Also, an alarming amount of Christians seem more concerned with the restoration of a marriage instead of the restoration of an abused individual. I want to piece together some quotes from the book Not Under Bondage by Barbara Robers to better explain myself:
In many religious circles, pastors treat divorce far more harshly than they treat wife beating. In a 1986 study of severely abused victims, one in three who turned to clergy said they were instructed that they could not leave the relationship or that it would be sinful to do so, and that divorce was strongly discouraged. They reported they felt trapped by their religion.
It also troubles victims when commentators acknowledge violence as a legitimate ground for divorce, but do not acknowledge non-violent methods of abuse.
Abuse does not have to physical to be destructive.
Abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, social, financial, spiritual, and sexual.
Although the victim will often appear calm, there may be a log jam of trauma below her calm exterior, so she may not present the problems clearly to outsiders. This is not surprising, given that victims often hide the problem even from themselves. They have spent all their energy walking on eggshells and trying to "fix" the relationship. The abuse problem can be masked by labels of mental illness, the perpetrator's addictions, work or financial difficulties.
Most victims tolerate and become worn down by serious abuse before recognizing that abuse is the problem. Many excuse their spouse's bad conduct and overlook its damaging effects for a very long time. Typically, they choose to suffer in silence. This denial (non-recognition of the existence of the abuse) is a way of coping.
(I'm going to stop there, but I could honestly quote half the book to explain what I went through and the thoughts running through my head)
Well, I am flabbergasted and simply can't get over that I have never been told about the passage in Jeremiah 3, or discovered it on my own before today.
I came across a Q&A concerning biblical divorce online and it is so encouraging for me to read, especially when I've started feeling emotionally drained after fellow Christians attempt to give advice without knowing what I've been through.
This is from NLQ: The Marriage Covenant & Covenant Breaking. I really encourage you to go to the link and read the entire post. Below is just one section that I found especially insightful.
Q: What if my husband is completely unrepentant and refuses to change behaviors that, if I am honest with myself, I must admit are harming my children, our marriage and myself? Is there anything I can do then?
A: The Bible regards marriage as a solemn contract, or covenant. A covenant is a kind of treaty between two parties, characterized by promises that need to be kept. When a covenant has been violated– when one of the parties breaks the covenant promises so frequently, callously or heinously that the wronged party must consider it irrevocably broken– there are ways for the one who has been wronged to end the covenant. Marriage is no different.
In Jeremiah 3, Israel’s covenant with God is pictured as a marriage contract. God had kept His covenant promises, but Israel had continually broken them without repentance or any attempt to right the wrongs. In verse 8 God says, “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce. . . .” God describes Himself here as the wronged party in a marriage covenant. The promises of the covenant had been broken beyond repair– not by God, but by Israel. God’s divorce of Israel did not break the covenant; it merely acknowledged that the covenant had been broken. But God nevertheless described Himself as getting a divorce. Since God would never sin, it could not have been wrong for Him to get a divorce– because He was not the one who broke the covenant. Covenant-breaking is a wrong that we must avoid; but when the other party has irretrievably broken the covenant, the wronged party is not obligated to pretend that the covenant is intact. It is up to the wronged party to decide when enough is enough. Forgiveness is important, but forgiveness alone will not restore a broken covenant. The party who broke the covenant must repent and bear the fruit of repentance, showing a real desire to change his ways and beginning to honor the covenant again. Israel refused to do so in Jeremiah 3, and the Bible gives us a picture of God finally deciding that enough was enough, and withdrawing from His covenant with Israel.
And from farther down in the post:
God has graciously provided for the victims of broken covenants, that they may be set free and not enslaved or under bondage. Both Jesus and Paul understood just-cause divorce to be allowed by the Scriptures, and neither Jesus nor Paul ever spoke against just-cause divorce. If you are in a situation where your marriage covenant is broken and your marriage and family life have become intolerable, God’s merciful provision is for you and your children.
Remember, God’s goal in the New Covenant is to restore marriage to what He intended for it from the beginning. In order to do that, both parties must have the ability to enforce the marriage covenant and hold the other accountable. If that fails, just-cause divorce is the last resort– but if that last resort is needed, it is available to His children. His love and grace are ours always.
And this last bit I will share is from the website Divorce Help For Christian Women:
Although the Bible says God hates divorce, it does not mean that God hates you, if you are divorced. I came to think about that statement in a whole new way when I went through my own divorce. In fact, after experiencing first-hand the pain and suffering divorce causes, who wouldn’t say: “I hate divorce!”? I hated having my home torn apart. I despised the rejection I felt. I was crushed by the grief and loss my kids went through. Who isn’t? No wonder a loving God who would go to such great lengths to spare us the painful consequences of sin that he even sent his son to die for us, hates divorce! What loving father wouldn’t? The words “I hate divorce” spring from God's compassion, not condemnation.
Second, I came to realize that God valued me more than he valued my marriage. Marriage is instituted by God for people’s protection and well-being. It’s meant to be a safe place that serves the needs God wired into us when he made us: needs for intimacy and union and procreation as well as the need to mature and grow to become more loving people. It’s meant to serve our needs by providing a safe place for us to thrive. We were not created to serve it. It was created to serve us. People are what matter to God, not rule-keeping.
I drew that conclusion from Matthew 12:1-8:
“At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.  When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath."  He answered, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?  He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread--which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.  Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent?  I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.  If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent.  For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
In other words, God’s mercy trumps God’s laws. You can’t read the gospels and all the accounts of Jesus healing on the Sabbath or fraternizing with the “unclean” and miss that! God’s first priority is to always love people. They rank higher than the institutions or the laws that are meant to protect them. Jesus would never allow someone’s dignity to be crushed so that a rule might be upheld. He is not in favor of marriage (keeping a legal vow) at the expense of someone’s dignity (abuse).
There is so much more to say, but I feel that this is as much as I can handle today. Sometime in the future I will share more about my experience.
P.S. I am open to hearing other opinions as long as they are expressed in a mature and sensitive manner.