When it comes to divorce and the Bible, there are a lot of misconceptions. There are many different verses within the Bible that state different viewpoints of divorce and its implications on morality.
Divorce is often seen as a quick solution to a troubled marriage. Unfortunately, many people see it as the first solution to a troubled marriage as well. However, there are options that every couple should try before resorting to a divorce. One of those options is marital counseling, through services such as Christian Counseling Associates of Western Pennsylvania.
With the divorce rate being at about 50 percent in the United States, it is clear that divorce has become increasingly common. It has become morally acceptable and widely suggested. What does the Bible have to say about this? Is divorce a solution or a sin?
To answer that, we really need to examine some of the passages in the Bible.
Malachi 2:16 –
“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel
This single verse alone gives your a fairly good perspective on how the Bible views divorce. The verse actually goes on to say, “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty. So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife”.
Matthew 19: 4-6 –
“Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate”
The Bible sees marriage as a sacred covenant between two partners and God. A covenant is even more binding than a legal contract. If one party in a legal contract defaults on that contract, it can become null and void. However, a partner cannot default on their marriage. There are not specific terms set in a marriage such as, “Party A must make dinner five nights per week”. The covenant of marriage is set forth with guiding principles that include love, communication, trust, faithfulness, support, companionship, and much more.
Faithfulness. Now there is a word that brings about some exceptions. If you ask a divorcee who had been cheated on if there was any other solution, they will most likely tell you a definitive “No”.
Matthew 19:9 –
And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.
Based on the passage above, faithfulness would essentially be the only reason in which a divorce would be warranted. It is noted that in Matthew 19:8 that divorce was not always so, but due to the hardness of man’s heart, Jesus allowed it.
In the verse from Matthew 19:9, it states that sexual immorality is an exception. However, it still does not say that divorce is recommended due to sexual immorality. It simply mentions that a person divorcing their significant other due to their adulterous acts, will not be committing adultery if they remarry. A divorce not due to adultery would result in a sinful remarriage according to the Bible.
Finally, one the issues that has always been around but is currently making national headlines is spousal abuse. Domestic violence is a current hot button in the news today and rightfully so. No person should be forced or feel obligated to stay in a physically abusive relationship simply because of their faith or moral beliefs. However, it can be confusing because the Bible does not outright speak of spousal abuse.
Many pastors, priests, and other parishioners will tell you that the following verse from First Corinthians can be interpreted to fit those in situations of abuse.
1 Corinthians 7:15 –
But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. For God has called us to peace.
In the case of a spousal abuse, the abuser is not technically departing from the relationship. However, they are departing and abandoning their beliefs in terms of their marriage and covenant with God.
The abuser is effectively pushing away their spouse through sinful acts of abuse. Spousal brutality makes it impossible to live with the perpetrator of that abuse.
The Bible has a lot to say about divorce and hopefully this article helps to clarify some of those passages. In the end, divorce was never intended to be the answer. Divorce was created by man and is now currently being abused by man.
Andrew Fujii is a marketing professional with expertise in digital/web and content marketing. He is also a copywriter for multiple agencies producing copy for blogs, articles, websites, product packaging, mobile apps, and more.