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Verses

When is a married couple permitted to separate?

Hello W,

Thank you for contacting BibleAsk.

The Lord teaches that when a couple get married they should remain together and not separate: “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). The marriage relationship was instituted and sanctified by God. All who enter upon the marriage relationship are therefore “joined” for life according to the original plan of God (Genesis 2:24).

God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and never intends for a couple to separate once they are married (Matthew 19:8). With the single exception being adultery (Matthew 19:9), divorce cannot be honored or recognized in heaven. Now many make the case for physical abuse being a valid reason for divorce. In such cases, logic would follow that separation from the abuser is necessary until treatment has been provided for all parties. At this point Christian counseling, prayer, and therapy should be able to help restore and heal the marriage.

Marital problems will arise between spouses. In an effort to find solutions, they often resort to temporary separations. But instead of reaching the desired goals, they often drift farther apart, eventually leading to divorce.  For this reason, we need to heed the Scripture warning in 1 Corinthians 7:10–11, “A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else go back to him. And the husband must not leave his wife.” In cases of separation, the rejected or separated wife should not marry another person, but should seek reconciliation with her husband.

Solomon the wisest man advises married people saying, “Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you in this world. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil” (Ecclesiastes 9:9). Marriage was ordained to bring supreme joy, and the home to be a little heaven on earth. To that goal the Lord promises to give complete restoration for the troubled ones that seek His healing power. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team