Redemptive Divorce (www.redemptiveheart.com)

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Published on 27 Mar 2020 / In People & Blogs

A Biblical Process that Offers Guidance for the Suffering Partner, Healing for the Offending Spouse, and the Best Catalyst for Restoration

"I don't believe in divorce." Thousands of conscientious followers of Jesus Christ presently suffer in dysfunctional, even dangerous marriages because they want to honor the vows they took before God. Each and every day, they must choose between the lesser of two evils: divorce without sound biblical support or a life of perpetual, unrelenting misery. Somewhere between the secular disregard for the commands of Christ and the sacred unwillingness to deal with real problems of people, there is a way. I have called it "the redemptive divorce process." It honors the sacredness of the union. It offers practical relief for the suffering partner and healing hope to the offending spouse. And, in some cases, it might even become the catalyst for the restoration and rebuilding of the marriage.

Redemptive divorce seeks to give a redeeming purpose to the divorce process. Instead of using the documents and procedures of civil court to officially dissolve a marriage, redemptive divorce employs them to give the wayward spouse an incentive to work for restoration. Therefore, redemptive divorce is a tough-love confrontation patterned after the method of godly confrontation described by Jesus in Matthew 18:15--17.

This theologically sound, biblically informed, and legally responsible process combines the ideas articulated by Dr. James Dobson in his book, Love Must Be Tough, and the model of church discipline followed by many evangelical churches. The ultimate purpose is to restore the marriage by clarifying for the offending partner the severe consequences of continued sin or harmful conduct. In cases where biblical grounds are present, the offending partner faces the threat of divorce and as severe a settlement as can be won in court. In cases where biblical grounds are either unclear or not present, the offending partner faces perpetual separation while having to provide generous spousal and child support, which the law typically allows. In both cases, the offending partner is given the option to restore the marriage by following a prescribed path of healing as defined by the upright partner (and his or her choice of counselors, doctors, and/or legal counsel.)

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