Why We’re Going to See a Divorce Surge in the Church–and More!

by | Jan 7, 2022 | Abuse, Uncategorized | 38 comments

A divorce surge in evangelical churches is coming
Merchandise is Here!

When it comes to marriage and the church, I believe the ground is shifting beneath our feet right now.

As I’v been sharing all week as we look back on 2021, things are changing quickly. God is shaking things, and people are starting to understand God’s heart for people–that it is about bringing the kingdom of God on earth, not about following legalism. And that means that God wants people whole, and healthy, and able to love, not trapped somewhere where they are hurt.

This month on the blog we’re going to be looking at how to put “Christ” back in Christian marriage. How do we settle on what Christian marriage is, and how can we make sure that we’re actually pursuing Him in it?

On Fridays I’ve begun to share what was big on my social media channels this week, and I thought I’d start with something I said on Instagram about divorce: 

Could we see a surge in divorces in conservative evangelical spaces?

I think so, and I explain why in this Instagram reel:

Or, you can always check out the Twitter thread where I explain my reasoning!

Basically, if we look historically, between 1970 and 1980 the divorce rate surged, before starting to fall, and continuing to slowly fall even until today. We’re almost back at 1960s levels.

What happened? No fault divorce came in across the United States.

Before that, divorce was difficult and expensive to attain. You often had to “prove” that someone had broken vows or done something that in effect ended the marriage. So a lot of people were in miserable marriages but couldn’t get out. There was huge pent-up demand.

When no-fault divorce came in, suddenly people could leave much more easily–and they did in very large numbers.

Well, in evangelical churches today I believe we’re about to see a similar divorce trend.

The no-fault divorce never really affected our divorce rate that much because even though wider society permitted divorce, the church did not. Focus on the Family, to this day, does not even permit divorce for abuse. Many people, then, and especially women, have stayed in marriages that were toxic and abusive because they felt that was God’s will. If they divorced, they would lose their church family, and often members of their biological family would turn on them. And most importantly, God would be upset at them.

But increasingly voices have been rising saying, “this message isn’t of Jesus!” Voices like Leslie Vernick, Gretchen Baskerville, Sarah McDugal, Patrick Weaver, Natalie Hoffman, and so many more. And women are leaving and finding freedom.

It’s a change on the scale of no-fault divorce. And I think we’re going to see a huge surge in divorces over the next decade, especially in the most conservative spaces, because the abuse rates are so high and there’s been pent up demand. There are so many people whose souls are slowly being killed in their marriages, and when they feel they can finally get out–they will in huge numbers.

The question this is: what will the church do with this divorce crisis?

My hope is that they will realize the divorce crisis is really an abuse crisis and they will stop promoting theology that enables abuse (like giving men power over women; telling women that they cannot speak up and their selfish for wanting to be treated decently; telling couples divorce is never an option).

My suspicion is that churches will use this opportunity to double down, as proof that “the world” is “corrupting our women”, and blame women for it. I hope I’m proved wrong.

Can we please stop blaming women and girls for their own rapes?

Honestly, this shouldn’t be too much to ask. 

Jack Hyles has passed away (though he was credibly accused of sexual misconduct while he was alive), and his son-in-law, Jack Schaap, also a pastor, is currently serving a 10-year term of rape of a 16-year-old. Hyles trained pastors throughout the IFB, and is still largely revered. Hyles-Anderson College is named after him and still active. A number of different people sent me this quote and asked me to fix it because they were concerned about his influence over their denomination. 

This can’t stand anymore. And if your denomination or church was founded by someone who believed like this, AND THEY HAVE NOT SPECIFICALLY REPUDIATED HIM, then that place is not safe.

And now for something a little more lighthearted

This video really represents Rebecca and me behind the scenes!

Or check it out on Instagram!

Watch for it this weekend–HUGE sale on the ebook of The Great Sex Rescue!

This weekend the ebook will be only $2.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble! So if you still haven’t bought the book (seriously, why not?), then you have no excuse! 🙂

And if you HAVE bought the book, but you don’t have an ebook copy, now’s a great time to pick it up! I like having ebook copies of all my reference books because I can search so easily for things and I can highlight stuff and then find my notes easily. So there are benefits to both types of books, and this weekend’s a wonderful time to pick it up!

The Great Sex Rescue

Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?

Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.

That’s all for me this week! But I’d love to know what you think about divorce surges? Do you think it will happen? Or have you ever belonged to a denomination like Jack Hyles’? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Comments

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38 Comments

  1. Kelly G

    I got a dissolution in Ohio in 2020. It’s different from a divorce because and a divorce and Ohio one is questioning and fighting over assets and liabilities and such. A dissolution is a little bit more amicable where each spouse agrees with the term sit out in the application of ending the marriage. That is what myself & my ex-husband did. Neither one of us wanted anything or demanded anything from anybody else and we agreed about the conditions. Like I would not pay child support to him because I make more money than he does I agreed to allow him to claim our son on his taxes, and I agreed that I would cover my son on my health insurance plan.

    Husband didn’t make a snarky comment at our dissolution hearing how he could take me for $700 in child support every month and I said to him well if you decide you want to do that then I will lawyer up on my own and fight you for my half of the house so I figured it was cheaper for me not to fight and it would be cheaper for him as well because then we would’ve both paid astronomical lawyer fees to fight it out that way.

    Well I may have gotten screwed over in the dissolution agreement, I just wanted to be rid of my ex once and for all. After all, he did to commit adultery and then continued to be Abusive towards me maybe not in a physical realm which he honestly did do that a few times but it was more emotional abuse.

    I just wanted OUT once I finally realized that I deserved better! And now I have it!! While some may think I might have remarried too quickly, I was basically already living a separated life from my ex. Even though we remained living together about six months after we separated.

    And I agree! Divorce rates are gonna go up! Honestly I didn’t truly realize that I was a domestic it will be survivor until Sarah McDougal posted some things on her Facebook page that Made me nod my head an agreement with what she was saying.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m sorry for all you endured, Kelly. I’m glad your son is doing well now and that you’re in a better place.

      Reply
      • Kelly G

        Please don’t be sorry! You have helped me sooo much! And for that I’ll Forever be grateful. ❤️ You listened to me that day in your RV. We had froyo at Menchies and I was having a good hair day!! 😃

        Reply
  2. Meghan

    There may very well be a divorce surge among evangelical women, but dollars to donuts the powers that be will change their line to “of course you can divorce for abuse, but that’s not really abuse and here’s why…” I’ve already seen it in some spaces. The goalposts will always move.

    Reply
  3. Chris

    Ok. I have three thoughts on this:
    1.) No fault divorce laws really screwed up the institution of marriage. Breaking a legal contract should be hard. But keep in mind that abuse in a marriage is a fault circumstance. Not a “no fault” one. Also, NEVER look to the California state legislature for precedent on how to do much of anything especially with something as important as marriage.
    2.) Women are not the only ones stuck in toxic marriages. Not even close. But when a woman leaves a bad marriage she is applauded for her strength and courage. When a man leaves one, he is shamed for abandoning his wife and children.
    3.) There may be a divorce surge. Who knows. But the trend that we already see towards what I call “preemptive divorce” will definitely continue. Preemptive divorce is just people not getting married at all. On the women’s side, their natural hypergamy will make it increasingly difficult for them to even find a mate and on the men’s side, men are waking up to the fact that marriage really isn’t a very good deal for them. So why do it? Combine all this together and there may be a divorce surge coming in the short term, but in the long term the number of divorces will go down because no one will be married anyway. Where does this leave the future of western society? Not in a good place. But in those circumstances I would contend that we deserve to be replaced by more prolific cultures that have strong families.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It really depends how you define strong families. We need to stop judging the success of society on whether or not marriages stay together, and start judging it on whether or not people are emotionally healthy. When parents in toxic marriages divorce, children do better in the long run than if those parents stay together. When parents in low conflict marriages divorce, children do worse. The problem is not divorce itself but rather the conditions that led to it.

      There may be other societies where marriages are more stable–but that does not mean that marriages are healthier. That’s the big mistake that’s being made here. And if we want young people to get married again and see the value in the institution of marriage, then we had darn well better stop talking about “staying together no matter what” and start talking about “loving each other well and the beauty that comes from that over a lifetime.”

      Reply
      • Anon

        Totally agree, Sheila! I’ve found Christian circles generally very good at treating symptoms and not so good at finding root causes. Divorce is a symptom of an unhealthy marriage. Rather than focusing on the symptom, what’s the reason the divorce is even being considered? THAT is what needs to be addressed. Dealing with divorce like it’s the problem in itself is like giving someone pain meds for a broken bone and sending them home without any diagnostics or treatment. Divorce rates are a metric of the number of unhealthy marriages and the real tragedy is that there are SO MANY unhealthy marriages, and not enough people asking ‘why?!’ and ‘how do we solve this?’.

        Thank you for all the work you do – it’s much needed!

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Yes, we need to start treating the root! I really do want healthy marriages that last, but healthy is the important word there.

          Reply
      • Jane Eyre

        Exactly! Would someone want to be married if they were told “Your spouse will not abuse you or cheat on you, but will NEVER work to resolve problems, will not carry their weight, will not run interference with their own family, and will not ever make sex a good experience for you”? We would all say that’s a terrible way to live!

        Just because it isn’t abusive doesn’t mean it is filled with Christian love.

        Reply
    • Eliza

      My experience as an attorney suggests that no-fault divorce doesn’t really change the reasons for a divorce; it changes who can get it.

      My primary practice area is evictions; in our state, we recently went from the customary law of “no-fault” evictions, so to speak, where a landlord can just decide to end the contract with sufficient notice, to “fault” evictions, where landlords must prove the tenant did something wrong.

      But what I noticed in all my cases prior is that a landlord very seldom evicted a tenant without a reason–usually an eviction was based on a long string of problems and difficulties. But often those things were hard to prove: “Everyone” knows that house is a drug house, but there’s no proof. The tenant is harassing the neighbors, but the neighbors are too scared to speak up. “No-fault” evictions offered a straightforward way to remove a tenant without having to engage in the incredibly costly and time-consuming process of proving the underlying facts.

      The effect of this, I believe, is already showing: it is forcing poorer landlords out of the market entirely. They can’t afford the costs of eviction, so they won’t risk renting property out. Which means many of the cheaper housing options will evaporate as well. But that’s another story.

      Prior to “no-fault” divorce, that’s what every divorce was like. You had to hire a detective to track the adulterer down and document exactly what was occurring. You had to have your lawyer lay it all out in courts and then have your cheating spouse’s lawyer get the chance to dig up any dirt on you. It was expensive, crude, and ugly. It meant that divorce was only for the rich and ruthless. Poor people often resorted to not getting married, or to just separating and moving on without getting formal endorsement; which meant they couldn’t benefit from the legal protections of marriage. There’s no eliminating the ugliness from divorce but I think at-fault divorce benefited sleazy lawyers and PI’s more than it helped strengthen marriages.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Really interesting, Eliza! That’s interesting about evictions as well.

        Reply
    • Gretchen Baskerville

      Chris,
      In reply to your comments: I agree with your point #2. 


But…

      1) Why would any decent human being want divorce to be harder, when studies show that half of divorces in the U.S. are for very serious reasons: a pattern of domestic violence, serial adultery/sexual immorality, pedophilia or family-crushing addictions?

      Wouldn’t any sensible society want to end those destructive marriages, allowing the healthier person to find a better partner and raise children in a safe and nurturing home? Divorce also may be a pivotal point that forces the badly behaved spouse to take a long look in the mirror and evaluate his/her life.



      2) I agree with you. Anyone (husband or wife) who summons the courage to exit a toxic marriage should be supported. And I agree that this doesn’t happen as much for men.

      3.) Whenever I hear a man use the word “hypergamy” I suspect he’s been spending a lot of time immersing himself in woman-hating websites and groups. Maybe that’s not you, but your item #3 has several tropes that the misogynist crowd loves to repeat: that men are retreating from marriage is one of them.The reality is that women are backing away from marriage, because there are so few suitable gainfully-employed men. (I think this employment-and-education situation is a serious problem. Part of the problem is that we sent a lot of manufacturing jobs overseas in the 1980s and they’ve never fully come back.)

      Reply
      • Emmy

        What is hypergamy?

        Reply
        • Jim

          Hypergamy is the concept that women, by and large, tend to be attracted to men that are on the same social/economic/status level as they are or higher than they are. For instance, a woman with a bachelor’s degree is more likely to marry man who has at least a bachelor’s and/or a higher degree. Additionally, women are more likely to be attracted to men who make more than they do.

          Jordan Peterson is one prominent psychologist who has spoken about this. This has become more apparent over the last decade when women are now graduating college at higher rates than men and are out earning men in major cities, at least in the US.

          Reply
  4. TRR

    Ok so I was reading commentaries on 1 Peter 3:6. I was taught that women should only like Sarah did when she said she was Abraham’s sister; God rewarded her obedience by protecting her and we also should trust God and obey even if it put us in danger. There were horrific commentaries that actually compared women to slaves – like that is God’s plan. My current pastor says it is very easy for a wife to feel like a slave in every way. He says the correct response to abuse is to simply pray. He does not promise God will end the abuse; a wife can have a good testimony if she stays in a bad situation. It is truly awful.

    I found this in the NIVAC:

    In our previous paragraphs the issue of feminism has been vying for discussion. This, then, is a good place to survey how modern feminists, and some of their opponents, interpret Scripture. Feminist hermeneutics describes how the various branches of the modern-day feminist movement interpret the Bible and examines the various ways that movement seeks to apply (or deny) the relevance of the biblical text. Radical feminist hermeneutics is suspicious of the text, ultimately repudiating the revelatory value of the text in many (if not all) of its dimensions because of an ideological agenda that drives the interests of the interpreter. Such interpreters see a chauvinistic world inherent in a text that is ultimately used in manipulating and subjugating women. The appeal to Sarah in our text, it is argued, is because she legitimates male dominance. The text for these interpreters has no value except to point to error.
    Liberal feminist hermeneutics tones down some of the starker proposals of the radical feminists. Here there is a desire to retrieve what is good, even if heavily suppressed, in the ancient text, while there is also a clear decision to reject what is unacceptable to modern feminist experience and ideology. While the text is clearly influenced by a hierarchical and patriarchal world, there are features of that text that can be sustained across the centuries.
    Within the orbit of evangelicalism, an evangelical feminist hermeneutic argues for a hermeneutic of understanding that is both socio-critical with respect to the text as well as mildly submissive to the text. This approach sees the text of 1 Peter 3:1–6 as a text for its time, accommodated to its cultural context. While it is not a chauvinistic act of manipulation, it is still heavily dominated by a male culture, and to that degree it must be reconstructed or altered. In other words, the text must be understood in its own terms, decoded, and then restructured to speak to modern women. While one might wonder if the text is allowed here to speak for itself, it should be pointed out that there is a living dialectic in this movement between the authority of the text and the modern world, creating what is clearly a living synthesis of how Christians ought to understand the Bible.
    Finally, the hermeneutic of many conservatives is one of tradition. The text is timeless; a patriarchal world is what God intends, and women are to be submissive to the divinely ordained order, which has men as God’s appointed heads of authority. To be sure, there are abuses, but in the main the cultural changes we find today are inconsistent with biblical notions and therefore ought to be criticized. The key for this approach to our text (and other texts of the same ilk) is to understand it and apply it, though a minimal amount of restructuring may be necessary.

    Before bringing this text into our modern world, we must also address the issue of how such a practice (submission) is to be understood within a larger unfolding theme in the Bible, namely, the equality of the sexes in Christ (Gal. 3:28). Few will squabble with me when I contend that the Bible sowed the seeds that eventually grew into the doctrine of the total inappropriateness of slavery, even if the Bible itself permitted and accommodated itself to such a practice in the ancient world. I maintain likewise that the biblical notion of equality has given rise to the modern notion of the equality of all people, and in particular to the equality of the sexes in the church.

    In my judgment, the most blatant and pervasive form of men using violence against women is at the emotional and mental level—husbands intimidating, threatening, and manipulating their wives in countless ways.

    When the wife has small children, she becomes doubly addicted to staying with the abusive man: She both loves him (in spite of his violence) and loves her children. Furthermore, acts of violence against wives are often followed by some form of remorse, guilt, and apology, leading the wife to think things will get better. But the man will only change when he becomes convinced that the wife will no longer tolerate his abuse. Total separation is about the only hope for the wife and nearly the only form of communication that can get through to the husband. In some cases, the cycle of violence can be broken and restoration can take place.

    In Cloud and Townsend’s insightful book Boundaries, they come to the following conclusion:
    We have never seen a “submission problem” that did not have a controlling husband at its root. When the wife begins to set clear boundaries, the lack of Christlikeness in a controlling husband becomes evident because the wife is no longer enabling his immature behavior. She is confronting the truth and setting biblical limits on hurtful behavior. Often, when the wife sets boundaries, the husband begins to grow up.

    Reply
    • A2bbethany

      That’s a lot of complicated sounding stuff, and I couldn’t really follow most of it.
      But the 1st example of Sarah obeying Abraham, even where she was endangered, I think is cancelled out. Because later when Isaac is born and Ishmael is 13, she tells Abraham to get rid of him. Which was harsh, but a necessary fix to the situation caused by their sin.(using Hagar in the first place) Abraham didn’t want to! But God told Abraham that Sarah was right and to make them go. That’s a case of wife speaking up and hubby saying…..no, I don’t think that’s right. But then God sided with the wife completely.

      Reply
      • TRR

        Yes, I agree with you; I personally pour over these things till I understand them because of dealing with porn addiction and abuse in my marriage and receiving that advice, that I needed to just stay and obey. It made everything worse. I questioned my faith altogether because the relational advice was so damaging. To stay a Christian I had to understand what the Bible really meant.

        I finally drew boundaries with my husband and it is making a BIG difference! But our current pastor looks down on me very strongly now because I’m finally doing what right. I shared an article by Sarah McDugal on my FB page and my pastor and his wife really came after me because they thought it was bad. It’s hard to even go to church now, even though I still do because the pastor has been there only a few years, but I do have a couple supportive friends there, whom I’ve known my whole life. It’s just hard all around.

        Reply
  5. Jennifer

    I have been thinking about divorcing my husband for about 10 years. I stayed because of the kids and because I didn’t think I had the physical strength to make it on my own. I still am not sure… when I became a mom, he was sometimes very verbally abusive. There were times when he got in my face and screamed at me for a long time because I bought myself something or if he had a bad day.. Also,he was addicted to video games and would play them after work. I was home with our daughter. Then he would start locking the door on me. One night I heard him asking another woman (that he met through a game) to send him pictures of her. I was shocked. These kinds of behaviors continued. It was 13 years into the marriage before I even knew that I was being abused. He admitted it then. He lies a lot and also has been financially abusive. Not too long ago, he forged my signature on 2 checks of mine. I have been wresting with everything, even my faith. We were in a church for 7 years and had to leave due to a physical affair and him being on a cheating website. They didn’t even want anything to do with me either. He stopped taking us to church and our marriage is completely secular now.

    Reply
    • Anonymous305

      ☹️❤️🧸!!!!

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Jennifer, I’m so sorry. This is not okay. It sounds like you could really use some support! Do you have any sisters or close friends you can confide in? Can you go see a licensed counselor to talk to? And I highly recommend the links I left in the post above of the people who talk about abuse. Even joining those Facebook communities can be helpful. Again, I’m so sorry.

      Reply
      • Jennifer

        I could see another counselor sure, but I don’t know who. And would this person acknowledge the abuse? My family would be mostly supportive if I leave him. My dad said not long ago that “lots of women have left their husbands” but he doesn’t get how hard it will be to share custody and how much energy I will need to be a single parent. My husband has been working on his anger, and he’s a good dad. But it’s so hard to forget about everything he said and did to me.

        Reply
  6. Amy

    Continuing down the line of thought regarding a divorce surge for abuse, will the church recognize and that many of their resources on marriage and masculinity are handbooks for men on how to be intimate partner predators. These men didn’t become abusers based on the teachings of the world. Many of them are acting out the lessons on masculinity they they learned at church. The abuse surge within the church would hopefully subside if the church actually had healthy teachings on marriage and masculinity.

    Reply
  7. Jen

    Ok, first I will admit I have no clue who Jack Hyle (sp?) is.
    But the quote you fixed seems out of context so much that I don’t get the big picture.
    I read the original quote like that should be part of the punishment to cause more torture for the rapist.
    I totally agree that how women dress or conduct themselves has to do with getting raped. That horrid action is all on the person doing it. PERIOD.
    Just thought that I’d let you know the quote is a little confusing if you don’t understand any other context. (saw it on FB first and didn’t comment but didn’t get it until reading this.)

    Reply
    • Sarah

      That will not have been how Jack Hyles meant it. At all. Preacher Boys doc did a very insightful podcast episode on him, recommend listening on whichever podcast platform you use (it’ll be there if you Google it).

      Reply
    • Em

      The Leaving Eden podcast also talks about him a lot. One of the podcast hosts went to Hyles Anderson College. I’m really glad Sheila is bringing attention to it, also.

      Reply
  8. Nessie

    ‘My suspicion is that churches will use this opportunity to double down, as proof that “the world” is “corrupting our women”, and blame women for it. I hope I’m proved wrong.’
    Good grief, the previous SBC church we went to was already using this argument, though in prettier words with a nicer “tone” to pretend they really cared about people. (Perception was talked about as much as the Ten Commandments, if not more.) I sadly have no doubt you are correct in this prediction.

    The stats given on lifesavingdivorce’s post on fotf you linked to hit me hard- Wow! That female suicide rates dropped by up to 16% makes me heartsore it was worse before, glad it changed, and sick that fotf and others push back so hard and, frankly, gaslight for their own agenda.

    Jack Hyles- I had not heard of him, but that quote makes me sick. It also made my teen son mad. I wish churches had to put warning signs on their doors like, “False Teaching Ahead.” As someone who had a friend (the pastor’s daughter, actually) who was raped in high school, it reeeally pisses me off. I’m so glad my friend’s parents took up for her! Even my mom (who says she herself was raped in high school) refused to believe my friend, saying that she was too “flirty,” and probably deserved it!! (Not that it needs stated but my friend was no more flirty than the average, extroverted girl in high school!) Thank you, purity culture, convincing boys back then they simply couldn’t hep themselves. grrr…

    I don’t think divorce is a “good” thing because it means an institution of God’s has failed… but it has failed because at least one person has treated the other in an ungodly way. I rather hope divorce rates DO increase as it will mean freedom for many women (and men)… freedom to give their kids a better, more godly hope and future, freedom to minister to others in ways they couldn’t before, freedom to abide fully in Christ rather than tremor in fear, freedom to bring God glory.

    I so appreciate this website and community for all I learn, how to give words to my own thoughts that I can’t until I see them on your blog. I have and am learning (and unlearning) so much! <3

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Nessie! And, yes, the stats on how women from abusive marriages fare post divorce are sobering indeed. So many have chronic health problems clear up–things like arthritis, IBS, and more. And suicide rates go down. We can’t ignore this anymore.

      Reply
  9. Cynthia

    Commenting as a divorce lawyer:

    1. As you note, divorce rates initially went up after divorce laws were changed…and then they went down. Let’s remember that. People changed their behavior as it became clear that the law would no longer force people to stay together, and the result was that a lot of people put more effort into their marriage.

    2. About the term “legalism” – I’m going to reframe it a bit. Laws and religion can work to protect abusers and those in power, or their can work to provide justice and protect those without power.

    Remember when Josh Duggar was convicted just weeks ago? I saw posts saying that we can’t judge, need to show grace, etc, have mercy for his parents, etc. You know what? Sometimes, laws have their place. We need laws to protect us against abusers. I have also had people claiming to feel persecuted just because we asked for basic things in court, like a restraining order or child support. Well, those are needed to protect people and make sure that children are provided for. You can be sorry about what you did, but those things are still necessary.

    What we need to guard against is laws that are designed to protect those in power and prevent them from receiving true justice.

    Reply
  10. CMT

    How about this: “For every man that goes to prison for rape, there are 97 rapists who walk free, and most were never even reported to police.”

    RAINN infographic: https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system

    I’m guessing that lovely line is from a few years back to say the least, so the stats were probably even worse when he said that. How many victim-blaming tropes can a guy spew in a few sentences?

    Reply
    • CMT

      Or better yet, “pastor” hyles: “for every man that goes to prison for sexual assault, there are 40 victims suffering the fallout of sexual assault, and most of them will not get justice in court.”

      Reply
  11. Jeff

    Thank you for also helping men like me see the crap proceeding from purity culture in my life. I consider myself separated under the same roof. Following Leslie Vernick advice: I don’t want my kids living with their mom without me. I was told in divorce care that the courts in MN are pro-mom even in cases of demonstrable abuse by them.

    I also agree with the logic of your argument that divorce numbers will increase because of pent up supply of abusive marriages becoming exposed to new information: that they are being abused, and that it’s not what God desires.

    I am actually writing to politely state an issue with the term you used, “credibly accused”. I don’t doubt you. But after that term got attached to Brett Kavanaugh, I reflexively assume the opposite’s true. Kavanaugh was incredulously accused by an otherwise credible-seeming woman. Perhaps it should become standard journalistic practice to have hotlinks to a credible source whenever that term is used.
    Also: they’re, their, there.
    I also giggle at every use of “zed”.

    Reply
    • E

      As an Australian, I love the use of ‘zed’ 😂

      Reply
  12. Noel Lokaychuk

    Thanks for the heads up on the sale price! I’ve wanted to purchase the book, but there are so many books on my list! This gives me no excuse not to!

    Reply
  13. Laura

    Nearly 20 years ago, I had a life-saving, sanity-saving divorce. For many years, I felt a sense of shame for getting divorced because that was not the “Christian” way. I’ve had well-meaning Christians say to me, “The Bible doesn’t say anything about divorcing for abuse. Adultery only.” I know some Christian denominations that forbid remarriage. Someone I know got divorced because her husband cheated on her, but her church will never allow her to remarry. Totally wrong and very legalistic!

    Well, after reading this post and reading Gretchen’s stuff in Life Saving Divorce, I am here to repent from feeling like I had to repent of my divorce. I understand there are people who divorce for reasons that have nothing to do with abuse, adultery, abandonment, addiction, or other toxic behaviors and divorce should not be done casually. If you have done all you could to try to make your marriage work and the other party won’t lift a finger, then I think you should be free to leave. God does not want us to remain in unhealthy situations in spite of Christian leaders telling them, “Your staying will be a testimony to God and others.” Stop being a martyr! Don’t allow yourself and your children and pets to continue suffering.

    My divorce was a no-fault divorce because I did not want to go through a lawyer and at the time I left him, I didn’t think my marriage was abusive because he never hit me. He sexually assaulted me (which led me to file for divorce), verbally abused me, controlled me, and used the key marriage verses about submission and authority to manipulate me. We did not own property or have children, so the no-fault divorce was easier to get.

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