Divorce: What does the bible say?

Divorce: good or bad?
Ok, here goes. There’s no possible way that I can make everyone happy with this blog post. Truthfully, the only people who are going to be happy with this post are the ones who share my views. I’m kinda’ expecting some hate mail after this is published, and that’s fine. I’ll even try to listen to your opinion with an open mind!
My good friend, Christine, shared [Matt Walsh’s] opinion about divorce, and I was surprised with how much I agree with him in this particular subject. (Especially because I think Matt comes across as arrogant and self righteous with almost everything he says. I have no respect for that man, but I happen to agree with him in this one area). In this post, though, I’m going to take it a step further. Oh yes. I’m going to actually quote from the Bible. You might not like what you’re about to read; just a fair warning.
Before I really get into it, I want to preface with this honest, thought-out opinion: People change. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worst. THERE WILL BE TIMES WHEN YOU’RE EXTREMELY UNHAPPY, and there will be times when you’re bored with the relationship. However, none of that is grounds for a divorce… If you take anything away from this post, remember this: unless marital unfaithfulness has occurred, divorce shouldn’t be an option. (Read Matthew 19:9 for more info).
**Update: Many people have brought up spousal abuse as being a legit reason to leave a marriage, and as someone who’s never experienced something so terrifying and life-threatening, I don’t know how you feel/felt. Never, in a million years, do I expect someone to stay in a relationship where people’s lives and health are in danger. And although I have yet to find scripture that speaks directly on abuse between a married man and woman (if you’ve found a reference, please share! I haven’t stopped looking, myself!) if I ever found myself in a life-threatening situation, especially where my daughter was in danger, then I believe I would leave. I don’t think I would hesitate. If you’ve left for the same reason, then I believe you did what you had to do to protect your precious child/children.**
Most of North America seems to have the same mindset when it comes to getting out of a marriage: “I’m not happy anymore. I deserve to be happy.” How completely selfish can we get, as a nation? What horrible examples we are passing on to future generations!! Instead of fleeing when times get difficult – dare I say it? – try praying about it. And don’t give up after a few months, or even years of prayer – I know from many other people’s testimonies how hard it is, but God can overcome. And I challenge you to start believing that: GOD CAN OVERCOME. He’s not a small, insignificant God.
(Bunny trail: People have shared with me that because of years of praying for their spouse consistently, they realized that God was transforming their own heart. Have you ever thought that God allows some of you to go through horrible times in your marriages because it may impact your heart and prayer life in such a way that you depend more on God? He is always striving to make us more like Him, and He’s not against using your marriage as one way to reach out to you.)
Before I continue, I want to say that I realize that I’ve only been married for 7 years, which isn’t a lot, but I’m not just giving you my opinion here. I’m going based off of The Bible. I want to add that Shawn and I have been through more than most still-married couples have. A lot can happen in 7 years, but after all is said and done, we stayed together. And trust me when I say that I know how hard it can get (and please don’t ask me to elaborate, because most of the time I don’t believe it’s helpful to indulge in reliving the past).
I want to wrap this up soon, but before I do, I want to take a moment to share with you something I saw yesterday that blew my mind. I am involved with a lot of photography groups on Facebook, and as I was scrolling through the news feed of one of my favorites, I saw a picture with two people in two separate life-sized bird cages. My first thought was: oh, that’s a neat concept! I wonder why they’re separated like that?… I think you know where I’m going with this, but I’ll continue anyway. The couple actually hired a photographer to take pictures to celebrate their separation.
This is where we are headed? Divorce parties and separation photo shoots? I can’t believe that anyone would want to document or celebrate such painful times. (And please, don’t fool yourself, someone always is in pain during a divorce. Whether it’s you, or your kids, or your parents, or your soon-to-be-ex, someone always gets hurt with a divorce.)
My point in writing this article is to encourage those who are single, about to get married, newly-weds, longly-weds (?), and separated that it’s not too late. Get some help: go to a Christian marriage counselor if you can. Pray together, read the bible together, pray for a change-of-heart for your spouse. It can get better, especially if you’re consistent in being selfless (<– that’s a biggie!), praying for your spouse and putting God first in your relationship. EVEN if you’re the only one who’s trying to make the marriage work.

Divorce: good or bad?

Remember that in this day and age, with all the technology out there, we expect immediate results for almost everything. This won’t happen immediately (And yes, I’m speaking from experience here, Shawn and I have had problems for sure) but don’t give up!
Lastly, if you need or want to talk with someone, please contact me. Call, text, email, whatever! I really don’t care if it’s 3 AM, and I don’t know you personally! If I don’t answer, keep calling until I do, or leave me a text and/or Voicemail.
April Christensen (located in Colo Springs):
Don’t give up. There are people out there with the same story as you, and they’ve pulled through and rebuilt their marriage. You never know, we may have the same story! Don’t hesitate. Do it now. Call me.

Divorce: good or bad?


18 thoughts on “Divorce: What does the bible say?

  1. I understand where this post came from. But, to approach the subject of divorce with broad and sweeping generalizations, doesn’t help to foster good will. Unfortunately, we are all sinners and society as a whole reflects this. There will always be people who do divorce for things we observe as being petty, and I’m with you on being bewildered by ‘divorce parties’ and ‘divorce photo’ ops. But I think you should’ve focused only there.

    In all honesty, it is EXTREMELY easy to talk about divorce while never have gone through something as traumatic as divorce. And in all honesty, that is where your blog with so many other people of faith go wrong. You see, what a person who has actually gone through a divorce hears, is judgment. They do not read understanding. They see a person who has a very strong conviction (and in your post in specifics, photo’s of two very young and happy people – no matter if that is the truth or not, that is what the photo’s portray) but does not know how horrible divorce really is.

    I as a reader and as a person who has gone through divorce, I really only want to hear divorce wisdom from the writer who has indeed gone though divorce. Otherwise, its just another ‘holier than thou’ post with good intentions.

    In my story, I did EVERYTHING right in my first marriage. Well, according to what I was told to do by my church and members of the church. I never was physically abused, but me and my son where verbally abused and neglected on a daily basis. I prayed long and hard over 10 years and had to deal with my then husband choosing porn and his job over me and his son. I took my vows extremely seriously, as I had vowed to God I would. He actually, left me. He had an affair and choose his mistress over his family and I couldn’t do a dang thing about it.

    The funny thing was, the only people besides my family that showed me love through this, was other divorcees. People who felt ashamed of getting divorced or incredibly depressed or whatever; they held me up in prayer and love.

    I am only sharing my story with you and your readers to hopefully open your mind to the idea that divorce is not black and white. That instead of judging and generalizing divorce – no matter the circumstance- reach out like Jesus would’ve, with love. And maybe some understanding on top of that, and maybe instead of taking your frustration out in a blog form, you might partner up and just care for someone who is going through or has gone through a divorce. And just be there for them with love. And I promise if you do that, your whole view of divorce as a whole will not be so easy to dismiss what is okay and what is not. For the real trial will be, will you show love? Or will you show judgment? Will you accept and love the sinners around you, such as Jesus did? Or will you become a pharisee asking Jesus why he would let a sinner cleanse his feet?

    1. Rose,

      I’m so sorry you went through that, and I believe that you were in the right. The bible says that if the husband or wife has an affair, the other person has every right to ask for a divorce. I’m amazed that you weren’t even the one who left. I have a lot of respect for you, and I don’t even know half of what went on. So, I definitely agree with a lot of what you said; I strive to be a person with an open mind, and I enjoy listening to other people’s opinions.

      I’m also sorry that this came across as judgmental. The main reason I felt that God prompted me to write this post was to discourage married people from divorcing their current spouse. And I’m very glad I prayerfully wrote it. While it may have come across as “Holier Than Thou” to some people – and I really hate that it did – it was exactly what other people needed to hear. I was amazed at the number of people who reached out to me with prayer requests and marriage advice. As far as I know, most, if not all, of those people have decided to work on their marriage instead of just giving up.

      Additional Note to Readers: I want everyone to know that I realize there are circumstances that are outside of our control, and I would never expect anyone to stay in an abusive marriage. I wouldn’t, myself. Especially if my daughter was in danger. My objective in writing this post was to be firm, factual and back up my opinions with God’s word. And again, I’m sorry if this offends people. That’s not at all what I was after. My goal was to help save marriages on the brink of divorce in any way that I could. And I think God used me to help a lot of people.

  2. I agree that far too many leave marriage for no good reason, but most people I know who are divorced, did it for very serious reasons, such as sexual or physical abuse of themselves or the children, long term porn use or adultery. My husband and I were both previously divorced for such serious reasons, in fact his wife cheated and then divorced HIM. We are blessed by God to have had 9 years of marriage to each other which have been awesome. God is the God of new beginnings and fresh starts.

  3. He cheated on her….there was her out. And April did approach the subject with the fact that she would never stay in a marriage where there was abuse. I was in a cheating, lying marriage…I got out of it and now have a very happy marriage (oh, sure , we fight and argue and have our disagreements – both of us are ALFAs so it can be hard) with a kind, loving, sweet man.

  4. I see several comments regarding abuse as a “valid” reason for divorce – but no one is providing scripture to back that up. If you are in an abusive relationship, then by all means leave. Protect yourself and your children. But leaving for safety’s sake is different than opting for a divorce.

    If you don’t think people can change (i.e. an abuser getting saved and turning their life around) then you really don’t believe scripture at all. Scripture teaches your vow is a lifetime vow – for better or for worse. Read Hosea, stick it out, and pray for salvation and a changed life. No matter how strongly you “feel” that you have a reason for divorce, if Scripture (and God, the author of marriage) doesn’t support it, then it’s nothing more than your own desire.

    1. Scripture regarding abuse doesn’t need to found to back up divorce, I’m adult whose mother is still married to my step father that cheats on her, both physically and mentally abuses her, and molested me for 6 years…she should have divorced his ass years ago. And God would have been ok with it. Get a clue.

    2. I know people who God clearly led to end an abusive marriage(abusive towards the mother and/or the children) . As for abusers changing, it doesnt often happen, and would you like your children living with a child molester???Even if he had apparently ‘changed’??? (remembering that abusers are very manipulative and brilliant liars).

  5. I know you meant really well by this post, and I absolutely do not think anyone should ever be attacked for their opinion, so please know this comment comes from a kind place.

    I just ask that, along with your personal convictions, you also keep an open mind to the struggle of others. There are so many situations that are unique to each couple and that only they can know. I’m going through a separation right now that I absolutely do not want. I would give anything for my husband to decide to come back to me. I don’t think divorce is wrong, I just don’t want to be divorced. When I said my marriage vows, I meant them to the bottom of my heart. And now, as we go to counseling every week and still he says things like “I might want to be with you in two years, but I just don’t know” I’m faced with the decision of whether to put my life on hold for an indefinite amount of years, for someone who can’t even tell me if they’ll want me when that time is over.

    Every day, I wake up hurting so badly and missing my marriage. I don’t know if I’ll wait those years, or if at some point I’ll step up and say enough is enough and I deserve more. Right now I’m just letting myself be, and trusting the counseling. I’m not religious, so I’m not praying but I am hoping with all my heart that we find a way back together.

    I wrote this not to attack you, or even to ask you to rethink your opinion. Please, just know that this is something I don’t share with many people. We’ve kept our struggles to ourselves, our families, and a small group of close friends. There are so many, many people who are also struggling silently with situations that are not black and white.

  6. While I agree with 99% of what you’ve said, I need you to revise the “only reason to divorce” portion. You stated that there is no other valid reason than being unfaithful to justify a divore, I disagree! Physical/sexual/mental abuse ARE grounds for divorce, love is hard but abuse is UNACCEPTABLE! Divorce should never be viewed as an “easy out” and too many people think marriage is disposable.

  7. You are so right about a lot, but you forgot one other very good reason women leave, abuse to themselves or children. I do not believe my God would want a wife to be physically or mentally abused or keep children in a violent home.

  8. I am so thankful you are willing to stand up for marriage…the way God intended it to be. Marriage is something so much bigger than us…it is the Gospel. It is a way for Christians to show the world Christ’s relationship with His bride…one that He will never give up on no matter how much we disappoint Him. I would even go as far to say that most people misinterpret the “exception clause” (meaning divorce is biblically ok in the case of adultery). We commit spiritual adultery against Christ every day with our sin and yet He continues to pursue us ( just read the book of Hosea). I believe there is a more Christ exalted way to view the passage in Matthew. I would like to encourage you to listen to this sermon and test it with scripture: http://www.sermonaudio.com/jumpto.asp?m=s&k=1200312549. John piper has also written several articles that has, in my opinion, explained the meaning of marriage and why God hates divorce. When I was exposed to this view several years ago, I had to do a 180 in my thinking because I could not argue against it with scripture. I think it is very sad that the divorce rate among Christians is as high as the secular world. I think it is sad that pastors take such a liberal view on this issue because they don’t want to offend anyone. I think there is a way we can show grace without sacrificing biblical truth for what it is. Thank you for writing this post.

  9. Keep in mind that Matthew was written to the Jews, so this single place where Christ mentions the ‘out’ for cases of unfaithfulness is likely referring to the period of waiting as was part of Jewish tradition (remember how Joseph had to wait on Mary, only to find her pregnant? He was going to divorce, as was permitted if the woman was found to be unfaithful). Therefore, I don’t believe that unfaithfulness is grounds for divorce any more than our unfaithfulness would cause Christ to ‘divorce’ us from salvation – after all, marriage is a picture of Christ!

  10. I’ll applaud this article as long as you promise to support your friend(s) who need to get out of unsafe marriages. I believe 100% in working and fighting for your marriage…right up to the point where it’s not a healthy thing to do. The people in those marriages need support and empathy, not judgement for giving up.

  11. I SO agree with you, the only thing I might add is if abuse would be in the picture. If one spouse is hurting the other or a child, especially to the point of possibly killing them, I believe or safety reasons they should leave. Otherwise I’m with you on the rest! 🙂

  12. Wow. This is great! You’re amazing for putting this out there and putting yourself out there. Being selfless is a HUGE key in marriage.

  13. I agree with your basic premise that we shouldn’t be just getting divorced because we are bored or going through hardships, however I think that there are a couple more situations that are important to point out as okay situations for divorce, and in my opinion one in particular that is even more important than cheating. Abuse. No one should feel pressure from the church or anyone else to stay in an abusive relationship (physically or emotionally). These can be life threatening situations for parents and for kids. I’ve seen women who were abused by their spouses told by their church peers that because divorce is unChristian they needed to stay in the relationship. This sickened me as it can be a very dangerous message to give, and I don’t think that this is the way God meant for his words about divorce to be interpreted.

    I personally also believe, based upon examples I have seen, that occasionally prayer and counseling and every other attempt someone can think of just doesn’t work and the significant other remains uninterested in the relationship and unwilling to participate in things. I’ve seen men and women fight like hell for their marriages, but if their partner doesn’t fight with them and has walked out or bailed (not cheated, just not interested anymore) and continues to refuse any sort of compromises for months and months (sometimes even years), shouldn’t the person fighting be allowed to move on at some point?

  14. While I appreciate your honesty and your research and your willingness to post on a daring topic I think you need to take into consideration situations where abuse is present. There also portions of Scripture the talk about taking care of our bodies as they are in his sanctuary-we are the temple. Plus just plain and simple if you are being physically sexually or even emotionally abused you may not be able to care for children care for yourself and in the end the divorce may be a better answer then staying in the marriage would be. When children are present in a marriage there are more people to think about that just yourself. God is a gracious and forgiving God and while divorce may be “a sin” you seem to dub it here so are a lot of other things.

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