Helping a Friend in a Bad Marriage


I have always understood that marriage is so holy that it is forbidden to interfere with another couple’s marriage in a way that might trigger its downfall, even if you perceive the marriage is bad.
I know a woman who is a victim of domestic violence. Her husband is terribly mistreating her and denying her access to any resources necessary to get out. She does not have a car because he will not provide her with one and she cannot afford one, and anywhere she goes, she depends on either him or a friend for transportation. And because she does not have a car, she cannot get a job to have the money to live on her own.
She refuses to tell anyone she knows, including me, that she wants to leave him. But I sense that she does. I have asked her if I can help her in any way, and besides the rides I give her sometimes, she won’t ask for help. I know that if she had the money and a car, she would be out in no time. She just doesn’t have the courage to ask others for money.
If I raised money for her to buy a car and start a life on her own, would I be violating the prohibition against interfering with another couple’s marriage?



  1. If, as you write, the lady in question is a victim of physical violence, there is an obligation to help her. If necessary, there is an obligation to get others involved as well. If, however, there are no obvious signs of abuse, it is not so clear what your obligations are.

    Since your friend has never actually told you that she would like to leave her husband, it is difficult to know what the correct course of action should be. What is for sure is that your question is really not one that can be answered remotely without knowing many more details, and, preferably, knowing the couple as well. Subsequently, I would suggest that you turn to someone local for help. If the couple belong to a Synagogue, I think that speaking with their Rabbi would be a good place to begin. If they are not a part of a community, then, at the very least, to speak with someone wise and sensitive who knows them and who, hopefully, will be able to give you direction.

    Best wishes from the Team