Everybody loves a good wedding story, and there is nothing better than two people falling in love and deciding to bind their love in marriage. Oh, the romance of it all.
Unfortunately, as we know, all marriages don’t last. Some end because death does them part, and for many others, they end through divorce. Regardless of how you got there, whether through death or divorce, you may find yourself in a situation where you have gone from being married to being unmarried. Many people in this position may desire to get remarried, but what does the Bible say about remarriage, and how can you apply this to your life if you are in this situation?
Does the Bible allow remarriage?
The Biblical definition of marriage is a legally and spiritually binding contract between one man and one woman. When it comes to marriage, we like to focus on the love part, but the truth is when you get married, you are taking a binding oath – before God, before the law, and before men. This oath is your agreement to be committed to one person for as long as you shall live.
Now that we have defined that, let’s consider the question of getting remarried. The Bible says about remarriage that, yes, it is possible. A person can get remarried; however, there are conditions where this is allowable and clear, and there are some instances where the answer may be a little more challenging. Let’s start with the easier one.
Remarriage after death.
The most straightforward situation to deal with is if one of the parties in the marriage dies. When this happens, the vow taken has been fulfilled, and the remaining partner who is alive is no longer bound to the terms of the marriage. Remember, the oath was to last as long as you both shall live. Consider what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
In this instruction, Paul talks to those who have lost their spouses. For spiritual or ministry reasons, he would prefer this person remain single. However, he is giving the okay for the person in this position to remarry. If your spouse has passed away, you have every right to remarry if you decide to. No one can tell you how soon is too soon to start dating again if you choose to go this route. That choice is yours and yours alone. Please don’t let the opinions of others be a deterrent to you to start dating or desiring to be remarried if that is what you want to do.
Remarriage after divorce.
Of all the scenarios regarding remarriage, it is safe to say that deciding to get remarried after divorce can be challenging. The good news is that the Bible talks about remarriage even after divorce, so we have some guidelines. If you are divorced, you are not an outcast, and you are not lesser than, and nobody should make you feel this way, especially in the church. Let’s consider some different divorce scenarios and how it measures up against your ability to remarry.
If your spouse deserts the marriage, you are no longer obligated to stay in the marriage because your spouse has neglected and abdicated their marital obligation. When you read 1 Corinthians 7, Paul gives some good instruction. The first instruction is that you should not get a divorce. First Corinthians 7:10-11 says, “To the married, I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”
However, there may be situations where one of the parties no longer wants to stay in the marriage and want to leave. Paul says, “But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15).
In this scenario, Paul addressed believers who were married to unbelievers; most likely, this was because one got saved after they got married. However, if someone claims to be a believer and says they want a divorce, they no longer desire to be married, and choose to leave, you should let them go. If they decide to seek a divorce, you are no longer bound by the marital obligation and are free to remarry.
Adultery is a biblical ground for divorce, and as such, the person who has remained faithful in the marriage is free to remarry. Even though adultery is grounds for divorce, that does not automatically mean that this is the step you should take if there is adultery in the marriage. Remember, God’s desire is for unions to stay together. However, if the adultery is something you cannot work through, you are free to remarry if you choose to divorce on those grounds.
If you are in an abusive relationship, you have every right to leave that marriage because those are legitimate grounds for divorce. Abuse is an abdication of marital responsibility, and you are not required to stay in that type of relationship. Should you divorce on these grounds, it is okay to seek remarriage.
Marriage should not be entered into lightly. Remarriage is the same. The Bible is clear about remarriage and lays out some legitimate grounds for remarriage. After you decide to follow Christ, this is the most critical decision you will make in your life. If you are remarrying, then you are making this decision all over again. Make sure you decide carefully and prayerfully if this is the road you choose to go down. Whichever decision you make, you must ensure that you’re satisfied and fulfilled with your choice.