Covenant Marriage Blog Posts

...but what about abuse?

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Another reason for staying together is that the unbelieving spouse may yet be saved through the witness of the believing spouse. So Paul warns the Christian not to separate if they can,which may mean enduring moderate persecution by an unbelieving spouse for years,because he asks the question: “for what, have you known, O wife, whether the husband you shall save [by staying in the union]? or what, have you known, O husband, whether the wife you shall save [by staying in the union]?” So Paul’s advice is, ‘Stay in union with your unbelieving partner until they force you to go (on pain of death).’ But this departure should be seen as an enforced, and hopefully, temporary, separation. It is not permission to remarry.

Even if the unbelieving husband goes off and remarries, he is committing adultery against his Christian wife if he does so. And if the Christian wife goes off and marries another Christian man both are adulterers.

So while I might counsel someone who is in physical danger to abandon their house, I would never advise them to abandon their unbelieving spouse. I have no authority to counsel that.  Master Himself advised His persecuted ones to flee to the next city, on the principle that  are to save our lives for His service.

If a Christian woman conducts her life according the Spirit’s teaching on man’s headship of her, then it is very unlikely that her husband would hate her. It is when she refuses to recognise his headship of her that the friction occurs and she brings on herself his disapproval, and rightly so.  ---  Dr. Leslie McFall