I was married at age 18 for 24 years. We were not Christians. I divorced my husband after he committed adultery and left me for another woman. I married again and divorced after my 2nd husband sexually abused my young daughter (this marriage lasted 3 years). I remarried yet again, and, after nearly 2 years, my third husband walked out on me one day almost a year ago. I have always had a close relationship with my first husband, even after all we have been through. He has never remarried and states that he has only had one wife. He and I are talking about getting married again. I need to know if God will bless our re-union. We are both born again Christians now and realize that we love (only) each other. Our grown children and grandchildren are very excited.
The major biblical passage that speaks to your situation is Deuteronomy 24:1-4. We will examine three passages given by Christ in from the gospels. We will look at each passage and then draw a conclusion.
The first passage is found in Deuteronomy 24:1-4. It reads as follows:
When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (NASB)
The key to understanding this passage is to ask the question, “What is the meaning of the phrase ‘some indecency’?” The phrase cannot refer to sexual relations with someone other than the existing spouse, since according to Mosaic law such an adulterous relationship resulted in the death of both the man and the woman (Leviticus 20:10). Therefore, the phrase “some indecency” refers to something else. Therefore, the question is, “What does ‘some indecency’ refer to?”
Some ancient Jewish commentaries claim that this passage addressed an ancient Egyptian practice that was also practiced by the Jews who had left Egypt at the time of the exodus. Reportedly, the Jewish husbands were swapping wives by divorcing their wives in order to marry another man’s wife. After the husbands had enjoyed their new wives for a while, they would divorce them and remarry their first wives. Reportedly, this was a common practice. But this view ignores the fact that the passage says that “she finds no favor in his eyes.” If a woman finds no favor with her husband, then one would think he would not want to remarry her. This explanation does not really address the issue.
The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time used this passage to justify the divorce of one’s wife if she displeased him in anyway. They claimed that divorce was allowed for almost any reason, including the accidental burning of a husband’s food. Such a divorce would not result in the death of either person. The Jewish leaders cited Deuteronomy 24:1-4 as justification for their actions. They distorted the meaning of the passage for selfish reasons.
Jesus taught that divorce was allowed only when 1) the offending spouse had sexual relations with someone who was not his or her spouse (Matthew 5:32; Mark 10:11-12) or 2) when the unbelieving the partner wants to leave (1 Corinthians 7:8-16). That is, the one who did not violate the marriage had the right to file for divorce. Such a divorce was a biblical divorce and had God’s blessing with the right to remarry. Divorce for any other reason was not allowed and did not receive God’s blessing. If either the former husband or wife married another person, he or she would commit adultery.
A careful examination of the Deuteronomy 24:1-4 passage reveals that the woman was not allowed to remarry her first husband because 1) they had an unbiblical divorce, and 2) she had committed adultery by marrying the second husband. They had divorced on account of “some indecency,” and not for a biblical reason. Then she married another man without God’s blessing. Therefore, when she married her second husband, she committed adultery and cannot return to her first husband. Jeremiah 3:1 also reveals that a women could not remarry her first husband after marrying someone else.
Here are Jesus’ words from the remaining three major passages,
. . . but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:32 (NASB)
And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.” Mark 10:11-12 (NASB)
Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery. Luke 16:18 (NASB)
Jesus clarified Moses’ command. The woman was not allowed to remarry her first husband because she had 1) an unbiblical divorce, and 2) had committed adultery by marrying the second husband. She committed adultery since the first divorce was unbiblical (see definition above). Since she had committed adultery, she was not allowed to remarry her first husband.
Former spouses are allowed to remarry if they have not married someone else before remarrying. But if a couple has violated Deuteronomy 24:1-4, they should confess their sin to the Lord, and remain married. Remember that 1 John 1:9 promises forgiveness. He forgives in response to our confession and because He promises to forgive.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NASB)
The goal is to please the Lord in all that we do. When we do that He brings blessing. If you are experiencing emotional difficulties as result of this decision, it is important to exercise self-control to obey the Lord. In 1 Peter 3:8-12 we find that God promises blessing to those who live righteously.
Suggested Links:If you are divorced and remarry, are you living in adultery?
Biblical Divorce & Remarrriage
What does God say about a person marrying someone who has been divorced?
My husband has cheated on me. What is God's will?
Marriage In Splendor - God's View
Should married couples divorce when there is physical abuse?
Is it possible to remarry and have a happy marriage?