MDR stands for Marriage – Divorce – Remarriage. A shortcut I choose to use on this series where I deal with many christians problems of the questions of marriage, divorce and remarriage. It also make a search easier. Make a search on MDR and read all about this topics.
For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel,
And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery. (Mal. 2:16, Mat. 19:9 NASB)
I have long time wanted to write a bit about some difficult topic – marriage, divorce and remarriage. Not only Christian and in a Biblical context, but I’m sure all may have huge benefit of this series. We don’t really find the difficult questions in the group of marriage, but for sure we find may difficult question in the group of divorce and remarriage. The topic of marriage can not be let out, because it’s where all starts. I have a big faith that we can avoid many problems even before we goes to the step of marriage by get more fully understanding what a marriage is. Yet, I have been concentrated around the topic of divorce and remarriage at first, then I will come back to the topic of marriage another time.
MDR is a huge topic with many questions as: ‘Who shall I marry or can I marry’, ‘What constitutes a marriage?’, ‘Do I have to “date” my boy/girlfriend some time before we can get married?’ to ‘Is it possible to be separated?’, ‘If it is possible to divorce, when one can do it?’, ‘Is separation a solution?’, to ‘Who can get a divorce?’ and ‘Do I have to live lonely in a marriage for the rest of my life?’ and many more questions.
The questions if one may marry is so far no problem as long as you have not been married once before, as long as you are over 18 years and that you are not of the same sex. But as soon as one arrives outside these criteria you will face criticism and will not be accepted by others, some good and valid reason, others with lesser or without valid reason at all.
It has taken some time to collect all information and scribbled it down in an understandable way as I’m no writer, but the work seems to tolerate some light now. I am thrilled and excited to blog some of the work, ie there is more text and information than I have bring in to blogging but it seems that I can get about 8 parts. Let me in this first post begin by laying out a few stories to make us think what may occur in humans when we come to the question of divorce and remarried. I have many stories but these are different from each other and I’m trying to poke at some points. Since there are points I want to promote, it is therefore no intention to reproduce the stories completely authentically.
In a sunny and fresh day of May came an middle-aged Christian lady to me while I had lunch. She asked if she could sit down at my table. I knew her from before so this was not unusual, I offered her a chair and a cup of coffee. Since it had been awhile since we had talked together, we curiously shared information with each other. Much of the usual questions always come along; I asked her how the kids are and her husband, if the children were healthy etc. While we sat and talked, I got a feeling that not everything was as it should. The excited and enthusiastic lady that I knew her was somehow not there, eyes were not happy. I did not know if I should ask what it was yet so I continue the chatting.
When I asked where the holiday would go this summer, it was as if some resistant loosened up for her, or should I say that my question was a question that needed a little deeper explanation, or it gave her an entrance to speak a little deeper with me.
– “I do not know … don’t dare… the kids are … I mean…” It was a small stay. · – “Frank, it is absolutely impossible for Christians to divorce?”
My brain make a slightly stop when attempting to take a turnaround from the path it was on. My thoughts had to try to dig up a few passages it could find in that moment in order to evaluate what would come out in response to her. But at first just “ehhh …”.
– “Why do you ask?” I asked. “Is it terribly wrong with your marriage?”
– “Yes, it is certainly not ok. It has been going on for a long time now and I can not stand it anymore” she expressed.
I know people may struggle in their marriage occasionally, something I considered she may do too. My perception was that this maybe was not worse than others and on a “normal” level if I could use this word here. I didn’t know if I would dig so much into it, but to answer her questions I needed a bit more. By what I knew from the scripture at that time, I had to know if the man had committed adultery, then it was somehow pice of cake to explain for her, an opportunity to get divorced, so I asked:
– “Has your husband been unfaithful?”
– “No, not that I know of.” She said and continued. “Actually I’m pretty sure he haven’t been … but he kills me soon.”
It was as I wish I had not asked, because I was now there without a “reasonable” response, plus I now understood I had gotten something more serious matters on my lap. It was quite clear that she could not be divorce after what I had knowledge of. Without infidelity, no divorce. Whatever, this conversation had now become difficult.
The conversation went on and it turned out that the man had done, and still ran rough psychological terror, not only against her but also the children. Difficulties and episodes that I had heard talk about the kids at school and in their spare time now had an explanation. I was in trouble, well no greater difficulty than her course, but it was clear that she and the children had to get away from what they were now.
My thoughts was going around while we talked. There were certainly many solutions that could be given, such as enrolling him to the police etc., to create a physical distance between them. But in the long run it would not be any help at all. It was obvious that she sought answers about divorce in a Bible sense, she was a Christian and she wanted to make things right. I asked myself many times, is there something in the Bible that gives grounds to divorce a woman from her husband or vice versa, besides adultery/infidelity?
If she eventually turn him in to the police and he became convicted in one way or another, it would been a kind of separation instead of divorce … for divorce was now out of the picture. But not even then her problem would be solved, for how long should or should not a separation last? 3 months? A year? 10 years or for the rest of her life? This would answer itself because (in Norway), after 3 years of separation, a divorce would still taken place automatically and we are back to her initial question, can Christian get divorced?
We went through the Scripture together to see if we could get on some places who describing divorce. After several cups of coffee, and little back and forth in the scriptures, she said to me:
– “It’s not your fault Frank, but I cant’ see I can divorce. He has not been unfaithful to me. It will be like someone already said to me, I still have to live with a psycho the rest of my life and the reward for it will come later when I’m home with God. What I can’t see is why? People ask about the meaning of life and we Christians have so great answer to it. Everything has sort of a sense among Christians, but what exactly is the meaning of my life now? We’re not sitting here now on earth to suffer, for so later get a reward for it? I do not feel for an separation anyway, that will mean he still will have control over my life. So where is my life!”
– “No there must be a solution to this, even if we haven’t found it yet,” I said in an attempt to comfort her. It was clear to me that this terror was unbearable for her.
– “Yes, there is a solution,” she replied. “I myself can go and be unfaithful. Then my husband will have a reason to divorce me… Or maybe I have.”
The cold coffee stuck in my throat but I was able to cough up;
– “No for all means, you must not do that. You must not go and make a sin just to get out of this.” If she really believed this, I must say I was worried for her situation. It must be bad situation if one is willing to go to such drastic action to get away from a cruel marriage. Should she really had to sacrifice herself because we – the church -, – God’s people – haven’t found a solution in the Bible for her? There MUST be a solution! It just have to be that we haven’t seen the solution yet, I thought. I tried to comfort her with a smal joke.
– “Instead of being physically unfaithful, why not just look at another man with a lust for him. You know that it says: “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”” (Matt. 5:28).
I must say it was a horrible bad joke from me. It would still been a sin, and we both came with a smile and a conclusion that this was neither a good or valid reason in our society to demand a divorce, neither in Biblical context or in the Christian community. On this we was agree.
Before we finish this post, we will bring inn a very small story which I have drawn from the author of the book, Divorce and remarriage: What Does the Bible Really Say ?, Ralph Woodrow. I’ve included this story because it has similarities, yet different with the next and final story which you can read in the next post.
A man in Indiana became interested in the Bible through listening to a radio program. He sent off for free literature. What he read and heard seemed to make a lot of sense, so he requested a visit from church representatives. When they quizzed him about previous marriages, he explained that while he was still in his teens he had a brief marriage; that he had now been married to his present wife for twenty years; that they had three children. He was told that he was living in “adultery”; that in order to be a part of God’s “one true church,” he would have to divorce his present wife and go back to his first wife-or live single. To go back to his first wife was impossible, so he moved into an apartment across town where he spent a frustrated, miserable, lonely existence apart from his wife and family. Sadly, one day he was found dead in his closet-he had hung himself!
Bible Verses are taken from NASB, unless otherwise noted.
What do you think?