Living By Faith Blog

Icon

Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

A Reader Asks: Why Won’t God Let Me Remarry?

Woman on everystockphoto by xiordashxA Heart-Breaking Situation

A reader shared that her marriage can’t be reconciled and that she faces a future of singleness without sexual relations.  She wondered how she could deal with that.

My wife and I shared our thoughts in this post.

The reader also raised honest questions about why God would give such strict commands about marriage, divorce and remarriage.

I thought her questions would be helpful for others to ponder.  So I asked her permission to post our discussion.  She graciously agreed.

So here are —

Her Questions

I’ll be honest and say that this still seems like some kind of test. God has put us here to enjoy so many things such as friendship, love, childbearing, etc — and yet because of rules so many of them are banned.

Why are we here if we are not to enjoy the things of the earth? If it’s so we can be tested as to how suitable we are for heaven then what kind of God really is he?

I cannot understand this kind of God as a parent, I am not a parent like that. Why have a dry life that is going to end in heaven? If that’s the case why wait for heaven?

I cannot understand the meaning of a life of grief and unhappiness actually. I don’t test my children daily so they can prove to me that they are worthy of my company.

I cannot understand this type of God if he is true – it does indeed make me feel most certainly not like worshiping him.

I am not talking about a few moments of sexual pleasure in relation to being with him, that is not an issue.  I am talking about a life-altering perception of one’s entire future…for what reason?  Because of some sort of strange rule.

Did Jesus come to abolish rules or create more?  I am genuinely asking because this subject stumbles me to the point of not caring about him.

Our Thoughts

Dear Reader,

From what you shared, it sounds like your husband has brought great pain to you and your children.  And although we have not met you, our hearts go out to you.  We cannot imagine how painful this must be.

But more important is that God grieves with you.  This morning I (Steve) read that Jesus was moved with compassion for a sick man (Mar 1:41).  And God cares so much about your tears that it’s like he stores them all in a bottle and writes them all in a book (Psa 56:8).

But you ask —  if God cares so much, why would He create good things and then in some cases not let us enjoy them.  That’s a crucial question.

Let’s focus on marriage.  This is a good gift God created for us.  It can bring loving companionship, great joy, deep pleasure.  But part of what makes marriage so beautiful is the covenant each person vows — ’til death do us part.

So why does God permit remarriage only in cases of death and adultery (Rom 7:2; Matt 19:9)?  It’s because in other cases remarriage would break the original marriage vows.  And if God allowed us to break our marriage vows, that would make the vows meaningless, and would destroy the preciousness of marriage.

So when God prohibits remarriage, it’s not to keep good from us.  It’s to give good to us — the good of marriage as He intended it to be.

OK.  But what about you?  You believe it’s God’s will that you not remarry.  So where is God’s goodness in this towards you?

Or as you put it — Why have a dry life that is going to end in heaven?  If that’s the case, why wait for heaven?

Here’s the answer.  What we are going to share is something we have experienced over years of following Christ.  We have suffered very little compared to you, but God has used the little suffering we’ve had to teach us some precious truths.

What God says is that, in Christ, He Himself is our all-satisfying Treasure (Psa 16:11; Psa 37:5; Phil 3:8). This is not something we only experience in heaven.  This is something we can experience now.  We see that in Asaph, who in this life experienced such joy in God that he said — “besides You I desire nothing on earth” (Psa 73:25-26).

So God is your all-satisfying Treasure.  Which means the greatest joys on earth (and in heaven) are found in Him alone.

And God promises to orchestrate every detail of our lives, including every trial, to bring us the greatest joy in Him (2Cor 4:17).

So the only reason God would call you not to remarry, is because it will be through singleness that you will have the greatest joy in Him.

In other words, God only says No to earthly joys in order to bring us the infinitely greater Yes of joy in Him.

But this is not easy.  This means we have to trust Him.

So look at His love displayed on the Cross — for you.  Look at His willingness to receive the nails in his hands and feet — for you.  Look at how he refused to call a legion of angels to deliver Him, how He chose to suffer minute after minute, hour after hour — for you.

He loves you, dear Reader.  He loves you.

So trust His wisdom.  Trust His goodness.  Trust His love.

After decades of childlessness, Abraham and Sarah would say — trust Him.

After years of slavery, false accusations, and imprisonment, Joseph would say — trust Him.

After suffering the loss of all his children, and his property, Job would say — trust Him.

It won’t be easy.  It will be a fight — the fight of faith.

But God promises that in Christ He will give all the grace, comfort, love, forgiveness, strength, and joy you need.

One hundred years from today, when you see Christ displayed in all His glory, you will thank Him for the honor of suffering for Him — of suffering to uphold His will for marriage, and suffering to display His all-satisfying glory.

He is worth it all.

We have been praying, and will continue to pray for you.

In Christ,

Steve and Jan

Thoughts?  Comments?

We’d love to hear them.  Leave a reply below — thanks.

If you know someone this would help, email it to them using the “share” button below.  Or use the other buttons to share it on your favorite social media.

If you would like to interact with others who are seeking to live by faith in Christ, visit our Forums page.

If you would like to receive a Saturday email summarizing the week’s posts — subscribe here.  (I will only use your email address for Living By Faith Blog communications, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.)

And here are some related posts you might find helpful –

 

(Picture from everystockphoto by xiordashx.)

Category: How to Be Content

Tagged:

20 Responses

  1. Patrick Hughes says:

    This is a good discussion. I’m a divorced dad, so this discussion is relevant to me. God used the situation to reveal a facet of his character. I was praying one day in my private place, (a spectacular hidden valley in the mountains) and to be honest, I felt like a failure. My dreams of “happily ever after” had died, and there was nothing I could do about it. I cried out my hurt to God, and then just waited in silence. After a couple of hours, God finally spoke to me. He said simply, “I hurt with you.”. I always knew he understood my pain, but now I suddenly understood that he felt it right along with me. He then went on to say “is this place beautiful?”. I said “It’s spectacular… It’s a work of art!”. God replied, do you remember that it’s under the curse? There are thorns, thistles, and dead trees mixed in the view. You see the beauty. You are also living under the curse. But I only see the beauty in you.”. I spent the next hour crying. God cares.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Patrick,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. And you are so right that God cares.

      I am sure your story, and words, will bring encouragement to others.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  2. Learning Every Day says:

    @Patrick

    What a beautiful reply =)

  3. Shawn Cox says:

    GOD did not intend for marriage to be miserable.Marriage is supposed to be God’s expression of love. God does not want you to be unhappy. I would like to know have you tried marriage counseling? Also, I would not stay in the marriage if your partner is being abusive to you verbally and physically and if he is committing adultery. Remember God loves you and he wants you to be happy.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Shawn.

      I agree that God wants us to be happy. But I am sure you would agree that we need to let His Word explain how we will find happiness. And in some cases God calls people to stay in difficult marriages, as a way to display the sacredness of marriage, and to gain even more joy in Christ.

      You thank you for encouraging the pursuit of marriage counseling, and for your counsel that no one should stay in the same home with someone who is physically abusive.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  4. C Curry says:

    Very encouraging and beautiful reply about God’s love.

  5. Kerry-Anne says:

    I have no wish to lessen the necessity of a fulfilling personal relationship with Jesus and have found a great deal of peace from pursuing that goal. However, would He not allow you to re-marry if, after a divorce, your ex-husband or wife re-marries or has sexual relations with someone else?

    I interpreted His word that this event would be adulterous and would release you from the union according to His will, allowing you to marry again. Many divorced Christians re-marry. Therefore, I don’t agree that God will not allow you to re-marry. It is simply a question of having patience and faith in His intention to present you with another suitable partner according to His plan for you.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Kerry-Anne,

      Thank you for your important question. I agree with you. Since the spouse’s new marriage or sexual relations would involve adultery, this would fit the exception-clause Jesus taught in Mat 5:32 and Mat 19:9.

      I believe Jesus taught that there are times when a divorced spouse can remarry because their spouse broke the marriage covenant through adultery, and there are other times when a divorced spouse should not remarry, because their spouse has not committed adultery, which means the marriage covenant is still in force.

      In the latter case, the divorced spouse will be deeply sustained, comforted, and satisfied by Christ as they seek to glorify His plan for marriage by not remarrying.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  6. Ray J says:

    Hi, Steve.
    I am trying hard to find out what Jesus thinks about divorce nowadays.
    I am confused by your statement that Jesus allows remarriage in some cases.
    So I am reading again Mat 5:32 in Kjv, niv, nlt etc.
    I understand there is an exception (porneia) regarding divorce but regarding remarriage, didn’t Jesus say
    Anyone who marries a divorced commits adultery?
    Thanks
    Ray

  7. Mrs. West says:

    God does not permit divorce for reason of adultery. Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 mean that divorce causes both in the couple to commit adultery, unless they committed adultery already. So it’s about who committed adultery first and how, NOT an OK for divorce because of cheating. There are worse violations of a spouse’s trust and the family’s safety than cheating, and thought cheating is almost as painful as adding the physical cheating. Jesus JUST got done describing all people (with the thought ability to lust sinfully), as adulterers at heart…thoughts count too. All spouses are guilty of thought adultery, all mature enough singles too. Read the article “Bring Him Home” on the AboveRubies .org website. Read the book of Hosea and Ed Wheat MD’s “how to save your marriage alone”. You wouldn’t be alone though. It takes 2 to save a marriage, you and Jesus are usually enough. We can’t control our spouse, but it’s hard to reject absolute unconditional love. Forget business deal dictionary love that we’re all born with the first time. God’s love through us is inspirational. Jesus saved my marriage. The only verse about a Christian not being bound in the case of being abandoned by a spouse, is 1 Corinthians 7:15, but be careful to properly define “unbelieving.” It still may be better to try to reconcile with the father of your children, as an example of God’s love toward sinners, a great example to the children and grandchildren, an act of trusting God for our happiness and an act of worship…Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Who really is worth absolute unconditional marriage commitment? No one. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

  8. chris says:

    I am struggling with Gods’will for my life in regards to remarriage.

    I have been divorced for over 9 years now. I cheated on my husband. I repented and asked for forgiveness and did everything within my power to reconcile with him, but he refused. I stood for our marriage for the last 8 years and prayed for reconciliation up until the very hour that he remarried. He has been re-married for over a year now.

    Since he refused to reconcile, can I now remarry – even though I was the one who was unfaithful?

    • JT says:

      The Word quite frankly is silent on that. You’ve certainly suffered consequences by your ex husband divorcing you and remarrying someone else. It seems to me you’re released from that marriage. So I suppose you can. Especially given your contrite heart.

  9. JT says:

    I’m curious. Let’s pretend a Christian gets a divorce. And two years on down the line meets and falls in love with another person. Is that divorced Christian supposed to say ” I love you, but I’m divorced and can’t remarry”?

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Good question, JT.

      I believe remarriage is possible if someone’s spouse is unfaithful (Matthew 5:32; 19:9), and maybe also if someone’s spouse is an unbeliever who refuses to stay in the marriage (1 Corinthians 7:15.

      So it all depends on the circumstances of the divorce.

      I hope that helps.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

      • JT says:

        Let’s pretend the person divorced for other reasons besides adultery and a couple years on down the road meets and falls for someone else? What’s a person to do? I’m sure there are some Christians who were faced with this.

        • Steve Fuller says:

          Good question, JT. And I am sure there are many Christians who face this.

          All I can do is follow what Jesus says in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9, and what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7.

          My conclusion from these passages is that Jesus would urge this person not to marry, because to do so would be to commit adultery.

          No one is more loving and caring than Jesus, so we can completely whatever he says.

          I hope that helps.

          In Christ,

          Steve Fuller

      • JT says:

        Another question for discussion: Can a divorced Christian remarry if the previous marriage was never consummated? Let’s pretend the Christian decided to divorce because of sexual rejection by spouse. If the marriage was not consummated due to that, was it even a marriage in the first place? Is the person free to remarry?

        • Steve Fuller says:

          Another good question, one that I don’t believe the Bible clearly deals with.

          But I’m wondering if what creates the marriage is the vows, not the physical consummation.

          The scenario you describe would be tragic. But I an see the rejected spouse remaining faithful to the marriage in order to honor his vows and the priority Jesus puts on marriage.

          In Christ,

          Steve Fuller

  10. Tiffani says:

    Can you remarry if both of you committed adultery in the marriage? Are you both free to remarry other people once you are divorced?

    • Steve Fuller says:

      I would encourage you to study what Jesus teaches in Matthew 5, and Matthew 19.

      It would also be helpful to talk and pray with some godly women in your church.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

Leave a Reply

Join 2,375 people who receive each week’s posts by email

More Help for Your Faith

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Feedback

"I just found your blog recently, and I've NEVER found such clarity, understanding and comfort before." (Sarah)

"AWESOME. Going to mangle this sin tonight with the Promises of God." (Alec)

"If I could subscribe to only one blog, yours would be it." (Lyn)

"I think you are really on to something with this blog. I don’t know of anything else like it." (Doug)

"Excellent comment. Really well put and wisdom that is strangely lacking in much evangelical thinking." (John)

"Thank you -- I needed to hear this. So clear and concise yet captivating." (Stacey)

"Such a helpful post. I’ve bookmarked it and reread it two or three mornings just this week." (Doug)