Can I divorce my husband for committing adultery in his mind?

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Biblical grounds for divorce

The Bible gives two clear grounds for divorce:

(1) sexual immorality / adultery

Jesus said, “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 5:32).

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9).

The Greek word translated “marital unfaithfulness” is a word which can mean fornication, prostitution, adultery, etc.

(2) abandonment by an unbeliever

But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15).

Even in these two instances divorce is not required or even encouraged. Confession, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration are always the best course to take. Divorce should only be viewed as a last resort. The Lord said, “I hate divorce, says the Lord God” (Malachi 2:16). Therefore, the man who divorces his lawful wife covers his “garment with violence (RSV)”; that is, he covers himself with sin and its consequences.

Marriage in the Bible

According to the Bible, marriage is a lifetime commitment. Jesus said, “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:5,6). The marriage relationship was instituted by God. And all who enter upon the marriage relationship are therefore “joined,” according to the original plan of God, for life.

Jesus pointed out that the divorce laws were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, not because they were God’s desire (Matthew 19:8). According to Christ’s words, the OT law that made provision for divorce was a concession to meet the imperfect circumstances (Deuteronomy 24:4). However, Christ’s instruction, here, makes it obvious that the provisions of Moses’ law with respect to divorce are not for the NT believers (Matthew 19:9).

Even when actual physical adultery is committed, a couple can, through God’s grace, can learn to forgive and begin rebuilding their marriage. God has forgiven humans so much and they should be willing to forgive one another instead of resorting to divorce (Ephesians 4:32).

Conclusion

While sexual thoughts are the seeds of adultery, they are not the physical action of it and don’t give grounds for divorce. Therefore, pray for your husband the he may submit his mind to the changing power of the Holy Spirit. And the Lord promised to honor the prayer of faith. “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill” (Psalm 3:4).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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