A Marriage Question: Brother Wayne, my husband who is not a Christian has walked out of our marriage. There does not seem to be anyone else. He just decided he doesn’t want to be married any longer. He refused to go to counseling and walked out on me and the children. He had been pulling away for years and finally decided to leave for good. I have heard about your book on divorce and remarriage, but do not have it, and do not know what to do now. I am in complete turmoil and fear of having to live alone for the rest of my life. I was brought up in a very conservative Church of Christ so you most likely know what I have been taught. What am I to do? Can I ever get married again?
My response: I believe that the Bible is very clear about what must be done in some/most of these cases. LET. HIM. WALK!!! And while I certainly would not make the decision for you, because that is between you and God, I do believe that you need to know what the Bible says, then make up your own mind. But some things are obvious. We cannot keep people in our lives that refuse to be kept in our lives. One cannot stay married to someone who has deserted the marriage. In those cases where it cannot be saved, then the deserted party must recognize that the “marriage is over”…and seek God’s help in getting “over the marriage.” When a “relationship is over”…seek God’s help in getting “over the relationship.” Paul is very clear about what some should do when in this very situation. Read it yourself.
But if the UNBELIEVER departs, LET HIM DEPART; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But GOD HAS CALLED US TO PEACE. (1 Corinthians 7:15; NKJV).
God has called us to “peace”—not to persistent punishment, self condemnation, and self abuse, or to a life time of celibacy because a former marriage partner decided to walk out of the relationship. If a mate has “walked out” then in most cases all we can do is “LET’EM WALK!”
Is it a sin for you to marry if you are divorced? You decide! You do not need any help from me or from anyone else to understand what God has said. All you really need to know is what He said and where He said it. The main ones who need “help” in understanding this are those who have been taught by those who have misunderstood this. Read what God said about those “loosed from” (which, in my judgment, must include those divorced) a mate.
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. ARE YOU LOOSED FROM a wife? Do not seek a wife. But even IF YOU DO MARRY, you have NOT SINNED; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. (1 Corinthians 7:27-28; NKJV).
It is not a sin for a deserted partner to marry because a believer is “not under bondage” to a mate or marriage that no longer exists because one party chooses to walk out (1 Cor. 7:15). If some of your friends or Church members need help “understanding” this, then it is obviously a situation where more help is needed than we are qualified to give them. We can “explain it” to them…but we cannot “understand it” for them. Paul clearly says that those “loosed from” a mate have “not sinned” if they “marry.” That must include those who have been deserted by an unbelieving mate because Paul had just dealt with that earlier in this very chapter. Sometimes the best way to “get over” an unfaithful mate…is to find a faithful one. But again, your decision about what you should do is between you and Jesus. Reading my book, reading this response, or listening to others may help, but your decision needs to be based on what “you understand” the “Bible” to teach. Pray, ponder, and then practice what Jesus teaches and leads you to do. I would believe that if it is God’s will that “you marry”…then He will bring someone into your life that will “marry you.”
I deal with this in chapter 10 and chapter 24 of my book on MDR. Also in Appendix 6 I quote from some of the best minds, and at one time some of the most respected men in the Church of Christ, who also understood 1 Corinthians 7:15 exactly as it is written. If you want a copy of my book, send me your address and I can send it to you. I actually wrote it to help people like you. I will also be praying for you and your family. God bless! Thank God for Jesus!