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Marriage - Divorce - Remarriage
"Restoring Relationships"

Recognizing that these are confusing and controversial subjects with many, I believe that it is important to address the issues from a Scriptural view.  Although this article will attempt to explain some major difficulties with divorce and remarriage, it is not intended to condemn or offend anyone who has been divorced and is now remarried.
The final section will be upon "Restoring Relationships".


I. Some Biblical references to the purpose of marriage.

A.  Genesis 1:27  "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."  God created us as sexual beings, and He said that is good.

B.  Genesis 2:18 " And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."  God ordained marriage with the first purpose being of companionship.

B. Genesis 2:24  "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."   The purpose is to become one flesh.  Although this definitely involves the physical aspect, it also involves the soul (mind, will, and emotions) and the spirit.

C. Matthew 19:5  "And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?"    The couple is to leave parents and cleave to one another into a permanent union.  Mark 10:6-8  "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.    For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;   And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh."   Mark repeats the outline for clarity.  Many problems occur when a couple step from under the authority of their parents to get married.  Additional problems occur when a parent tries to control the couple's marriage.

D. Genesis 1:28  "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."  One purpose of marriage is procreation (child bearing).

E. Ephesians 5:31-32  "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.   This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."    We can see here a picture of Christ and His Church.  Marriage is a picture of the eternal union between Christ and His bride, the Church.

II. Marriage Vows are to be taken solemnly.
A. We should understand that the marriage vows are before God as well as men.

B. It is common that a couple make a vow before God "unto death do us depart".

C.  Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 "When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay." This is God's view of vows. He take marriage vows quite seriously.

III. Illegal Marriages (From a Biblical view).
A. Leviticus 18:22  "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."    (sodomite).

B. Romans 1:26-27.  "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."    (homosexual).

C.  Leviticus 20:21  "And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless."    Matthew 14:3-4  "For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.   For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her."   (incest)

D  Leviticus 18:18  "Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time."  Leviticus 20:11  "And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."    I Corinthians 5:1 "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife."  (incest).

E.  Matthew 1:19 "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily."  Joseph thought that Mary had been unfaithful during the engagement period.  This would be considered a fraudulent relationship.  (One was allowed to put away their "engaged ... wife to be" if she was unfaithful during the engagement period.)


I. Some Scripture passages on the subject of divorce.

A.  Malachi 2:14-16  "Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.  For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously." God hates divorce!  When one puts away his wife he deals treacherously with her.  This means that he puts her in a position of temptation to have a relation with another man.

B. I Corinthians 7:10-11 "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife."  We understand that from this passage that divorce is generally not permitted.

C.  Matthew 19:6  "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."   Mark 10:9  "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." God commands us not to seek divorce!

D.  Matthew 19:7-8  "They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so."  Mark 10:4-5  "And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.  And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept."   God did not intend for divorce to occur.  In the Old Testament, God only allowed a separation because of their hardness of heart.

E.  I Corinthians 7:15  "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace."    Separation is allowed when the unbelieving spouse demands separation by leaving.

II. When is divorce right? (The "exception clause")
A. Matthew 5:32  "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."  Matthew 19:9 "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."   The word translated "fornication" is Matthew can only mean in the context of these scriptures "an illegal marriage relationship" which in fact should be dissolved.  Again, illegal marriages would be pertaining to "incest" or "sodomite" or "fraudulent" marriage relations.

B.  Matthew 5:28  "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."  If "adultery" was the exception, then a woman would have grounds for divorce the first time her husband looked with lust upon another woman.

III. The Nature of divorce.
A. I Corinthians 7:15  "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace." The separated partner is not under the law (the legal control) of their spouse.

B.  Matthew 5:32  "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."  Matthew 19:9  "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."   Luke 16:18  "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery."    The scripture does not indicate a freedom to remarry!  Please note that the scriptures suggest the idea of "adultery" when remarriage occurs.  How can adultery be involved if "divorce" is with a freedom to remarry????

IV. A look at the penalty for adultery in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
A. Leviticus 20:10 "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." In the O.T. the penalty for adultery was not divorce, but stoning.

B. John 8:4-11 "They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.    Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?   This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.    So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?    She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."  Here, Jesus taught the principles of forgiveness and repentance.


I.  Remarriage from a Scriptural view.

A.  Mark 10:11  "And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her."  Luke 16:18  "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery."   Remarriage is not permitted after divorce.

B. I Corinthians 7:27  "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife."  One was not to remarry after being loosed from a marriage.

C. I Corinthians 7:11  "But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife."  One was to remain unmarried after been loosed.

D.  Romans 7:2-3 "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.  So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man."  One is only set free to remarry through the death of their spouse.

E.   Leviticus 21:7  "They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God."  A priest was not to marry a divorced person.   Revelation 1:6  "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."   Believers are to be kings and priests unto God.

II.  Looking at the "she may go" clause.
A.  Deuteronomy 24:1-2 "When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.  And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife."   The "she may go" does not denote permission to remarry, but the matter of fact that she does remarry. The "may" indicates "perhaps".

B.  Deuteronomy 24:3-4  "And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;  Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance."   The woman is considered "defiled" and her original husband is not to remarry her again.

C.  Jeremiah 3:1 "They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD."

III. It is often said, "But I need a mate" or "She is a single mom and needs a father figure for her children."

A. The Scripture Genesis 2:18 "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."  is often used to justify remarriage.  Another Scripture that I have heard used is Mark 6:7 "And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits."   

B. However, other Scriptures can also come into play.

1.  God can be a husband to the divorced woman.   Isaiah 54:5 "For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called." 

2. Even when the family deserts one God can step in.  Psalms 27:10 "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up." 

3.  God is to be a father to the fatherless.  Psalms 68:5 "A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation."    

4. The church is to play a part in helping.  James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."  

5. God can supply all the individual needs.  Philippians 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

From a psychological view, many people get married thinking that marriage will solve their problems when it just compounds them.  Others leave a marriage to get away from problems rather that facing them and submitting them to God for Him to work in their lives.  Furthermore, many people who are divorced get remarried thinking that the new marriage will resolve their issues only to find that they have carried their issues into the new relationship.  The baggage from one marriage is just carried into the new marriage.  Furthermore, the new marriage partner is almost always compared to the previous one in most every way including sexually.

Personal note:  I am convinced that God is merciful and full of grace and is willing to work in our lives no matter what state of matrimony we are in.  However, "the state of matrimony" does effect how God works in our lives.
1. If you are single.  Carefully consider if or not you are to be married and to whom you are to marry.  God will lead you to make the right decision.  Marriage is to be a life time commitment.  See: "To Date or Not To Date".

2. If you are married.  Submit your marriage to God and let Him resolve the issues.  See:  "For Men Only" or "For Women Only".

3. If you are divorced.  Let God be your husband and allow Him to be the provider for your life.  See: "Overcoming Loneliness".

Restoring Relationships

    If you are have marriage difficulties and/or looking at getting a divorce, please prayerfully consider the following material.  God can intervene and change what seems like impossible relationships.   Mark 9:23  "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."   Even if you are divorced and you or your spouse has not remarriage, then consider what God can do in restoring your marriage.

    People, by themselves, can not rebuild a broken marriage.  Palms 127:1 "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."   God is the Restorer! Joel 2:21  "Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things."  Joel 2:25 "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you." Isaiah 58:12  "And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in."

    The following steps should be taken to restore a proper relationship with others.  Each step should be taken in proper order and that with proper counsel.  Do not omit any steps.

I. Be sure that you are saved.  Jeremiah 29:13  "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.Searching For Truth  What Must I Do To Be Saved.

A. Romans 3:10 = There is none righteous.
B. Romans 3:23 = All have sinned.
C. Romans 5:12 = The penalty is spiritual death.
D. Romans 6:23 = The wages of sin is (spiritual) death.
E. Isaiah 53:6 = Jesus took our sin upon himself.
F. Romans 5:8  = Jesus died for us.
G. Romans 10:9-10 = You must give you life to Jesus letting Him become you Lord (ruler, king, boss).
II. Be sure that you have victory over sin.  Psalms 66:18  "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."
A. Acknowledge and ask God to release you from the effects of the sins of your forefathers (parents, grandparents, & etc.)  Exodus 20:5, Jeremiah 14:20.  How To Destroy The Evil Tree.

B. Acknowledge and ask forgiveness of any known sin in your own life.  I John 1:9.

C. See yourself joined together unto Jesus in his death and resurrection (see yourself dead to sin but alive to righteousness). Romans 6:1-18.

III. Be sure that you have a clear conscience before God.  Acts 24:16 "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men."  Also see: Hebrews 9:14; 10:22.  Get A Clear Conscience
A. List and forgive all the offenses of the other person.  Luke 11:4, Matthew 18:21-25.

B. List and personally ask the other person to forgive you of any offenses that they have against you. Matthew 5:23-24.

1. Admit that you were wrong (without blaming them).
2. Say, "Please forgive me".
3. Try to get a positive answer from them recognizing that they may have difficulty forgiving you.  Proverbs 18:19.
C. Ask God to heal your broken and bruised heart. Isaiah 53:3-5, Luke 4:18, Psalms 147:3. Healing For The Emotions

D. Ask God to replace hurt and bitterness with His love for the other person.  Ephesians 4:31-32, I John 4:10-11.

IV. Join in prayer with another Believer to bind the work of Satan in the life of the other person.  Matthew 18:18-20, Mark 3:27, Jude 1:9.  (See material at the bottom of the page).

V. Pray a "wall" or "hedge of thorns" about the other person to protect them from wrong outside influence and to bring them into proper relationship with God and with you.  Job. 1:10, Hosea 2:5-7.  See "Paying The Hedge".  (Also see material at the bottom of the page).   

A. Pray according to the Scriptures (God's will). I John 5:14-15.

B. Scriptural basis: (1) Marriage partner = Matthew 19:6, (2) Lost person = I Timothy 2:4, II Peter 3:9, Praying For The Unsaved, (3) In authority over = I Timothy 2:1-8, (4) Children = Ephesians 6;:1-3, (5) In authority under = Ephesians 6:5-8, (6) Fathers = Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:20.  "Household Salvation".

VI. Begin to prayerfully tear down the stronghold with the mighty Word of God.  Ephesians 6:10-20, II Corinthians 10:4.  (See material that the bottom of the page).  Also see: Praying God's Promises

VII. Begin to rebuild your relationship on the Word of God.  II Timothy 3:16-17, James 1:21-25.   See: Sowing Seed In Marriage.


I. "Binding Satan".

Satan and his demon powers, which have access to the minds of people, through thought suggestion lie to, deceive, and lead people away from the truth and into spiritual blindness. A Believer, when in agreement with another Believer, has the authority to "bind" Satan and his demon powers in the Name of Jesus. That is, a Believer can put a stop to the work of Satan in the life of another person.  When Satan is bound, the person is freed to think without direct intervention from Satan. (Matthew 18:18-20, Mark 3:27, Jude 1:9).  Also see "Salvation Through Binding."

II. Praying "the hedge".

A. One purpose of the hedge is to protect one from  wrong outside influence.  Satan and his demon powers also influence people from the outside (1) through temporally fulfilling one's wrong goals, (2) through the wrong influence of other people, and (3) through deceiving circumstances.  "Praying The Hedge".

B. The second purpose of the hedge is to bring one under the direct influence of God.  God can put such great pressure (through other people and circumstances) on that person that they will change their mind and desire to be brought into a proper relationship with God and also others.  Note: (Hosea 2:5-7) (1) she would not find her paths or wrong goals would not be fulfilled, (2) she would not overtake her lovers or wrong influence would be beyond her reach, (3) she would not find her lovers or wrong influence could not be found, and (4) God would cause her to desire to return to her husband or God will directly influence by pressure to bring about a change of mind.

God will not violate a person's will, but the pressure that God can put on one may be unbearable.  God knows just what pressure to use if ever that person will change their mind.  Examples:  The Pharaoh who said that he would not let the people go, later under pressure did let them go (actually drove them out) (Exodus 5:2, 13:17). Saul, a man who was killing Believers, met Jesus and became a Believer himself.  (Acts (9:1-6).

III. "Casting down strongholds".

Satan and his demon powers plant wrong thoughts in the mind of a person which becomes strongholds for Satan (especially as the person acts upon those thoughts) which keep that person from doing what is right.

A Believer may ask God to cast down those strongholds of wrong thoughts in that person by implanting the truths of specific scriptures which are in contrast with the wrong thoughts.  One should ask God to reveal the strongholds in the life of the other person, find the scriptures that are in contrast to the wrong thoughts, and then begin to ask God to tear down those strongholds based on the scripture.  When the strongholds are torn down the person is free to think the right thoughts. (Ephesians 6:10-20, II Corinthians 10:4).

You may find additional material on battling for your relationships by looking at "Spiritual Warfare Menu".

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