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How Do Jehovah’s Witnesses View Divorce?

How Do Jehovah’s Witnesses View Divorce?

 We adhere to the Bible’s view of marriage and divorce. God created marriage to be a permanent union between a man and a woman. The only Scriptural grounds for divorce is sexual immorality.​—Matthew 19:​5, 6, 9.

Do Witnesses provide help for couples in strained marriages?

 Yes, through several means:

  •   Publications. These regularly feature material that can strengthen marriages, even those that might seem to be beyond repair. For example, see the articles “Maintaining Commitment in Your Marriage,” “How to Forgive,” and “Rebuilding Trust in a Marriage.”

  •   Meetings. We discuss the Bible’s practical advice for marriage, doing so at our congregation meetings, assemblies, and conventions.

  •   Elders. Congregation elders provide personal help to married couples, directing their attention to scriptures such as Ephesians 5:​22-​25.

Do congregation elders have to approve the divorce of a Witness?

 No. Even when elders are asked to help a couple deal with marital difficulties, they are not authorized to tell the couple what to do. (Galatians 6:5) However, someone who chooses to divorce without Scriptural grounds is not Scripturally free to remarry.​—1 Timothy 3:​1, 5, 12.

How do Witnesses view separation?

 The Bible encourages marriage mates to stay together even under less than ideal circumstances. (1 Corinthians 7:​10-​16) Many problems can be resolved by praying earnestly, applying Bible principles, and showing love.​—1 Corinthians 13:​4-8; Galatians 5:​22.

 Nevertheless, in extreme situations such as the following, some Christians have decided to separate from a marriage mate:

  •   Willful nonsupport.​—1 Timothy 5:8.

  •   Extreme physical abuse.​—Psalm 11:5.

  •   Absolute endangerment of spiritual life. For example, a spouse might try to force a Witness to break God’s commands in some way, and the threatened mate might decide that a separation is the only way to “obey God as ruler rather than men.”​—Acts 5:​29.