What are the ways one can be Divorced?
When looking at divorce, every state in America has their own reasons for it and they are not always the same. For example, in Alaska one can get divorced for: Adultery, mental illness that proceeds 18 months, drug abuse, failure to consummate (sexually fulfil) the marriage, conviction of a felony, willful desertion of at least 1 year, cruel and/or inhuman treatments, if one in the marriage is personally insulted by the other and drunkenness. Now, in New York it is different. The only reasons are: If both parties are legally separated for more than 1 year, adultery, willful desertion of at least 1 year, imprisonment for 3 or more consecutive years, cruel and inhuman treatment.
Now, that is just two states in America. But, let’s notice other areas of the world. In China, in order to get a divorce, they must first liquidate all properties into cash. All except their clothes. After they have done this, then the grounds for divorce must be for, if one is a bigamists (marries another while still married), family violence by any family member, anyone caught in gambling or drug-abuse, or both parties have lived separate lives for at least 2 years. Now, in the country of Africa, the man is required at the time of divorce to give the woman the funding to maintain her current lifestyle by his salary and anything of the property she deems hers: no exceptions. Then, all of the remaining man’s possessions are confiscated by the government and sold leaving him with nothing. In the country of Germany, divorce is granted only by: Irresponsible attitudes and/or incompatibility. In Pakistan, Islam does not believe in unlimited opportunities for divorce on trivial reasons. They believe that God has condemned the Muslims who uses their legal rights of divorce except on legitimate grounds and in unbearable condition only. All of these from America to China, Africa, Germany and Pakistan shows that there are many variations to how one can be divorced. So out of all of this confusion, rules and regulations, which ones are we able to pick?
Well, what does God say? Jesus said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matthew 19:9). Now, this is not sexual immorality as used in some translations because the word fornication is the Greek word “porneia” which means sexual intercourse. This is the only meaning for fornication. This means that there is no other way that one can be divorced. Now some may say, “Well, my husband is abusive and has threatened me . . . Can I get a divorce? The Bible ask you, “Is this fornication?” If not, then no you cannot. Some may ask, “Well, what about annulments?” An annulment is a termination of an official and legal proceeding and if it is not for fornication, it is still a divorce. Fornication is just that, fornication. Well, some may say, “You know, my wife is just not as sexy as she use to be” or “We are not compatible anymore,” now can I get a divorce? The Bible still has the same answer for everyone: “except it be for fornication.” There are no exceptions to this rule! Now, various governments and the people of many countries will seek to make their own rules that has nothing to do with God. But, what part of “Except it be for fornication is unclear to the lawmakers and the people of the land? You know Jesus reminds us, “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6). God tells us that we cannot divorce for any reason and that mankind is not to put away their wives or their husbands for just any reason. Peter reminds us that, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Now, some may claim that this is not fair, but the simple truth is that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman for life. For have you not read, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:21-24). One flesh is suppose to be so close that if you look at your arm and see how attached your skin is to your arm, can you easily remove that skin? No! Instead, you cherish it with everything you have which is why it hurts and you grab it when we gets cut. Sadly, many get married today just to get married. Many marriages are impulsive and have been entered into lightly. Many divorce because they are so busy with human laws thinking if they should, they never look to God’s Word to see if they could! Many marriages fail because they never planned to be together for the long haul and left God out of their relationship who is the originator and designer of marriage.
Therefore, marriage is not something that is to be dealt with lightly and once the marriage between the two take place, it becomes a bond between the man, woman and God. This is why marriage is a union that God takes very seriously. Husbands and wives are to love each other as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5). Do you love your wife or husband this much when you are filling out divorce papers? Perhaps you are considering divorcing your spouse. But, did you know that the apostle Paul speaking with all authority said, “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39). Death of a spouse is the only reason other than one committing fornication in marriage that one may become remarried. This commandment does not come from man, nor does it come from any government. It comes from God and we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:42) because, “as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27). Man will not be the judge of a marriage. God is the judge.