What the Bible Says about
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

John Coblentz

Why is divorce wrong?
Pages 41 - 44

In the book Christian Family Living seven reasons are given in answer to this question. Because they speak to the point and summarize much of what has been said here, we quote them in full:

1. Divorce is against the clear Word of God. "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Mark 10:9).

2. Divorce is against the character of God. In Malachi 2, God calls divorce "treachery." God is faithful. What He promises, He does. Divorce is all in contrast to the faithful character of God. Love calls for loyalty. Those who divorce betray this sacred commitment of love, demonstrating, instead, unfaithfulness and treachery. The impact of Malachi 2, however, is not primarily broken marriage vows, but Israel's broken covenant with God. In graphic language, God demonstrated that covenant breakers with men become covenant breakers with God. Where the spirit of treachery is in human relationships, in other words, it will be in one's relationship with God. Small wonder that God says, "I hate putting away."

3. Divorce demonstrates hardness of heart. Jesus frankly said divorce was permitted for "hardness of...heart" (Mark 10:5). To this could be added the witness of many marriage counselors. The underlying problem in marital conflict is self-centeredness. Divorce is but the continued expression of a hard heart. It takes humility, love, and brokenness to resolve marriage problems and to experience the oneness intended in marriage.

4. Divorce hurts one's partner. Treachery is a betrayal word. Where there is betrayal, there is hurt. Trust and loyalty are intrinsically bound up in love, and divorce knifes mercilessly through those bonds causing hurt. Always. It is impossible to divorce a legitimate relationship between man and woman as an act of love and compassion. Attitudes of hate and hurt are always present.

5. Divorce hurts children and scars their lives. Following is the testimony of one daughter whose parents divorced:

"Please, please don't sign them! O Daddy, don't sign those papers!" My pleadings must have added greatly to my father's burden, but the pen held firmly in his hand continued to write his name on the final paper.

Thus was my world destroyed and I with it, for on that day something died in the heart of a child. . . .

Bitter protests and tears were vain, for divorce courts do not consider human hearts when they collect their dues. Mother and Daddy were to be "free," but we children were not. I became a slave to despair. The quarrels? They ceased, to be sure, but cries of heartbroken children took their place, and I for one, longed to hear those quarrels if only it meant I could have my mother and daddy back! . . .

I wish I could take the hand of every parent harboring the thought of divorce, and lead you back with me into the valley through which I have come. If the hurt of an innocent child's heart, the bitter shock of a tender life, the tears of the unwanted, misplaced child, the horror and gloom could be called to witness in the divorce courts, no child would again have to walk the dreadful road that starts with the signing of those final papers in the divorce courts. Instead, the tears would become your own and in the valley you would realize that the ones who suffer in divorce and remarriage are the innocent children. 4

6. Divorce creates further barriers to reconciliation. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul warns against even separating from an unbelieving partner, but then says, "If she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife" (I Corinthians 7:11). While we are not discussing separation here, we can readily see that Paul instructs towards reconciliation, not away from it, even with unbelieving partners. And he also implies that divorce is like adding a padlock to the door through which an unfaithful partner has gone. Where reconciliation is the objective, divorce cannot be an option.

7. Divorce perpetuates sin.

People choose divorce as an answer to their marriage problems. But it is impossible to correct problems through disobedience to God. Divorce always creates more problems. Jesus noted specifically that divorce is a cause of adultery (Matthew 5:32). No one can keep the consequences of sin to himself, and this seems especially true with divorce. Sin leads to sins, and those sins multiply in the generations to come. Studies have shown that those who come from divorced homes have a higher rate of divorce than those whose parents remained faithful. Sin simply snowballs. 5


  1. Anon., "Scars of Divorce," published by Gospel Tract Society, Inc., Independence, Mo., pp. 1, 3, 6. Return

  2. John Coblentz, Christian Family Living (Harrisonburg, Va.: Christian Light Publications, Inc., 1992), pp. 167-170. Return

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