My prayers are for obedience to G0d, to his mitzvot (commands). In Luke 16:18, a verse that truly applies to male and female, we learn if believers divorce their spouse (yes, even if the spouse is an unbeliever) they commit adultery.
For married couples on the edge of separation or divorce G0d commands (Ephesians 5:33) a man to love his wife and the wife to respect her husband; neither one has to earn love or earn respect, it is a command to do! The modern culture and church, which has abandoned its role in the family to SJWs (an oxymoron) in the society, teaches we should all love unconditionally. This is true in obedience to the command, yet they ignore the last part of the verse saying “respect” must be earned.
Right about here those who have decided to follow their own way are being triggered and begin to rant; I am not going to feed his/her ego at my expense, or let him/her order me around, nor will I become a second class citizen, treated like a child….” and on and on. The point being made seems to be “(s)he isn’t better than me” and that is true. We know all have sinned (failed) and fallen short of G0d’s standards.
Imagine saying, “I know I am commanded to respect my husband, but he doesn’t deserve it and I don’t feel like giving him something he didn’t earn.” Imagine a phone call in the morning from your work asking if you’re OK only to hear, “I know I have to go to work in the morning, but my boss doesn’t deserve it and I don’t feel like giving (him/her) something (he/she) didn’t earn.” How long would you have a job? Yet, we get up morning after morning and go to work, even if our boss doesn’t deserve us to be there. Yet, G0d’s command is to love your wife unconditionally and the wife to respect her husband unconditionally.
Why love or respect unconditionally? Why is he commanded to love and she commanded to respect? The simple answer is G0d is not into redundant commands. A husband knows and understands respect intuitively, after all, consider how men function; a man in the military when he respects his commander will work and fight and even die for honor and to show his respect for that commander. Most men know this and a few do not. Yet, nearly all men have difficulty expressing love, which is not to say men do not love, we do, it is that we are built to live in respect and honor.
A recent survey conducted by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, best-selling author of Love and Respect asked,
If you were forced to choose one of the following, which would you prefer to endure…to be left alone and unloved in the world, or to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone?
In his original sample of 400 males, 74% said that if they were forced to choose, they would prefer feeling alone and unloved rather than feeling disrespected and inadequate (p.49). He collected data on a female sample and found that a comparable majority would rather feel disrespected and inadequate than alone and unloved. Based on this data, Eggerichs concluded that a wife “needs love just as she needs air to breathe” and a husband “needs respect just as he needs air to breathe” (p. 37).
Though somewhat generalized in nature (women as well as men yearn for validation and for respect) Eggerichs’ study illustrated an essential component of a healthy marriage. Men and women both need love and respect, but the balance tilts more toward how these are perceived among men and women. Men tend to see a lack of loving behavior as disrespect, while women rightly see a lack of loving behavior as disinterest or a lack of love in the relationship. Yet, it it remains true that both men and women desire both love and respect.
Finally 1 Corinthians 7:10-13 (Believers are commanded to NOT divorce, or if they do violate the command are then commanded to Never remarry anyone but the spouse they divorced. If they do remarry anyone it is adultery. And this is precisely the situation many find themselves in; they’ve divorced and remarried. Yet, divorce (again) is NOT the answer. Think of this, the bible tells us G0d hates divorce. Realistically this means even second divorces. Thus it is reasonable to conclude if you did err in a divorce, or were divorced unjustly and are remarried, remain where you were called.
As long as one is not wrapped up in a marriage that is harmful, suffering abuse (self or children), or unrepentant adultery – the bible indicates this divorce is just. But understand this line of reasoning for marital fidelity:
Proverbs 20:25 “It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows.”
Ecclesiastes 5:5 “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.”
Matthew 5:33-34 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne.”
Ephesians 5:31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
In other words, marriage vows are treated as sacred before G0d, so where does the bible speak about divorce? What reasons are given? (Please Note: This in NO WAY endorses unjust divorce because you found someone else, or – barring adultery or abuse – have fallen out of love. The only factors which precipitate divorce is when there is deliberate, ongoing, ugly unrepentant sin from one partner.)
I believe there are two biblically endorsed views of divorce. The first is:
“For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.” (Emphasis added)Rav Shaul’s (Paul) Letter to the Corinthians 7:14-15
The greek word chorizo (pronounced kho-rid’-zo) means to separate, to rip asunder, that is then to mean divorce for what else would put a marriage asunder (to divide into separate pieces) but divorce? We are to be at peace and let them go. Remarriage is allowed.
The second is repeated twice in Matityahu (Matthew) 5:32 and 19:9 saying whoever divorces his wife (husband) except for sexual immorality and marries another, commits adultery. I hold that a correct view of these verses (in light of the two conditions where AND means conjoined) and both are necessary to fulfill the conditions of the statement, allows one to divorce a sexually immoral and unrepentant spouse and later remarry.
Therefore, though divorce is justified when an unbeliever (does not accept Yeshua) and wants to divorce, the believer is not bound and may remarry (as I did), or they may choose to remain as they are. They may even choose to wage spiritual battle for their wayward spouse in order to renew the family bond. Though once remarriage occurs for either spouse there are other considerations.
Briefly (because this view advocates violating scripture) there are those who insist that one MUST divorce a second spouse to remarry the first. As stated, this is a view opposed to scripture which considers remarriage to a prior spouse an abomination before the L0rd (Jeremiah 3:1). These people are wrong in so many ways. The law of the L0rd is very clear, very precise and we violate it at our peril. I am in prayer for all marriages, but especially those of believers so they walk in G0d’s way.
Ultimately one must consider their relationship with the Father as the preeminent factor in life. If that relationship is maladjusted all else will be as well.
Eggerichs, E. (2004). Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Dr. Ramón de Torres
Edited: September 06, 2020