I recently spent time in a online writing friendship that led to both people asking if we could actually date or marry. After careful prayer, reading scripture, and getting input from my Sunday School teacher, leaving my home to marry someone was not what God had for me. Three of the things that were in my heart for why I could not marry him was 1) he is an unbeliever and 2) during the time I knew him he was married and 3) we don’t share the same moral guidelines for dating in a holy and God honoring way. Now reflecting on why I chose not to pursue a relationship with someone I know well but doesn’t not share my values, I believe that it’s important to share accurate principles that helped me.
- God does not encourage unequally yoked marriage. I also include people who are more than 10 years apart in age. That might sound strict but I believe that lust takes over where people have nothing in common.
- This person was in a position as a superior as my mentor and it would violate the professional and ethical standard of his profession.
- God recognizes the living spouse when there has not been adultery. If adultery is the cause of a divorce then God recognizes the person who was innocent as the person with a biblical reason to remarry. The person who committed adultery should not remarry.
- I believe that it is wrong to comfort a person when he was vulnerable during his marital trouble and seek to take the place of his wife (the sin of coveting another woman’s husband.)
I want to make things clear and concise. Please read additional resources found through research online.
Focus on the Family’s Position on Marriage and Divorce
What is Focus on the Family’s position on divorce and remarriage?
Before attempting to respond to your inquiry in detail, it’s important to clarify our overall perspective. Here at Focus on the Family we place the highest possible value on the sanctity of marriage. Next to an individual’s relationship with God, we believe that there is nothing in this world more important than the bond between a husband and wife. That’s why we’re dedicated to doing everything we can to strengthen good marriages and bring healing and restoration to those that are struggling to survive. A large part of our ministry has been devoted to the preservation of marriage, and as a result we are strongly opposed to divorce as an “easy” way of solving marital discord .
That said, we’d like to share with you several biblical passages that have played an important role in shaping our thoughts on the subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. In general, as Bible-believing Christians, we take the view that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and desires to bring healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation to broken marital relationships. Nevertheless, we feel that there are three situations in which the Scriptures make allowance for divorce and remarriage: 1) When the first marriage and divorce occurred prior to salvation. Although a person cannot undo all the sins he has committed, he is forgiven for the wrongs he did before accepting Christ (see II Corinthians 5:17). 2) When one’s mate is guilty of sexual immorality and is unwilling to repentand live faithfully with the marriage partner. Jesus states specifically that divorce and remarriage are acceptable when due to this kind of “hardness of heart” (see Matthew 19:9). 3) When one of the mates is an unbeliever and willfully and permanently deserts the believing partner. This does not refer to a temporary departure, but a permanent abandonment (see I Corinthians 7:12-15).
Here’s a list of some other biblical references that may prove helpful to you in gaining a clearer understanding of the Christian view of marriage and divorce:
- Marriage : Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Romans 7:1-3; I Corinthians 7:1-40.
- Divorce : Malachi 2:13-16; I Corinthians 7:10-11, 27; Matthew 19:3-9; Colossians 3:12-14.
- Extra-Marital Sexual Activity : Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:28; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Hebrews 13:4.
- Biblical Role of Husbands and Wives : Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18-19; I Peter 3:1-7.
With these things in mind, it’s important to add the caution that we must not become so caught up in assigning accountability for the circumstances of divorce that we fail to have compassion for the individuals involved. They need our friendship and understanding regardless of the circumstances surrounding the breakup of their marriage. To treat them as “lepers” or second-class citizens is not only cruel and insensitive, it is also a breach of Christ’s commandment that we love one another as He has loved us. There can be no sense in inflicting greater pain upon those who are already wounded. Instead, we are called to become agents of healing in their lives.
If your marriage is hurting, or if you have further questions about this subject, we’d like to invite you to call and speak with one of our staff counselors. You can contact them Monday through Friday between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Mountain time at 855-771-HELP (4357). The Family Help Center staff member who answers the phone will arrange for a licensed counselor to call you back. One of them will be in touch just as soon as they’re able. They’d be happy to help you in any way they can.
Copyright © 2010, Focus on the Family. Used by permission.
Hebrews 13:4 ESV / 57 helpful votes
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
definition: undefiled –
adjective, Free from evil and corruption:
Genesis 2:24 ESV / 29 helpful votes
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Matthew 19:4-6 ESV / 24 helpful votes
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his 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.”
In the text of the scripture, Jesus quotes the verse in Genesis. At the end of the text he clearly instructs the Jewish people that their standard for marriage is not God’s. God does see two people as one until they are separated by death.