The Marriage Bond

Matthew 19:3-6 ESV

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

The meaning of Divorce

To divorce someone is not just the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court of law. It is also to separate or dissociate (detach, distance) something from something else. So, it also means to separate, disconnect, divide, disunite, sever, or disjoin.

And, this can be done between a husband and a wife prior to or without an actual legal dissolution of marriage. For, it doesn’t necessarily involve a physical separation at all, like God’s people of old divorcing themselves from God. Theirs had to do with unfaithfulness, and separating themselves from God spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, in spiritual adultery.

And, the reason this is so is that a marriage is not just a legal contract between a man and a woman. And, becoming “one flesh” is not just a sexual union between a man and his wife.

When a man and a woman marry, they are to become united with Christ in heart and mind and purpose. They are to leave their single lives behind them, and they are to become one with the other, in unity with Christ and with his purpose for their lives.

So, the man is to leave his parents, not to forsake them, but their custody, their control or influence over his life, and he is now to cleave to (hold fast to) his wife. She is now his family. And, he is to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly to her and to his marriage vows to her to love her, to cherish her, and to be completely faithful to her, etc.

For, the marriage bond, again, is not just a legal contract. It is a relationship between two people, a union of hearts and minds, a commitment, something which ties them together, that unites them, like our union with Christ.

They care about each other. They want what is best for the other person. They do what they can to help the other, to encourage, to help strengthen them in their faith. And, they work together as partners with a common goal and purpose, which should be united with Christ’s purpose for them.

So, to divorce is to break that bond, that unity, that commitment. It is to move away from faithfulness to the marriage relationship. It is to let the marriage go, not just in a court of law, but emotionally, spiritually, and via adultery, just like God’s people of old moved away from him and from their covenant with him as their only Lord. They deserted him. So, it is the opposite, thus, of holding on to (cleaving) to one another.

So, when a man or a woman commits adultery against his or her mate, via marital unfaithfulness, by breaking that bond, by severing that relationship, even though physically they may still be together, the marriage bond is still broken. It is still separated. He or she has moved away from that bond of marriage and has become united with “another lover” which could be lust, porn, a romantic or sexual affair, or any other form of adultery.

So, we need to take this seriously. God is concerned, not just about the dissolution of a legal contract. But he is concerned about the breaking of the marriage bond through adultery. He is not concerned with just someone verbally disavowing him, but with those who deny him by how they live.

Husbands and wives are to love each other as Christ loves us and gave himself up for us, and they are to be faithful to one another and to not commit adultery in its various forms. He wants husbands and wives to be united with him and then with each other in unity with Christ and with his purpose for our lives. And, that is that we live holy, pure, and godly lives.

Matthew 19:7-9 ESV

They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

People who want to sin against God, or against their marital partner, will usually look for some way to excuse it away, or to call it something else, or to try to find some loophole in the Scriptures which they think gives them license to continue living in sin without guilt.

They won’t call it “adultery,” but entertainment, or privilege, or something owed to them, or just “being a guy,” or relaxation, or entitlement. Or, they will figure they deserve it, or their spouse deserves it for whatever reason, so it is to get even. Or they figure it is harmless.

They will twist the Scriptures to their advantage, or they will take them out of context to try to make them say what their tickling ears want to hear. For, their hearts are bent on sin, because their hearts are hardened towards God and his commands, and towards their spouses, too, if their intention is to sin against them.

These people just wanted to dump their wives. They didn’t care about the sanctity of marriage. They didn’t care about the bond of holy matrimony. They didn’t care about those women or what would happen to them. They didn’t care about the “one flesh” thing or the fact that they were supposed to cling to (hold close to) their wives. So, they obviously didn’t love them.

And, this is what is in the heart of any man or any woman who willfully, knowingly, habitually (especially) and premeditatedly commits adultery against his or her spouse via lust, porn, affairs, self-gratification and any other forms of adultery – of letting go of that bond of marriage.

So, when you lie to yourself and you convince yourself that you have an excuse for divorcing your spouse, i.e. for letting go of that bond of marriage via adultery and/or a legal dissolution of the marriage, but if your excuse is not biblically valid, then the Lord is going to correct you with the truth.

So, here is the encouragement here. If you are disavowing your marriage bond through unfaithfulness in its various forms, then I pray that you will repent of your sin, that you will turn away from it, and that you will now commit your life to following the Lord in obedience and to loving your spouse.

If you are the rejected spouse who has been cast aside because your mate prefers his or her “other lovers” to you, then know that if Jesus is your Savior, he is your husband, and he will never leave you or forsake you. He will always be faithful, and he will do everything he promised he would do.

So, turn to Jesus in your sorrow, and let his love be enough for you. Continue to love your spouse, pray for him or her, and do what is best for him or her. And, keep trusting the Lord and following him in his ways no matter what comes your way.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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