‘The church said, ‘Even if he continues in sin, you’ll be in sin if you divorce him.’: Woman explains why separating from husband was best decision ever, ‘God does not call women to abuse’

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“I’m a Christian, and I believe in divorce.

Does reading that sentence make you uncomfortable? No judgment; it used to make me uncomfortable as well. Let’s dive into this together.

I got married when I was twenty-five years old because of an unplanned pregnancy, but that is a story for another day.

I did not just get married because I was pregnant, but it was the reason why I married quickly.

The first three years were hard but good. My husband and I walked through a lot together in those few short years, but the trials made our marriage sweeter. That all changed overnight for me and the next two years of our marriage almost broke me mentally.

I found out that my husband was struggling with porn addiction. I know it’s easy to read this and think, ‘That’s not a big deal.’ But if you have an experience with addiction or loving someone with an addiction, you know how consuming addiction is.

I saw addiction rob my husband. He feared the truth; he feared shame. He continued to sink deeper and deeper.

I was a young mom with two toddlers, and I wanted to be a good wife, but I was overwhelmed. I felt like I needed a separation from my husband. I needed time to process what was happening.

The church praised me for getting married before my baby was born, but they abandoned me when my marriage was falling apart because of addiction.

For almost two years, I pretended like it wasn’t happening. I acted like everything was okay, but behind closed doors, I became a shell of a person.

I saw my husband become consumed, but he couldn’t see it. I saw the unhealthy co-dependency that my husband had with certain family members, but he couldn’t see it; I saw my husband lie to my face because that became normal.

The church told me:

‘Even if he continues in his sin/addiction, you’ll always be in sin yourself if you divorce him.’

‘If you loved him like you said you did, you wouldn’t leave him.’

‘You should go to counseling and figure out what you could be doing better.’

‘You made a vow to him.’

‘You should be doing more to support him.’

The lies continued, the manipulation continued, and I broke. I no longer cared what anyone thought; I knew I could not continue in this toxic relationship and be the best person I could be for my children.

What people don’t realize about addiction is that it is all-consuming. It stole my marriage, it stole my husband, and it left me with hurt and brokenness. He also became a shell of a person. A person that couldn’t see how his lying was hurtful, how porn became the other woman.

My relationship with my husband and the church became emotionally abusive.

After another broken promise, another lie, I heard God tell me to leave. I went home to visit my mother, and God told me to stay.

I separated from my husband, and we lived three hours apart. I cried every night in the closet multiple times a day; I mourned the life that I wished for but didn’t have; I grieved for my children.

I became afraid of my husband. Not because he would ever hurt me or the kids physically, but I never knew if what he was saying was genuine or another lie. He became good at his trade.

But during this time, I found my voice.

I got a job, put my kids in school, and fought for a better life for myself and my children. I silenced the outside voices and prayed God would work in my situation.

God does not call women to abuse of any form. Not mental abuse, not physical abuse. God does not love divorce, but He loves his children. God calls a man and woman to a high standard. I had to re-learn my standards. What you allow indeed is what you will receive. I made a stance, and I said no more to the lying and deception.

My husband and I were separated for six months. It was hard, it was emotional, but we found our friendship and we co-parented.

During this time I saw my husband break, seek, and find. I saw him identify unhealthy relationships and learn boundaries. I saw him acknowledge the hurt. I saw him change.

I continued to lean on my faith and close friends during this time. I am thankful for the support and guidance I had during this time.

I am happy to say that a separation saved my marriage. I learned so much about myself, I healed from a lot of betrayal trauma, I found my voice. My husband also found his.

Putting a marriage back together will be hard, but it will only last and heal if both people are fighting for it and fighting to be better.

It’s time that we become comfortable with the uncomfortable. It’s time that we up their standards for leadership. Before you tell anyone that divorce is a sin, you better know why they are seeking a separation or divorce. Don’t be the one that leads someone into abuse.”

Courtesy of Ashleigh Denèe

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ashleigh Denèe. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our free email newsletter.

Read more stories from Ashleigh here:

‘Going for a walk is not a crime. Don’t call the cops because your neighbor isn’t doing what you think they should be doing.’: Woman urges ‘we have to be all in this together’

‘I was 6 months pregnant when I said ‘I do.’ I picked a cheap dress, wore borrowed rings, and didn’t have a honeymoon.’: Woman claims wedding was the ‘best day of her life’ because she ‘chose the right man’

‘Where’s my phone?!’ My arms, legs began to shake. I lost my vision. I lay on the bathroom floor, alone, no cellphone.’: Woman says mental illness ‘humbled’ her, reminds us ‘it’s okay to be different’

‘You guys go to the coolest places!’ The comment stopped me in my tracks. I rarely leave the house; I put makeup on once a week, and with 2 toddlers, outings are usually cut short.’: Mom reminds us that ‘no one is living the life they post on social media’

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