Hi Clorets,

This is a difficult and vexed issue and can only be properly addressed on a one to one basis. You have not given me much detail to think about and so I can only give you some guidelines.

The Bible speaks very strongly against divorce (Malachi 2:15 and Matt 5:31). This is because God intended marriage to be a life-long union between a man and a woman that is reflective of the relationship within the Godhead and ultimately between Christ and the church. The heart of this relationship is faithfulness. Divorce, therefore, goes completely against what God intended for marriage and is an affront to God’s own faithfulness. For this reason, the most important thing that someone can do when facing marriage difficulties is to seek help. Many marriages can be helped and saved if both partners are willing to listen to each other, to accept advice from counsellors, to change their ways if necessary, and to forgive. This is God’s ideal.

However, the bible allowed for divorce within Israel (Deuteronomy 4:1-24). Jesus interpreted this as a concession from God to cope with the sinfulness of humanity (Matthew 19:1-9) and to make sure that sin within a relationship did not cause greater harm. But it is only ever a last option.

Sometimes divorce is forced upon us and we don’t have a choice about it at all. Paul talks about divorce in 1 Corinthians 7 particularly verse 15. There it describes a situation where divorce is permisible due to the unbelieving partner walking out on their spouse. What the passage says is that the believing spouse is ‘not bound’ in such a circumstance. This effectively means that the marriage is over - the vows and promises which were made in it no longer apply. The reason it specifies that it is an ‘unbelieving’ spouse who walks out is that it assumes that if both partners are Christians then they will work at restoring the marriage no matter how difficult it has become. Christians are not to walk out on a marriage, but if a Christian is walked out on by somebody else, they are not obligated to maintain the legal marriage vows which have no corresponding reality of relationship. They are ‘not bound’.

I don’t know the circumstances of your marriage breakdown and so it is difficult for me counsel you on what you should do. However I can encourage you to do two things:

First pray for guidance and wisdom from God. If you want to do the right thing, God will show you the right thing to do. But you must also be prepared to obey him in it.

Second speak with a mature Christian friend or minister who knows your situation. Talk through with them the issues of your divorce, read the bible together and discuss what it says and pray with each other about it.

I can understand how difficult this situation can be. But I also know that God knows what it is like and will give you the wisdom and strength to do what is right if you seek it.

David

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