A couple of years ago, I had an encounter with a young lady who was at her wits end. She had just learned that her husband and children’s father had an affair and had fathered, not one, but two children outside of their marriage. She was extremely frustrated at the fact that many people in her circle of friends and acquaintances knew of this affair and the first love child, and chose not to tell her. She learned of the affair as the mistress was about to give birth to baby number two. As a Christian, she solicited my advice concerning what I felt she should do in the situation. She point blank asked me, “can I leave my husband, he cheated on me?” I was a little speechless, and was trying to think fast on my feet. I knew that she was eager to hear what I had to say, but more importantly I knew that I could not say something that could lead this young lady to make one of the most important decisions of her life. I then responded, “let’s see what the bible says about divorce.” She continued sharing as I frantically looked for scriptures on my Bible Gateway app to share with her. I feverishly scrolled through the Old Testament then the New Testament looking for scriptures to share.
First off, in Malachi 2:6, the bible says, “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. The scripture passage before this one ends with the words, do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. God knows the pain and shame that is caused by a spouse’s unfaithfulness and warns of infidelity by telling husbands not to harm their wives by first of all hating them, then by being unfaithful and finally divorcing them. God clearly does not like divorce, however, God knows that man and woman are not perfect and that we live in a fallen world. He knew that infidelity would exist. And therefore gave Moses guidelines in the Law where divorce was acceptable. In Deuteronomy 24:1, the bible says that a man can divorce his wife if he finds something indecent about her; and in the New Testament in Matthew 5:32 the bible clearly states sexual immorality as an acceptable reason for a divorce.
Now back to my conversation with this young lady, I tried to distract her from the subject as much as possible, but did read through the scriptures that I found concerning divorce. And she of course was relieved and jubilant when I read Matthew 5:32, exclaiming, “see, the bible says that sexual immorality is a reason for divorce!” I could not disagree with her, but continued my tactic of distracting her.
Matthew 5:32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (NIV)
Based on what the bible says about divorce, one would conclude that a spouse can divorce based on unfaithfulness. This being true, it is not God’s original design for marriage. Realizing it was not good for man to be alone, God created Eve for Adam and stated that they were one flesh. And regarding marriage, “that for this reason shall a man leave his father and mother.” The man leaves his father and mother to become one with his wife. Clearly God’s original blue print for marriage was that it would be until death parted the couple. However, the part of the vow that says, “until death do us part” is not the reality for many couples. And like the young lady I was talking to, divorce becomes not only an option, but their reality.