Bible Question:

I have a Biblical divorce because my husband has slept with many women outside the marriage. But it appears that Matthew 5:31-32 says whoever divorces his wife (ME) for ANY reason except sexual immorality CAUSES HER TO COMMIT ADULTERY; and whoever MARRIES a woman who is divorced (ME) COMMITS ADULTERY. Even though I have not committed adultery, am l accused of adultery just because my husband divorces me?

Bible Answer:

Here is the passage in question.

. . . 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. (NASB) Matthew 5:32

The easiest way to understand that passage is to remove a key clause. Here is the same verse with part of it removed.

. . . but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife . . . makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (NASB) Matthew 5:32 modified

Notice that we removed the exception clause “except for the reason of unchastity.” Now the modified verse says that 1) anyone who divorces his wife makes her commit adultery by divorcing her and 2) whoever marries that divorced woman commits adultery too! This modified verse says that both the husband and wife commit adultery when either partner has violated the relationship. This is the very issue that you are struggling with. But this cannot be the meaning since it is obvious that we have removed part of the verse. The meaning of the verse has changed because we removed a key clause.

Now what is the meaning of the key clause that we removed? The key clause contains the phrase “except for” and the word “unchastity.” “Unchastity” refers to adultery and other sexual sins. The phrase “except for” means that there is an exception. That is, the modified verse is not true if unchastity has occurred. That is, adultery is not committed if the divorce occurred because of sexual sin by either partner. Then anyone who marries the divorced woman or man, who has not committed adultery, does not commit adultery either. In short, the exception clause means that the one who did not commit the adultery is the “innocent” partner.

In your situation, your husband committed adultery. Biblically speaking you are the “innocent” party even though it takes two to make a divorce. Divorce is always difficult. I would encourage you to thank God that you have the privilege of being married again with His blessing.

Conclusion:

Do not let the evil one take away your joy. Take comfort: a biblical divorce implies that you have the right to remarry.

Suggested Links:

A Biblical Divorce
Biblical Divorce and Remarriage
What does God say about a person marrying someone who has been divorced?
If you are divorced and remarry, are you living in adultery?
Is it a sin to divorce if you profess to be a Christian?
Should Christians date non-Christians?