A Christian man is allowed to marry only one wife, and a Christian woman may only have one husband. This is the way God created marriage in the Garden of Eden and this is how He would like it to be today. A man and a woman who get married are supposed to remain married for their entire lives. Jesus gave only one reason why a man and a woman could divorce and that is if either the husband or the wife commits adultery. Christians are not permitted to have sex with a person who is not their marriage partner.

If a husband or wife commits adultery there can be a divorce

There is only one condition that Jesus gave that allowed people to get a divorce, and that is if one spouse committed adultery. Jesus did not say that the couple had to get a divorce, He just said that God would allow them to. The spouses can forgive each other and continue in their married life. If the spouse who did not commit adultery forgives their spouse they can remain married, it is their choice.

Some people asked Jesus: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” (Matthew 19:3).

And Jesus answered them by saying: “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.… Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.” (Matthew 19:4-8).

Can a husband or wife divorce if there has been no adultery?

The Bible teaches us that: “But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife.” (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Can you divorce your husband or wife if they are not a Christian?

No you cannot. If your spouse is not a Christian, and you are, you are not allowed to divorce them just because they are not Christians. God does not want people to divorce for that reason. You can pray for your spouse and ask God to change their hearts but you cannot divorce them just because they are not Christians.

The Bible teaches us: “Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a fellow believer has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her. And if a believing woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him.” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).

What if your non-Christian spouse leaves you because you are a Christian?

If your non-Christian spouse leaves you, you can feel free to marry again. However, Paul says this teaching is from him, and not a direct command from the Lord, but it is what he thinks is best. If you are a Christian and your spouse leaves you, Paul teaches that: “But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the believing husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace. Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?” (1 Corinthians 10:15-16).

God hates divorce

God teaches in the Bible that He hates divorce. And the reason He hates divorce is that it is very destructive and causes a lot of pain and grief to family members. Divorce causes relationships to break down. Divorce causes pain and suffering and emotional and psychological scars on family members. Many children suffer when their parents get a divorce. The children may be left with a lot of anger and confusion over what their parents did.

The Bible teaches us: “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.” (Proverbs 3:27).

Married couples should especially do all that they can to keep their marriage together. The Bible says: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35).

In a marriage you will have to forgive your spouse many times

In a marriage people have to forgive each other many times. One day Peter asked Jesus how many times someone should forgive someone else for the sins that they committed. The Bible says: “Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:21-22).

So we learn that as married couples we will have to forgive our spouses hundreds and thousands of times for the same sins that our spouses commit against us. We need to accept that we are all sinners and that we all sin against each other. But especially in a marriage where 2 people are living together in the same house, every day, for many, many years.

In this situation married couples have to really learn and exercise forgiveness to each other. Love and forgiveness is the only way a marriage will be able to last. But with God, all things are possible.

© Somali Christian Ministries, 2014
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