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Why Did God Allow My Husband to Leave Me?

Reviewed by Karis A. Williams, MSMHC, LPC,   November 22, 2023

When a woman goes through separation and/or divorce, she is often confused, lonely, devastated, and lost.  As a Christian, most women in this position beg God to do something.  If He could just save the marriage, make life right again.  Surely, He has the ability.  But often, God does not choose to intervene.  And the marriage disintegrates.  Whey does this happen?  Why does God allow husbands to just leave their wives?

God allows husbands to leave their wives (and vice versa–feel free to adjust the roles as needed) for several reasons.  As a general rule, God will not force a man to love and honor His wife.  He cannot force people to recognize their issues and/or heal on either side of the marriage.  God could also know what danger lurks in your future that He is protecting you from and you may never know.  In that case, while divorce seems like such a cruel experience, God is protecting you from something much worse.  And at the end of the day, God is not in the business of being the puppet master and making us the puppets.  He has given us free will, and whatever our partner decides to do will affect how our marriage succeeds or fails.

Let’s take a closer look at all of this.

Why Did God Allow Your Husband to Leave?  Because You Did Not do What You Needed to Heal

There are times that we can be blind to our own sins and issues in life.  Then, as a result, we don’t understand why people, including our spouse, react negatively toward us in response to that behavior.

If you feel like your marriage is failing, one of the first things you need to do is self evaluate.  Don’t misunderstand this step!  This does not mean you are blaming yourself for what is wrong in the marriage!  It means you are making sure you have done all you can for your own part.

Because nobody is perfect, there will likely be things you can do to improve yourself in relation to the marriage.  Even if the marriage fails in the end, this is still a very good endeavor for  you to pursue.  It will positively affect all of your relationships throughout life as you learn healthier ways to relate to others.

There are a few ways you can make sure you are relating in a healthy way in your marriage, even in the midst of difficulties.  You can check them out here:

  • Speak with two or three friends that you know will tell you the good, bad, and ugly, and not just what you wish they would say.
  • Find a counselor that you relate well to.  This will enable to you better understand the advice and guidance they give  you as you seek a healthier way forward.  This is a great thing to do regardless of whether your marriage is in trouble or not!
  • Read books, articles, and other resources that can help you recognize healthy relationship patterns.  This will help you in all relationships in life:  family, friends, coworkers, bosses, neighbors, etc..

Speaking of books, this is a good place for me to recommend the all time top resource that helped me begin to heal emotionally after living in abusive households my whole life.  The name of the book is The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick.  If you have followed my other articles at all, you will know this is my number one recommended book.  It literally changed and saved my life!

Leslie begins the book with a test to help you determine if your marriage is just going through a difficult time or if it is truly a destructive marriage.  Then, she explains ways to heal and the ins and outs of leaving versus staying, regardless of whether you are in a difficult or destructive marriage.

She never tells you what you should do.  She inspires you to grow emotionally as you read the book, find the confidence to trust your own judgment, and wisely decide where you are in life and where you need to go.  To call this book amazing in how it will change your life is an understatement, whether your marriage is in trouble or stronger than ever.  It will only make things way better for you, even if you think things are fine.

You can check it out here:

In the end, you may or may not have done anything to bring about the downfall of your marriage.  You are not perfect and there is always improvement you can pursue.  There are two great advantages to this step for you:  first, you now know how to relate in healthy ways to everyone you meet, and second, you know that you did everything you could to help mend your marriage.

Plus, in the event that your marriage difficulties were due to things you were unintentionally doing to harm the marriage, you have now solved many of the difficult issues in your marriage!  Alas, it is not usually that easy for the most of us.  So, read on for more.

A man and woman in a living room. The man is sitting on a blue couch in the foreground, with one hand on his knee, and one hand over the right side of his face. He is leaned forward, sad and distressed. His wife is standing behind the couch with her arms up, angry and yelling at him. This photo represents the title of the article, "Why Did God Allow My Husband to Leave Me?"

Why Did God Allow Your Husband to Leave?  Because he didn’t Choose to Heal

The next reason God would allow your husband to leave is because he chooses not to heal.  This could be because he doesn’t recognize his part in the harm of your marriage.  Or it could be that he is abusive, or just doesn’t care about making the marriage work and thrive.

I remember early on when things didn’t work out trying to speak with my husband about it.  I was so confused when he refused to talk or work on anything.  He would lose his temper immediately and tell me everything was fine and I had no right to have a problem with anything he did.  You would think I would have seen the red flags.  But at that point, I just thought he would mature and heal over time.

The problem with my theory was that the more I tried to be kind and a good wife to him, the more benefit he was getting with no work toward the marriage on his own part.  And after doing this dance for twenty years, he had no intention of putting any work into a marriage that I gave all for and he gave little.

Because we were devout Christians, he knew I would never leave him.  I took my wedding vows seriously.  So, I settled in for a hopeless marriage that I felt trapped in.  Until one day I said I would still be his wife, but I would not make him the center of my world anymore while he treated me like scraps.

If you are married to an abusive, narcissistic, or otherwise unhealthy husband, you probably relate very well to my experience.  The best you can do in this circumstance is make sure you are doing the healthy things you need to do, not just for your part in the marriage, but for your own wellbeing.

If your husband is willing to go to counseling, it can be a great step forward.  And in some cases, a husband who is willing to go to counseling is also willing to do the difficult but rewarding work of healing.  This could be the answer to a healed marriage.  But only if he is willing to work with you through the process.

If he is willing to do all of this, extend grace to him to work out the process of his own healing.  Be loving and understanding.  And kind above all.  Make sure he knows that you are on his team.  Your support can be instrumental to his healing.

But, if you are being abused by your husband, more often than not, he will even use the process of healing to further abuse and gaslight you.  Referring back to Leslie’s book above often will help you to evaluate where you stand in this process and how you should proceed.  If your husband is showing signs of improvement, then, by all means, keep on going.  But do not allow him to continue to abuse you through the process.  This is why your healing is the top priority.  You cannot correctly gauge where you are relationally if you are not emotionally and relationally healthy.

But remember, you cannot control what your husband decides to do.  In marriage, we are always at the mercy of the weakest link.  We can work as hard as we can toward good, but we cannot guarantee it if we are not the only decision maker in the relationship.

A couple with the woman standing in front, head down, left hand on forehead, frustrated and sad. The husband is standing behind her with his right hand up, as though he is still trying to make a point and angry. This photo represents the article, "Why Did God Allow My Husband to Leave Me?"

Why Did God Allow Your Husband to Leave?  Because God Knew You Would be Safer Without Him

A third reason why God allows your husband to leave is that you would be safer without him.  This can be a slippery road, so bear with me!

God does not believe that because people do unhealthy things with each other they should get divorced.  We all do unhealthy things at some point.  And we all hurt those who are closest to us just because we are imperfect and every person that ever lived can be selfish.  Self-preservation is built into all of us.  And in early history, it was necessary for daily survival.

Today, we use that self-preservation to protect ourselves more socially and culturally rather than because we are about to be eaten by lions and tigers and bears.  But that is not a bad thing.  In the case of abuse and criminal behavior, that fight-or-flight adrenaline rush serves us well.  When we aren’t suppressing it.

If you feel that you are at risk physically from your husband at all, then you need to get yourself to a safe place.  If he has not controlled himself physically with you, you don’t know how far he will escalate physical abuse over time.  Most abusive men get worse over time, not better.  And this is after they apologize and promise you it won’t happen again.

If you think you are in any danger in your relationship, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).  Or you can visit online at

There is abuse that can actually be even more severe than physical abuse.  Because you don’t see physical evidence of that abuse, it becomes even more insidious than its physical counterpart because you can’t see the damage.  This allows for a couple of things.  First, the abuser can continue to abuse, often for years, because he can go undetected for as long as there isn’t any visible “proof.”  And then, the victim often doesn’t understand the abuse as abuse, so they put up with it for years or even decades.

This abuse is in the form of emotional, psychological, spiritual, and financial abuse.  And the abuser is usually so crafty about it, that the victim perceives it as protection or normal functionality.  For more information about this, check out my article on how narcissists treat their wives.

Living through all types of abuse will cause great damage to victims over time.  Depression, fear, foggy thinking, physical illness, and even cancer from living in toxicity can result.  God knows how the spirit of these victims suffer.  And He knows that often the only way to heal is to get out.  But know that if this is your case, you are not breaking the marriage vows by escaping to a safer, healthy life.  You are confirming that the marriage vows were already broken by the abuser.

You can also read more about biblical grounds for divorcing in emotional abuse situations.

Why Does God Allow Your Husband to Leave?  Because He is not our Puppetmaster!

I already alluded to this earlier.  The truth is that God allows your husband to leave because He does not control everything that your husband thinks, says, or does.  And God also doesn’t control everything that you think, say, or do!

You both have the freedom to do what is right or wrong.  There is great feeling about being able to do what you want to.  But then, there is great sorrow knowing that you will never make all the right decisions and the consequences can be life changing for you.

Paul says in Romans 7:15-20, “ I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

I don’t think there is a single person in the world that doesn’t relate to these verses in a very real way.  All this is to say that none of us is perfect and we will all make bad decisions from time to time because God has given us the free will to live our lives in our own way.  Sometimes that will be a good thing.  And sometimes it will be bad.

We are to give our husbands grace to make mistakes and then heal and recover from those mistakes while we lovingly support them.  The problem is when that becomes the rule and not the occasional exception.  When a husband expects to be able to do whatever he wants to unchecked and without consequences, the marriage cannot get back to a healthy place.  And as a general rule, husbands who abuse their wives in this way over a significant period of time will only continue to abuse and unfairly take advantage.

We need to figure out if our marriages are difficult and can be repaired by working together toward healthier behaviors, or if they are destructive and not healthy for us to continue to move forward in the marriage.  Leslie Vernick’s book above will help you to figure out that very issue.  And as you read on, she will give you the strength to make the best decision for  your specific situation.  As a result, you will know how to evaluate every relationship in your life moving forward and do what you need to in your own life.

You May Feel Like God Has Left You High and Dry:  He has Not!

There were times I felt like God had left me and was nowhere to be found.  I often told my pastor and his wife, a close friend, that I felt deserted by God.  They were both so gracious to me in that time.  They said that everyone they knew who had gone through what I was going through had felt the same way.  They validated my feelings.  But they didn’t allow me to stay there, which would have been very damaging to my spiritual life.

My pastor’s wife would share devotionals and verses frequently.  The one I remember the most was about the Holy Spirit giving us little blessings almost daily.  We get these tiny little “gifts” from Him, showing us that He is still very much with us.  She would remind me of that devotional from time to time and tell me what blessings she could see happening in my life.  It wasn’t long before I could see those blessings myself.

If you are feeling like I was in my darkest days (and you actually should be!), know that God has not left you.  Your husband has.  And God is waiting to pick you up where you have slumped over.  Here are some really good Scriptures to reassure you:

John 16:20 “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 8:37-38 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

And with that most perfect verse, let’s finish this up!


Sometimes, we have no idea why God allows the things He does in our lives.  And often, we will never know this side of Heaven the why’s of those things.  But what we can do is rest in spite of the seeming impossibility of those issues, knowing that He will give us what we need to endure those struggles and come out on the other end better than ever.

Just about every time I struggled through something I thought I could not get through, on the other hand I could clearly see God’s best for me.  He was right and I could see that once I got to the other side.  This experience has helped me to trust more and complain less.  I could still improve though!

How has it been for you?  Could you see how God actually delivered you after the fact when at first it felt like He had totally forgotten you?  Did you feel like Joseph in Genesis, sold into slavery and then imprisoned, only to later be made second in command to Pharaoh and save thousands, including his family, from starvation and famine?  Are you able to say that what man meant for evil, God meant for good?  If so, you are in the best place you can be.  But if you aren’t there yet, that is okay too!  God gives us grace as we struggle along life’s very difficult road.

I would love to hear your story.  Where are you at?  What thoughts dominate your days right now?  Feel free to share in the comments below.  Your struggle, fights, and solutions can help and inspire the next reader who has no idea where to turn next.

Hugs and love,

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Hi! I am the founder of Navigating Religious Narcissism after being raised under a narcissistic mother and married to a narcissistic man for 31 years. It is my prayer that I can be as valuable on your journey to healing and peace as were so many who crossed my path of healing.

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