Does the Bible Really Say to Save a Marriage at All Costs?

A popular subject in the modern day within Christian culture is the topic of saving marriage at all costs. What this means is that many people believe you have to save your marriage — no matter what.

Whether your spouse is unfaithful to you, abuses you, or hurts you, you still must stay in your marriage and “save it.” As someone who grew up in a home where my parents had a bad relationship, sometimes the best thing to do is for the marriage to end rather than to stick it out.

Reasons for Divorce

Before anyone shames you for considering getting a divorce, know that divorce is biblical under certain circumstances. The first circumstance that it is permissible to get a divorce is if your spouse is unfaithful to you.

If they are unfaithful to you, you are under no obligation to remain married. It is true you can work through couples therapy and try to work to repair your relationship; however, leaving the marriage is also a biblical option.

The second circumstance that it is biblical to get a divorce is if your spouse abuses you physically, emotionally, or verbally. This goes against Paul’s teaching of marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33.

If your spouse is abusing you in any way, you are permitted to get a divorce and leave the marriage. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to save our marriage when it is beyond repair.


If your spouse has become abusive, you are under no obligation to stay. In fact, you need to get out as fast as possible because if they are physically abusive toward you, they could badly hurt you or cause you to go to the hospital.

Never feel it is unwarranted to leave your marriage in these circumstances. God doesn’t want you to stay in a relationship where you are being hurt in any shape or form. Marriage is a sacred covenant before God and both the man and woman made vows to love their spouse.

Your spouse is breaking their vow if they are unfaithful to you or abuse you. You are not required to stay or try to “save” your marriage when it is in this condition. Sometimes the bravest thing to do is to leave.

Identity in Christ

Oftentimes many people view they have lost their identity as a wife once they are divorced. While this can be a painful reality, they need to know that their worth is not tied together with being a wife.

Within Christian culture, it is often taught that a woman’s purpose is to get married and have a family. If she does this, she is “living within the will of God.”

This couldn’t be more inaccurate because single women who never get married and never have children can equally be living within the will of God.

Due to the unbiblical principles that have been placed upon women within Christian culture, women often feel they lose their identity once they are divorced, or they feel they will lose their identity as soon as they start thinking about divorce.


If you are worried about losing your entire identity if you don’t “save” your marriage, know that your worth and value don’t change based on whether or not you are married. If you are single, married, or divorced, your value never changes.

Moreover, your identity in Christ is your utmost identity — not your relationship identity. Nobody has a superior identity based on their relationship identity because the only identity that matters for eternity is our identity in Christ.

Marriage as an Idol

Sadly, many individuals treat marriage as an idol, and this can cause them to have even more difficulty stepping away from a marriage when things go bad.

This can cause the woman or man to continue to stick it out because they have turned marriage into an idol. The Bible is clear that we should not have any idols as this is idolatry.

The Prophet Jonah spoke these wise words as he was inside the belly of a huge fish, “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them” (Jonah 2:8). As Jonah says in this verse, those who turn to idols are turning away from God’s love.

In the same way, many people turn away from God’s love for them because of their idol — marriage.

Although they could leave the marriage and experience the life of love God wants for them, they choose to stay in the marriage because it has become their idol, their utmost top priority, and the thing they want more than anything.


It is as though they are holding onto their marriage for dear life when it is only a bomb that could go off in their hands.

God wants to take away this bomb, but they won’t let Him because they have an infatuation for marriage — even to the point when it becomes detrimental to their own well-being.

If you are in a situation such as this, know that marriage does not need to be an idol in your life. Marriage is a beautiful thing; however, it is only beautiful if both the husband and wife are treating each other correctly.

What Does This Mean?

If your spouse has hurt you, abused you, or was unfaithful to you, know that there is great bravery and great freedom in leaving the marriage.

Christian culture might tell you otherwise, but we need to turn to the Bible rather than our friends at church who have been drenched in Christian culture since the time they were children.

What the Bible tells us is the most important, and what it says is that a person can get divorced if their spouse is unfaithful to them or abuses them in any way. The Bible also tells us that our identity is in Christ; therefore, if we leave our marriage, it does change our worth in God’s eyes.

Our biggest identity is found in the Lord, and this should be the identity we place above everything else. Never should we place marriage as being more important than God.

This leads us to the truth that we don’t need to idolize anything, including marriage. Christian culture idolizes marriage to an unhealthy level, which can make it difficult for spouses to leave marriages when things go wrong.

Don’t stay silent on these issues, and don’t try to stick it out. It is not good to claim that it is biblical to save the marriage at all costs.

For the Bible to say that you must save marriage at all costs, it would be saying that marriage is the most important thing in our lives, and it’s not.

The most important thing in our lives is our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our identity is found in Him, and salvation is found in no one else.

The Lord doesn’t want us to stay in unhealthy marriages because it will only cause us problems and impair our relationship with Him. He wants us to have an abundant life, and sometimes this might mean ending a marriage when your spouse is unfaithful to you or hurts you.

Never does God say you have to stay in these relationships, nor does He tell you to try to save your marriage. Your most important relationship is the relationship you have with God — not your spouse.

For further reading:

m/wiki/marriage/when-is-a-marriage-too-late-to-save.html”>When Is a Marriage Too Late to Save?

What Are Biblical Reasons for Divorce?

When Is it Okay for Christians to Consider Divorce?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/ilona titova

Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

This article originally appeared on For more faith-building resources, visit

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