Recently I listened as a pastor preached his heart out in an attempt to reach his congregation regarding the destructive nature of divorce. He had counseled married couples to what God’s Word says about divorce. Too many times he observed couples seeing divorce like the reset button of a video game. Just press the button and start all over again as if nothing had ever happened. They tried to justify themselves by saying things like…“Surely God wants me to be happy”, “I just don’t love them anymore”, “It’s nobody’s fault, we just grew apart”.
The foundation, the pillar if you will, of the Christian witness on earth is the family unit. The evil one has always attacked the family unit God designed as a method of damaging the cause of Christ. When a man and a woman join together in the bonds of holy matrimony it was to be until death do us part. This is God’s design.
I am going to talk about divorce in this article but at the same time I must also talk about marriage. To do so I am going to use God’s Word throughout, because let’s face it, God created us and also instituted marriage; He is the ultimate authority.
The Institution of Marriage
The bible says in Gen 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. We have an internal need for companionship. God created Eve to be Adam’s companion. Later on in the chapter it says Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. As the scripture says here, we become one in the sight of God. When we join in marriage the union creates a shared experience of life; we become a part of each other. Marriage is a beautiful thing blessed and sanctioned by God. Pro 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
The Institution of Divorce
So where did divorce come from? I’m going to let Jesus’ words answer that. Mat 19:3-8 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Divorce came from the hardness of man’s heart, not from God.
You Just Don’t Understand My Situation
I am sure I have not heard it all but I have heard a lot of supposed “unique” situations. Small details may change but the common denominator is always the desire to be self-serving.
Do you really think your situation is different? Marriage issues consist of things like communication, money trouble, feeling used, lack of respect or appreciation? (This is not an exhaustive list but hopefully you get the point) The fact of the matter is all supposed wedges driven into the marriage union begin with self-serving desires.
Marriage is Commitment
If you are single and truly believe that marriage is 24×7 happiness, no effort is required and all you need is love I have some advice, don’t get married. Although marriage can be a beautiful thing it takes effort and commitment. On some days you will be the giver of support to your spouse during their time of need. As you support them you will have to sacrifice personal interest for the greater good of your marriage. On other days you will be the one doing the taking and your spouse will supply that need.
Conflict will come to a marriage; sometimes that conflict is very serious. When separation is taken off the table both parties will have the incentive work through their differences and find a resolution. If you leave separation as an option self-serving interest will win the day.
What is Grounds for Divorce?
Once again we are going to God’s Word for our answer. We are going to continue in the gospel of Matthew. Mat 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
The Apostle Paul also mentions another possible reason for divorce. In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul was discussing marriage and in verse 15 he says… 1 Co 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. In context Paul was talking about a marriage that begins with both spouses being unbelievers. After a time one spouse accepts Jesus as their savior and the other spouse, because of that decision, abandons them. Remember, the unbelieving spouse must abandon them, and it must be based solely on their faith in Jesus Christ.
I Have My Own Marriage Ethics
In another sermon the pastor I mentioned earlier used the following illustration of a man, Dennis Lee Curtis, convicted in 2002 for armed robbery. Nothing new about someone stealing but in his billfold was found a personalized code of ethics… I will not kill anyone unless I have to. I will only take cash and food stamps. I will rob only at night. I will only rob 7 months out of the year. If I am chased in a vehicle I will not put innocent lives in danger.
Unfortunately for Curtis the judge used the laws that govern the land instead of his own personalized set. A thief with his own rules of conduct sounds preposterous but people do this all the time with marriage. We don’t like what God’s Word says so we’ll invent our own code of ethics. That didn’t work for Curtis and it won’t work for us. God is sovereign and His Word is what we will answer to.
For those of you who are reading this and are in a troubled marriage: do you have a biblical reason to consider divorce? If not take that option off the table and put all your energy into saving your marriage. Admit to God, and your spouse, you don’t have grounds for divorce and ask God to bring healing to your home. I am going to leave you with one final verse of scripture on the subject.
Mal 2:15-16 … Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
Considering divorce is, in God’s words, “dealing treacherously”. You will also note that God “hateth” divorce. It doesn’t matter what society says is okay, the ultimate authority is God’s Word.