Divorce Was Not Part of God’s Original Plan–So What?!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

-Ecclesiastes 3:1, 5, 8, KJV


God Did Not Design Marriage To End In Divorce

I wonder how many people have heard this sort of teaching from a well-meaning pastor or Christian leader. This is something I have heard.

It is a well-intentioned teaching. And it is accurate. God did not design humans for divorce. He did not institute marriage for such an ending.

But God did not design humans to sin either.

Yet Adam and Eve did.

Sin has irrovocably changed the world in which we live. It is not Eden, folks!

And God realizes this as well. He is merciful and pragmatic. God is no fool.

Analogies are sometimes helpful in grasping greater spiritual truths. I prepose we look at the realities of war to illuminate God’s heart on the matter of divorce in a world forever changed by human sin.

An Analogy: War and Divorce

I am convinced God never made humans to kill other humans. In other words, He did not make us for war. God made us for peace. Yet wars are always with us. It is a consequence of original sin entering the world. Humans are capable of great evil.

Sometimes that evil needs to be confronted by righteous people in war. War becomes a necessity to prevent tyranny. Scripture agrees stating–as quoted above–a time does come to make war.

Let me use a classic example:

The Allies fought off the Nazis in World War II keeping the world free from a totalitarian regime willing and actively trying to exterminate a whole group of people–i.e. the Jews. I am thankful for those who chose to confront that evil and prevailed. It was costly but necessary.

Divorce is like war in that we and our marriages were not designed for it. But it is sometimes a necessity for good people to divorce so as to confront great human evil–e.g. in the face of unrepentant adultery (see Deut. 22:22).

Sometimes–as we read in the Old Testament–God commands war. It is not always sin or wrong. Divorce is not always sin, either.

Similarly, Scripture tells us through the Apostle Paul to divorce in peace when an unbelieving spouse leaves us (see I Cor. 7:15), and it gives us the example of a righteous God divorcing over unrepentant adultery refusing to tolerate such disrespect and sin (see Jer. 3:8).

God hates adultery more than divorce, after all.

Like war, divorce can occur for sinful, selfish reasons. The classic is for spouses to divorce because they are growing tired of their current spouse and want someone new. That is unacceptable reasoning before God.

Finally, war and divorce are costly. They cause a lot of pain for all parties involved. Neither choosing to enter into a war or choosing to divorce ought to be taken lightly.

These two things–war and divorce–exist and will continue to exist as long as we live in a world broken by human sin and evil. They were never God’s intention for human relationships, yet God does not shy away from confronting evil when it is necessary. That is what both do–i.e. they confront evil and do not give it a free pass in generating even more destruction.

4 thoughts on “Divorce Was Not Part of God’s Original Plan–So What?!”

  1. Can you help me understand what unrepentant adultery is? Or even repentance from adultery? My EH and the woman I used to call a friend, believe that now that they are married, they can tell God they are sorry and continue to enjoy everything they took for themselves. How did their adultery suddenly become righteous? Why is adultery the only type of sin where you don’t have to forsake it. They got their divorces, immediately ran and got a legal piece of paper, everyone gathered for a ceremony, the same vows were spoken again, and that makes it binding. Even though I still live and breathe? You get to stay in your sin, continue to enjoy it, and the family that was tossed aside must watch. They have a new church, are established back in ministry together, respected, and living just like they used to, but without the spouses they discarded. My son is being told that their marriage is honoring and pleasing to God. He will soon be 18 and those he once loved and respected (including his Sunday School teacher that now boldly claims her rightful place with his dad) treat their marriage as true Christianity. They even act like hero’s because of their amazing testimony of God’s forgiveness.
    Is this God’s forgiveness? That a man who does this to his family, can so easily have his cake and eat it too? In all honesty, it makes me question what I ever believed about God, marriage, and everything that is deemed sacred. Why was my marriage so easily discarded and theirs is put on a pedestal of holiness?
    My son and I have been the ones to suffer most in this “war”. We have paid the price mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, and without the covering of a father or husband. My son has now turned his back on God. That sweet innocent little boy that used to love Jesus is gone. He lost his father, his faith, and the safety of a faithful and loving dad.
    We have watched them celebrate their new life, build a new house, look forward to upcoming financial security in retirement, and live as a highly respected Christian couple with a beautiful new baby. Is repentance that easy?
    These were not unbelieving spouses that left. They know the Bible well and got everything their hearts desired in the end, while we are forced to watch, and apparently with God’s blessing. Their adultery started in the walls of our church, in our children’s ministry, where we all served together (with our son). Can you even begin to imagine the head games this has played on our son?
    I’m sorry, but my EH should remain single for the rest of his life. Where in the Bible does God bless someone married in adultery, while the first spouse still lives? We have been moved to second class and their new life is #1. Is this what Jesus died on the cross to cover?
    Just what is repentance from adultery?
    I apologize for coming at you with so many questions lately. I’m new to your blog and there really aren’t many people that stand up for the betrayed spouse like you do. This is a huge place to find healing and know that I’m no alone. The validation you all are bringing to my pain has begun to lift a huge weight off of my heart. Yesterday I cried and thanked God for you all. It’s been a long time coming.

    1. Changed Forever,

      Just because human beings treat it as righteous does not make it such. That includes even “Christians” doing that. Throughout the Bible we have God calling religious people to task for forsaking true godliness and holiness. Humanity has not changed. As long as sin exists in the world, religious people will exist who call sin righteous when it is actually wicked. They are not serving the TRUE God.

      I would add that these Christians who gloss over the adultery are not doing your ex-husband any favor as his soul is destined for Hell as long as he refuses to forsake such sin according to Scripture (see I Cor. 6:9-10). He is to be pitied, not envied. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” – Mark 8:36, NIV

      That does not change the fact that you are experiencing injustice. I get that. It is a hard place to be.

      My encouragement to you is to work on releasing him to God for God to deal with him. Then I would encourage you to look forward and invest in yourself. Focusing on the injustice will just result in greater suffering. I know as I have spent my own emotional energy in that place as well. It’s best to let it go and focus on what you do control–i.e. yourself.

      You have a future and hope. Jeremiah 29:11. You no longer are married to a man who is bankrupt in character. God has released you. It is up to you to decide what you want to do with that freedom. We all need to grieve–I am certain of that. And this will always be a part of your story. But your story isn’t over. My God is a Master storyteller…I wonder what wonderful things He has yet to write with your life?!

      Hugs and blessings,

  2. I’m sure DM has a more elegant answer, but the short answer, Matthew 19:8-9

    8Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. 9And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.”

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