Divorce and Remarriage

“I abused alcohol to ease the pain and I lived in fear”

These testimonies are from real women with real life experiences who are sharing their stories to hopefully help encourage you and help you relate to their experiences. I was born to first generation American parents, each coming from Italian immigrant families. Their parents, both sets of my grandparents, spoke Italian and very little English. Their … Read more

Is it ok to date again without being fully divorced because of government shutdowns?

As the ministry of The Trinity Church has increased and moved temporarily online, Pastor Mark, Grace, and family have been releasing a special series of “Ask Pastor Mark” videos each week to help answer pertinent questions during this time! This question is about whether it’s ok to date again without being fully divorced because of government shutdowns.

Have a question you’d like answered in a potential future Ask Pastor Mark video? Send an email to [email protected]

What Reasons Does the Bible Give for Divorce?

In our six-week study of the Old Testament book of Malachi, the subject of divorce is the focus of chapter 2. Most anytime this subject arises, there are numerous questions that people have, including the reasons divorce is permitted according to the Bible. This subject is one of the most debated and complicated in all of Scripture, largely because of the complex nature of the marriage relationship and great emotions surrounding the family. Here are four scenarios, or grounds, for a possible divorce according to the Bible:

1. Death

Romans 7:2: “a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage”.
1 Corinthians 7:39: “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.”

2. Abandonment

1 Corinthians 7:15: “if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved”.

3. Adultery and Sexual Immorality

Deuteronomy 22:22: “If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die.” (Old Covenant)
Matthew 5:32: “everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality…” (New Covenant)
Matthew 19:9: “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery”. (New Covenant)

4. Hardness of heart

 Mark 10:5-9: “They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and 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.’”
The categories are in order from easiest to the most difficult to evaluate. If someone is no longer alive, obviously the marriage has ended. If someone has abandoned the marriage (e.g. moved far away in an effort to disappear and not have any relationship or is serving a life sentence in prison) then it is impossible to have a marital relationship. Sexual immorality, including adultery, is sometimes obvious but often hidden and secret sin. Lastly, hardness of heart is admittedly a judgment call. But, people with an ongoing hard heart against God and their spouse do some very awful and painful things that make the relationship unhealthy, unsafe, and unlivable. After a few decades of ministry as a senior pastor, I have walked with people through the unimaginable and won’t repeat these things because they are unspeakable.

Admittedly, this subject is so important that it cannot be fully addressed in a brief daily devotion. But, as a pastor who loves folks, here are some practical recommendations:

Your heart is wrong if you are actively seeking to meet some criteria. If you are trying to figure out the grounds for divorce so that you can get your relationship to qualify, then you have a heart problem.
You do not have to divorce even if you have grounds to. Couples can and do forgive one another, work through a process of healing with a pastor or counselor, and some make it through from awful times to wonderful times.
You cannot make this decision in isolation. The issue of divorce is so complicated, especially where children are involved, that discreet wise counsel needs to be invited in. These people cannot be friends and family who take your side, but godly people seeking to help everyone involved find God’s side (such as professional counselors or godly pastors).
You cannot make this decision in haste. In anger or hurt, we can make a short-term decision that we later regret.
You cannot make this decision in lust. If you have an emotional and/or physical relationship with someone other than your spouse and your motivation for the divorce is to move on to another person, then your reasoning and motives are polluted, which will keep you from walking in God’s will.
It is unfair, unjust, and unhealthy to make only one person in the marriage obey biblical commands. Through the Bible, God repeatedly speaks to both husbands and wives about their roles and responsibilities. Subsequently, both husbands and wives should be lovingly encouraged to obey God and trust Him for the outcome of their relationship.

Divorce Thoughts from Dad

Malachi 2:15-17: “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. ‘For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.’ You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ By saying, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.’ Or by asking, ‘Where is the God of justice?’”

God is a Father and His people are a family. Because He cares about His kids and grandkids in every generation, our Father has a lot to say about marriage and divorce. At the end of the Old Testament, we find the little book of Malachi which gives final instructions to the family of God. His instructions are insightful for single people, married couples, children of divorced families and divorcees.

For single people, the reality is that at some point you will most likely marry. Statistically, nine out of 10 people marry at some point in their life. Who you marry is the second most important decision you will ever make following who you will worship as your God. Who you marry in large part determines what your life will be like, what kind of home your children will grow up in, and what generations of your legacy will experience long after you are gone.

For married couples, the key to marriage is for both the husband and wife to have a healthy, loving, and growing relationship with the Lord. If that happens, God will give love, forgiveness, patience and more to each spouse to share with each other as gifts from the Lord. Long before a couple falls out of love, they fall out of the pattern of apologizing and forgiving when they are wronged. When this pattern is practiced, the marriage endures because the issues they face are never considered as important as the relationship they share. When issues are more important than the relationship, eventually an issue ruins the relationship. But, when the relationship is more important than the issues, issues are overcome for the sake of the relationship.

For children of divorced families, in Malachi we find the Father heart of God comforting and helping those who have endured what you have endured. The key is not to blame God for decisions that were contrary to God. Instead, we must have faith in God, forgive our folks, and find lessons we can learn to help us heal up and have healthier relationships in our future than our folks had in our past.

For those who are divorced, the verse in Malachi 2:16 is sometimes translated, “I hate divorce, says the Lord” (NASB). What this does not say is that God hates the divorcee, because He does not. But, God does hate the pain that divorce causes everyone involved, just like those involved hate the complex grief that it brings. Lastly, God will not divorce you. The God of the Bible will never give up on seeking a loving relationship with you, no matter what you do, or what is done by others to you. His is the one relationship that you can always count on.

Are you confident in God’s love and commitment to a relationship with you?

Malachi #4 – Learn to Persevere

When tough times come into your relationships, are you the kind of person who is more likely to hang in there or hang it up? In every relationship, there are times when we want to give in and give up. This is especially true with family members, including our spouse. But, when we learn to persevere through hard times with God, family, and friends, the long-term blessings outweigh the short-term burdens.

Can I remarry or does my past divorce forbid that?

A divorced woman who is a new Christian has tough questions about dating and marriage. Marriage the second most important decision you will ever make and there are lots of questions that come along with it.
This week, I would like to share with you how God has a Father’s heart
And if you have a question you’d like answered, email it to [email protected] today!

Divorce and Remarriage

The church at Corinth was confused over issues pertaining to divorce and remarriage and asked Paul a number of questions. Due to the prevalence of divorce in our culture this sermon is based upon Paul’s answers to the Corinthians as well as answering many of the questions asked about divorce.