In January of 1995, I married a divorced man whose wife had both abandoned and divorced him. During their divorce, he accepted the Lord in a revival meeting. I had never married before and felt I might be wrong to marry a divorced man with a living wife, but there seemed to be verses in the Scriptures to justify Bob’s divorce and our decision to marry.
Three years ago, a friend who accepted a proposal from a divorced man invited me to her wedding. I gathered verses on divorce and remarriage for her, and I was shocked.
Luke 16:18 “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery."
Romans 7: 2-3 “If, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.”
I wept at my discovery that although I was married legally, I was an adulteress in the eyes of God. Bob was surprised at these verses, too, and we became celibate, believing that the adultery aspect of our marriage would be resolved.
A year later, I began an in depth study for another friend, a divorcee with a living spouse, who received two proposals from divorced men.
When I read that repentance from an adulterous marriage required more than just being chaste, but forsaking the unlawful marriage, I was in shock again. I had never heard anything like this before!
I could not trust man’s opinion in making a devastating decision that would affect others, so I spent hours, days and months studying Scriptures. I found that the Matthew fornication exception does not allow remarriage and that the verse often cited for the Pauline (desertion-remarriage) Privilege doesn’t even mention remarriage. Neither verse gives permission to remarry while the spouse is living. I also read the early theologians unanimous view against remarriage, which was the position of the historic Christian church for its first 1500 years or so with barely a dissenting voice.
I sought the Lord whether I should stay in my marriage with Bob. Two words sparked my curiosity, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her (the first wife).” I began to understand that my adultery was against the original wife, the covenant wife, because I violated her covenant with her husband.
Malachi 2:13- LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 16 “For I hate divorce (of covenant wives).”
Proverbs 2: 17 The adulteress… leaves the companion of her youth And forgets the covenant of her God.”
Ezekiel 16:8 And I swore an oath to you and entered into a (marriage) covenant with you, and you became Mine," declares the Lord GOD."
The Lord was a witness to Bob and his wife’s covenant vow, and He joined them together in holy wedlock as companions for life. The two shall become one flesh so long as they live. What God has joined (super glued, yoked) together, man must not separate. “Must not separate” is in the imperative tense, not a suggestion, but God’s command.
I had always felt that I must honor my marriage vow with Bob, but now I realized that my oath to him was an adulterous vow. God does not join two adulterers in holy wedlock. Our vow did not nullify the covenant that God had witnessed between Bob and the wife of his youth and
the mother of his children.
Marriage is a picture of God’s relationship to the Jewish nation, and of Christ to the Church. How can I dishonor what God teaches and demonstrates from Genesis 2 to Revelation 22?
Bob and I gave the appearance of a happily married Christian couple, “proving” God wrong in this matter, and furthermore, encouraging others to follow our adulterous example. Although we were celibate, in reality I was living with another woman’s husband. I asked the Lord to reveal to me what I should do at this point. He showed me 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, “But unto the married, I command, yet not I but the Lord, the wife must not depart from her husband, But and if she has already been separated, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.” As long as I was married to Bob, I would be an impediment to Bob and his real wife reconciling.
I told several pastor that I planned to become “unmarried,” by civilly dissolving Bob’s and my adulterous marriage, but they told me that I “cannot unscramble eggs.” No, I believe it is more like unraveling a ball of yarn. An adulterous marriage can be undone and forsaken. It is the first covenant marriage that cannot be “unscrambled.”
I don’t have to live the rest of my days as an adulteress. What joy and sorrow this has brought to me. I have lost the security of a husband and the comfortable life we built together, but we began on the wrong foundation. “Except the LORD build the house they labor in vain that build it.” Palms 127:1
I am subject to the anger and hurt of my adulterous partner, the opposition of church leaders, the accusations of friends, and the doubts of relatives. Our pastors tell us that I am destroying a happy marriage. They tell me that I am Bob’s real wife; God’s grace covers our sin; God forgives a remarriage. I know that God forgives as we repent and forsake our sin. When a judge shows mercy and forgives a transgressor who has broken the law, the judge does not abolish the law. If he continues to break the same law, the judge would throw the transgressor in jail.
God has not abolished His Marriage Law of a One Flesh relationship. He wrote his Moral Commandments his law on my heart and mind.
Hebrews 10:16, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.
I am forever grateful to Him for chastening me and putting His Marriage Law into my heart so it would resonate in my heart when I read the words of Jesus, Whoso divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery and whoso (my name) marries (him) that is divorced commits adultery.
I want to obey Him and walk in His ways no matter the cost.
Deut 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments. Sharon HenryI was the one "married" to Bob. God did not join me to him because he already had a wife. God did not recognize their divorce nor our marriage. We repented of our remarriage. I am free to marry since I was not one flesh with him.