I have been married for some years…. But am pretty unhappy in the marriage and all I think is divorce each and everyday. So I wanted to ask, what is your take on divorce.
– Mrs. Goodness (United States)
My dear. I understand your plights, I understand how it feels when one enters into a union that was supposed to last forever and all of a sudden realises that the happiness she or he seeks for seems not to be there. Unhappiness in marriage is either a result of abuse, lack of understanding, care and intimacy… Perhaps, lack of the characters you expected from him.
The question now is, is divorce the ideal? Whatever our take on divorce is, it is vital that we don’t do away with God’s view on divorce. It’s good that you are a believer and God’s view takes preeminence. The Bible says in Malachi 2:16 :
“I hate divorce, says the LORD God of Israel.”
The question is, why does God hate divorce? Because it doesn’t portray his design. Unexplained all these in my newest book “Dedicated to Women”. By design, marriage is a lifetime commitment. Jesus said
“So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” ( Matthew 19:6 ).
However, God knows, that since marriages involve two human beings, divorces is likely to occur. As a result, there were laws in the Old Testament where the rights of the divorcees, especially the women is protected. Jesus however made it clear that the law such as these mentioned herein was given as a result of the hardness of the heart of men. So, even those laws were not there because it was God’s desire. God never desire that people who has been joined together should divorce. ( Matthew 19:8 ).
Having said that it isn’t God’s desire, there is only one possibly permission for divorce. In Matthew 5:32, Jesus pointed out that it is except on the grounds of “marital unfaithfulness” that divorce and remarriage can be permitted. Divorce is permissible on the grounds of marital unfaithfulness because any sexual relation outside marriage is a break of covenant. Sexual relation is an integral part of the marriage. It is for the same reason why premarital sex is a that adultery is a sin.
There is another instant where divorce may be permissible. But here, it is the unbeliever that may divorce the believer, the believer is not required to initiate divorce except on the grounds of infidelity. Paul wrote
“On the other hand, if the unbelieving spouse walks out, you’ve got to let him or her go. You don’t have to hold on desperately. God has called us to make the best of it, as peacefully as we can. You never know, wife: The way you handle this might bring your husband not only back to you but to God. You never know, husband: The way you handle this might bring your wife not only back to you but to God”.
(1 Corinthians 7:15-16 MSG)
People also see marital abuse or child abuse as a concrete reason for divorce although such wasn’t mentioned in the bible. A secular counsellor might encourage you to go on with the divorce if that is what will make you happy but it is never wise to presume upon the word of God. Except for the case of marital unfaithfulness, there is no other place the Bible encourages divorce… God hates divorce but may condone it in the case of infidelity or in the case where it is the unbelieving partner who walks away from the marriage.
This doesn’t mean that it pleases God that even in adultery the affected divorces the other. I believe Jesus was referring to unrepentant adulterer. A couple can learn to forgive and rebuild their marriage. God has forgiven us of so much more. Surely, he should be our role model. Forgiveness of sins includes forgiveness of adultery. The Bible says
“Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you”.
(Ephesians 4:31-32 MSG)
Matthew 19:9 can possibly be applied when the partner is unrepentant in his infidelity. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God hates divorce and that reconciliation and forgiveness should mark a believer’s life like we saw in Ephesians 4:32.
Having said all of the above. Apart from being sexually unfaithful, if your partner has been constantly and unrepentant in abusing you without regrets, walking out might be a consideration… Not entirely walking out of the marriage but deciding to give him some space. If he repents, you can accept him back. Paul wrote
“You never know, wife: The way you handle this might bring your husband not only back to you but to God. You never know, husband: The way you handle this might bring your wife not only back to you but to God”.
(1 Corinthians 7:16 MSG)
I urge that you consider rebuilding the marriage other than divorce. It is not easy if you should do it on your own. The secular world and theory have made divorce so easy and so attractive…
Seek for God’s intervention by submitting to him in prayers always. We can’t overemphasis the power of prayer.
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