Divorce and Remarriage-Part Seven
Before I tell my story I would like to share a couple of things.
There may be someone who has received these nuggets who has had an unbiblical divorce, or has gotten an unbiblical divorce and then married someone else. After reading the nuggets you may be feeling conviction that what you did is wrong. If so, you can repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness. If you are feeling guilt, shame, and condemnation, I want to remind you that those feelings are not from the Holy Spirit. He brings conviction, not shame or condemnation. If you have sinned, ask Jesus to forgive you and receive His forgiveness.
When the subject of divorce and remarriage comes up there are well meaning people who would like a divorced couple to get remarried. There is nothing wrong to desire restoration. Where there becomes a problem is when a couple is being coerced to get remarried. There is nothing in scripture that states that the couple must be remarried if they have had an unbiblical divorce. They may choose to be single and there is nothing sinful in that choice. Jesus did not command remarriage. And sometimes because of the result of the divorce, some couples are not capable of being restored.
The reason I am sharing my story is that I am hoping that my experience may be of help to someone else who has been divorced or considering divorce or remarriage to another person.
I have been divorced three times and I am now single. Two of the divorces some would consider as being biblical and the last divorce was not the will of God.
I married my first wife when I was an atheist. While married, I became a Christian. My wife supposedly was a Christian, but I seen no evidence of her being born again. My wife committed adultery several times in the marriage. I chose to stay married to her, but she finally filed for a divorce so that she could marry an ex-boyfriend. According to most people this would be a biblical divorce. To be honest, we had some problems but I do not see that the marriage was bad enough to justify adultery and a divorce.
About 1-1/2 years later I married a Christian woman. In this marriage all of my anger, control, and selfish nature became revealed. This was an absolutely terrible marriage for my wife and me. I was a very unhealthy man even though I was a Christian. During this marriage my ex-wife became involved in a very short-term lesbian relationship while we were separated. She stopped the relationship, but never truly apologized for her behavior. I chose to stay married to her, but she finally filed for a divorce so that she could be out of the abusive relationship. It was destroying her emotionally. According to most people this would be a biblical divorce because of the lesbian relationship, even though I am not the one who filed for divorce.
About one year later I married my last wife, KJ, who is a Christian. My anger was not as bad, but how do you measure bad? It was still very destructive to the marriage. My behavior and actions were evil and sinful. We were separated for awhile. I got treatment for my anger and I believe that our marriage was on the road to recovery. But KJ was tired of the abuse, severely wounded emotionally, and she filed for divorce. There was no adultery in this marriage. I do not believe this was a biblical divorce.
I have been divorced for over seven years and I have dated no one. KJ, my last wife, married someone else a year ago. Right after she got married she said she made a mistake. She believes she should not have gotten married or married me instead. Because she did not see divorce in the same way as myself, she made this mistake.
I believe because I have lived according to scriptural principles and the grace of God, I have not fallen into sin and I have healthy relationships with women.
After this study I have some thoughts on my divorces. I believe that because my first wife was not a Christian and filed for a divorce to marry someone else (she was abandoning me), that my divorce was biblical. I do not believe my second divorce was biblical even though there was adultery committed. I take literally that Jesus said fornication, which means He was talking about sex during the engagement process. If I am correct, then KJ and I should have never gotten married. And she would not have gone through almost 7 years of abuse. Plus my son (from my second marriage) would not have experienced two divorces. I believe both KJ and I were out of the will of God by getting married. (At the time of our marriage I thought it was biblical because of the two previous wives committed adultery).
Even though I think my third marriage was not God's will (this is hard to accept), once we got married, God sealed it. I do not believe having an unbiblical marriage is justification to then get divorced. Jesus did not say that was grounds for divorce. Maybe once we were married, if we had acknowledged that it was wrong to have gotten married, and we would have repented of our action, there would have been healing in our marriage. Only God knows, but I would suggest to couples who have had unbiblical marriages to repent of their actions and ask God for forgiveness and His blessing upon their marriage.
If my interpretation of Scripture is correct, then the only way I could get remarried would be to marry my second wife unless she got married to somebody else. If that was to take place I could marry somebody else.
I acknowledge that my position would be seen as very conservative. Some are even more conservative. They believe that even if you have a biblical divorce, that you cannot be remarried. I do not see that in Scripture. I see that as leaning towards legalism. It is saying that divorce, even if biblical, is an unpardonable sin, in regards to the consequences. It is as if a person is cursed because their spouse committed adultery or abandoned them.
As strong as I am in my position, I acknowledge I may also be wrong. Confession and repentance covers much sin. I cannot adamantly state that I would never get married again. God covers a multitude of sin. However, at this point I do not feel a release to be married again. It would take a ‘voice from heaven’ experience for me to be at peace to be married again and not feel like I am violating a biblical principle.
I hope these nuggets on Divorce and Remarriage have been helpful. I am trusting the Lord that we have not been "unforgiving and legalistic or permissive and ignorant in regards to this subject." Some may feel we have leaned towards being legalistic. I can say that we have not desired to put any unfair yoke on anyone. We ask that you only receive what the Holy Spirit puts on your heart. I hope these nuggets will help to prevent the break up of marriages, and will stop unhealthy marriages from taking place. Remember, His grace is sufficient.
Here is a link to a website that shares the writings of the early
church fathers. The early church leaders were very much against divorce and
remarriage unless it was remarriage to the same partner.
Copyright @ 2001 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
This material can be used without written permission if it is not used to make a profit, all comments are quoted in context, and this copyright tag is included with document. You must include the URL.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NAS)