I used to know a woman a believer in the L-rd, (I have to wonder how much difference there is in the quality of faith) who related a story to me about a man whose wife sued him for divorce. While they were separated he would drive by her house calling out to G-d and crying, “L-rd save my marriage.” When the divorce was granted he stopped praying and let go. She said that sometimes G-d wants divorce because He is working in an individual’s heart. She left out a great deal in that short story.
What she left out was that the word for echad is one that means “unified” but more, it implies a bond that is like glue, or better, welded where the joining is body, soul, spirit. One. The same word is used to speak of G-d as one, echad. For instance, the Word [Mattityahu (Matt) 19] speaks volumes, but two things of the many it discusses stand out; an unbeliever may leave and the believer is not bound (enslaved), and when two believers marry – DO NOT divorce; a command of G-d.
We All Fail and Are Weak
The things is do we fail and are weak and therefore sin, or do we live in deliberate sin and fail because we choose to do so. There are distinct differences in these two positions. The saint of G-d may fail because he/she is weak, but that is different than outright rebellious celebration of sin. We are the righteousness of Maschiach, clean before a Holy G-d. And the prayers of a righteous man (woman) are mighty. Being in Yeshua is win/win.
So when she told the story she didn’t say is this an unbelieving wife? If she was a believer, was he? If both were and he stopped praying then he was sinning [Yakov (James) 4:17]. Lies can come out of just not saying enough.
When is Sin Only Weakness
If a believer divorces a believer, the follow up with Matthew 19 is to remain single and do not remarry, or reconcile. Why would a believer choose what one could only assume is the lesser of two evils, so to speak. It is as they say, “I choose to divorce and stay unmarried.” But why? What is greater than the fear of the L-rd? What fear drives a believer to divorce in the clear light of the command to not divorce?
What if he or she is so wrapped up in their own issues which end up hurting the marriage? What if they feel compelled to divorce to either, stay away from the pain, or keep their pain away from their spouse? Both are very real issues. For the first I’d say, why did you NOT involve your spouse or engage them enough to let them into your private world?
For instance; if you have health issues, did they go with you to counseling or to the doctor? Did you invite them and they refused? In the second instance, were they divorcing to save their spouse what they thought, perhaps, was years of their own agony as they battled either mental or physical illness? I say invite them in and find out what they do. If this drives them to divorce you (as perhaps you feared) it is a shame on them and not you.
When Two Walk Together
If they remain the scripture says in Ephesians 4 two can keep each other warm, and a cord of three strands is not easily broken. Don’t divorce someone because you are trying to spare them pain. They married you for better or for worse. Evidence proves that after 5 years people who stick to their marriage VASTLY improve compared to those who divorce and remarry, and are far happier and rate their marriage as high quality compared to those who take their baggage in divorce.
In marriages where they do nothing but stubbornly cling to each other, five years later their marriage is better than those who divorce and remarry. In marriages of faith where they go to counseling religiously (pun intended), they are closer and happier together than those who divorce and either remain single or remarry. The common factor is staying together, and it doesn’t matter if they are believers or non-believer, of the faith or pagan. Staying together and relying on each other is the key, and I have to believe, because G-d designed marriage (and hates divorce) He is in all marriages and will bless them as they struggle to remain married.
My goal is to remain, to accept the struggles of life and love my spouse with all of my being; body, soul and spirit. That involves struggle, and certainly a great deal of grace, forgiveness, respect and love. If your spouse is not worth the effort of staying married (when G-d says they are) then reconsider why you married them, who changed? And if you decide on divorce, then was that change what G-d truly wants?
Dr. Ramón de Torres
Edited: June 28, 2020