To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. ~ 1 Corinthians 7:10-11
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. ~ Matthew 5:32
Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”“What did Moses command you?” he replied.They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” ~Mark 10:2-10
Every time I think I’m about to shake all this religious dogma all this comes flooding right back into my mind. I’ve read every view imaginable from John Piper to David Instone-Brewer to Craig S. Keener. It’s unbelievable the amount of controversy there is over this issue within Christian circles. I went to my pastor and this is what he said:
“You didn’t have a “biblical” reason for divorce. So you may not remarry unless your ex-husband does. At that time you will be released from him because you can’t remarry him since he has married another, even if he got divorced or his new wife dies. Divorcing your husband was a sin. Have you repented?”
My reply was kind, but not what he expected. I’m sorry for a lot of things. I’m sorry my marriage didn’t work, I’m sorry I couldn’t want it enough for two people, I’m sorry I didn’t walk away from him the day I met him when he was wearing the Peanut Comic Strip sweatshirt. I’m sorry we are divorced, but I’m not sorry I divorced him. If God is all knowing, won’t he know it if I’m lying when I repent for something I’m not sorry for?
I’ve been told everything from I should be standing in the gap, praying that my husband would repent, and then welcome him back with open arms to go and do what I want and walk in God’s grace. I’ve been told I can never remarry and that I can remarry under certain conditions. It all gets very muddy. I’ve tried very hard to understand every view available. The problem is, I do understand where each person gets their view when looking at scripture.
When I began researching this topic on my own I went to the New Testament first, then worked back into the Old Testament. As I was reading the Old Testament laws what really struck me was all the care and detail given to treatment of slaves:
“And if he knocks out the tooth of a manservant or maidservant, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the tooth.” ~Exodus 21:27
If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money. ~Exodus 21:7-11
Hardly any mention is made at all about treatment of wives. What am I to make of all of this? I am supposed to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Jesus. I’m supposed to give up my desire for a loving relationship and children, children I was denied in my first marriage. How can I possibly drag someone else into adultery? All of this because remarriage is considered adultery and we all know adulterers don’t inherit the Kingdom of God.
I have such inner conflict about all of this. I’m not even sure there is a God, but what if there is? Do I deny myself? What if there isn’t? I deny myself for nothing. I fear being alone, and I fear judgement otherwise. If you really want an eye opener go to cadz dot net. (I won’t link directly because I don’t want to invite trollers).
I spent quite a lot of my married life praying. Mostly praying to be everything God wanted me to be, praying to be a good wife, praying for God to change me and mold me into Christ-likeness. I prayed the armor of God onto both myself and my husband. I prayed that we’d both have a desire to grow in knowledge of God and His character and righteousness. I prayed for God to give me a heart for my husband and his best interest. I don’t remember ever praying to be “delivered”.
All of this is the reason I stayed in my marriage for so long. I stayed because according to scripture it was the will of God. Then I was told by a friend the other day that God had delivered me from my marriage. That’s not the way I look at it at all. I delivered myself from that marriage by going against what “the word of God” says, for which I’ve heaped condemnation onto myself. I’ve even considered going back to my husband for this very reason, but I’ve talked myself out of it. That’s a ridiculous thought to me at this point. I thought I could never leave and now I know I can never go back.
Do I try to pursue a fulfilling life without a significant other? I know it’s possible. This is what fundamentalism does to people. It paralyzes them.
I’m also quite well aware that this post may come across as whining. It is absolutely not intended that way. This just adds to my confusion and doubt that something so critical would not be crystal clear. Yet there will be some who feel that it is. The question here is not how many views are there, it’s how do I know which one is right?