Divorce today is a common occurrence. Statistics reveal that divorce and remarriage have become a cultural norm. But is it okay with God? Some say “yes” and some say “no”. Who’s right?
It’s clear from scripture that God created marriage (Genesis 2:24). So it would make sense that God would have an opinion about dissolving a marriage. Right? Well, He does and here is what He has to say….
1. God Doesn’t Support Divorce
Mark 10:7-9 – ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
It was never God’s desire that any marriage would result in separation or divorce. The spiritual and physical unity of a husband and wife is to be a permanent bond for life. Even today’s marital vows support this perspective when we say, “until death do us part”. Marriage is to be a sober decision entered into through a lifetime commitment perspective. Divorce is never to be seen as an option when a marriage struggles. The “D” word should never be used as a weapon or threat toward a spouse. Instead, God expects couples to work through their struggles and learn what it means to love “for better or for worse”.
No one should ever be naïve enough to think that marriage won’t have its fair share of struggles because it will. The key is to work through it and not run from it by getting divorced. Survey says that 60+% of second marriages end up in a divorce and 70+% of those married a third time will also seek a divorce . So the idea that things will be better with each marriage is not true. If your marriage is struggling, hang in there, work at it, and seek counsel if needed, but don’t use divorce as your ‘get out of jail’ card when things get tough. God doesn’t support this approach and neither should you!
2. God Does Allow For Divorce
Matthew 5:32 – But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Even though God doesn’t support divorce, He does allow for divorce when sexual immorality takes place outside the context of marriage. The sexual bond that is established between a husband and wife is a sacred bond before God. When this bond is broken through sexual immorality, essentially the marriage bond is also broken before God. God’s preference will always be for the marriage to survive an affair, but if that just isn’t possible, it is not a sin for the violated party to divorce and remarry.
Additionally, scripture highlights that when an unbelieving spouse leaves a marriage, the remaining party is no longer bound to the marriage (c.f. 1 Corinthians 7:15-16) The real challenge in these situations is to determine if and when a permanent departure has actually taken place. This, of course, takes time to play out and should also include biblical counsel in order to make sure premature decisions aren’t made. Again, God doesn’t necessarily support this type of divorce but will allow it in certain circumstances.
As a disclaimer, I realize there are many marital situations that go beyond the scope of this blog, requiring additional biblical insight. But the more we can embrace and live out the words of Paul the Apostle, the more we will help reduce today’s divorce rate and the pain that goes along with it.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 – To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
For additional perspective, see my blog post, The #1 Lesson I Learned Going Through a Divorce
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