Abuse was mentioned in my mother's church sermon as grounds for divorce. This brought up a discussion in our family of what are the biblical grounds for divorce. I've read abuse could be considered malicious desertion and could be grounds for divorce. But I wasn't quite able to determine what exactly was meant by this. I would appreciate some clarification if possible.
Beyond physically deserting a spouse, the Bible does not specifically list other ways in which malicious desertion can take place (I Corinthians 7:15). As malicious desertion is characterized by sins that are unilateral, willful and permanent, it could take the form of physical or emotional abuse, refusal to have sexual relations with one’s spouse, or refusal to support the spouse financially. Because of the complexities of relationships, Christian discernment and pastoral counseling are essential when it comes to determining malicious desertion.