What does the Bible say about divorce?
How long is marriage supposed to last? “Till death do you part.” It’s in the Bible, Romans 7:2, NIV. “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband..”
Marriage is more than just a piece of paper and a promise. It is union joined by God. It’s in the Bible, Matthew 19:4-5, NKJV. “And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?[c] 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
God is particularly displeased with people who divorce spouses who have always been faithful. It’s in the Bible, Malachi 2:14-15, TLB. “ ‘Why has God abandoned us?’ you cry. I’ll tell you why; it is because the Lord has seen your treachery in divorcing your wives who have been faithful to you through the years, the companions you promised to care for and keep. You were united to your wife by the Lord. In God’s wise plan, when you married, the two of you became one person in his sight. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. Therefore guard your passions! Keep faith with the wife of your youth.
How does God feel about divorce? It’s in the Bible, Malachi 2:16, TLB. “For the Lord, the God of Israel, says he hates divorce and cruel men. Therefore control your passions—let there be no divorcing of your wives.”
God knows the pain of having an unfaithful spouse, and still offering forgiveness to the unfaithful one. It’s in the Bible, Jeremiah 3:14, “ Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”
Divorce in the Bible?
Divorce is a last resort, but Christ permits divorce for adultery, or sexual immorality. It’s in the Bible, Matthew 19:9, NKJV. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
If a spouse leaves a marriage for a reason other than adultery, he or she must remain single. It’s in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, NKJV. “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.”
Being married to an unbelieving spouse is not grounds for divorce. It’s in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 7:12-14, TLB. “If a Christian has a wife who is not a Christian, but she wants to stay with him anyway, he must not leave her or divorce her. And if a Christian woman has a husband who isn’t a Christian, and he wants her to stay with him, she must not leave him. For perhaps the husband who isn’t a Christian may become a Christian with the help of his Christian wife. And the wife who isn’t a Christian may become a Christian with the help of her Christian husband. Otherwise, if the family separates, the children might never come to know the Lord; whereas a united family may, in God’s plan, result in the children’s salvation.”
What if I’ve tried everything I could to make it work, but my spouse abandons me? It’s in the Bible, NKJV. “ But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.”
What if I just don’t feel like my marriage is happy or working anymore? Marriage is not based on feeling, it is based on a principle – love. It’s in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NKJV. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…”