When is it alright for a married couple to separate?

As we might not always support married couples to separate, the Bible does address the matter: “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” (1 Corinthians 7:10,11).

Paul backs his godly command by pointing to the clear teaching given by Christ Himself. When there was no precise teaching from Jesus, the apostle gave clear, inspired counsel (v. 12).

The Lord taught that the marriage union was holy and unchanged (Matthew 5:31, 32; Mark 10:2–12; Luke 16:18). The command of Jesus gives no excuse for legal separation that are accepted by the civil courts today, such as incompatibility, mental cruelty, and others of a more insignificant nature.

The Greek and Roman laws permitted separation of husband and wife for trivial reasons. The same was true also among the Jews (Matthew 5:32). This state of society without a doubt caused the believers to raise the question of the propriety of separation among them. The reply is plainly given; divorce is not in God’s perfect plan for humanity. The only reason for which divorce is allowed is adultery (Matthew 19:9).

The importance here given to the wife may be based on the fact that there was a greater disposition for the wife to obtain a divorce. Being the weaker partner, she was more liable to suffer cruelty by her an unbelieving husband.

However, there is sometimes marital differences that would not be restored by love and Christian patience, and separation would result. In such cases the rejected or separated wife should not marry another person, but she should seek reconciliation with her husband.

But if a person puts other members in the family in a life threatening situation, couples are advised to separate. At that point, separation isn’t an option, it’s a survival matter.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Subscribe to our Weekly Updates:

Get our latest answers straight to your inbox when you subscribe here.

You May Also Like