Summary of what the Bible teaches on divorce and remarriage.
Marriage was originally intended to be permanent when instituted by its Designer (Matthew 19:3-6). The following words are presented to bring to light what the Almighty has stated concerning the unfortunate issues that face the victims of marital sins and what instructions and liberties He has sovereignly granted in such cases. Through the preponderance of Scripture it becomes clear that just like our covenant relationship with the LORD, so marriage is conditional upon the continued fidelity of each party.
The late Donald Stamps, in his Life in the Spirit Study Bible commentary wrote:
“EXCEPT IT BE FOR FORNICATION. God’s will for marriage is one mate, one marriage for life (vv. 5-6; see Gen. 2:24, Sol. 2:7; 4:12; Mal. 2:14). To this Jesus gives an exception, namely ‘fornication.’ Fornication is marital unfaithfulness (Gk. porneia) and includes adultery or any kind of sexual immorality (5:32; 19:9). Hence divorce is to be permitted when sexual immorality is involved. The following are important biblical facts concerning divorce.
(1) When Jesus criticizes divorce in 19:6-7, He is not criticizing a separation because of adultery, but a divorce permitted in the O.T. in those cases where a husband discovered premarital unchastity after the marriage ceremony had taken place (Deut. 24:1-4). God’s desire in such cases was that the two remain together. However, He permitted divorce due to premarital unchastity because of the hardness of the people’s hearts (vv. 7-8).
(2) In the case of immorality after marriage, the O.T. law prescribed the dissolving of the marriage by executing both the offending parties (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22). This, of course, would leave the innocent person free to remarry (Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:39).
(3) Under the new covenant the privileges of the believer are no less. Although divorce is a tragedy, marital unfaithfulness is such a cruel sin against one’s mate that Christ states that the innocent party has a proper right to end the marriage by a divorce based on adultery. He or she is free to remarry another believer (1 Cor. 7:27-28).
(4) Paul’s treatment of marriage and desertion in 1 Cor. 7:12-16 indicates that a marriage also may be dissolved by the desertion of an unbelieving spouse. He further indicates that remarriage by the believer in such cases is not sin (see 1 Cor. 7:15; 27-28).” Donald Stamps, Life in the Spirit Study Bible, p. 1443
“So can married couples divorce for any reason?”
No. The Bible gives 2 clear reasons for divorce and so divorce is never a “I’m tired of her/him so I’m divorcing them!” Noooo. Marriage is ordained by God to be permanent and yet, abandonment and adultery/fornication are specific sins that can break that covenant if the offended party chooses (Matthew 19:9; 1 Corinthians 7:15-16, 27-28).