I must first state that the context of the following essay is that of a biblical perspective on love, marriage, and divorce. I am (what so many people label) bisexual. I prefer women and am somewhat open to dating men. My experiences with love and relationships have been tumultuous to say the least, but they have all served a greater purpose in my personal and spiritual development. What I have learned from my journey is that God wants us to marry for love in this new Cosmic Day. In the times of the Old Testament, there was a practical and mundane purpose for marriage — procreation. Today, we have a population of over 7 billion people on this planet. Since population is no longer an issue, the reason for engaging in marriage, physical and/or contractual, should evolve and become more spiritually based. Relationships help us grow, and God has shown me that His grace and mercy extends to all people — including homosexuals and bisexuals. I will share the details of my revelations in sexual preference in another post, but first, the Short Essay on Love, Marriage and Divorce.
Short Essay on Love, Marriage, and Divorce
I love you. These three words create and save so many lives — and marriages. Love is sacred. God is sacred. The union of man and wife as “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24) is most sacred to me. One could say that I consider marriage to be a sacrament. From a metaphysical perspective, the energy shared between the souls of a man and his wife creates a sacred and symbolic bond that is made manifest for the glory of God. Couples should love one another as God loves creation and do everything possible to save their marriages as long as their actions reflect Christian values.
Genesis 2:18-25 illustrates God’s intent for man and woman to be united in an exclusive, life-long partnership. God wanted man to have a companion and a help-mate, have families, and have dominion over the earth. (Gen. 1:28) In Old Testament times marriage of immediate family was commonplace. There were some limits on the extent of blood relation. For example, Abraham declares that he is married to his half sister from his father’s side, Sarah. (Gen. 20:12) There was great concern with maintaining purity of the faith among the Hebrews. However, there were instances when some people did marry out side of the faith. For instance, Esau who took a Hittite wife and brought grief to his parents. (Gen. 26:34-35)
Marriages were often arranged by parents, but now we find more people seeking to marry for love. Betrothal, “a legally binding contract between parents of the bride”, is a noticeably different part of the permanent partnership consummated in marriage. (Elwell, Perkin, H. W., p 741) In Old Testament society, marriage was typically associated with the sacred rite of breaking one’s virginity, unlike today’s society which associates marriage with the legally binding contract. H. W. Hoehner quoted C. H. Dodd’s Johannine Epilstles stating, “To say, ‘God is love’ implies that all His activity is loving activity. If He creates, He creates in love…” (Elwell, p 709) God created man and woman. (Gen. 1:27) God created marriage. (Gen. 2:24) He created these things in love. People should marry and procreate in love as well. The sexual union of man and woman (marriage) is so sacred that getting a divorce was considered a breaking of covenant and, therefore, a sin.
Divorce is a last resort for couples who cannot make things work. Adultery and fornication, or immorality, have long been acknowledged as legitimate grounds for divorce. In Old Testament times, a man was given permission to divorce his wife under circumstances of betrayal, usually sexual misconduct. In New Testament times, Jesus saw divorce as a breaking of covenant and therefore advised against it except for cases of adultery. (Matt. 5:31-32) However, the Apostle Paul found divorce to be understandable in a fallen world under certain circumstances such as desertion. (1 Cor. 7:10-16) I agree that these dire circumstances are the only ones when divorce is acceptable, but there are times when even the grossest sins can be forgiven in marriage; therefore, couples should try all avenues of reconciliation before deciding to get a divorce.
Christians should be allowed to remarry in cases when they become widows or widowers or when there is betrayal beyond repair. I agree with the provision of Deut. 24:1-4, in a general sense, that the partner who was betrayed may be free to marry again if and only if the first marriage was absolutely irreparable. Over time the restrictions on grounds for divorce have lightened up. We see on a daily basis that people are getting divorced for the most trivial of reasons. If we continue to let this be the standard, then we will continue to collectively fall further away from God and His will for mankind. The church is now called to be loving and understanding of those who are going through tough times in their marriages in hopes to help repair more families and reconcile more partnerships. (Elwell, Atkinson, D.J., p 348)
God wants us to be fruitful, multiply, and be happy. God wants us to grow and manifest his Kingdom on earth. (Gen. 1:28-31) We cannot do these things without the proper understanding and establishment of marriages and families in our world. Divorces should be rare, not common. When we take these vows, we are entering a covenant with God. As God always upholds His promises, so should we, under all circumstances. However, in a fallen world, some relationships are beyond repair. In these cases, divorce would be understandable, but not preferred. If we go into these unions with the love of Christ in our hearts, we will be able to manifest more successful marriages.
Elwell, Walter A. (2001).Divorce. In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (pp. 345-348). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Elwell, Walter A. (2001). Love. In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (pp. 708-711). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Elwell, Walter A. (2001). Marriage, Marriage Customs in Bible Times. In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (pp. 742-744). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.