Years ago, it was common for parents to arrange the marriages of their children. You didn’t get to decide who you were marrying; your parents decided. Today, most people choose who they want to marry. You see someone you are attracted to, you get to know them better and you “fall in love” with them. When there is a mutual attraction, you agree to get married. This is the person you want to spend your life with; this is the person who makes you happy. So you get married. But over time, conflict arises in the marriage. I think it was a year or two after we were married before my wife and I had any kind of serious conflict. I am not aware of any marriage that over time does not have a conflict of some kind. You take two imperfect persons, put them together, and sooner or later there will be a conflict. When the problems escalate to a great extent, one of the partners may consider divorce. This person you are married to does not make you happy. In fact, this person makes you miserable. Maybe there is someone else that you think would make you happy.
But God hates divorce. Malachi 2:14-16 “Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. ‘For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,’ says the Lord of hosts. Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
Under the Law of Moses, divorce was permitted. Deuteronomy 24:1 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house.” The expression “some uncleanness in her” – what does that mean? The Jews didn’t really know and this caused a great debate. So the Pharisees came to Jesus to see what He would say. Matthew 19:3-6 “The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?’ And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and 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.’” Jesus said that divorce was not part of God’s original plan. God has joined the husband and wife together; don’t separate what God has joined together. In other words, don’t divorce. Of course the Pharisees were not content with this answer. Continuing in verses 7-8 “They said to Him, ‘Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?’ He said to them, ‘Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.’” Divorce was permitted because of the hardness of their hearts.
Jesus taught more about divorce in Matthew 5:31-32 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 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.” If you divorce your wife and she is not already guilty of sexual immorality, you cause her to commit adultery. It is a pretty serious sin to cause someone to sin. Matthew 18:6-7 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” Woe to you if you cause your wife to commit adultery by divorcing her!
The Apostle Paul gives commands from the Lord in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.” The command from the Lord is to not divorce. Paul continues in verses 12-13 “But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.”
My encouragement is for you to never consider divorce. God hates divorce. From the beginning, there was no divorce. In divorce you will be separating what God joined together. You may be causing your spouse to commit adultery. You will be violating a direct command from God to not divorce. Do not be hard hearted. Instead, suffer long and be kind; do not be proud; do not behave rudely; do not seek your own; do not be provoked; think no evil; do not rejoice in iniquity but rejoice in the truth; bear all things; believe all things; hope all things; endure all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). In other words, obey the command to love instead of considering divorce.