I will try to answer your question using the bible to give us God’s view and instructions regarding the subject of divorce.
The question of when divorce is an acceptable option before God is one of the more difficult questions to resolve and answer. Each case will be different, and all aspects of the marriage situation must considered before any decision should be made.
Please understand that God hates divorce and a married couple should do all they can do to reconcile any problems and differences that might arise in their marriage. Having said that, there are situations where God allows divorce in order to bring peace to an otherwise broken marriage.
Here is some of what God’s word says about divorce.
The three reasons for divorce:
1. Annulment (fraud)
2. Adultery (fornication)
3. Not pleased to dwell with you
1. Reason #1 Fraud
The first reason is really an annulling of a marriage that God never bound from the beginning. It is called Fraud. An annulment is an official acknowledgment that a marriage never occurred.
Examples of fraud:
· If before marriage a man tells his wife he is a virgin and later it comes out that he had been sleeping around before marriage, that is fraud.
· If two people enter a marriage and the one tells the other that he is in perfect health, but knows he has terminal cancer and will die in four months …that is fraud.
· If two people enter into a marriage and the one is a drug addict who has been hooked for years and somehow manages to hide it during the courtship, but now after the marriage it suddenly becomes apparent that they are hooked, that is fraud.
2. Reason #2 Adultery ( the 7th commandment forbids adultery)
· Matt 5: 27 It was said of old times…..but I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery in his heart.
· Verse 31: It has been said. Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement. This was not a command by Moses, but rather something he allowed that he did because the people demanded it and their hearts were hardened.
Reference Deut 22 and Deut 24 and Malachi 2:21
· Mal 2:16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, says that he hates putting away: for one covers violence with his garment, says the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that you deal not treacherously.
· Matt 5 32: Christ clarifies further by saying, “but I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery
In his case, Christ said a marriage cannot end except for fornication (porneia)
· Matt 19:3-12
This is where the Pharisees are trying to trick Christ into committing to one or the other schools of thought of the day, that of the school of Hillel ( liberal) or that of the school of Shammai ( more conservative).
He did not answer either but took them back to what God says in the beginning in Genesis.
( see below ).
Gen 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
Gen 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Gen 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
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.
Gen 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Reason #3 “not pleased to dwell with you”.
· 1Co 7:12
“But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.”
In this case, a believer is married to an unbeliever and that unbeliever is not willing to live with him or her for a number of reasons.
· One reason being that they are not accepting of the truth and wants to leave you or to divorce you because of this.
· Another reason is his or her actions exhibit his or her desire to not dwell with you.
For example: spiritual,
o physical and mental abuse,
o addiction to drugs or alcohol,
o or a mate simply leaving their spouse which must be considered.
In the case of being pleased to dwell with you, If the unbeliever accepts the fact that this is your belief and is willing to live with you in spite of it, then you are bound to that person.
In all of these cases, it is important that the offended mate act on the information ( or infraction ie: adultery etc. and initiate the divorce) in a timely manner not years later. If you wait till things are bad years later and then claim a fraudulent marriage or an adulterous marriage or that you mate is not pleased to dwell with you, you have been willing to accept the person as your mate by living with them for years after the knowledge has come forth.
Also, there is an alternative to divorce.
If a relationship is continuously abusive, separation can be a valid choice. Again, there are many other possible situations that could come up in marriage such as spiritual, physical and mental abuse, addiction to drugs or alcohol, or a mate simply leaving his or her spouse which must be considered. In these cases, separation without formal divorce could be considered in the short term with the possibility of future repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation after meaningful counseling
Let us understand that once a marriage ends in divorce, the question of whether the individuals involved are permitted in God’s eyes to remarry or not must be considered. The bible does not give a lot of details in resolving some of these issues and therefore any decisions made must come only after much humble prayer, study and fasting so that God’s will can be done and not based in one’s desire to end the marriage.
In all cases, God wants us to enter into the covenant of marriage soberly and seriously, understanding its purpose and meaning for us today.