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Question: Is it ok to leave a husband who can't provide financially for his wife? What should a Christian wife do if her Christian husband can't provide for her financially?

Answer: A divorce should never be our first solution when we have a problem in our marriage. God has stated in Malachi that He hates divorce. If we truly want to follow God, then divorce should not even be in our vocabulary. "For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence." (Malachi 2:16a)

In Matthew we see Joseph contemplating divorcing Mary when he learns she is pregnant. In the Jewish culture, Joseph and Mary were married, except they had not consummated the marriage. Joseph listened to God instead of just taking matters into his own hands and doing what a "normal" man would do. "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly." (Matthew 1:19)

Jesus addresses divorce: "Furthermore it has been said, Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery." (Matthew 5:31-32)

Jesus is again asked to address the issue of divorce: "The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?'

4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh ? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

7 They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8 He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." (Matthew 19:3-9)

A parallel passage is found in Mark "Then He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again. 2 The Pharisees came and asked Him, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' testing Him. 3 And He answered and said to them, 'What did Moses command you?' 4 They said, 'Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.'

5 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh ; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." (Mark 10:1-9)

Paul also addresses divorce in Corinthians: "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.

12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?" (1 Corinthians 7:10-16)

The Bible makes it very clear that God hates divorce and does not allow for divorce except for unfaithfulness or the spouse is an unbeliever and refuses to continue to be married.

The question as to whether the husband cannot provide for his wife being a basis for divorce-the answer is clear-it is not a reason for divorce!!

Now, why is your husband not able to support you financially? Does your husband work? The Bible makes it clear that a man needs to work. "He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich." (Proverbs 10:4) "For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

Does your husband work, but just have a low paying job? Is there a way to get a pay raise by getting more training or education? Does he have training for a higher paying job? Do you have a job? With the economy the way it is now, it usually takes two incomes to support a family.

There is nothing wrong with a woman working to help support the family. Proverbs 31:10-31 describes a good wife. She is one who works to help support her family.

How much financial support are you expecting your husband to provide? Is your house adequate or are your wanting something bigger and better? Are you satisfied with what you have, or do you want more and better things?

The economy right now is not good. All families will need to do things to cut back on spending. Use coupons, combine trips, shop for the best deals, repair things and use them longer rather than buy new, and don't use credit cards to buy things. Really consider whether or not you need this new 'thing' or could you do without it?

As you and your husband join together in prayer, don't be afraid to ask God to supply for your needs. Together you can work on ways to get your money to go further.

If you do not have enough food-there are organizations which can help. Start with your family, your church family, and then food banks and missions.

We will be praying for you and your husband, but please don't be another one of Satan's statistics when it comes to divorce and the break up of the family!

God bless you,

Marlene Panell

For more information email me.

To view other questions visit our Interactive Bible Study Page or read some of our Christian Literature at Bible-Christian.org

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Gary Tomás Panell
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Zillah, Washington 98953

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Keywords: financial support, marriage, work, respect, family