Here is a good example of what I am talking about. On CBMW we can read the following,
- If a husband refuses to heed the discipline of the church, and if his conduct violates civil laws (e.g., wife or child abuse), a wife may legitimately turn to the civil authorities and ask them to intervene. As Romans 13 indicates, civil authorities are instituted by God to punish those who do wrong, and a wife may certainly turn to them in appropriate cases.
Although these authorities may help to change a difficult marriage, there are some situations that cannot be resolved by church discipline or civil intervention (e.g., when no crime is being committed, when a husband does not attend or respect a church, or when the church refuses to get involved). In such cases, a wife may seek assistance from another person who has authority or persuasion with regard to her husband, such as an employer, a relative, or a close friend.
When no such help is available, a wife may be stuck, for a while, with a self-centered husband who uses his authority to indulge himself. As the Bible teaches, however, abuse of authority alone does not justify divorce.4 In 1 Peter 3:1-6, Peter addresses wives who are married to difficult husbands. When he says, "Wives in the same way be submissive to your husbands" (emphasis added), he is referring back to the mistreatment described in chapter 2, verses13-25. Thus, he is encouraging wives in difficult situations to follow Christ's example of reverent submission:
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." [i.e., he did not deserve such treatment.] When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly (1 Pet. 2:21-23).
This passage sets forth the foundation for godly submission, especially in difficult circumstances; that foundation is confidence in the sovereignty of God. Jesus submitted to the Father and endured unjust treatment because He trusted that God was ultimately in control of everything that would happen to Him. Jesus knew that God would eventually judge those who did wrong (v. 23; cf. Prov. 16:5; Rom. 12:19), and that He would use even painful events to advance His kingdom and bless others (see Acts 2:22-24).
A wife living with a difficult husband can have the same kind of confidence. God promises to work everything in her life for her good, which primarily involves conforming her to the likeness of Christ (see Rom. 8:28-29). Although she may have to endure an unpleasant and disappointing relationship with her husband for a time, God will support, strengthen and encourage her in His own perfect way (see Ps. 37; 1 Cor. 10:13).
Knowing that God is more powerful than her stubborn husband, a wife can trust that God will ultimately deal with all injustice. She can also have confidence that through her situation God will help her to grow (see Acts 5:41; Phil. 1:29; 3:10; Heb. 12:1-13; Jas. 1:2-4); to bring encouragement to others (2 Cor. 1:6); and, perhaps, to play a role in bringing about dramatic changes in her husband (see 1 Pet. 3:15-16), "for nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). Obviously, God can do the same thing for a husband who is married to a difficult wife.
First, in this passage, the sufferings that a wife is to endure is compared to the suffering of Christ on the cross in 1 Peter 2. This passage also suggests that suffering abuse in a marriage will make the character of a wife Christ-like, and, third, that enduring abuse will cause a partner to change. It is similar to preaching the efficacy of faith-healing. It is irresponsible and will inevitably be the cause of great harm to some people.
The Bible is not to be used as a instrument to keep people in miserable circumstances resigned to their unhappy state. I am of the opinion that certain abusive behaviours on the part of either husband or wife are appropriate grounds for divorce.