Once married, always married. We see in the New Testament that unity in a marriage is always the goal. Jesus has quite harsh words for those who would leave their spouse (Luke 16:18). Of course, if someone is abused they need to remove themselves from the abusive situation. This does not mean that they should dissolve the marriage. If someone is deserted, they need to let their spouse go (v. 15). The difficult rule is that if a marriage breaks down, it seems from these verses that no new marriage should result. The Christian couple should always look to be reconciled ’til death do them part.
I think the greatest force working against marriage is the modern concept of ‘love as emotion’ rather than ‘love as sacrifice.’ I learned a great deal about marriage from watching the mindset work out in countries where the marriages are arranged. Of course many of the marriages are loveless and cruel, but the ideals that arranged marriages are based on are worth considering. A foreign notion to westerners is that you can choose to love. We are taught repeatedly that you fall in love. However, what we fall into is a strong lust or infatuation. This wears off after a couple of years at the most and then we see what the couple is really made of. A man or a woman of God denies themselves takes up a cross and stays married. However, we have redefined Christianity into something self-serving and vain, so people feel that God has failed when they cease to get from the marriage what they believe they deserve. I don’t think they have understood the gravity of the Lord and Paul’s command about marriage.
1 Corinthians 7: 10, 11
10To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
- Who gave the command in this passage?
- What is the command?
- Why might this command be difficult in a metropolis like Corinth?
- Why is divorce in the church at least as high as divorce outside the church?
- Why is the Christian fight against gay marriage laughable considering the state of Christian marriages?