Betrayed by Faith: Christian Women Speak Out on Divorce Abuse

Divorce is never easy, especially when you have faith as a guiding principle. The bond between husband and wife is meant to be a sacred and unbreakable one, cemented by a commitment to love, honor, and cherish one another. But what happens when that bond is shattered by abuse, betrayal, and infidelity? For many Christian women, the answer is divorce, but the road to freedom is often fraught with obstacles.

Betrayed by Faith: Christian Women Speak Out on Divorce Abuse is a powerful anthology that explores the struggles faced by women of faith who have left marriages marred by abuse, abandonment, and neglect. Through twelve personal essays, women from across the spectrum of Christianity share their stories of pain, loss, and redemption, shining a light on the dark corners of Christian marriage that many would rather ignore.

These women come from different backgrounds and denominations, but they share a common bond: the belief that God loves them and wants them to live free from harm. Yet, for many of them, that belief has been twisted by well-meaning church members who insist that marriage is forever and that women are to submit to their husbands. The women in Betrayed by Faith have learned the hard way that this mindset can be used to justify all sorts of abuse, from emotional manipulation to physical violence.

One essay, by Lisa Harper, tells the story of her marriage to a man who was emotionally and verbally abusive. She describes his outbursts of anger and how he would twist the Bible to justify his behavior. Lisa writes, “I had to choose between my faith and my own well-being, and sometimes it felt like an impossible choice.” Eventually, after years of counseling and trying to make the marriage work, Lisa found the strength to leave.

Another essay, by Mary DeMuth, details her experience of being sexually abused by a minister and the subsequent breakdown of her marriage. Mary writes, “The church’s response to my abuse and my divorce was to blame me. I was told that I should have submitted more, that I shouldn’t have been so outspoken, that I shouldn’t have given up so easily.” Mary’s story illustrates the damage that can be done when the church prioritizes keeping up appearances over protecting the vulnerable.

Betrayed by Faith offers a powerful counter-narrative to the idea that divorce is always wrong, especially for women of faith. Each essay is a testament to the resilience and faith of these women, who have come out the other side stronger and more determined to live life on their own terms. The book is a reminder that divorce can be a healthy and necessary step for women who have experienced abuse, and that God’s love extends to all of us, no matter our marital status.

If you are a woman of faith who has experienced abuse in your marriage, or if you know someone who has, Betrayed by Faith is a must-read. It offers validation, hope, and practical advice for navigating the often complicated and stigmatized process of leaving an abusive relationship. By speaking out, these women are breaking the silence and creating a space where others can feel heard and understood. Thank you to each one of them for their bravery and courage in telling their stories.

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