When Jesus was questioned about divorce for any reason (Matthew 19), He directed the Pharisees back to Genesis 2:24. While He made an exception for the injured person to remarry when a spouse cheats (19:9), Jesus gave four reasons divorce was never God’s plan.

Divorce violates the precedent God set for marriage in the beginning.

Originally, remarriage was not only inadvisable; it was also impossible. God made only one man and one woman. When it later became possible, problems followed those who disregarded the “one man for one woman” precedent. The result with Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon was the same as it often is today—chaos, conflict, and heartache. Since two become one in marriage, divorce causes indescribable pain, like a tear in one’s body.

Divorce violates God’s command to cleave to one’s spouse.

Cleave is the opposite of divorce. Marriages must be built primarily on commitment, not romantic feelings. Romance is important, but the foundation of marriage is a decision, not a feeling. Commitment—in the form of a covenant before God (Malachi 2:14–16; Proverbs 2:17)—is what holds marriage together through difficulties. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).

Divorce violates the design of marriage.

Marriage math is easy: One man, one woman, for one life. When a man and woman marry, they dedicate themselves to each other for the rest of their lives—that includes their being one another’s sole sexual partner. Monogamy is God’s design. Remarriage is a form of adultery because it brings together partners to whom God does not give the right to be together. If a couple divorces for a reason other than fornication, they both commit adultery if they marry another (Matthew 19:9; Luke 16:18).

Divorce violates God’s will in marriage.

Marriage counselors hear, “I want out. I’m not happy. He’s mistreating me. She’s not making me happy anymore.” The question should always be, “What is God’s will in this situation?”

God’s design for every marriage is permanence—so long as they both shall live (Romans 7:1–3; cf. Matthew 19:9).  —Allen Webster

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