What does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage?

Hi dear people. How are you doing today? Today, I want to talk about divorce!!

Divorce:the action or an instance of legally dissolving a marriage

When God designed marriage, he intended it to be forever. With the fall of Adam, it became a ’till-death-do-us-apart’.  “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate (Matthew 19:6).”

God hates divorce. “For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously (Malachi 2:16).”

However, since a marriage involves two imperfect human beings, divorce is inevitable and in the Old Testament, God instituted some laws with regards to divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1–4).

In the new testament, Jesus clarified that these laws were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, not because they were a reflection of God’s plan. “He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. (Matthew 19:8).”

Before I go deeper into the conditions for divorce, I must say this: THE PRIMARY UNDERLYING CAUSE FOR MOST DIVORCES IS A HARDNESS OF HEART. I believe that no matter what your spouse has done, if you soften your heart and forgive, it is possible to save your marriage. On the flip side, if you are repeatedly hurting your spouse and/or refusing to change your ways OR you are unwilling make a compromise, you are also exhibiting a hardness of your heart. For example, These can lead to the breakdown of a marriage. This is why the cause given in most divorce certificates is ‘Irreconcilable Differences‘.


Condition No 1: Sexual immorality

“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.The primary cause underlying most divorces is a ‘hardness of heart’ (Matthew 19:9 KJV).”

If you divorce your spouse when he or she has not cheated on you, there is no concrete biblical backing. If you remarry after divorcing your spouse (that didn’t cheat on you), then you are in the wrong. If there are other causes of rift between yourself and your spouse, seek help from God. I also strongly recommend marital counselling and coaching.

With regards to remarriage in cases of sexual immorality, this passage seems a bit unclear to me and I am not going to give a concrete statement from the bible. I will however say that in my opinion, I believe that God will not fault you if you remarry after you have divorced an unrepentant cheating spouse. You need to pray about whether or not God wants you to stay single or remarry. If he wants you to stay single, then you need to pray to Him for the grace to stay chaste. “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it (Matthew 19:12).”

caught in the act

If your spouse cheats on you, the sacred vow of marriage has been broken. Like I will keep repeating, it is possible to heal the marriage but this depends on if the cheater is willing to repent and if the victim is willing to forgive. I do urge you to seek marital counselling and pray to God to give you the grace to forgive and move on.

“Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge (Hebrews 13:4).”

Condition No 2: An unbelieving spouse

“But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.  

And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.  

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).”

Hmmm….how did a Christian get married to an unbeliever you might ask? Although we are warned in the scripture not to marry unbelievers, some believers have not heeded this instruction and gone ahead in disobedience. It is also possible that you became a believer after marriage and your spouse still remained an unbeliever. Or it is also possible that you were both Christians when you got married but now he/she has decided to leave the household of faith. 

If you are married to an unbeliever and you are a Christian, we are instructed to remain in the marriage. However, I believe this scripture is telling us that if your unbelieving spouse decides to opt out of the marriage, let him/her leave. In that instance, I also think that the bible says you are not bound to that marriage and that you can remarry if you believe that you do not have the grace from God to stay single.

Man leaving woman

These are the only two conditions that the bible has mentioned reasons for divorce and remarriage. If you decide to divorce your spouse for reasons other than the above two, it is possible to do so although God is not happy with this. In such instances, the bible has commanded you to stay unmarried. It is not an easy task so this is something that you must personally seek God’s face for. “But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife (1 Corinthians 7:10,11).”

A quick talk on spousal abuse.

In the series, 9 things to consider when choosing a spouse, I talked about the importance of avoiding a potential spouse who abuses you. If you are married to someone who abuses you, I advise that you separate yourself from that person. I am not saying you should divorce the person. Move out of that home immediately and do your praying and marital healing from the outside. With regards to divorce in such instances, the safe thing is to go with what the bible says and stay unmarried (1 Corinthians 7:10,11).  See a family/marital counsellor/pastor but don’t stay and get yourself broken and/or killed.

In conclusion, whether or not you are divorced or remarried, don’t beat yourself up. Jesus still loves you.

What is your opinion about divorce?

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This is a trustworthy saying, worthy of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.  (1 Timothy 1:15 NLT)

Foamskee signature **All scripture in this post is taken from the New American Standard Bible (except where stated).**

© 2016, Foam·skee. All rights reserved.

About Foam·skee

Foam·skee is a a lover of Jesus Christ, worship singer, wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, entrepreneur and medical doctor. A proud Nigerian in her mid-thirties currently living in Alberta, Canada.

She loves people, everything haircare, skincare and makeup. She has been on a never-ending venture to lose 10 kg.

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