and working on building a support network. But then I think although she is deeply hurt, she actually loves Josh and their lifestyle. She knows nothing else.

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Jana814

Anna is in a very hard situation.  4 kids has no skills and married to a jerk. I agree with an above poster who said she wouldn't have support from her family. 

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kettlingur

I think it might also be like... Maybe not a cultural thing, but a thing that fundies identify around. Like, it's a reason they hold themselves up as 'better' against the rest of the world, their marriages are stronger and can weather anything cause they're god-approved, so it becomes like a culture in which you can't get divorced cause that would weaken the ideology that convinces them of their superiority. So that means that women like Anna who are taught to submit and who have no skills or ideas about the outside world other than that it is evil and scary have all the pressure of disappointing their entire community piled on top of all those other reasons to stay. Plus being that 'patient' and 'forgiving' is more pious, and more confirmation of your right to go to heaven, maybe...

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NotALoserLikeYou

If you leave it means you don't trust God to fix your situation. 

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SolomonFundy

I have a fundy-lite friend. Let's call her "Amy". Amy's first and only boyfriend was a guy we can call "Dan". Dan and Amy met while attending a tiny Christian high school in a rural community. (How tiny? My ex attended this school and was in a graduating class of 4.) Dan was 17 and Amy was 14 when they met. They married at 18 and 21, respectively, and had their first child when Amy was 19.

5 children later, Dan had numerous affairs, was emotionally manipulative and verbally abusive, and Amy was struggling financially. Dan moved out of their house, quit his job, and spent their savings on girlfriends and vacations while she remained at home with 5 children and fielded calls from their creditors. When the money ran out, Dan came back (nowhere else to stay), and she accepted him with open arms. After that reconciliation, she ended up with a scorching combination of STDs, one of which is ongoing and will require treatment for the rest of her life. Dan moved out again for a while, during which time she reached out to me and we talked. She was absolutely miserable, had considered suicide several times, and was convinced that it was all her fault. Knowing her background, I hesitated to suggest initiating a divorce simply because I was afraid it would scare her off of talking to me, and I was deeply concerned that she would further isolate herself. However, after some time passed, the subject was broached. She was violently against it because "I don't want to teach my daughters to disrespect men." When I asked if she would accept a divorce if Dan initiated it, she said "absolutely... If he wants a divorce, I'll know it's the right thing for us to do."

Amy and Dan finally did divorce, to the relief of all concerned. However, she is filled with enormous shame that she couldn't keep her marriage "pure" and together. Her life is more stable these days (and she is genuinely happier), but she can't relate her current life to anything she was taught as a child. She says she feels like an alien. Many of the members of their former church will not speak to her or invite her children to group events because of the association. One woman told her during the last separation that Amy's kids were now "bastards" since she had "chased her husband away".

 

All of this is to say that I don't put a lot of blame on fundy women who feel compelled to stay in crappy  marriages. My friend has a much broader scope of reference in the world than many of these women do, and she was still basically paralyzed when the situation was thrust upon her. 

 

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samira_catlover

OOOOOKay, minority opinion here. and you can take/leave it as you will.  [Raised Missouri Synod Lutheran (US), and divorce was totally the Atomic Choice over here in the 1960s/1970s. (YMMV.)]

In my own personal shockingly unconventional opinion---I don't think the Blessed Eternal is thrilled about divorce--but accepts it sadly as something that might happen, and perhaps the least awful of a lot of bad choices.

Given a choice between a relationship continuing on in hatred and distrust, and a basic separation in sorrow---I think the Dear Eternal weeps for all the children, but says "let there be peace, and healing".

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Chocolatedefrauded

Marriage is a crapshoot in the best of times. You can marry the person who is perfect for you on paper & it still doesn't work. Even if you know each other very well before marriage, things can be different after the vows. You can want to stay married but if the other person doesn't, there is nothing you can do about it. Some people act horribly just to get their spouse to leave, because they don't want to be the one to cause the breakup. Marriage can bring out a person's best or worse. It will be interesting to see how long Anna & Smugs do last.

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Enraged
feministxtian

A friend of mine got sucked into the uber-fundie lifestyle. Her husband was TOTALLY into the submission thing, treated her like shit and kept her pregnant as much as possible. Turns out he was also a drug addict on the down-low. He was physically abusive to her and the kids, wouldn't hold down a regular job and claimed he was studying for "the ministry". 

Well...CPS ended up getting involved. She didn't want to leave him...she didn't have "biblical grounds" (adultery) to divorce him so she chose to stay and "endure". Finally, I had a LONG talk with her, going over the passages in the bible that talk about marriage. THANK GOD she finally gathered up the strength to leave him (let's hear it for the biblical studies degree!), and is healthy and happy now. 

However, that brainwashing is VERY hard to get through...it took me probably 6 months of talking to her almost daily. I was the only friend she'd talk to about this because we didn't really run in the same social circles. 

For Anna, it's going to take someone willing to slowly wear down her brainwashing and defenses, using the bible and repeatedly pointing things out to her to give her something to start chewing on and turn off the brainwashing. 

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Khan

The cherry picking of which parts of the Bible they wish to follow is a mess. The headship is oh so important but apparently isn't considered a responsible adult if his wife is blamed for his infidelities. I hope that Anna is working on building herself some support and marketable skills outside of being exploited by her family. 

 

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salex
22 hours ago, Gimme a Free RV said:

Because somewhere in the Old Testament (and remember, legalistic fundies LOVE the OT) one of the minor prophets, I believe, says God hates divorce.

Personally, I'm thankful for the Biblical clause for divorce in the case of adultery.  I didn't want to spend my remaining years on earth tied to a wandering-eyed spouse with an over-inflated sense of pride and the ability to tell lies that even HE convinced himself were true.

Anna has the perfect Biblical "out" and I wish she'd consider it.  The road ahead, I fear, is going to be miserable for her.

Many christians believe that the adultery clause only applies if the woman commits adultery, including a fundie inlaw who told his mother that, despite numerous affairs his father had over the years, she could never remarry if she divorced him. She ignored his advice in this regard)  Now, when is daughter divorced her loser husband for cheating on her, he was eager for her to remarry (so he'd be less likely to have to help pay her way) 

Not to mention the ones who say "Well, if the woman a married man is sleeping with is not married, he can just view her as a concubine or additional wife."  

 

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molecule
44 minutes ago, samira_catlover said:

In my own personal shockingly unconventional opinion---I don't think the Blessed Eternal is thrilled about divorce--but accepts it sadly as something that might happen, and perhaps the least awful of a lot of bad choices.

Given a choice between a relationship continuing on in hatred and distrust, and a basic separation in sorrow---I think the Dear Eternal weeps for all the children, but says "let there be peace, and healing".

I agree. So many assume that "God hates divorce" means that God is telling us we aren't allowed to divorce. Maybe "God hates divorce" means that God hates how much divorce hurts people. Legalism vs. love.

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