The Bible describes two specific instances where a person can initiate a divorce. If you are interested in remarrying someday, it is important to know what the Bible says about the circumstances in which divorce is allowed; then you will know if you have the freedom to remarry. We will discuss one allowance today and the other in tomorrow's devotion.*
God allows divorce in the instance of sexual immorality or adultery. If your spouse is or was unfaithful, you have the right to divorce. You are not commanded to do this, but it is an option for you.
"Marriage is a covenant," says Dr. Craig Keener, "and a covenant involves an agreement between two parties before God. If one of those two parties is breaking the agreement, which sex outside of marriage certainly does, then that person has violated the marriage covenant, thereby annulling, so to speak, the marriage covenant."
Dr. Tony Evans says, "God never wants a divorce. He always rules against a divorce, but God recognizes that people are hard-hearted and they won't do right. So He had to bring some protection. In Matthew chapter nineteen, He says 'except for immorality.'" For you to choose divorce because your spouse was unfaithful is not God's ideal, but He does allow it.
"I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9).
Dear God, I'm heartbroken and confused, and I just want to do what pleases You. Please give me godly wisdom and assurance in the decisions I make today. Amen.
* The Bible names two specific instances where divorce is "allowed," but the Bible doesn't specifically give instructions about many other situations that may be a factor in divorce, such as abuse (of all types), criminal activity, addictions, satanic activity, sexual perversion or some other very serious issues. So what is a person in those situations to think or do? The more we learn about God's character and His teachings that are consistent throughout Scripture, the better we can make decisions about things not specifically mentioned in the Bible. Those situations must be looked at in the context of the whole Bible. For instance, God says in Malachi 2:16 "I hate divorce," but the last half of that verse says "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence." God hates the violence and danger of abuse, addiction, etc., and he would not want you or your family to be covered with it. In the coming days, we'll have suggestions for you on how to find God's direction for circumstances that are not specifically addressed.
Also, please keep in mind that your physical safety and that of your children comes first. If you are the victim of physical abuse, see safety immediately. Once you are safe, you can begin work sorting out the many practical, emotional and spiritual questions you will face.