The End Of A Marriage

The End Of A Marriage

Pastor Vincent - 22 May 2021

Weekend Devotion: The Ending Of A Marriage

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Recently, I read in the papers that our government is introducing something called “amicable divorce”, which is meant to make the divorce process less acrimonious, so that both parties or the children involved could be mentally and emotionally protected. Why does this come about, we ask.

In 1980s, the legal grounds for divorce can be based on three fault-based facts: i.e. adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion. Any of this fault committed by either party in a marriage qualifies a person for divorce.

But apparently, with the modern Era, more marital complications arise. Both men and women demand more rights to end their marriage legitimately. And societal institutions set up to protect marriages can only relent and give in to the wants of couples who are bend on separation or divorce. So amicable divorce is introduced of late to minimalize the blame towards any party in a broken marriage.

Now, while “not attributing any faults” to anyone in a broken marriage make it easier for couples who are going through the process of divorce, but it also indirectly makes it easier for the attempt of divorce.  Of course, no one marries to get divorce, but do we struggle hard enough to save a marriage?

Now, marital complications can be one of the most difficult issue to deal with. And we have to know that the societal institutions can only react to whatever complications that might arise out of marriage. What they proposed can never be where we Christians find direction for martial break down.

 

Why?

Because they can never deal with the root issue, as they are ignorant of the marital biblical principle that God has ordained.

Now, to put it plainly, in biblical terms. Marriage is the entering into a covenant between a man and a woman, to be committed to each other in whatsoever situation for their whole life. So a divorce is the breaking of a covenant to start with. There are couples who broke that covenant because they felt they are no longer in love. There are those who gave up because they are unable to change each other. There are those who claim domestic violence, who claim desertion, who claim mental sickness, or who claim adultery as the reason for divorce. It is hard of course for the person involved in a marital rift. And those involved usually want the other party to bear the brunt of the break up.

 

Yet, what does God says about the ending of a marriage? Can there be situations where a divorce could be warranted?

Now listen, first of all, we have to understand what is a God defined marriage? Marriage is a covenant. And a covenant is a solemn agreement between two persons. And the agreement is tie by the terms of agreement. If the terms of agreement are broken, then strictly speaking, a divorce could be allowed.

So in a covenanted marriage before God, there are of course God-given commandments tie to it. People who enter the marital covenant are tie to the terms (or we could say: the commandments) of that covenant, and breaking that commandment will give either party the right to end the marriage. While death on one part will end the martial covenant, I see that there are two other covenant breaking situations that will end a marriage.

 

The first one of course in Jesus own words is when fornication is committed by either party in a marriage. In <Mat 5:32>, the Lord said:

But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Now, it is very clearly stated here, when the marriage bed is defiled, when adultery happens in a marriage, the covenant of the marriage is broken, and by law of God, it can be terminated.

 

And the other reason can be found in <1 Cor 7:15>, which is spoken in the context of desertion of the spouse due to faith. It says here:

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances.

 

So strictly speaking, adultery and desertion because of faith could legitimize a divorce. And either party is not bound in such a situation.

 

But let me say this, when a term or condition is laid down, people may abuse it. There are those who are bent on divorce may claim suspected adultery, there are those who claim their non-believing partner is preventing them from practicing their faith, or there are those who tries to make disputable claims that their spouse violates these terms in indirect way. I mean, let us not be deceptive before God. When we make those claims, have we really considered the relative situations? For instance, the one who claim that your spouse committed adultery, ask whether you have “force” your spouse to the brink of doing so?

 

I mean there are no excuse but there are many things to consider, but the law does not deal with such things. The law is merely a black and white directive. So with that said, you must be clear conscience before God, if you’re considering a divorce and trying hard to find the reasons to do so. If you’re not right before God, you will be subject to more shame and pain after your divorce.

Now, don’t think that you can just end this marriage and live happily ever after in another marriage. I mean IF you are in the midst of contemplating, consider carefully, either for yourself or for your children. Don’t make rash decisions. But if you are already in your 2nd or 3rd marriage, please, for God’s sake, stop following your feelings. Understand that marriage is not about feelings, it is a covenant. Don’t be a covenant breaker all your life. And if you feel that by those two commandments broken, you can freely divorce, think about how God came to save us, His bride, even though we deserted Him, broke all His commandments and committed spiritual adulteries for most of our lives. I mean didn’t God save His own marriage with us through His blood? I mean let’s pray deeper as we consider how God deals sacrificially with the institution of marriage.

Now, having said that, I also understand there are instances where one party in a marriage is totally being abused by the other, whether mentally, emotionally or physically. And not once, but on a constant basis. There are such cases where lives are being endangered if a person continues living in such a marriage. There are exceptional cases like that of course. Now, the Bible didn’t exactly specify that such a situation allows for a divorce. But our God is a loving and sound God. Though HE gives a hard and fast principle against divorce, He is a God that protects lives also, especially that of His children. So if our lives will be endangered or totally devastated by such a marriage, my view is go for a separation first. And if in the midst of separation, the inflictor in the marriage doesn’t come to his or her senses, it ultimately warrants a divorce.

 

Now, as I’ve said, marriage is a very complicated issue. While the most bliss can be gained out of it, it could also be the most dangerous place where we could be hurt unconsolably. While there are many marriages that are breaking down and far from perfect, let us all the more know that there will be a perfect marriage which Christ will bring ultimately at the end of age. It will be the final consummation between Christ and His church, where there will no longer be any pain and disappointment.

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Pastor Vincent Choo
choochisan@gmail.com

Vincent is the Senior Pastor of The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) and is an ardent missionary to the Chinese World. He currently lives in Singapore with his wife, Qiufen, and has three kids, Mary, David, and Caleb.

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