A Comment from a friend about MDR

One reader/friend wrote the following comments concerning my “Marriage Maintenance and Divorce Dilemmas” article that I sent last week.

I have a different view on the remarriage. If you get a divorce for convenience, remarriage maybe should not be a future option.

My response: I see where you are coming from here and I basically agree. In my judgment, divorcing for “convenience” is the very thing that Jesus condemned in Matthew 19. Divorce and remarriage is not an option in a case where one divorces a faithful mate just for “convenience” sake without “sinning.” Jesus said, “Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 15:6). When a marriage partner divorces a “faithful mate” simply because the law of the land allows them to do so (convenience), it is wrong! Terribly wrong! And if they divorce a faithful mate simply because they “conveniently” find someone they like better, then that is marital adultery. Jesus said if one divorces a mate and marries another he “commits adultery against her” (Mk. 10:11). The issue I have is, “If they have already remarried, how do they fix it? Is it “convenient” to divorce again to repent of divorcing for “convenience”? The view I oppose is demanding that those who have already sinned by divorcing and remarrying for “convenience” being told that must divorce again.

His next comment: With a marriage involving young children, the children have no say about the divorce or a subsequent remarriage where they will become “step children” to the new spouse. A divorce is traumatic enough for children. A remarriage is another traumatic event. I think a divorced adult with young children should put their priority on the children, not themselves. Just my opinion.

My response: This is very good…especially the statement about putting “their priority on the children, not themselves.” I could not agree more. I believe (and know from experience in my own family and among some of my closest friends) that “divorce is traumatic” on all involved, especially for children in many (most) cases. I really don’t know hardly any families, in the church or out, who haven’t been affected in some way. And “remarriage” can be “traumatic” on them as well in some (many) cases. Knowing what I have seen in my lifetime, in most cases I personally would not recommend remarriage where children are involved…especially without a lot of spiritual counseling. So the point you make here is well taken.

But I also know cases where “remarriage” was one of the greatest blessings ever for the children. I have known children whose mothers divorced her “physically abusive/controlling/violent husbands” and later found a husband who was a “great father” to her children. So each case is different. The problem I have is with the view that says “remarried” couples must divorce again…which would be/is just as traumatic in many cases as divorcing the first time. Couples, whom I know personally, divorced and remarried and had children together in the “second marriage” but were told that they had to divorce in order to be Christians. If they had listened to those preachers and divorced each other, the divorce would have also been “traumatic” on them and their children just like it is “traumatic” on children in a first marriage. The question is usually not whether people sinned or were sinned against when marriages are destroyed, but it is, “What must they do about it when they have already committed the sin and are in a new relationship that they would not/cannot change?” God hates divorcing a “faithful marriage partner” no matter who does it or who demands it. See Malachi 2:16.

Wayne Dunaway

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