Whether remarriage after divorce is adultery depends entirely if it is from a biblical or legal perspective. According to Mathew 19 Verse 9, “Anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality and marries another woman commits adultery. However, the UK law, for example, does not classify this as adultery.
Marriage is a covenant shared between two people, and according to the marital vows exchanged between spouses, you need to honour these vows till death. Often due to external influences, marriages break down, which leads to divorce. If a divorce occurs, and one wants to remarry. Is Remarriage After Divorce Always Adultery?
To address both the biblical and legal perspectives, we will explore both viewpoints. From a biblical perspective, you will first understand the acceptable biblical grounds for divorce. We will also explore the legal ramifications.
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The Biblical Principles Of Remarriage After Divorce
Divorce is often taboo because it involves unfaithfulness to the solemn covenant of marriage that two partners have entered before God. According to the Bible and its religious teachings recorded in Luke 16 Verse 18, “Anyone that considers divorcing his wife to marry another woman commits adultery.”
1 Corinthians 7 Verse 39 ” A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives, but when her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.” A divorced person is free to remarry only if her former spouse has died. In the eyes of God, she is still bound to her husband. These teachings apply to both males and females.
Matthew 5 Verse 31-32 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you anyone that divorces his wife for any other reason other than sexual immorality has made his wife commit adultery.”
Romans 7:2-3 – “For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies, there is a release from the bonds of marriage. If she has any sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is considered an adulteress. When her husband dies, she automatically becomes free from that law and will not be considered an adulteress.”
God is quite gracious and has made two exceptions.
When Is It Not Considered Adultery To Remarry After Divorce?
According to the Bible, there are only two reasons when remarriage after divorce is not considered adultery. These reasons are as follows.
Sexual Sin Of The Spouse
Sexual sin, from various religious perspectives, can take, for example, the form of
When one partner violates the unity of marriage due to one of the above sexual sins, the other spouse must deal with an unforeseen situation. There are grounds for divorce after the partner has tried all means to bring the sinning partner to repentance, and there is no change.
According to the Bible, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 7 Verse 15, “If the unbelieving spouse insists on leaving, let them go. In such case, the believing spouse is no longer bound to the other, for God has called one to live in peace.”
Desertion By An Unbelieving Spouse
If you are married to someone that doesn’t share the same religious beliefs as you and wants to divorce, then the spouse that is a believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ is free to let that spouse leave.
Forcing them to stay can create unnecessary tension and conflict if the spouse is an unbeliever of the gospel and refuses to divorce due to financial difficulties, lifestyle, habits, or choices. Then the other spouse has grounds for divorce as it is considered desertion in the eyes of God.
The faithful partner is free to remarry if the grounds for divorce are based on the above reasons, but it must be to a person who shares the same religious beliefs as you. Those who remarry for any other reason have sinned against God, and hence it is considered adultery.
As recorded in scripture in Mark 10 Verse 11-12, “And He said to them, if you divorce your wife and marry another woman, you commit adultery against her; the same applies to a woman that divorces her husband.”
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Is Remarriage Considered Adultery In An Unbiblical Divorce?
You can consider it an unbiblical divorce if you have divorced for other reasons than sexual sin or desertion by an unbeliever. According to biblical scripture as recorded in 1 Corinthians Verse 11: ” If a woman opts to leave, it is only acceptable if she remains unmarried, or chooses reconciliation to her husband.”
The only way to seek true repentance is to reconcile with your former spouse, as you are still bound to your spouse in the eyes of God. The only acceptable grounds for remarriage based on an unbiblical divorce without it being called adultery is if your former spouse remarries, proves to be an unbeliever, or dies, in which cases reconciliation would no longer be possible.
Can God Bless Your Second Marriage?
The above seems to be a popular question amongst those that have remarried after divorce or contemplating remarrying. Remember, God is bound by his word and the covenant he has entered with you. God is a gracious God, and there is no reason why he should not bless a second marriage on the condition that the marriage is in line with his word.
Is Remarriage Considered Adultery In The Eyes Of The Law?
Although there is no clear-cut indication that remarriage after divorce is adultery, the law states that if you remarry before you legally terminate your first marriage, the second marriage would be void. The law is not restrictive on the number of times you can marry on the condition that you only have one legal marriage and follow the below waiting period.
How Long Should You Wait To Remarry After Divorce?
According to UK law, you must wait at least six weeks, and one day from the date your Decree Nisi was granted before you apply for your Decree Absolute. Only once the Decree Absolute is granted your marriage is legally over, and you can remarry without any legal ramifications.
Remarriage After Divorce: Biblical Vs. Legal Views
You will note a vast difference between biblical and legal views on remarriage after divorce. The Bible provides a clear-cut indication backed by scriptures on the acceptable terms of divorce and remarriage. For God-fearing, this is your guideline. These biblical principles have no expiry date, and you need to ensure that you follow these accordingly.
The law does not consider remarriage after divorce as adultery. A spouse can marry as many times as they want to without facing any legal ramifications. However, it is only acceptable for one marriage at a time to be considered legal. A divorce must be first be approved before you can remarry. The time limit for remarriage after divorce is noted as six weeks and one day after the issue of the decree.
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While the Bible is clear about the acceptable terms of the divorce and the two reasons that remarriage is not considered adultery after divorce, there are no legal ramifications on remarrying after divorce. Remarriage after divorce is also not considered adultery in the eyes of the law.
You might, however, want to be mindful of your decisions based on your religious beliefs and try to use this as a guideline in making your final decision.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.