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Marriage and Dating

It is a good idea to first watch from a distance to determine if the person you may some day marry is really a Christian, who is truly desiring to live for God. God never encourages us to merely look for a girl friend or boy friend to date for "recreational" reasons. Another reason we should take our time to get to know a prospective marriage partner "very well" is that we need to understand that abuse (spousal or child) is not listed in scripture as a reason for divorce. So, say for instance, one partner is an abusive alcoholic.  Biblically, we should be looking at this as a sickness that we should try and help our partner through. However, common sense dictates one should probably seek help, protection and even separation, if one spouse is violent, and is threatening the other spouse's (or children) life, or with physical harm.

Marriage is supposed to be a permanent bond. God hates divorce.  God intended from the beginning for married people to make a life-long commitment to each other.

In Malachi 2:16 God addresses divorce by saying; "For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away:"  So, it is up to both partners to work very hard at a marriage. It is one of the most important decisions you will ever make because when two people marry, they cleave to one another and become one flesh, which should be permanent, inseparable (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5). Genesis 2:24 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." 1 Corinthians 7:2 - "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband."

God knows that since a marriage involves two sinful human beings, divorce is bound to occur. In the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, God laid down some laws allowing divorce for infidelity (adultery) and abandonment.  Although adultery literally refers to physical sins, adultery is actually a matter of the heart.  The physical sin is usually a sign of of the unfaithful condition of the heart.

The Pharisees attempted to force Jesus to choose between the two popular plans for divorce, the Hillel position which was very liberal (divorce for anything) and Shammai position was very conservative (divorce for infidelity only). Jesus did not concede to either position, but rather He cited the teaching given to Adam and Eve and declared "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (literally this verse means "stop severing what God has permanently put together") in Matthew 19:16.

Additionally, our Lord and Savior said "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery" (Matthew 19:9).  Jesus pointed out in Matthew 19-8 that these laws were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, not because they were God’s desire.  In both Matthew 5:32 and in Matthew 19:9 Jesus stressed that "infidelity" was the only reason one may divorce.  It is important to note that only the innocent party is allowed to remarry.  If your spouse was unfaithful to you (adultery), then you are Biblically released from the marriage and are free to remarry.   This is still a complicated issue because we are back to the concept of what "adultery" actually is. 

Jesus said; "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." (Matthew 19:9).  Mark 10:12 says; "And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery." 

Certainly, even the innocent party who is wronged can always forgive and follow the Lord's example (Luke 11:4 and Ephesians 4:3).  Ephesians 4:32 tells us; "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."  And Luke 11:4 from the Lord's prayer says; "And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil."

1 Corinthians 7:15 speaks of an “exception” to the infidelity only rule.  However, the context does not mention remarriage, but only says a believer is not bound to continue a marriage if an unbelieving spouse wants to leave. We should understand that abuse (spousal or child) is not listed as a reason for divorce in the Bible. This is a very good reason why we should get to know our future marriage partner very well, before marrying.

Matthew 19:5-6 "and said, `
For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

1 Corinthians 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

A Christian person should be careful not to marry an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14-15 & Deuteronomy 7:3) because this could weaken your relationship with Christ, or compromise your morals and standards.  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  Deuteronomy 7:3-4 "Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. "For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly."

1 Corinthians 7:9 "But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." 

Proverbs 18:22 "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD."

Ephesians 5:3 "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;"

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

2 Timothy, 2:22 "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."


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