He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.”
-Mark 10:11-12, NLT
While I believe the Bible gives grounds for divorcing cheaters (see Mt 19:9), I also believe it cuts off the option of divorce over “growing apart.”
Divorce is a moral decision.
It is either right or wrong!
Clearly, Jesus does not treat divorce as merely an event. He presents divorce as moral act that God condemns if done only to marry another, younger “model”–i.e. he calls that adultery.
A cheated upon and abandoned spouse is a twice-wronged spouse.
First, the faithful spouse was wronged by the infidelity of the cheater. Second, the faithful spouse was wronged by the cheater divorcing him or her.
Now, I understand the push to remove divorce from moral consideration. It is less messy this way. People can remain polite with both parties when they do not have to assign blame for covenant-ending behavior.
But I do not think this is how Jesus would want us to process divorce.
Either we have permission–i.e. in the face of adultery–to divorce or we do not.
Some might object that this interferes with pastoral care for the individual spouses. I disagree.
If a spouse is the wronged party in the divorce, part of the pain comes from the injustice he or she has experienced. I do not see healing taking place unless that injustice is acknowledged and released.
When we treat divorce as a mere historical–as opposed to moral–event, we lose the ability to see the injustice of the situation. We reinforce denial or treat the suffering victim as crazy. Neither leads to healing.
For the offending party who filed the unbiblical divorce, I would say seeing it as such is a necessary step in caring for their soul. How can a relationship with God be restored if no confession or repentance takes place (I John 1:9)? It can’t.
Once again, the spiritual restoration or healing begins by seeing the transgression–i.e. the perpetrated injustice of the divorce. Only then is the offending party equipped to repent and find restoration with God.
As a final note, I obviously believe some situations warrant divorce. Divorce is not always sin.
I am just weary of hearing of situations (see here) where divorce among Christians is taken merely as a historical event. Trust me, God takes it as more than that.