Divorce According to Jesus



Most Christians ignore this teaching.

Matthew 19: 8-11

8 Jesus answered, “It was because of your hardness of heart that Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but it was not this way from the beginning.

9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.

10 His disciples said to Him, “If this is the case between a man and his wife, it is better not to marry.”…

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given

Romans 7:2-3

2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 

3 So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress.  But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man


Christians and Divorce


According to a study, the overall divorce rate is around 33 percent.

Reexamined data pertaining to the divorce rate among Christians found that the numbers were based on survey-takers who identified as “Christian” rather than some other religion.

Under that broad classification, respondents were as likely as anyone else to have been divorced.

The “Christian” category included people who profess a belief system but do not live a committed lifestyle (according to researcher opinion).

However, for those who were active in their church, the divorce rate was 27 to 50 percent lower than for non-churchgoers.

Nominal Christians—those who simply call themselves “Christians” but do not actively engage with the faith (according to researcher opinion)—are actually 20 percent more likely than the general population to get divorced.


Jesus’ statements regarding divorce and subsequent adultery show that God does not recognize divorce, except for marital unfaithfulness. 

God considers still married all others who divorce for other reasons. 

To make that perfectly clear, even though a person has secured a legal secular divorce, that does not mean God considers that person divorced from his spouse. 

The only legal grounds (according to the teachings of Jesus) are that there be marital unfaithfulness.

The key to a proper understanding of God’s view of divorce from those scriptures is that God considers those he joined together to be one flesh. 

In God’s eyes, according to his word, only death or unfaithfulness will break apart those God has joined together. 

What If Separation is Necessary?

We can imagine many circumstances where separation is to be preferred over beatings, violence, marital rape, and where children are endangered or molested.  Scripture tells us God’s options for that situation. 

To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord):  A wife must not separate from her husband.  But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.  And a husband must not divorce his wife (1 Corinthians 7:10-11). 


What If the Offending Spouse Is Not a Believer?

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 

And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. . . .

But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. 

A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 

How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband?  Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).

Paul appears to say that in this instance a believing spouse can be released from marriage with an unbelieving spouse without marital unfaithfulness. 

What could be the reason for this difference? 

I think it is because Jesus said, “what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6).  So they are no longer two, but one (Matthew 19:5-6). 

We can rightfully assume that Jesus is speaking about marriages that God has joined together.  Paul wrote: 

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 

15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?  What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
(2 Corinthians 6:14-15). 



According to several divorce statistics, here are the top 10 reasons people give for divorce (notice adultery, or an unbelieving spouse, is not one of them):

1. We grew apart
2. We don’t make each other happy anymore
3. We aren’t in love anymore
4. It’s better for the kids if we divorce
5. I grew up but he/she stayed the same
6. We’re different people than when we got married
7. It isn’t fun anymore
8. I found a new person who really understands me
9. He/she let him/herself go
10. I deserve to be happy


So where does this leave divorced and remarried Christians who divorced due to “incompatibility” or similar issues, and are now in a happy relationship, with children?

Answer: They are still living in adultery.

What should they do?

This is a hard saying, but they should repent, separate and remain single, and teach God’s Word to their children, instead of setting a sinful example.

The children should be gently treated, and see both parents equally.

The children are victims of this situation, which is why the parents should have never entered into this forbidden marriage to begin with.

Yes, the children will be hurt, but at least they will learn God’s will. The parents have already hurt them.

Otherwise, the children learn that is it ok to live in adultery, and they may copy their parent’s behavior.

So the children’s salvation may depend on the decisions of their parents, and what they teach their children.

32 Responses to “Divorce According to Jesus”

  1. […] here for […]

  2. I stand with Jesus. This is how I understand it, it is quite clear and
    unambiguous, unfortunately many Christians do not, or do not want to
    see what Jesus is saying. Hopefully they do not lose their salvation if
    they divorce and remarry.

    Dan K.

  3. What if after 2 years of marriage and still ‘working hard’ for our first child, the partner ( husband or wife ) develops a mental sickness and disorder and medically no longer convenient to marry the person. Can there be divorce

    • ben

      I do not understand your question. please clarify.

      if there is 2 years of marriage, it is inconsistent to say it is not convenient to marry, when you are already married.

      the bible says if you divorce, you cannot remarry, unless the spouse commits adultery

  4. Deut 24:3-4 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

    • Huckleberry2012

      the same applies the other way around…if a woman divorces her husband…and the husband remarries, he cannot come back to her

  5. So, your suggesting to stay in an abusive marriage? I do not believe Christ wants that and I believe Christ’ mercy abounds more then your legalism on the subject matter.
    There are many instances where Christ had compassion, one being the woman caught in adultery. My unbelieving husband I found in the livingroom one night after hearing voices at 2 a:m, so I got up to investigate.
    He was lying on his back ear to the phone with our credit card next to him on the coffee table. I stood there in disgust listening to words I will never forget. Like, what are you wearing, what color are your panties, what’s your favorite position.
    I was in shock so much so that I couldn’t move. Then I approached him. He asserted that you cannot use a credit card for phone sex. Not only did I hear lie after lie but he insulted my intelligence.
    I was only in my early 20’s and extremely naiive as it turns out but I never got over this. He was emotionally and verbally abusive and allowed his mother to be deeply entrenched in our lives. She ended up paying for the divorce I never agreed to after my husband abandoned wife and child on Thanksgiving Day citing irreconcilable differences.
    Then the parental alienation and abuse continued on for 20 years after that. This has caused an estrangement between myself and our daughter over the years.
    He would not go to church or seek out avenues to resolve and save the marriage. A therapist was out of the question. He’s remarried but I never married again after this.
    Admittedly, I made many mistakes and one was getting married way too young and taking at face value things I should’ve investigated further but didn’t. I feel that your evaluation is extremely harsh though.
    I feel God has mercy more so on a subject that has many layers. How can you be so black and white Marianne, on the private lives of millions you know absolutely nothing about ?

    • Magdeline

      re-read the post. it clearly says that no one has to live in an abusive relationship.

      it also states divorce is justified in cases of adultery, and your husband was guilty of that. Phone sex IS adultery.

      You could have justifiably filed for divorce and remarried with God’s blessing.

      since he remarried, that is further adultery….

      God’s “harshness” is on him, not you. You are free to start over if you wish.

      I really do understand what you have been through.

      I was also married in my early 20s. Life with my husband was horrible, who brought nothing but disaster, shame and misery into my life. I could never prove adultery while married, but when we broke up, he moved right in with another woman the very next day, who he later married.

      my children also experienced parental alienated, as he claimed he had a “new family now” and had to spend time with her. my children saw him at christmas for about 45 minutes, and then he left until the following year. no phone calls or other visits.

      that divorce was 30 years ago. like you, I remained single.

      the “harshness” of the scripture is not intended to condemn the victim, but the adulterer.

      you have many wounds, and I pray that you can heal, and discover god’s love and grace for you. you have won your crown through suffering, and you will have a heavenly reward for your integrity, loyalty and patience. Your real and eternal bridegroom Jesus is waiting in heaven for you.

      • I literally broke down in tears after reading this Marianne. Your right I do have wounds but your words were like salve.
        I’m sorry you also had to endure such pain. Our stories are nearly identical. I will go back and re-read the post. But I have always been stigmatized by the Baptist Church and told that wives should stay and submit to their husbands no matter what. Thank you and I’m sorry for my harshness towards you. Please forgive me.

        • Magdeline

          the word of god is gentle toward victims and harsh toward offenders, because of the damage they do.

          many churches are off balance when they condemn the victim instead. this takes away from the true gospel.

          I have been condemned also, so I know what you are feeling.

          focus on your healing now. we are sisters in the Lord, so everything is ok between us.

          there is no condemnation to those who are in christ jesus, so reject the rejection from fools.

          god bless you.

  6. Divorce is the most selfish act a person can do. Love is a choice and everyone who divorces except for unfaithfulness takes out of that relationship a hard heart. That is why the 2nd relationship is more likely to fail. The law should be made much tougher for divorce as before and adultery laws either reestablished or applied. This should be done in an act of child protection.

  7. Yes the children do suffer from divorce and I have had that with my eldest son’s marriage. His wife went off with her boss at work and the boss left his wife and children for her. She told my son that she did not love him anymore after eight years of marriage. The boss is a rich man and owns a engineering construction company. I think she went off with the boss because of his money – she is very money hungry.

    My grandchildren have suffered from this break up and I have not seen my grandchildren for two and a half years. As far as I am concerned she has committed adultery and my son, my self and other people have lost complete respect for her because of what she has done. Personally I don’t think she really loved my son in the first place. She got married for the sake of getting married.

    Marriage should be taken seriously and all marriages have their ups and downs – that is just life, no one is perfect. But it is important to give and take in all marriages – not just take. That is what love and marriage is about – you both got to work together as a team.

    • Lynnette

      I agree with you. if he wishes, your son is free to remarry, as she committed adultery. my prayers are with you all as you heal from this. it shows how fallen this world has become, that so many that seem ok are really unreliable and treacherous.

  8. I attended a funeral once and the preacher went off the rails and condemned divorced and remarried people as “living in perpetual adultery” . It struck me that he was condemning and offending most everyone in the room. This man had been preaching for 20 years. his ignorance astounded me.

    Another pastor, a personal friend of mine once preached the same thing. Til his wife left him for another man. Let’s just say he picked that cat up by the tail, knows now what it feels like, and has a different view on things.

    I don’t know of a family that has not been touched by divorce, whether it be parents or children. I personally made the mistake of marrying the wrong person, and paid the price. Divorced, happy, with PEACE. no regrets. burn me at the stake preacher.

    • Huckleberry2012

      the word of god offends many people, but it has to be preached. it is not ignorance, but truth.

      marriage is a serious commitment, and many enter into it uncommitted or ignorant. our own ignorance does not erase or excuse the damage done by a bad decision.

      marriage is a serious moral decision and so is divorce.

      “knowing what it feels like” just not justify making another bad decision by doing it again by remarriage

      as the post says, divorce is permitted but remarriage cannot occur unless the offending spouse was guilty of adultery.

      we all have to pay the price for any bad decision. it is not God’s fault, but ours.

      the same is true for violations of civil law. you rob a bank, you go to jail.

      God lays down the rules to begin with so we won’t get hurt, but man generally rejects or ignores god, and does what he wants.

      then, when the decision fails, he rejects god again, for reminding him what the rules are. or he expresses resentment to god for having the protective rules in place, rather than finally conforming to the rules which would give him peace.

      I am also divorced, so I understand.

      • Once a divorce is final, both parties are free to marry whomever they choose. And if or when either party marries another person, they are not permitted to reconcile to one another afterwards. Reconciliation is only allowed if both parties remain unmarried. Deut 24:1. My point is there is no such thing as eternal marriage in the earthly sense, and no such animal as living in perpetual adultery.

    • Years ago I went on a Christmas end of the year outing from work. I noticed that a lot of people who were a few years older than me from work and were married had a different personality at work and a different personality with their husbands and wives on the bus trip. I could not believe how false they were in their personality. It just showed me that people put on a different personality socially and what they are really like when they are with their partners. I think that is the reason why a lot of people’s marriages break down is because what they make out to be and what they are really like is two different people.

      If you got to change your personality to be with someone the truth will come out in the long run what you are really like.

      It is known that charming people are deceitful. Action speaks louder than words. People should take note of other people’s body language and not what so much they say. If their body language does not add up to what they say they are false.

      We have to be careful who we marry. I don’t blame people who get divorced due to being abused or used by their partners. Nothing worse than being ill treated in life by anyone.

      • lynnette

        the flip side could also be true.

        they could be their natural selves with partners,but more guarded and artificial at work…

        .it depends on where and with whom they feel threatened

  9. now here’s a thought. not than I am advocating this but Jesus did say If you look at a woman with lust you have committed Adultery, So if people are unfaithful in their hearts and no reconciliation could be why people leave..

  10. People today get married for the wrong reasons. This is mainly due to the media. People should be married for these reasons such as friendship, love, trust, sex, commitment, responsibilities and excepting the person who they marry for what they are. Not for just love and sex plus domestic abilities and high income.

    Majority of people some marriages don’t want to commit and take responsibilities plus excepting the person for what they and there is no friendship and trust in the marriage relationship. So when the reality hits the marriage so does the divorce papers.

  11. divorce has to be the most selfish act that a person can do if children are involved and if there is no adultery or physical abuse.
    Since our corrupt governments have made it much easier to divorce the suicide rate, drug addiction, crime and mental health have skyrocketed by over 200% in the last 50 years. It is even said that divorce is greater amongst Christians.
    We are indulged in a society that continually cries victimhood rather than taking a long hard look at just how blessed we compared to generations that went before us. My grandparents went through WW1 in the trenches in Europe for 5 years and then came home to settle virgin country in outback Australia with horse and cart. After that they were hit with the great depression and then WW2. There was no post traumatic stress as life was so brutal and difficult they just had to keep going to keep food on the table. But they knuckled down and got on with what had to be done. We so easily and quickly forget.


    • Divorce is the greatest curse that has been released on the earth in these times. So much heartache death has resulted from the easy divorce and legalization of adultery.
      I will go as far to say that adultery is the most selfish act that an adult undertake. Especially when children are involved.
      Massive increase in drug addiction, suicide and mental illness just to mention a few.

    • timorthy

      when god mentioned sacrifice, he was referring to animal sacrifice, not personal sacrifice.

  13. People are becoming more selfish. It is known that 2 thirds of people are bullied in the workforce or at school at some time in their life. People lie and gossip about other people because of jealousy, envy or try to make themselves look big to other people.

    People who abuse their partner in marriage because of drink, drugs and financial problems don’t realise that they are indirectly hurting their children who latter in life those children end up doing the same as their parents when they get married. People don’t respect other people in general they take what they can get out of them and abuse them if they con’t get what they want.

    The Lord will judge people on how they treat other people especially being married.

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