When the question, “are there good reasons for divorce?” Pops up, the phrase “happily ever after” seems farfetched.
Everyone takes their wedding vow with the hope of forever. It’s only after some years and in some cases weeks/ month that reality sets in, and the need for separation accumulates. Some couples find ways to reconcile their differences, while others believe that a divorce is their only salvation.
Whatever the case may be, are there good reasons for a divorce? Or does a partner simply wants a way out of the union?
In this article, we will discuss deeply the reasons for divorce. First, let’s start with …
What is Divorce?
Divorce is the separation of a valid marriage. The advanced English dictionary defines divorce as the legal dissolution of a marriage.
The bible frowns firmly at the act of divorce. However, there are instances that could validate a spouse to file for divorce in a marriage.
Note, the bible remains our authority for doctrine. Thus, we would be examining the possible reasons from scripture that would allow for the legal separation of a marriage, or that would serve as a good reason for divorce in a marriage.
The Bible’s View on Divorce
God instituted marriage, and any attempt to break this union clearly stands against the will of God. The book of Malachi clearly expresses God’s mind about the divorce.
Malachi 2 vs 16, AMP “For the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I hate divorce and marital separation and him who covers his garment [his wife] with violence. Therefore keep a watch upon your spirit [that it may be controlled by My Spirit], that you deal not treacherously and faithlessly [with your marriage mate].”
In essence, divorce is either done under very extreme conditions or remains totally outside the will of God. Also, the bible gives reasons warrant the resort to the breaking up of an existing marriage. They are not based on trivial reasons as the world tends to raise for divorce now.
Why Does the Bible Hold this View?
God through his word is critical about divorce as a result of the esteem he places on a marriage covenant. Marriage as God intended it is supposed to be a permanent covenant between two adults, with Him as a witness.
Thus God plays a critical role in the formation and existence of a marriage. The permanency of this covenant makes it unbreakable before God.
Are there Good Reasons for Divorce?
Yes, there are good reasons. Each of these points will be explained in details below.
1. Abandonment by an Unbeliever
1st Corinthians 7:15-16 (Parents Resource Bible) “But if the husband or wife who isn’t a Christian is eager to leave, it is permitted. In such cases, the Christian husband or wife should not insist that the other stay, for God wants his children to live in peace and harmony. For, after all, there is no assurance to your wives that your husbands will be converted if they stay; and the same may be said to you husbands concerning your wives.”
This is considered a reason for divorce. Apostle Paul wrote it in his letters to the church in Corinth.
To explain the scripture above, we will paint a vivid scenario…
Mr John and Mrs Jane had an existing marriage, but before their marriage they were unbelievers. Mr John then becomes a believer, and Mrs Jane decides to end the marriage because of this change. In this circumstance, Mr John and Mrs Jane are allowed the chance of divorce.
The rationale behind this dictate according to Apostle Paul can be found at the latter part of verse 15 in 1st Corinthians 7.
Paul states that for peace and harmony to abound for the Christian, the separation should be allowed. This could also be validated with the scripture in Amos 3:3.
It is important to note that this exception does not apply to a marriage between two believers. For it only allows for separation where the couple was previously an unbelieving one.
2. Sexual Immorality
Mathew 5:31-32 (Parents Resource Bible) “The law of Moses says, ‘If anyone wants to be rid of his wife, he can divorce her merely by giving her a letter of dismissal.’ But I say that a man who divorces his wife, except for fornication, causes her to commit adultery if she marries again, and he who marries her commits adultery.”
Moses as an authority to the Israelites, allowed divorce, due to the hardness of their hearts.
Jesus in is explanation exoained that sexual immorality is his only reason for divorce. Fornication to be precise.
One reason fornication can be noted as a reason for divorce, is it reveals a high level of disregard for the union, and also because sexual sins are one committed with one’s own body. This second reason might not be fully understood until you realize that a married couple should be one.
From the above, it is easy to see that the bible only allows two legitimate reasons for divorce which are Abandonment by an unbeliever and sexual immorality. No other reason is endorsed by the bible for divorce.
3. Cases of Physical Abuse
A very controversial issue arises when the question of abuse comes into the picture. Should physical, mental and other forms of abuse cause a desolution of marriage? And does the bible create a situation for the exit of such a marriage?
Many pastors and Christian scholars have given their opinions and views on this issue. One major solution provided in cases like this is that of separation or moving out of the matrimonial home for the safety of the abused party.
While others give biblical evidence and interpretation in supporting divorce on the ground of domestic violence. Many of those in the second category interpret 1st Corinthians 7:15 for this purpose.
Something to keep in mind though is that God hates violence. He wants his children to live in peace and harmony, and he does not want to see his children suffer.
Reasons from the World.
Over time, many reasons have been pushed forward to validate divorce.
1. Lack of connection, nowadays, marriages are broken due to lack of connection, or communication. Many people file for divorce because their spouse no longer communicates with them, or no longer understands them.
2. Money, the love of money they say is the root of all evils, there are various reasons attached to money with regards to divorce. It is true that money adds value to a relationship, but some due to its absence end their relationships, or because one spouse earns above the other end their relationships.
3. Change in physical appearance, “When I married you, you had a great shape, but now you have let yourself really go” some couples split because they no longer appreciate the looks of their spouses or the changes thereof.
4. Lack of intimacy, sexual deprivation is also a major reason why couples split. Understanding that marriage is the only biblical legal ground for sex, the deprivation of sex in marriage is wrong and some spouses use it as in instrument of punishment, and this could lead to the end of some marriages.
Many other reasons abound, but more often than not, these reasons are flimsy and inexcusable. They can be avoided with honesty while courting, patience, and reliance on God.
In truth, divorce should not be an option for married believers. Rather, as Christians, efforts should be made by both parties to work things out. There is always room for repentance with God,
Forgiveness is a key virtue for all believers , especially as our father forgives us.
As believers, we should always compare our marriages with the marriage between the church and Christ. Christ died for the church. He would never divorce the church no matter what reasons. Thus, believers should pray for their spouses and ensure that they are willing to put in the efforts to repair whatever damage has been caused to their marriage.