Christianity -- Christian Living/Remarriage,adultery


Good afternoon,

 I have a question in regards to remarriage. I've met a really nice man. He is a true Christian. He is in the process of divorce. He and his wife are in the end stages of finalizing the divorce. The reason for the divorce were several factors. One, he expressed that he wanted children before they were married (eight years ago). The wife was agreeable to having children at the time. Over the years she expressed to him that she did not want to have children. She wanted to pursue her music career and told him that it was her body and she was not going to give him children. Next the wife has some type of illness that causes her to be violent, narcissistic,  and withdrawn from people. She has hit him before due to anger. The wife confesses Christ but didn't exhibit the actions of a Christian. He even went without speaking or seeing his family for long periods of time trying to work out his relationship or please his wife. Long story short..he was miserable,wasn't getting anything he wanted out of the relationship, lost a job because he couldn't stay focused due to stress. He tried counseling as well but did not have a good result. So.... That brings me to my question, can he divorce and remarry without the new marriage being considered adultery in God's eyes? If so how so? The bible mentions you must go back to your spouse or remain single. Personally I believe that the Lord is forgiving and merciful. God would not penalize him for the rest of his life because of a bad choice he made. There is no possibility for reconciliation. I also believe in my heart that a new marriage wouldn't be adultery but the scripture seems to say otherwise. If he followed the scripture it would be bondage to him and not freeing, where the spirit of God is liberty. God is not bondage, bondage is of the devil. If you will please add some clarity to this situation.

Thank you very much,


Dear Len

Thank you for your question.  I am sorry to hear about the pain this couple have been going through and what sounds some significant mental health issues.

It is my view that there are many areas of Christian living that are not black and white.  I think the Bible is quite clear on this.

For example, if you read 1 Corinthians 8 you will see Paul teaching, not a hard and fast rule (this is right or this is wrong) but instead a sensitivity to the spiritual walks of others and following principles.  Again, in Romans 14 Paul is very clear that Christians are allowed different views about how to interpret rules and laws.  One of Jesus' criticisms of Pharisees was that they followed the letter of the law but completely missed the spirit of it.

So, in relation to your question, the teaching on marriage shows that again, different interpretations existed.  At the time of the Jesus, some Rabbis were teaching that a man could not divorce unless his wife had been unfaithful (in these days the power was much more with the husband, but that changed with Christianity where it became much more egalitarian - see Galatians 3:28).  Others were much more permissive, saying essentially that if the wife displeased him he could send her away and get another one.  In Matthew 19 Jesus is asked about divorce and he's really being asked which Rabbi he agrees with.

Jesus wanted people to understand the sanctity of marriage but also change the views of women being like objects, in my opinion.  He told them that if a man got rid of a wife and remarried, he was sinning.  There was an exception which was that if the wife had been unfaithful.

Now, some will interpret this to mean (as some translations say) that only if one party has sex with another person are there grounds for divorce.  Others might say it includes unfaithfulness to the vows of loving, honouring your spouse with all your heart.  I am more inclined to lean towards the second view, in that I don't think God wants us to suffer in a loveless marriage.

However, I do think it is really important that we don't take marriage lightly.  You should never enter a marriage covenant thinking "if it doesn't work out we can just divorce."  Jesus was addressing the attitudes towards women and covenants and wanted us to take these things seriously.

I hope this helps give another view?  On an emotional level, please take care as this man will have a lot of healing to do and be careful that you don't think of yourself as the person to rescue him.  If he divorces and remains single and then a loving relationship develops, that is good.  There is a danger of a rebound relationship or it beginning with you as a rescuer rather than a genuine "love".

God bless you Len

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I am a committed Christian, based in Scotland (UK). I work as a psychologist and have a real interest in people. My main interests are Christianity, understanding people, personality, spiritual gifts and relationships. I prayerfully respond to appropriate questions on Christian Living. Please pray for me as I respond to your requests...


Experience in the area: I have been a Christian for over 12 years now and have also been involved with psychology for 13 years.

Church elder, qualified psychologist (but I'm answering questions as a Christian, not as a health professional)

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