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Dear Gramps,

I am in the process of getting divorced. My husband was abusive verbally, emotionally and physically and is also an alcoholic. We went to two different marriage counselors and tried many other avenues to get him help and he would always return to drinking and lying. I believe I received an answer from the Lord through prayer to divorce him and we separated over 6 months ago. I have felt great peace since leaving him and feel my self-worth is returning. What I am concerned with is if I have put my exaltation in jeopardy by leaving him. Am I violating my covenants by leaving him?

Thanks,

Very Worried

__________________

Worried,

While I am very sorry to hear your marriage has come apart, I have to say I am glad you removed yourself from an abusive situation. The rest of my comments should clear up what I mean.

The best way to answer your question is to go over the nature of a covenant. The quickest way to explain a covenant is to liken it to something similar here in everyday life, a contract. With a contract, two (or more) parties agree to terms laid out in the contract. In general, the terms include what is expected from everyone, how each side will benefit, how long the contract lasts, and penalties for failing to meet expectations.

A covenant works much the same way, but with one significant difference. With a contract all the terms are agreed upon between everyone entering into the contract. With a covenant, Heavenly Father sets the terms himself, and leaves it to us to either accept them or reject them.

Now, let’s examine a temple sealing, which is a covenant. In this covenant, as mentioned above, Heavenly Father has set the terms. However this covenant is a-covenant-with-goddifferent from others in the church because three individuals are parties to the covenant. Heavenly Father, the husband, and the wife all start the covenant together. Because of this, all three parties are responsible for keeping, or honoring their part. We know Heavenly Father will always honor the covenants he makes with us, so maintaining the covenant is up to the husband and wife.

What tends to get lost now and then is that both spouses are individually responsible for their covenant. From what you have shared, your ex-husband broke his covenant not only with you, but with Heavenly Father. However, that doesn’t place your covenant with Heavenly Father in any jeapordy at all. As long as you keep to the promises you made in the temple as best you can, your standing before Heavenly Father is still sound. As with every other part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are each indiviually accountable for our own choices and actions. Your ex-husband is to answer for his choices, not you.

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to go to your bishop for further guidance. Perhaps your home teachers could also be of help, for instance in giving a blessing should you think you need one.

However, the best answer you could receive is the one you got from the Holy Ghost. While divorce is never a desired event, in cases such as yours it is far better than contiuing on in a damaging situation. Whether you have children or not, I again say it was right of you to get out of that situation. Nobody should ever dread their own home or spouse.

-Gramps

 

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