It was also said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.” But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.Matthew 5:31-32
God is serious about marriage. Christ here, (Christ who is the exact representation of God’s being) and in other places of scripture, says that if we divorce our spouse, we cause them to commit adultery. It’s not that they committed adultery. But if you divorce them, it causes or makes them to commit adultery. If they were sexually immoral, they have already committed adultery. But if you divorce them, even though they’ve not committed sexual immorality, then you make them to commit adultery – even if they don’t commit adultery in the future.
Read that over again, and read the above words of Jesus again, and think about it.
That is the severity of God’s thoughts on marriage. God is passionate about marriage.
God does not like divorce and he wants marriages to last. God’s will for our lives concerning sexuality and marriage can be found, again in Christ’s words, in Mark 10:6-9, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” If at anytime anyone suggests that God’s will for someone is divorce, I reject and question that suggestion, because I know that it is never God’s will for anyone. There are so many places in the Bible where we can see it. And we know within ourselves that divorce is not God’s way, nor is it something we desire for ourselves or anyone we know.
Deep down inside – forgetting for a moment about how difficult marriage can be and how difficult and abusive and manipulative he or she is – we know God wants and we want our marriages to last, and we want to do God’s way as it is expressed above…. “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” And we know we want God to empower us to have Hosea kind of love for our spouse. And not just Hosea kind of love, but Christ’s kind of love, which is the love that lays down his life for his friends and a love that loves while we were still sinners.
I do not think a person should be abused or cheated on in a marriage, and I realize that some believe that these are grounds for divorce. But, they are not. They are likely grounds for separation, and legal separation in some cases. But, not legal separation for the purpose of considering whether or not to divorce. Separation is sometimes needed in order to have a prolonged amount of time away from each other, in order for each to have time to pray and get connected to God, in order for Christ to be formed in husband and wife.
In all honesty, we’ve all had the most difficult marriages. If you’re married… you, me, we all know it and we’ve all had the most difficult marriages. And so we know. We know what each of us is passing through. We know what our families are passing through and have experienced. I don’t need to know your specific experience and you don’t need to know mine. If you know yours, then you know mine. I don’t need to know the dirt about your spouse and you, and you don’t need to know the dirt about my spouse and me. We’re all dirty. We’re all really dirty. Nevertheless, God wants our marriages to last. God wants us to love each other as Christ loves us… while we are still sinners.
And you know what? We can’t do that in our flesh and in our own strength. We have to have Christ living inside of us in order to love as Christ loves. We have to live by the Holy Spirit living within us and we have to hear his voice and read the word and spend time with Jesus on the daily… and sometimes we need to get away from spouse for awhile in order to pursue Christ so that he can be formed in us. Also, we need to get away from spouse for awhile so that we can hear his voice and train ourselves to hear his voice so that we can speak and act when Christ by his spirit living inside of us moves us to speak and act and NOT speak and act. Sometimes we do more damage by speaking and acting instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to speak and work in the hearts and lives of our spouses. (Especially us women. We are prone to talk too much and be clingy, instead of giving our husbands space to spend time alone to think about and solve problems.)
Primarily, God takes marriage so seriously because it points the way to salvation and to intimacy and a life lived with God. Marriage is a picture of Christ and his bride – the church. God takes marriage seriously because he never divorces us. We might divorce him, but he never divorces us and is always in pursuit until death do us part, and by death I mean, death forever because we continued to reject him until the day we died.
Father, I pray that you help us to understand your great and glorious and serious thoughts and mandates on marriage. And God, help us to spend time with you and be filled with your spirit and your ways so that we can love our spouses the way Christ loves us. Amen.