Failing marriage: Does God permit divorce?

(Wikimedia Commons/Mauro Cateb)A pair of wedding rings

Divorce is a common practice these days, but what does the Bible say about divorce? Does God allow it?

Two people are getting married. They are really happy at the wedding. The first days, months and years are fantastic, but all of a sudden, the happiness, love and devotion start fading away — until the couple finally decide to get a divorce. 

This is a common story nowadays. People are getting into relationships very quickly, and then getting out of it swiftly, as well. This usually happens when two individuals get married without aiming for a biblical marriage.

The Bible has explanations about the issue of marriage and divorce, as stated in the following verses:

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1. "The first husband may not marry her again, for she has been defiled. That would be detestable to the Lord. You must not bring guilt upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession." (Deuteronomy 24:4)

God cares for His people and He values families. He does not want marriages to break up. He wants couples to stay together and honor each other.

2. "'For I hate divorce,' says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,' says the Lord of Heaven's Armies. 'So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.'" (Malachi 2:16)

God hates divorce. He does not want a husband to hurt his wife, and vice versa. He wants married couples to stay faithful and loyal to each other.

3. "Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together." (Matthew 19:6)

God has unified two people in marriage. His sacred covenant should never be broken.

The Bible permits divorce only for these two reasons: adultery and desertion.

"And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful." (Matthew 19:7-9)

"But if the husband or wife who isn't a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the believing husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace." (1 Corinthians 7:15)

However, in the case of Christian couples, desertion can only be a basis for divorce, but not for remarriage. The only choice for the divorced Christian couple is to reconcile or to stay unmarried after their divorce.

Slight misunderstandings and conflicting points of view may not be grounds for separation because these can be resolved through compromise on both sides. However, physical and mental abuse can be considered as grounds for divorce because it can affect the well-being of the spouse.

Marriage is a sacred covenant with God. This covenant entails a lot of commitment, discipline and sacrifice. The aim of this covenant is for the couple to stay together and be unified as God had united them in marriage. God wants every marriage to succeed and stay for a lifetime.

Copyright © 2016 Ecumenical News