<<break-up, separation>>

It is the legal dissolution of the marriage bond between a husband and wife.

God’s ideal standard is for a married couple to be ‘one flesh’ in a lifelong commitment till death takes one of them, after which the remaining partner is free to remarry (Gen 2:24; 1 Cor 7:39; 1 Tim 5:14). Humanity should not separate what God has joined together (Mt 19:4-6). God’s Word is clear, “Do not break faith with your wife. I hate divorce”. It is a violation of His intent for married couples, but He still loves His children (Mal 2:14-16; Mt 19:9; 1 Cor 7:10,11). Mankind has cheapened marriage and trivialised the seriousness of the relationship, which should not be entered into lightly.

Divorce emotionally scars both spouses, brings untold psychological damage to any children involved, as well as adversely affecting the wider family structure. Jesus stated

Don’t view divorce as an easy exit

the only permissible reason for divorce is when one partner is unfaithful by having sex with someone else (Mt 5:32; Mk 10:11,12; Rom 7:2,3). Even then, repentance, forgiveness and restoration of the original relationship is to be sought. To leave your partner for someone else may be legal by civil laws but God considers it adultery, which has serious consequences (1 Cor 6:9-11; Heb 13:4).

Pray daily for guidance and protection for your spouse. It is essential to take measures to protect your partner from falling into immorality with someone else. Strengthen your relationship, being as courteous, attentive and romantic as when you were when courting. Set aside times to be together as a couple, without the children, to talk over and resolve issues that have been causing conflict, or just have some quality time together. Divorce is not to be regarded as an escape route when difficulties arise, the relationship seems dead, or someone new takes your eye. Rekindle the fire of love that drew you together in the first place and be a fantastic lover!    

Every close relationship, particularly marriage, has its times of stress and hurts. Love, although it is an emotion, must also involve the will – a conscious decision to act and react in a Godly manner, not dictated to by the old carnal nature. Don’t seek to dissolve what has taken a long time and much effort to establish. Seek help from your pastor, or mature friends if required.

To rebuild one’s life after divorce: learn from the failure of the relationship – what you can learn from it to grow and be changed person; accept God’s forgiveness – guilt follows every failure we experience in life. God promises to forgive us when we repent (1 Jn 1:9); and be prepared to trust other people after the deep hurts of rejection – healing will come; hand your bitterness and anger to God, redirect the emotional energy into rebuilding your life rather than destructive outlets; rebuild your support system of friends – this will need considerable effort to re-establish.

See also: adultery, bonding, conflict, counsel/counselling, guilt, love, loyalty, marriage, remarriage, separation

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