What Does the Bible Say About Divorce, Marrying Again?

God hates divorce. He explicitly made this clear in Malachi 2:16. Even Jesus explained that His Father's original plan was for man and woman to be together (Mark 10:8–9), but because of the hardness of their hearts, was prompted to write a law on divorce through Moses (verse 5).

REUTERS/Aly SongA bouquet is seen in the snow as a bride poses for a photograph after a group wedding ceremony during the 26th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, Heilongjiang province.

Sadly, the hardness of the heart Jesus was referring to remains in people up to this day, which explains the high rate of infidelity and marital breakups. If a crisis occurs in a marriage, the Bible prescribes reconciliation, forgiveness (Luke 17:3–4) and repentance (John 8:11).

But that only applies if both couples are committed to restoring their relationship. If one of the parties insist on a divorce or continually hurts the spouse physically or emotionally, the aggrieved spouse is not compelled to remain in that marriage and God will not take that against him/her (1 Corinthians 7:15).

If God allows divorce for an irreconcilable union, does that mean He allows the separated parties to marry other people? The answer is an unconditional no for it is considered adultery (Luke 16:18). Under God's law, a marriage is binding for as long as husband and wife both live.

It is only upon the death of a spouse that the other can remarry (Romans 7:2–3; 1 Corinthians 7:39). A Christian who is in a hopeless marriage cannot aspire to find a new love as long as the spouse is alive. This applies to unbelievers as well but the burden of guilt is heavier for Christians who knowingly violate God's law.

One of the most popular questions is: What if a separated person gets Born Again after taking a new partner and realizes he/she is committing adultery, should he/she leave the current partner to go back to the original spouse? The answer is no — it is forbidden. Another adultery is committed should that happens (Deuteronomy 24:1–4).

God allows reconciliation only for spouses who remained single after their divorce (1 Corinthians 7:10–11). The only remedy in this situation is to ask God's forgiveness for committing adultery, remain in the current relationship and commit to being faithful in it (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).