I read the headlines the other day and I learned that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes split. Wasn’t it a few years ago that Cruise jumped over the couch on stage before Oprah with excitement for having Katie. What went wrong? We really can’t point fingers. But divorce is a serious issue in today’s world affecting even the hottest couples who have everything going for them love, excitement, money and kids.
When couples fall in love and decide to get married and vow to stay together till death, do these vows have an expiration dates?
After marriage, suddenly reality hits. Couples are faced with money problems, career issues, unfaithfulness, children, in law interferences, stress… and this word “divorce” seems to be the only solution for all their problems.
Is divorce really the answer? Let’s think about this for a while:
Will divorce really fix the money problems and improve the financial situation in the marriage? Will it enrich the distressed couples? Is it the answer to career issues? Will a single parent have better chance in building his or her future? Is it a guarantee against unfaithfulness? Will divorce ensure that affairs will never happen? Will children live happier and fulfilled lives with single parents?
What does the Bible have to say about divorce and when is it allowed?
God said in Malachi 2:16: “I hate divorce, says the LORD God of Israel.” If divorce really works, God would have advised it, but instead He said, “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6).
Some may say, but God allowed it in the Old Testament. God knew that since marriages involve two sinful human beings, divorces may occur. In the Old Testament, He laid down some laws in order to protect the rights of divorcees, especially women (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Jesus pointed out that these laws were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, not because they were God’s will (Matthew 19:8).
Many use the following verses as a valid Biblical reason for divorce found in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9: “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.” “except for marital unfaithfulness” is the only phrase in the Scripture that possibly gives God’s permission for divorce and remarriage.
“Marital unfaithfulness” is an allowance for divorce, not a requirement for it. Even when adultery is committed, a couple can, through God’s grace, choose to forgive and begin rebuilding their marriage in the same manner that God forgives us and gives us a new chance to start all over (Ephesians 4:32). However, if a spouse is unrepentant and continues in sexual immorality, then Matthew 19:9 can possibly be applied.
The Lord is in the business of restoration and recreation of new hearts if the couples are willing to cooperate.
Before, you think of divorce, think of rekindling your first love.