What does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage?

For the final post in the GotQuestions.org Top 20 series, the topic is perhaps the most frustrating and discouraging. What does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage? It is extremely sad that the divorce rate among Christians is, according to some studies, almost as high as the percentage as among non-Christians. Most studies peg the divorce rate among professing Christians at nearly 50%. Almost half of all marriages, supposedly built with Christ as the foundation, fail.

Biblically speaking, remarriage is a much tougher issue than divorce. Usually, when people ask us a question like, "Can I get a divorce because of ______?" what they are really asking is "Can I get a divorce because of ______, and then get remarried?" Sadly, the idea of abandoning your spouse and breaking your most solemn vow is not a sufficient deterrent. It is only if there is no remarriage allowed after the divorce that the idea of divorce becomes less attractive for some.

While it is strongly spoken against (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:6), the Bible does seem to allow divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Matthew 19:9). But, remarriage after a divorce seems only to be allowed under certain circumstances (Matthew 19:9; 1 Corinthians 7:15). Of course, there is a huge amount of disagreement over the circumstances, but, the majority of Bible scholars believe that remarriage after a divorce is permissible when adultery or abandonment has occurred.

For this blog post, though, I don't really want to get into the debate. The debate is covered in the GotQuestions.org articles listed below. In this blog post, what I really want to say is "What is wrong with you people?!?!"

Stay true to your vows! Prove yourself to be a man or woman of integrity by not abandoning the most sacred of all human relationships. Stop giving the unbelieving world an excuse to blaspheme God (Romans 2:24)! Don't subject your children to the pain of divorce. Don't subject your parents to the pain of divorce. Don't subject yourself to the pain of divorce. Stop destroying what is intended to illustrate Christ's undying affection for the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Forgive, don't forsake. Build, don't abandon. Love, don't leave!

Now that I have had my opportunity to vent a little, don't get me wrong, I entirely understand that many people try everything to save a marriage, and the marriage still ends in divorce. If one spouse is hell-bent on getting a divorce, there is ultimately nothing the other spouse can do to stop it. I also entirely recognize that being married to certain people is painful—spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I am not telling an abused spouse that he/she must remain with the abuser. I am not saying that a spouse has to live with a serial adulterer. I am not against the possibility that a temporary separation might best serve the purpose of reconciliation and healing. My rant is directed towards those who are abandoning their marriages for no good cause. My rant is directed towards those who are causing the divorces. My rant is directed toward those who have "fallen out of love" with their spouse and have decided that they need to find their true "soul mate." It is to these people that "God hates divorce" (Malachi 2:16) is directed.

If there is any point of thanks I have, it is gratitude for the motivation you have given me. Thank you for motivating me to stay true to my vows, to love my wife, and to honor God by remaining committed to my marriage.

S. Michael Houdmann

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What does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage?