Q: “After reading the “shacking up” article I still have a question.
I’m currently divorced, I’m dating somebody who is working on the legal aspects of a divorce but has been emotionally divorced for a few years now (i.e. they two have not lived together or had any marriage like contact in years). Avoiding the mess & stress of explaining her dilemma I’ll jump straight to the point.
What are the rules of two divorced people starting a relationship (physical and emotional) and possible marriage. Where can more info on this subject be found?”
A: First let me start by saying thanks for reading and taking the time to ask. The subject of adultery is a big deal now days because our societies moral standards have taken a nose dive. Lets look at your situation from a Biblical perspective. Lets start with the basics.
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” – Exodus 20:14
What Exactly is Adultery?
- Adultery – voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse.
Based on the question you asked, she is still married, so you are committing adultery, assuming you too are sexually active. However, Jesus took it a step further when He was talking about adultery.
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28
I’m sure most men, myself included, are guilty of the looking and lusting after women. Sometimes we may not know that a woman is married until after we have had the thought, but that should teach us to control our thoughts. The Bible doesn’t make mention of two unmarried people thinking thoughts about each other just to clarify the verse. That verse applies to someone that is married. Either the married man looking at a woman or a single man looking at a married woman.
What The Bible Has To Say About Divorce
The Bible has very clear rules on divorce and adultery, but sometimes we don’t agree because it doesn’t fit our current situation. When that happens we try to rationalize and justify our beliefs.
“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.” – Deuteronomy 24:1
The Bible does say its OK to get divorced if the wife is found to be unclean. This could mean disease, infidelity, or several other things, but thankfully, Jesus clears that up for us in the NT.
- “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” – Matthew 5:32
Here we see that the only supported reason for divorce according to the Bible is unfaithfulness. Irreconcilable differences are not a good enough reason to get divorced. Based on what you’ve told me, she isn’t divorced yet and that presents a problem between you and God, whether or not she is emotionally divorced. The Bible is clear that the divorce needs to be in writing for it to be considered complete. God has some pretty harsh rules and opinions for adulterers:
“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” – Leviticus 20:10
“But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.” – Proverbs 6:32
Can Two Divorced People Get Married?
According to the Bible, they shouldn’t, but you CAN do anything you want to do. Nobody, not even God will force you to obey the rules:
“And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” – Mark 10:11-12
All of the rules concerning adultery are pretty straightforward and clear.
Will I Go To Hell For Adultery?
I know you didn’t ask the question, but I’m sure someone reading this has that question in their head. Its hard to repent when you’re living in a sinful situation. Repenting requires you to try to change your current habits that you are repenting for. Thankfully, we serve a loving and forgiving God that understands that fact that we screw up.
“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” – Matthew 12:31
According to the Bible, you won’t burn in hell for adultery, but you will be out of favor with God because you are indeed breaking His rules. Again, God won’t force you to obey, so it is a decision you have to make for yourself. You can try to rationalize it or justify it as much as you want, but it won’t change God’s viewpoint on the subject. My personal advice is the same as always, use your best judgment and try to do what is right in God’s eyes.