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Fundies, Divorce and Adultery


roddma
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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."  

 

Salex I am glad you brought up how women cheating is viewed. I think in a lot of Christian circles there is the Madonna/whore complex for men. Women are not seen as fully autonomous sexual beings able to voice wants and desires in a healthy way. If a woman does cheat the response is anger towards her and the husband being told they should leave. Meanwhile when a man cheats the woman is blamed for not fulfilling her "duties" and the wife is encouraged to stay. I saw a video where one of the Duck Dynasty brothers was talking about how his sister in law had cheated on his brother and how angry he was. Interesting he doesn't appeared to have any anger towards his father who I understand has had his own infidelity problems.

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Ok...this is probably going to be unpopular...but...I think God hates divorce for what I see as ridiculous reasons. I know someone who's been married and divorced 4 times because her then-spouses "didn't make her happy". Ummm...really? 4 different men and you haven't gotten the hint yet?  Addiction, adultery, abuse, financial irresponsibility, I can see...but "not happy"? 

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For some reason, my previous post got lost. I say ditto. I don't attend CoC anymore either. My parents still go and my mother asks do I think about going back and I say nothing. They may not be as strict as Fundie but they are legalistic. I cna't imagine telling anyone to stay in a abusive relationship.

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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If God hates divorce, then he should use his divine powers to keep multiple times divorced (not sure how many) Donald Trump out of the White House.

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2 hours ago, NotALoserLikeYou said:

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

This is the scariest thing I've read in a long, long time.

I upvoted it, not because I agree with the sentiment, but because I think you've encapsulated the entire problem with one, simple sentence.  Wow.  Just, wow.  

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This might be a touch off topic, but it's something I've been considering while reading this. 

I've seen a lot of the "stay and work it out" folks cite Josh's "therapy" as the reason. ("He's been fixed!") Do you think if the Duggars had never had the show and the publicity that Josh would have received any treatment or therapy? Even after the Ashley Madison nonsense?

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12 hours ago, Jana814 said:

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. 

Doesn't she have a college degree?  I swore I heard she had a degree in education. Not that that will get her far . . . but.

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Thing about the "God hares divorce" thing (I think from the book of Micah), is that the context is actually saying that God hates treacherous divorce: a hard-hearted man in the ancient near-East could divorce his wife for any reason he wanted, any time he wanted, leaving her to return to her family disgraced if she was lucky, or fend for herself on the streets if not.

That's what God hates.

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@Columbia, you're right about the "stay and work it out" people being fixated on the fact that Josh did therapy - a lot of them will see that as obligating her to give it a try.  Otherwise, she'll become the bad guy and not the wife who was cheated on. 

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41 minutes ago, Jasmar said:

Thing about the "God hares divorce" thing (I think from the book of Micah), is that the context is actually saying that God hates treacherous divorce: a hard-hearted man in the ancient near-East could divorce his wife for any reason he wanted, any time he wanted, leaving her to return to her family disgraced if she was lucky, or fend for herself on the streets if not.

That's what God hates.

That's what I mean by divorce for shits and grins...some dumb ass reason. In many ways, I feel that divorce, at times, is TOO easy...conversely, I had biblical grounds to divorce my husband...and I chose to stay and work things out...however, that was MY decision to make...and the knowledge that I DID have those grounds to divorce him kept me sane. If I'd had small children, I would definitely have left and divorced him...but as an "empty-nester" I had more options. 

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1 hour ago, Jasmar said:

Thing about the "God hares divorce" thing (I think from the book of Micah), is that the context is actually saying that God hates treacherous divorce: a hard-hearted man in the ancient near-East could divorce his wife for any reason he wanted, any time he wanted, leaving her to return to her family disgraced if she was lucky, or fend for herself on the streets if not.

That's what God hates.

I think this is partly what Voddie cites for his permanence view of marriage. 

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OK, might as well put another dog into this fight.

I've been married to the same old guy for 37+ years.  Divorce was not a big option. (HOMICIDE, maybe, but not divorce. (grin)

Said it before, and will say it again, ad nauseam. Marriage (between whatever types of folk, and you can Pick Your Own Label), is TOTALLY not for sissies!

That sort of closeness and up-front intimacy (IMNSHO) calls for a lot of courage, of speaking out when it scares the liver and lights out of you, of saying "you made me mad, this HURT me, and here's why!"--and being prepared to talk stuff out, to fight over it, to KEEP TALKING even when it hurts or is really terrifying, because you are scared the bond will tank or because abandonment or offense to religious commitments or to 20 other reasons .

Relationships take a LOT of work and pain and joy and scariness and laughter and caring and forgiving and loving and willingness to keep on communicating....

Sleeping with another person?---bumping Naughty Bits is NOT the issue (again, IMNSHO).  It's figuring out where, and how, and with no fault to ANYONE, where there were gaps in a relationship that needed filling.  Heck. I can see a whole lot of OKAY in responsible polyamory, where there are no Dirty Little Secrets, and where everything is open and onboard---and, for SOME folk, a recognition that another beloved person may fill some needs/wants that you just can't (for any reason) fill completely.  Again, IMNSHO, I think it's a BIG stretch to expect one loving, wonderful person to fill ALL needs, especially since folks evolve over time and space.

(Have NO idea how responsible poly can be reconciled with the basic pretty-conservative Christianity in which I was raised.  Anybody with good ideas, go for it.)

Edited by samira_catlover
OK, have NO idea about how strikethroughs happened: please disregard
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I too think God hates divorce. And no wonder, if you see all the misery it causes. But I think the blame for the divorce does not go to the one filing for it, but to the one who made the divorce a neccessary evil. 

I know that I am not the one to judge people's hearts. But this I stongly suspect. If God has to judge between two people, one of whom abused his kids and one of whom filed for divorce to protect them, the latter one will go free. God will still hate that divorce, but will hold the abuser responsible for it.

The same goes for a manipulative cheater. 

Marriage does not always have to be rosy, it will be hard work sometimes and will not give 100% contentment, but it should be SAFE. If you are risking the health of your children or yourself by staying, I don't think God will judge you for leaving.

In my mind, abuse and adultary were the only two valid reasons for divorce. But recently a good friend told me she considered divorce and asked me for advice. Her husband had gone abroad to find work two years previously and left her with a sickly kid to care for and a fulltime job to hold down. All he has done in those years is making debts, which she has to pay from the money she managed to safe for the kid's education. In her country, elementary education is not free and no money means no school. No school means no perspectives and could lead to a life on the streets. Dad has never contributed to the family income and used up all she saved from many years of hard work. Should she cut him loose so her son can have a future? 

When the dad was confronted with the possibility of divorce, his only response was that God hates divorce. I told her to ignore the husband's words, since God also hates husbands abandoning their families and using up their money. She needs to protect the child.

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6 hours ago, Jezzable said:

Doesn't she have a college degree?  I swore I heard she had a degree in education. Not that that will get her far . . . but.

I remember that, too. It was something like a BA in Biblical Education. But it is probably an ATI-thing and worth nothing in the real world.

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13 hours ago, feministxtian said:

Ok...this is probably going to be unpopular...but...I think God hates divorce for what I see as ridiculous reasons. I know someone who's been married and divorced 4 times because her then-spouses "didn't make her happy". Ummm...really? 4 different men and you haven't gotten the hint yet?  Addiction, adultery, abuse, financial irresponsibility, I can see...but "not happy"? 

I don't know if He hates it, per se ... but I personally find that rather unpalatable myself. So I'll go ahead and keep you company on that bench.

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My Mom was (is, I guess!) fundie-lite. She takes the Bible literally and very very seriously. She is extremely consistent and really works hard to make sure her actions are in line with Biblical teachings.

My father was not a Christian during their 30+ year marriage. He was actually an awful person that probably had a mental disorder. She endured so much. I consider my childhood pleasant (though it had its moments) because of her tireless parenting to overcome an uninvolved, prone to rages, work-a-holic partner. 

When it was discovered that he had molested my two girls, his grandchildren, my Mom immediately kicked him out. But because of her consistency of spirit, she had to make sure her divorce would be God-approved. While I found it annoying, I respected it. My Mom is nothing if not thorough and wants to do the right thing by God and her faith. It took about 2 weeks of near obsessive reading, studying, going into original texts, praying, etc. but she did eventually determine that her divorce would be ok. It was very interesting to me because for her entire life she had scorned divorce, advocated for separation but not divorce in all cases. But when faced with a terrible situation and made to actually dive deeply into the topic she was able to see that God did not require her to live with someone who had offended her and her children and her grandchildren so grievously and that actually she had been suffering abuse for 30 years. 

I have told her she should write a book for other people like her who have felt there is no, or extremely limited, Biblical allowance for divorce. Because of her devotion to the Bible it would appeal to the fundies. There IS Biblically allowable reasons for divorce. Not because you are bored of your spouse or whatever, but absolutely in cases of abuse (of all kinds) and mistreatment. 

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Not a fundie in terms of what we snark about here regarding legalism, but a committed Christian, nonetheless, these are the things that kept me in the marriage (and reflected my state of mind at the time) after the first three, horrible affairs I found out about in less than three years of marriage:

  1. We had a small child and I didn't want my child to grow up without a father.
  2. He was in ministry and it was all he was trained for.  It was our "gravy train."
  3. We had a standard to uphold and I was afraid of what people would think if I got divorced.
  4. I was scared to admit failure.
  5. I didn't think anyone else would have me.
  6. I would be the first in the family to divorce.  Couldn't have THAT, now!
  7. Back to #3, I cared WAY too much about what people would think of me.  I would be seen as a failure.

Now that I'm on the finished side of a divorce and being older with better hindsight, I see that the above reasons were rather shallow, with the exception being, perhaps, #1. I'm very ashamed of reason #2.  As time went on, after I decided to stay in the marriage after all hell broke loose, I realized that it probably would have been better if I had divorced him after the three (simultaneous) affairs he was caught in.  Of course, even before I started dating him, the warning signs were all there.  I just chose to ignore them.

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Anna may not have support from her parents, but IIRC one of her brothers did try to reach out to her and offer his help/shelter for her if she'd leave Josh.  Sure, she may not have many marketable skills, but there's no reason she can't start an in home daycare, or offer seamstress services, or house cleaning services.  Where there's a will, there's a way.  Sadly, I don't think she has the will.  And I get it.  It's terrifying to think of starting over from scratch, not knowing how you will provide for yourself and your children.  But people do it. 

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As some have already said (and others have alluded to), adultery is a grounds for divorce, but there is no allowance for remarriage (the stuff about only women cheating being grounds for divorce is extra-Biblical, but I have no doubt that bastardization of the Bible is taught at the most misogynistic of churches.)  Essentially, someone would be allowed to leave a cheating spouse, but wouldn't be allowed to remarry (until the ex-spouses death), under a strict reading of the Bible.

So, to leave a spouse is to leave marriage, essentially forever.  When marriage has been your goal, your dream, your happiness, your security, and so on, it's hard to turn your back on ever having that again.  (And, sorry to disappoint, but not all fundie wives are disappointed in the bedroom, so women are also leaving all forms of sex and intimacy behind.) 

Hell, I'm a normal, not fundie, young(ish) widow who had an outstanding marriage.  I'm free to date and marry under all reasonable and Biblical scenarios and I literally cannot imagine a situation wherein I will get a second chance at love (and it bums me out, hard.)  Imagine being a divorced fundie, who would consider moving on with another man a full-on sin?  I can see why a lot of them don't take the adultery = divorce option. 

Edited by Closed Womb
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All this said, my mother in law should have divorced much sooner than she did.  Possibly after dropping my husband (her youngest) off at college.  Her husband lived with other women, frequently, while married to her and gave her some kind of STD, now sure which one. 

But, she had been shipped off to a variety of relatives when her parents divorced and she didn't want to be like that with her own kids. 

But not divorcing is not proof of holiness or happiness... just not getting a divorce.

 

after 45 years of marriage, she left her husband-- he accepted it because his mother had died.... and she was much happier after.  Not sure if he was/is, but I don't actually care.

His step children (which he helped raise, while living part time with their mom) are both intelligent and nice people but they are a generation younger-- same age as the nephews and nieces.

The step mother has been around for years now, and once she tried to tell me that he was treating her badly/taking her for granted.... but she was asking for sympathy from the wrong person.  I honestly don't care if he's treating her as badly as he treated my mother in law, who was a great mother in law. I'd have to have more interest in her.  I like her kids and grandkids, but care little if any for her.

 

 

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I personally think God doesn't hate divorce, but then again, I'm of a different religion. I don't have his email to ask him directly. :shrug:

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21 hours ago, feministxtian said:

Ok...this is probably going to be unpopular...but...I think God hates divorce for what I see as ridiculous reasons. I know someone who's been married and divorced 4 times because her then-spouses "didn't make her happy". Ummm...really? 4 different men and you haven't gotten the hint yet?  Addiction, adultery, abuse, financial irresponsibility, I can see...but "not happy"? 

I think "not happy" is a perfectly valid reason not to stick around. No one is going to be happy, if one party is unhappy. The institution of marriage is a different issue, because of legal issues. And those are always a nightmare.

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19 hours ago, Jasmar said:

Thing about the "God hares divorce" thing (I think from the book of Micah), is that the context is actually saying that God hates treacherous divorce: a hard-hearted man in the ancient near-East could divorce his wife for any reason he wanted, any time he wanted, leaving her to return to her family disgraced if she was lucky, or fend for herself on the streets if not.

That's what God hates.

Yep, here ya go:

Quote

“For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”
Malachi 2:16 NKJV

 

Also, God is divorced, or rather, used divorce as a metaphor for His actions regarding Israel:

Quote

The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.
Jeremiah 3:6-8 NKJV

And I like this verse:

Quote

“When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.
Deuteronomy 24:5 NKJV

Happiness!

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A slightly different spin on this, in he Catholic Church there is a difference between a legal divorce and an annulment. You can legally divorce someone and still be considered married by the church. The problem would be getting remarried. Since I eloped and got married at the courthouse the church does not recognize my marriage and an annulment would be no problem. I have been married 18 years with four kids.( Getting my marriage validated would be no big deal.)

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Not fundie, but I'm from a very Catholic background.  I am the only divorce in my very large extended family, and it is a source of shame for me, right or wrong.

4 hours ago, Grimalkin said:

A slightly different spin on this, in he Catholic Church there is a difference between a legal divorce and an annulment. You can legally divorce someone and still be considered married by the church. The problem would be getting remarried. Since I eloped and got married at the courthouse the church does not recognize my marriage and an annulment would be no problem. I have been married 18 years with four kids.( Getting my marriage validated would be no big deal.)

I don't know your situation, but when I married my ex, he was a non Catholic who had been divorced.  He would have had to get an annulment for us to marry in the Church.  As such, the Church does not consider my marriage to have been valid.  Interestingly, I was just talking about this with my boyfriend Saturday.  His wife was not baptized when they married, so their marriage was not sacramental either, until she converted late in their marriage and they had their marriage blessed.  So now, for us to marry in the Church he'd have to get an annulment.  It is so legalistic and silly.  We are not talking marriage  yet, nor am I concerned about us having a Church wedding.  I just thought it was interesting.

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