Countless numbers pose the question: What does the Bible say about spouse abuse? The first scripture religion likes to jump on is found in the book of Malachi, “God hates divorce” (2:16). What is usually overlooked, though, in that scripture, is his admonishment that man is not to deal treacherously with his wife. A translation of the scripture says, “God hates the divorce that results from treacherous abuse of the wife.”
God set forth marriage to be a lifetime relationship. God offers great help to those who seek it in sustaining a marriage relationship or in the reconciliation of estranged marriage partners.
In extreme cases, there are only two grounds for divorce and remarriage:
In the circumstance of adultery having taken place, a divorce can be obtained. Adultery severs the marriage covenant and divorce is a formal acknowledgment of what has already taken place.
The apostle Paul added to the teachings of Jesus what is called the “Pauline privilege.” He taught that if an unbelieving spouse leaves a believer, the believer is not bound to the marriage relationship, but is free to remarry” (1 Corinthians 7:15). There are some people who recognize such a thing as a “constructive desertion,” which would be when a husband so brutalizes his wife that it is impossible to live with him any longer; or when a wife has so harassed, or brutalized her husband that it becomes impossible for him to stay with her. When that happens, whether or not the person actually moves out, the situation is the equivalent of desertion, and divorce and remarriage are permissible.