Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Editor’s Note: This week’s question to Roger was quite lengthy, so what you see below is an abbreviated version - the full version has been moved to the end of the article for anyone who wishes to read it.

Dear Roger,
How can I be with someone who wants me dead?


Dear Alice,

Your story does more than break my heart. I am angry that your ex-husband was such a wicked, abusive, despicable and vindictive man. You are a special woman to be able to forgive him. The strength this gives you is valuable; but as much pain as your letter contains leads me to believe that there are still agonizing pains and piles of hurt. May God grant you a total and complete emotional and mental healing.

I grieve that you failed to have a loving marriage and a partner dedicated to making a marriage like God designed it to be. May God lead you to a great man and to a wonderful second marriage that far surpasses all the love you missed, great companionship and the delight that God wanted for your first marriage.

I believe that the religious people who told you that God says you can never marry again are miserably mistaken. God said to Adam in Genesis 2:18: "It is not good for man to be alone" . . . . Then created Eve to be his partner and companion in marriage. The first place that God wants people to have their alone needs met is in the context of marriage. If they aren't met there, he wants them met in our families. If our families are not healthy then the church is to be the safety net for meeting needs.

Fortunately, you are not doomed to a life of lonely misery. The Bible is careful to tell us that when marriages sour, He is more interested in picking up the pieces and helping us start over than He is in punishing us for our past failures.
God says that if you have Biblical grounds for divorce then you always have Biblical grounds for remarriage.

Here are the Biblical grounds for divorce as I see them:

1. Adultery is always grounds for divorce (Matthew 5:31-32).

2. A Christian may divorce a non-Christian if the non-Christian wants to divorce (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).

3. Physical abuse, and in many cases emotional, cruel and/or mental abuse may mean that it is time to consider abandoning the marriage (Malachi 2:16).

4. The husband who consistently refuses to live up his responsibility of loving his wife as Jesus loved the church, may, in some cases, have violated his marriage vows and made the marriage contract null and void (Ephesians 5:25-33).

5. The wife who undermines and/or disrespects her loving husband, may, in some cases, have violated her marriage vows and made the marriage contract null and void (Ephesians 5:22-24).

6. The husband who refuses to get a job in order to meet the needs of his family is worse than an unbelieving non-Christian (1 Timothy 5:8). He has forfeited his role as a husband and violated his marriage vows.

7. God never intended for people who are divorced without Biblical grounds to remain single forever (Genesis 2:18 and Matthew 5:32; 19:8-9).