Marriage and Divorce: God’s Perspective
By: Carlton Foster, June 2003
It was in the beginning, way back in time, when God (the give-away-father) gave Eve (the bride) to Adam (the groom), and the two became one (husband and wife). The Bible recorded this event. The book of Genesis 2:23-24 reads, “Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
God performed the first marriage, so it continues; even today, men and women aspire to be married and become one. I also experienced this marriage activity. I got married and looked attentively to see what the ‘one flesh’ experience looks like. Being married is different from singleness. Now the interactions are not just God and me, but my wife, God, and me; we have to consider all in most of our decisions. Jesus confirmed in Matthew 19:3 that marriage is for keeps. He said, “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.” God creates and joins things together, but Satan comes to break, steal, separate, and destroy.
Divorce is Satan’s method of destroying what God had put together. Jesus again reiterates that it is sinful to orchestrate divorce plans against your spouse. He said in Matthew 19:9, “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The Bible also said that adultery is sinful in the ten commandments: ‘Thou shall not commit adultery (Ex 20:14)’. Divorce and no remarrying are still evil because what God joined together, let no human separate. Question! Did God join your marriage?
All Bible-based marriages typify the marriage that God formulated in the beginning. God started this process, and all similar occasions relating to the same intent, are godly. Marriage between a man and a woman is of God; in other words, to want to marry and become one is godly, especially for those who got married in a church setting. That is, a minister of the Gospel praying and consummating the vows with God. The man or woman getting married may not be of God or may not like God, but the occasion is godly because it started and came from God. How can you know if God joined your marriage?
Who knows the future but God? In the same thought, the splitting up of marriages typifies Satan’s way of doing things. It does not matter who on earth is doing the act – whether it is the so-called Christians or ungodly people – whoever orchestrates the idea of divorce (if it is not spiritually significant) is the unbelieving spouse, the ungodly spouse. 1 Corinthians 7: 15 said, “But if the unbeliever leaves, let him (or her) do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances;” An unbeliever believes in all aspects of divorce and sees no reason why they should not get a divorce if one wants to. A believer spiritually thinks the opposite: they believe that divorce is sinful and is not of God. The believer agrees with God when he says in Malachi 2:15, “Has not the LORD made them one? In the flesh and the spirit, they are his; and why one, because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. ‘I hate divorce,’ says the LORD God of Israel.”
I have seen several Pastors who divorced their wives and remarried. Even elders and prominent churchgoers legally separated from their spouses; for whatever reasons. God does not like to see us perish; therefore, he pleaded with us to be faithful, but if we neglect his warnings, we will end up in the same faith as Satan did. Satan was not loyal to God, so he was banished from heaven; a spouse who is not faithful to the marriage will meet the same marital curse as Satan did from God. Jesus said in Matthew 19:9 that except for marital unfaithfulness, we should not seek a divorce. Still, if there is marital unfaithfulness, then the sinner is destined to damnation just like Satan is destined to hell. God is not partial; he expects the same allegiance to him if obeyed and consequences if we disobey him. The same goes for the relationship between the husband and wife. So, if one of them is unfaithful to the marriage, this is a just cause for severing the union with the guilty person and making the believer holy on to the Lord. 2nd Corinthians 6:14-17 summed up the aspect of an unfaithful spouse with a believer: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we (the believers) are the temple of the living God. As God has said, “I will live with them (the believers) and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” I, too, at one time thought that yoking with unbelievers could have been a form of evangelism, but I have witnessed the perils of doing so. The results usually are that the believer slowly leaves the church and joins the unbeliever in unholy activities.
What are the things that we can consider as marital unfaithfulness: any sin that goes against the marriage, such as adultery, fornication, abandonment, and actions with the intent to do bodily harm or death to the spouse, are marital unfaithfulness, in essence, evil, persistent activities that go against the union and the spirit of God. These are causes for divorce and making oneself holy unto the Lord. Remember that the actions and intent must be persistent, and the unbeliever must show by their actions that they are unwilling to repent. Forgiving the sin if the spouse repents genuinely is godly; however, making this determination can sometimes be challenging because the lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings and execute the wrong judgment.
Suppose the unbeliever sincerely repents and struggles to be committed to the relationship. In that case, the believer must forgive and help the unbelieving spouse in the struggle to rid oneself of the sin. In summary, the Creator joined us together as husband and wife, and the two became one flesh. So we are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate. God creates and joins us together, but Satan comes to break, steal and destroy. Divorce is Satan’s method of destroying what God had put together. Let the believer abstains from orchestrating divorce thoughts, but if the unbeliever leaves, let them do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such ungodly circumstances.