Divorce and Remarriage (marry again)
Barry and Helen (Penny) Setterfield, November 2008
What does Bible say? Can a person divorce, later marry another person?
God’s plan – one man, one woman, marry, divorce none. Both love God, love each other, raise family. What is love? Is love a feeling? No, love is not a feeling. Love is deep care, decide to take care of other person, protect other person, no matter feelings.
Happen, people have hard hearts. First two people have strong feelings for each other. But feelings come and go. Maybe feelings go after marriage. They decide they do not 'love' each other. Maybe have good feelings for someone else. That is not love. When they marry, they promise to stay together and should not break promise. They need to learn to love God and love each other. BUT if one person not Christian and person wants divorce, then Christian person can agree. But Christian person cannot start divorce. Christian must try to continue love, honor, respect partner. Maybe partner will see Christ’s character and give self to Christ! Then both will be Christian and love Lord and love each other. That is very happy ending. So Christian must not start divorce. But, again, if other person not Christian wants divorce, then Paul (1 Corinthians 7) says OK, allow divorce happen.
Goal: try to continue marriage, even if marriage hard. Ask Christ help you inside yourself to be good marriage partner, not react negative. Your character shows to your children meaning real, true love. Love is not easy. Love means you care for other person more than you care for yourself. But if marriage partner adultery, you may divorce. If marriage partner not Christian and wants divorce, you may allow divorce. If you are divorced because adultery other person, or if other person leaves marriage, divorces you, then you are free to marry again.
But you MAY NOT divorce because you decide you not happy! Marriage is very serious and you MUST stay with marriage. When you married this person, you promised love, honor, care until death. You must keep promise. Other person maybe break marriage vows, but if other person not divorce, not adultery, then you must keep marriage vows. You must remain faithful and good partner.
World says you should divorce. World says you need to fulfill yourself.
Bible disagrees. Bible says stay married. Bible says GOD will fulfill you. You should not think about yourself. You should not try fulfill yourself. If you are Christian, you do not belong to yourself; you belong to Jesus. Jesus will lead your life.
Nobody has easy life. God uses hard times to help us. How? Force us mature, grow spiritually. If marriage hard, we must look to Christ, depend on Him. Not depend on world advice. God knows about bad marriage. God has plan. We MUST trust God, be faithful to God.
Yes, it is hard. Sometimes very hard. But remember long ago Christians faithful to God and happen? Roman Emperor put Christians and lions together so lions eat Christians. Many Christians die because they refuse reject faith. They remained faithful to God, no matter death. We do not die in bad marriage! We can remain faithful to God, remain kind and gentle to marriage partner. Do not be proud because you are Christian. You are sinner, too! Remain humble, grateful to God for salvation.
If you single because divorce, you should continue remain faithful to God. If God has special person for you, God will bring special person to you. You do not need to go places look for marriage partner! God knows your heart. God knows best for you. Sometimes best means we must be lonely. Why best? Then we grow spiritually, learn depend only on God. Then when another person is lonely and hurts, you can understand and help and encourage other person who is lonely. God uses our pain to help us understand other people. That helps other people see Christ in us, and then sometimes other people want Christ and give their lives to Him, too.
In Bible, Paul told us he learned content (quiet heart satisfied) no matter where he was, no matter happenings. We must be same. No matter our lives, we can be content in Lord. He has special work for us in our lives and God will fulfill us. We do not need to worry about ourselves. We need to help, encourage other people. God will take care of us.
Penny’s story: I was married 20 years to one man. We had one child and adopted five more children. My husband was unfaithful many, many times, but I did not know. Sometimes I wondered, and I asked him if he had another woman, but he always told me ‘no.’ So I believed him. I loved him and I was faithful to him. Sometimes in my heart I wanted different husband because he always criticized me and insulted me. It hurt very much. But I stayed faithful to him.
Then, in 1991, he told me he wanted to leave family. I was so shocked! Four days later, he finish leave. He refused remain father to children and he did not pay attention to them after he left. Few times he visited, few times he sent cards for one year. After that, nothing. He had new life and when divorce final, he married other woman few weeks later.
Me? I cried for a year. Every night I cried myself to sleep. My heart broken; so much pain inside me. Where was my husband? Where was man I loved? He was gone forever. He wanted other woman. My youngest child was six and my oldest child was seventeen. For nine years I was single parent. Hardest time in my life. Nightmare years for me. Children hurt inside themselves and cannot understand why Daddy is gone. I tried to explain. I tried to be good mother. I tried my best and so very, very hard.
Today, 2008, all my children grown. Not all happy endings. Divorce destroyed their lives in some ways. I am healed, but the children still suffer from father leaving us. I have to trust God with my children. Two children married then divorced. Two other children do not talk to me now. I do not know where one son is. My oldest son is fine Christian man and very happily married, but other five children? Youngest is very, very retarded and will always live with us. But four children cannot recover from divorce and Daddy leave family. Too much pain.
What about me? I did not want marry again. I did not think I could be good wife. I did not think I can trust another man again. I did not think I can become open person again. But God had plan for me. A man in Australia, a famous scientist, asked me to read something he wrote and please help him write more clearly. First I told him ‘no,’ and then I changed my mind (he asked me many times!) and I helped him with his writing. Slowly we became friends. Then we became best friends. But he was 12,000 miles away, so I was sure I was safe!
We started to love each other. Then we needed to know if I can marry again. We are both Christians. We both love Lord first. So we asked pastors and other people we trusted. Can Penny marry again? Can Barry marry divorced woman? (Barry never married before) One pastor told Barry to read special book, help explain. Book talked about ancient Israel, and if person adultery then stoned to death. Other person, innocent, now widow, can marry again.
Barry and I realized we can marry. I was so scared! Two days before wedding I was crying, crying. I told Barry, “You do not have to marry me. We can stop marriage before you are stuck with me! I do not think I can be good wife. I do not think we should get married!” I was so scared! But Barry was calm, quiet, and he knew God’s will. Two days later we were married and we are so happy! God used Barry to heal me inside. I learned to trust again. I learned I could be good wife, open person. My fear disappeared.
That is my story. We were married in 2000 and now eight years married. It is wonderful marriage. God really blesses us everyday. We have hard times, yes, but not because each other. Barry follows Christ, so our marriage remains good, no matter what happens to us. This is God’s plan for marriage.
So before had bad marriage and now good marriage. I understand pain in bad marriage. But God had perfect plan, no matter my ex’s adultery. God forced me become more mature, more humble in Him. That was His goal for me. He allowed ex to break me and now God uses Barry to heal me. I am better person because I had big pain.
If you are married, be best marriage partner. Follow Christ and allow HIS character shine through you. If your partner adultery, you may divorce. If your partner not Christian and wants divorce you, say “OK.” Later, God’s will, God’s timing, you may marry again.
But you may NOT divorce for other reasons. If abuse, then you may separate, but continue pray for other person. If other person chooses divorce, then OK. Remember, God understands and God will lead you His way, best way. Often hard, but always you will mature and grow spiritually. That is most important thing. Why? Because life on earth short, but heaven is forever.
God bless you all.