Morally acceptable responses to (impending) divorce

The Question asks on Dalrock’s response to Vox’s immoral response.

Vox Day’s point about Roman patricians raises a good question – what are morally acceptable responses by married Christian men to frivorce? Are they allowed to evade the law? Can they resist in any manner? Where are the boundaries? What safeguards should men set up to protect one another?

Obviously murder-suicide is not among them, but I could never in good conscience marry if the only moral choice permitted is to submit and let the state to break up my marriage and take my kids from me. This is why I am somewhat sympathetic to Vox’s statement.

Let’s first back up for a moment. “Divorce” is the “end game” of a series of many poor decisions between a husband and a wife most of the time.

The majority of husbands and fathers will have some sort of conflict with their wife that is slowly escalating to where she “just wants out” or “can’t handle it.” There’s probably only a minority of frivorces where a husband is actually blindsided.

In general, during this period the husband should follow the commands of the Scripture as to the best of his ability:

  1. Continue to lead his house as best as possible
  2. Continue to “sanctify” his wife by correcting her bad behavior as needed
  3. Continue to develop in maturity in the fruits of the Spirit, especially in conflict scenarios

Counseling tends to be bad for husbands and fathers nowadays even from the Church. Unless you know of any counselors who actually “tell it like it is” where they would call out a wife for being insufferable, contentious, or rebellious, it’s probably best to avoid “marriage counselors.”

Deterrents of end game

Let’s say that the situation continues to devolve. You have several options, depending on how far you are willing to go. All of these are about laying out the consequences logically and unemotionally.

First,

Divorce is unacceptable. No one will be better off with divorce. Your wife will have a terrible time in the dating market and will be much more unhappy in the long run as a spinster. Only 1/4 of women remarry after divorce, almost none after 30 years old. Your kids’ lives will suffer drastically with increased behavioral issues, violence, promiscuity, etc. Poverty is a very real fact of life.

Find allies from friends and family (if any) to help you during the time. Since you’re trying to save the marriage, always make that clear so they will back you up in the end. If they’re her friends too, then have them parrot similar points that divorce is not good for anyone.

Second,

Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins[k], go and [l]show him his fault [m]in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every [n]fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as [o]a Gentile and [p]a tax collector.

Document to be able to speak the Truth. Given the instruction of Matthew 18, others will be inevitably dragged into it. A man should be prepared to give an account of what happened, regardless of whether others believe it or not. The friends and allies in the first part will help a lot with this.

She will not have the only voice, which is common that only the wife’s account is heard since everyone blames the man. If it devolves into divorce you may consider voicing your account of all you did to try to save the marriage to both your and her friends, family, and the Church.

Women hate when they are painted in a bad light, especially if it’s true. Willingness to give your social circles a truthful account is a huge deterring force.

Third,

No one will be enriched off divorce. All marital assets will be burned to fight for custody of the children. You may even go into debt for keeping the family together.

She won’t get 1 cent for destruction of the family and may even have to take on loads of debt.

Fourth,

Willingness to go to jail instead of paying child support and/or alimony.

Acknowledging that you won’t support the unjust practices of the court and enrich lives off divorce. Jail is pretty cushy in the West anyway.

Alternatively, if you get custody of the children, then it may be worth staying out of jail to enrich their lives. Single fatherhood is not as good as a father and mother, but it sure beats leaving the kids to be raised by a single mother.


In general, the main reason why women divorce are because:

  1. They are unhappy
  2. They can date or marry again
  3. They get custody of the children
  4. They get cash and prizes
  5. They won’t get blamed and will not be socially ostracized.

The four points above aim to talk about the reality the “benefits” of divorce and how they are false. It will only result in “terrible consequences” and more unhappiness. If it’s gotten to the point where righteousness is not effective for a Christian wife and mother to stay, maybe the consequences will be a wake up call.

I’m sure there’s more, but these are the main righteous options. If anyone can think of more, post them in the comments. I’ll add them to OP.

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14 Responses to Morally acceptable responses to (impending) divorce

  1. The Question says:

    Thanks for addressing the topic.

    You already touched on this a bit, but I hold that whoever is being divorced for uinjust reasons has no moral obligation to make the process painless or less difficult for the person who filed. Even though most people I know would prefer to keep the matter private and say nothing regardless of what is said about them, they have no duty to protect their spouse’s public reputation, especially if that person instigates a smear campaign or use gossip to bolster their case.

    In fact, I would argue that the aggrieved party has a duty to fight back in every possible manner allowable, particularly if there are kids involved. It doesn’t look good for the kids who have to go through it, but it has to be explained why their parent is fighting instead of complying with whatever is demanded. It’s not just to get even or out of spite; it’s resistance to inexcusable behavior.

    By not fighting back, they are making it seem that an unjust divorce is not that bad, when it’s a total betrayal of trust and oath-breaking.

    Moreover, it is important for the other spouse to know that should they filed, the other will fight with everything they’ve got and enlist all help possible, rather than be chivalrous. Divorce has to be seen as the most unappealing option.

  2. @ The Question

    You already touched on this a bit, but I hold that whoever is being divorced for uinjust reasons has no moral obligation to make the process painless or less difficult for the person who filed.

    Agreed, such as refusal to sign divorce papers. If they want the divorce, they can do it themselves.

    Even though most people I know would prefer to keep the matter private and say nothing regardless of what is said about them, they have no duty to protect their spouse’s public reputation, especially if that person instigates a smear campaign or use gossip to bolster their case.

    That’s always the option that the husband has, especially as the leader in marriage. Tell the Truth or keep silent. It’s a hard road to tell the Truth, but the right one.

    Adam kept silent and went along with it when Eve gave him the fruit instead of speaking up.

    By not fighting back, they are making it seem that an unjust divorce is not that bad, when it’s a total betrayal of trust and oath-breaking.

    Agreed.

    Moreover, it is important for the other spouse to know that should they filed, the other will fight with everything they’ve got and enlist all help possible, rather than be chivalrous. Divorce has to be seen as the most unappealing option.

    I don’t think it’s ever “chivalrous” to not fight against divorce. That’s sort of the twisted thinking that men get in their heads when they’re putting women on pedestals.

    Usually many lives are being ruined, including the husband AND wife.

  3. Ame says:

    Divorce is unacceptable. No one will be better off with divorce.

    truth.

    Find allies from friends and family (if any) to help you during the time.

    wisdom.

    though i’m deeply saddened at the number of families, parents of those considering divorce, who are actively supporting the dissolution of the marriage via various means. my first husband’s career-pastoral parents had a huge role in devaluing me with their son; since they couldn’t control me, they began to hate me and passed that onto him in a myriad of subtle ways. i know another couple where her dad developed an intense hate for her husband, and with his support there was nothing anyone could say to stop her from frivorcing her husband.

    Document to be able to speak the Truth. Given the instruction of Matthew 18, others will be inevitably dragged into it. A man should be prepared to give an account of what happened, regardless of whether others believe it or not. The friends and allies in the first part will help a lot with this.

    i know a man who did this. everyone knew she was at fault. everyone knew she was the one who had the affair. everyone supported him. in the long run, he still lost the kids. many years later the adult children are still close to the mother who married her paramour, and he still has a strained relationship with them. one just needs to know that the truth does not necessarily mean life will turn in his favor. it just means the truth is known and stated. this man still lost it all, including the kids.

    No one will be enriched off divorce.

    truth.

    Alternatively, if you get custody of the children, then it may be worth staying out of jail to enrich their lives. Single fatherhood is not as good as a father and mother, but it sure beats leaving the kids to be raised by a single mother.

    the man mentioned above wishes he had thought of this all those many years ago. he likely could have got custody at that time in the county they lived in. it never crossed his mind at the time.

    divorce sucks. it is extremely rare that it is better; extremely. as in … the children are pulled away from a situation where their lives are truly in danger – like where the mother is out strung on drugs, leaving preschoolers home alone all hours of the day and night. it’s been over ten years since my divorce, and i have nothing good to say about divorce. actually … there is one … although it was him who left and filed, my daughters tell me now that they are glad he did b/c they knew who he was, and they knew that when they were with me they were safe.

  4. earl says:

    Ame brings up something I don’t think most divorcers think of when it comes to children.

    They may try their darndest to bad mouth the spouse they divorced and convince the children to hate them…but kids get and know who pulled the trigger and destroyed the family. Inevitably they grow to have contempt for the divorcer instead of the divorcee. It may right at the moment when when they are kids or teens…but adulthood they’ll know.

  5. earl says:

    *It may not be

  6. Ame says:

    Earl – Yes, they will know, but it might not change their loyalty. In the case of the man I mentioned his adult children know their mom was the one who screwed up but she had woven such a loyalty into them towards her and against him that it didn’t matter. They continued to be loyal to her and maintain a distance with him. It’s like they couldn’t have both parents.

    I didn’t want that for my girls. I always wanted them to have both parents and their dad had full access to them. He, however, chose not to see them as often as even the court said he could. I realize our situation is probably pretty rare. My girls loved their daddy despite all he did and a lot of that was because I not only gave them permission to do so but encouraged it and gave them my blessing to love him.

  7. anonymous_ng says:

    @Earl They may try their darndest to bad mouth the spouse they divorced and convince the children to hate them…but kids get and know who pulled the trigger and destroyed the family.

    My ex decided we were getting divorced, and then proceeded to live like we already were. When she showed no interest in stopping her whoring ways, and trying to mend things, I filed the paperwork.

    I figured from the beginning, and from having watched a friend’s divorce that anything reasonable I could do to stay out of court was money well spent. Then, to Earl’s point, I never figured that I needed to badmouth their mother. I figured that they were welcome to come to their own conclusions as they spent time around each of us.

    The kids can see that I grew and changed and matured as a man, and their mother, not so much.

  8. Marriage is literally impossible in the current Jurisprudence. The courts purposefully give women the upper hand. This is no accident or mistake. Marxists realize families with Men at the Head are resistant to being undermined and controlled. Atomized and disaffected individuals are lonely, powerless and easy to manipulate and control.
    God wants Women to submit to Men. That is Impossible in this climate. The odds are stacked against you purposely. Women are REWARDED for making false claims of abuse, and RARELY PUNISHED if these claims are later proven false. God fearing Christians should AVOID AT ALL COST GETTING LICENSES FROM THIS EVIL STATE. It is NOT NECESSARY. Also avoid “common law marriage” as that can also be used against you in court. Marry religiously if you wish, BUT DO NOT GET A LEGAL LICENSE FROM THIS SATANIC STATE.

  9. earl says:

    My ex decided we were getting divorced, and then proceeded to live like we already were. When she showed no interest in stopping her whoring ways, and trying to mend things, I filed the paperwork.

    That’s the sad state of marriage and having no-fault dangling over your head. It’s not a lifetime vow to God and your spouse to build a family…it only goes on as long as she determines it will.

  10. earl says:

    Marxists realize families with Men at the Head are resistant to being undermined and controlled. Atomized and disaffected individuals are lonely, powerless and easy to manipulate and control.

    Bingo. Look up what laws Lenin implemented to purposely destroy the family to have the state be the head…then look to see low little of difference we have now.

  11. bradford says:

    Question to DS. How do you reconcile 1 Cor 7:15 to your four step approach? It seems this passage clearly says that a husband or wife may let an unbelieving spouse go should they desire divorce. I understand that it doesn’t say you must, but that you may let the unbeliever go. In the case of children at home this is very difficult, I understand.

  12. @ bradford

    1 Cor 7 speaks to if a husband or wife has an unbelieving spouse, presumably because they came to Christ after they got married. This happened often in the early Church.

    If both are Christians and married as Christians, fight for the marriage at all costs.

  13. SirHamster says:

    @bradford, DS,

    Also look at 1 Cor 7:10-11, which is directed at Christian couples:

    10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

    Starting with 12, Paul is speaking his own mind, not to be confused with a command of the Lord.

    12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

    15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

    Paul is offering an opinion on a corner case where only one spouse has chosen to commit to obey God. When both have that prior commitment, then the Lord’s will and command are clear.

  14. Robyn says:

    “Willingness to go to jail instead of paying child support and/or alimony. Acknowledging that you won’t support the unjust practices of the court and enrich lives off divorce. Jail is pretty cushy in the West anyway.”

    I love this solution if the marriage has arrived at “end-game”. What good is your freedom if you’re financially “shackled?” … zip. We would hope our son would pursue this course of action if our DIL insisted on divorce.

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