By Bobby Witherington
Matthew 19:6 records Jesus to say, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. ” In Romans 7:2 the apostle Paul wrote, “The woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives.” Of course, the husband is also bound by the same obligation. In fact, our Lord gave but one exception whereby a person may scripturally divorce his or her mate and remarry. In Matthew 19:9 Jesus said, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery. ” God’s plan from the very beginning was one man for one woman, and one woman for one man. This being true, it is wise for both men and women to proceed with caution as they enter the marriage union. This caution requires that each of them, long before the wedding, be fully determined in at least two very important areas:
1. Each must be absolutely sure that he has a right to marry and be absolutely sure that the other party has a scriptural right to marry. A person who has a living mate, and whose mate was not put away for the cause of fornication does not, according to God’s law, have a right to marry. Poor housekeeping, insolence, arrogance, a bad temper, etc., however sinful and undesirable, do not constitute fornication and do not, therefore, provide scriptural grounds for re-marriage. In the marriage realm, especially, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” No God fearing person should marry one who is not free to marry, regardless of that person’s beauty, handsomeness, good qualities, or money.
2. Each party to a marriage must be fully determined to keep his or her companion. This means they will avoid trial marriages. It means that each will refuse to enter the marriage bond as long as he has reservations about either himself or his commitment to make it an until-death-do-you-part relationship and partnership. Each much realize that the relationship may not always be perfect – the trials may come in the form of poverty or wealth, or in numerous ways unforeseen. They should enter the marriage bond with the determination to make every success and, yes, every failure, a means for strengthening the marriage bond and enhancing mutual trust and tranquility. Neither party is ready for marriage unless or until he has fully made such a predetermination as that just described.
Of course, many have entered into marriage without having become fully determined in these two important areas. If you happen to be such a person, but your marriage is, in the eyes of God, a scriptural union, then we affirm that you should do all within your power to make it last. If your family circle is not broken on the outside, but is torn and splintered on the inside, then you should immediately go to work mending whatever is amiss and do all you can to produce a greater togetherness between you and your mate. To that end we plan to make specific recommendations in successive articles, the Lord willing.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 17, p. 519
September 5, 1991