This in no way completely explains the intricate details of marriage and divorce, but is merely a glimpse of the mystery, and a push toward a deeper study of biblical and godly marriage.
Marriage should never be taken lightly or with a light heart. Marriage becomes one of the biggest sources pain, and suffering in our lives, but there is a deep significance to marriage and this pain. Jesus suffered much pain and ultimately died to obtain a marriage with His church, because that kind of relationship with passionate and genuine, unending love, only comes with pain, and suffering. Jesus said in Mark 10:9 "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." The reason for this prohibition, is that God has created marriage, as a symbol of His covenant and love for His church. A picture of His own love and commitment for His people. A divorce should never even be considered, it should be prayed out of the mind by the power of the Holy Spirit, and all work and prayer should be, to go in the opposite direction of divorce. The truth of Christ is that He died for His loving, and passionate relationship with us, and we have the same obligation, within our marriage to push, and pursue, pray, and work for the survival of that relationship.
The bible speaks of three primary requirements to marriage. First, the bible is clear about believers entering into marriage with other believers. In the Old Testament Hebrews were fearful of their religion being diluted if intermarriage were to occur between them and those of other religions. This principal is echoed in the New Testament by Paul, saying, “do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have rightoeousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness…what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?”. The second is marriage to one person. There must be a physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual cohesion, summed up in “one flesh” between the man and women, for one cannot maintain a wholehearted affection of this sort with more than one person at a time. Lastly, a faithful relationship. Marriage is to last forever (Mark 10:9, Matt 19:6) between the same man and same women enduring in faith together.
Many deliberate about when a couple becomes married, some thinking it begins with intercourse (1 Cor 6:16) and others, when a declaration of marriage is desired. Regardless of the particular conditions under what constitutes a “marriage” the bible is clear that a marriage is self-less love, sole enduring fidelity, and a responsibility toward the other. While the world expects marriages to fail, and celebrates the ending of that covenant, God says “I hate divorce” (Mal 2:16) and in His power, they can never fail.
Another aspect of the marriage relationship questioned, are the grounds for divorce. Since we already know that God hates divorce, we have a point to start, and launch from. Matthew tells us that “whoever divorces His wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matt 19:9), while Luke says “everyone who dicorves his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18). Often stated, is that a grounds for divorce is sexual sin, or repeated sexual or adulterous sins. One thing to be understood, is that the act of adultery within marriage is in fact the breaking of “one flesh”. This said however “divorce is never obligatory, and even the sin of unfaithfulness can be an occasion for forgiveness and reconciliation”. The bible calls us to be sacrificial, and forgiving just as we have been forgiven, however the world is an ocean away from the Christian’s point of view. In our culture people are permitted to divorce at merely a whime. At the slightest sense of tension or struggle one, can end a marriage, and destroy anything that has been created. Since we are told to be in the world, and not of the world, our view of marriage must, be different, and we must stand firm for marriage even in struggles, for the sake of the gospel and commandment of God.
I have been of the school of thought that divorce is permissible in light of severe adultery within the marriage, until recently. The passages in the NT gospels concerning divorce, and remarriage, (Matt 5:31-32, 19:3-9, Mark 10:2-12, Luke 16:18) all explicitely say that he who divorces and he who remarries commits adultery. This is true with the exception of the Gospel of Matthew, which consists the “exception clause” for ufaithfulness in the marriage. I do not personally believe that the act of making someone an adulterer, by divorce, nullifies their already being an adulterer, and by self-will, likewise a spouse guilty of adultery is not set free when remarried, thinking that the sin will be cancelled out. Many will see the exception clause as a reasonable excuse for divorce, but Jesus does not see marriages as being over, but He sees it as eternal, upholding what the Father has brought together, and thus regards all “divorce” as adultery.
The church has large stock in the well being of its families, and the marriages and relationships within those marriages. The church must be concerned about the welfare of “the home” because it is there that children are made, and love shown, and children raised, and physical, and spiritual aim formed and guided. Society as a whole is in its exact state, because of the failure that is the home, and family. The very backbone and structure of our country is upon marriage, and the family. The more that fanatics, and anti-christian movements take hold, and destroy the family and the church, the worse off our society, country, and world are going to become.
The mystery of marriage is profound, but anyone who has tasted of the blessing of marriage and the love and joy encountered by that union, has no other choice but to at least consider God. He created marriage to be an example of His church, His love for us, and to be taken care of by the one He created for us to complete where we lack, and walk this race of faith together. He is a good, good, Father.