There no longer seems to be much of a stigma attached to divorce; it is now seen as an unavoidable rite of passage,” the researcher indicated. “Interviews with young adults suggest that they want their initial marriage to last, but are not particularly optimistic about that possibility. There is also evidence that many young people are moving toward embracing the idea of serial marriage, in which a person gets married two or three times, seeking a different partner for each phase of their adult life. – George Barna
The Barna Group reports that 84% of Born Again Christians get married. Have you ever heard that statistic that Christians divorce as much as non-Christians? Well, I have good news. That’s not really true. More focused study is showing that divorce rates are lower for dedicated Christians as opposed to nominal ones (The Christian Divorce Rate Myth & Marriage, Divorce & The Church).
The bad news is that divorce is still happening among us.
So, here you are, divorced. You don’t want to be alone the rest of your life, right? God wants you to be happy right? That leaves you with the question of the century:
Should I get remarried?
I know I’m blogging about this and all, but I don’t really think it’s my job to answer this for you. I don’t think it is my job to persuade you to my side of a debate. I think God is asking me to open the door to self-examination on a practice that our culture has accepted sight unseen.
Let’s dig in.
First, I want to start with a different question.
Should I be divorced?
What does the bible say about divorce?
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Gen. 2:24
Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?”
Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?”
“Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.”
But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again. He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.” Mark 10:2-12
“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” Malachi 2:16
Before you entertain remarriage, you have to reconcile your divorce with the author of marriage, who intended your marriage to last, like the vow says, til death do you part.
Remember God hates divorce. Anything that God hates is a really, really big deal.
A list of God’s hates include:
- Haughty eyes
- a lying tongue
- hands that shed innocent blood
- a heart that devises wicked plans
- feet that run rapidly to evil
- a false witness who utters lies
- one who spreads strife among brothers (Prov. 6:16-19)
Dabbling in any of God’s aversions is no joke.
Additionally, Jesus effectively limited the allowance for divorce specifically to an unfaithful spouse. A more literal translation renders it “for the reason of unchastity” (NASB).
So under the guidance of those passages ask, does God want me divorced? Does God allow my divorce? Does God forgive my divorce?
Like anything in our pursuit of Jesus, we have to figure out what pleases him. The truth is, no one can answer that but Jesus. If you feel unsure about your divorce, ask him to show you. Maybe this teaching is just really hard for you accept. I understand. You have to wrestle that one out with the Lord. As always, your call is to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” Phil 2:21
As you are working, here’s the challenge, be honest. Allow yourself to consider what God’s desires are for marriage, for you, for your ex and for your kids. Ask yourself what brings your holy God the most glory?
Can I remarry?
Asking if you should be divorced is not one in the same with can you remarry.
The bible doesn’t say a whole lot about remarriage. Here are a few recorded teachings of Jesus.
“A man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” Luke 16:18
- Husband divorces wife. Marries a new wife. It is sin.
- Man marries divorced woman. It is sin.
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.” Mt. 19:8-9
The rule is if you get divorced and marry someone else it is adultery. Jesus makes an exception to the rule here for “unfaithfulness.” That’s the question to wrestle with in this one. What makes someone unfaithful?
A few various translations say:
- sexual immorality
- sexual sin
Should I get remarried?
Should is different than can. What we are really saying is this what is best?
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. 1 Cor. 10:23-24
What are some things that would make remarriage not beneficial?
Chance for Reconciliation
God is a God of reconciliation. Jesus is the Lord of reconciliation. Christ-followers must represent the message of reconciliation- in everything, including marriages gone wrong.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 2 Cor. 5:19
In the same chapter where Jesus discusses the unfaithful spouse he also says:
“Some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” Mt. 19:12
The Kingdom of Heaven far out weighs earthly marriage and its fringe benefits- everytime.
“And what does he want? Godly children from your union”. Mal. 2:15
Even if your union isn’t unified, God still wants children that will follow him. You are still responsible to present God-honoring children to your Father. Will getting remarried help or hurt that cause? Will it embitter your children? Will it provoke rebellion? If you aren’t sure, ask them.
The hard truth is that research shows the impact of divorce on children is more devastating and produces more negative emotions than the death of a parent. Hurting kids need reassurance, affection and healing. A parent distracted with new romance isn’t reassuring. Affection usually isn’t welcomed from a new step parent. Most of the time, taking a back seat to a new husband hurts more instead of healing.
Let God be enough
Ladies, let’s be honest, most of us chase marriage to fill something inside of us. We want to be complete. We want to find happily ever after. How’d that work the first time?
The truth is that no guy, no marriage and no husband can fill the God-sized void in our hearts.
Before remarriage is even on your radar, let God be enough. He is a pretty awesome God. He loves you. He is looking out for you!
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Mt. 6:33