When Is It Adultery?

Is what Jesus said true? Seems like a pretty straight forward question. Born again Christians who believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God would quickly give an emphatic “yes” as an answer. But I would like to challenge believers in an area where they say Jesus’ words are true but aren’t necessarily living like it. It’s a rather sad indictment on Christianity today that we even have to ask: Is what Jesus said about divorce and remarriage being adultery true? What’s more shocking is that almost no one I ask seems to be able to give an answer to the question!

Divorce is common among people in churches today. Statistically, divorce is occurring among believers at the same rate as non-church couples—actually at an even higher rate than atheists! Christians are most often divorcing not because of an affair or sexual unfaithfulness but for any reason under the sun—everything from “my spouse isn’t meeting my needs” and “he/she isn’t my soul mate” to “we just can’t get along”. Sometimes very strict churches will take a real hard line and say that you can never remarry after divorce or else it’s adultery. They maintain that you must live alone for the rest of your life, no matter the circumstances, even if a person was divorced prior to becoming a believer. Undoubtedly, people have been hurt by that rigid stand.

If you read the bible, you’ll see that Jesus was actually very strong on this. He said if a man divorces his wife for any other reason but sexual unfaithfulness and she marries someone else, she commits adultery. That’s pretty strong. The fact that people apply that with no exception, even to those who made the decision to divorce when they were not believers, is pretty harsh. But that’s not the common practice in most churches today.

Most churches are not taking the extremely strict stand on divorce and remarriage. In fact, too many don’t take any stand. What I see as a bigger problem, and occurring more often, is that now you can get divorced and remarried for any and every reason—biblical or not. I think the casualness churches treat marriage with is wrong. People divorce their spouse, then they just move on to the next person and the church remarries them as if it’s no problem. To me it’s like a version of wife swapping and the church just smiles and thinks it’s no big deal. We’ve gone to the other extreme on this and it needs to be dealt with.

So when is remarriage adultery?

Remember, Jesus said remarriage in situations other than when sexual unfaithfulness has occurred, is indeed adultery. My question to churches is: When is that true for Christians today? When is what Jesus said ever true when it comes to the revolving door of marriage among believers? I’m concerned that there are so many excuses and exceptions that divorce and remarriage is not considered adultery in any situation. Today there are so many exceptions that we end up invalidating the very words of Christ. I do think adultery is a real deal breaker and the bible clearly makes accommodation for it. Other than this, I tend to be very conservative on this and in my church, but for a marriage that ended because of adultery committed against them, I will not remarry a person. (Unless it’s back to their original spouse, which I have actually done!) They can go somewhere else and find someone else to marry them.

What about…

People will come up with all kinds of scenarios and ask me the question, “What about domestic violence or abuse? Or alcoholism?” Look, I’m not God and everyone has to deal with their own conscience on this. But again, here we get into this area of excuses and exceptions. Do you really think there was no such thing as men hitting their wives in Jesus’ day? Then why didn’t he mention that excuse? Women say, “I’m divorcing my husband’s because he’s an alcoholic”. Do you really think people we’re alcoholics in Jesus’ day? Come on, we’re talking about over two thousand years ago when people were pretty barbaric. You think our culture is bad now? It was worse then! According to Jesus, there was only one excuse…that was sexual unfaithfulness.

Now, all kinds of people have been remarried in these types of “non-adultery” situations—do I think they’re all doomed? No. Are they supposed to divorce the new spouse because it’s not according to the bible? Certainly not. There is no way to go back and unscramble all the eggs, but I think as Christians the ideal is to follow God’s word, stop all the divorcing, and do it right in the first place. Then it wouldn’t even be an issue!

People make mistakes

I totally understand that people make mistakes, often times before they were saved and came to Christ. Then later they become born again, have repented, they are part of the church, and are serving Jesus. That’s a completely different scenario and of course God’s love and grace are greater than virtually any situation. My concern is that Christians use grace as a license to do what’s wrong and then they think, “God will just forgive me.” Yes, God forgives, but Paul writes in the bible and says we should not use grace as an excuse to do the wrong thing. I’m afraid that’s where we’re at in the church today.

A standard needs to be set

Truly, at some point, a standard needs to be set. I think churches have virtually no standard anymore and we need to start taking this very seriously. When you say “I do”, it means you did—till death do you part. We must realize that there is a biblical standard that has been ignored and it’s time for the Church to quit treating it so casually and answer the looming question: When is what Jesus said ever true? If we can’t even answer the question, we are in a really bad place.

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113 Responses to “When Is It Adultery?”

  1. Rhonda says:

    An abused spouse should not put themselves (or heaven forbid, their kids) in harms way. My husband & I love Mark & agree wholeheartedly on all his advice. However in this, I’ll have to waiver & go w/what Michael Smalley said: “I’m pro marriage, but I am not pro abuse.”

  2. Marla says:

    There are so many “what ifs” and exceptions that we can bring up to argue for a divorce, but if we listen to what Mark says (outside of this article) he also says that we do NOT have to put up with abuse or any other bad behavior. There are other interventions. Adultry remains the only biblical reason for divorce.

  3. sue says:

    I understand your concern about the rising rate of Christian divorces. Several things come to mind when I read your blog. I believe that the approval for a bill of divorcement was given “because of the hardness of men’s hearts” as well as for a case of adultery.

    I’m pretty sure that a man who beats his wife has a “hard heart”.

    I believe that when he abandons his family for another woman or simply because he’s tired of being married, he has a “hard heart”.

    I know for a fact that when he rapes his wife or his children, “his heart is pretty hard” as their pleas and tears are of no consequence to him, especially when he repeats the act over and over.

    When he is so taken up with drugs and alcohol that the pleas of his family to get help are scoffed at, his “heart is hard”.

    When he refuses to work to provide for his family, his “heart is hard”.

    When he tells his wife she’s a fat pig, ugly, stupid, lazy, and that he’s never loved her,not once but repeatedly, his “heart is hard”.

    When he downgrades, demeans, and curses his own kids, his “heart is hard”.

    When he steals, robs, burns, lies, rapes, murders, etc. with no thought for the victims or his family, his “heart is hard”.

    When he has no conscience, his “heart is hard”.

    Been there, done this, know all about it.

    Does God REALLY expect women and children to be sacrificed on the altar of “staying married” so the christian community can still look good?

    Let’s look at the real problem here. The sins of carnal men. Please don’t lump victims into the same category as those who “just don’t want to be married anymore”.

    It’s an insult to every christian spouse who has done everything in their power to save their marriage, even swallowing all the previous stuff I mentioned, just to stay married.

    The church has done a terrible injustice to women by letting men get away with their bad behavior, while holding high offices in the church. God will clean all that dirt out of there someday.

    Sue Kelly
    Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Counselor in Pennsylvania

  4. K says:

    I am speaking from personal experience in a marriage of 25 years. The “easy out” is not easy on anyone involved. My parents divorced after 39 years, I have a child married 3 years who is miserable and trying to live what God wants IN the mess and 1 child who left her husband after 3 months.

    I am leaning toward Mark’s thoughts. Trials and tribulations are what all believers are to expect. There are other ways of intervention. The main thing is..get it right the first time. Walk the walk he has for you. When you mess up, in anything, the answer isn’t to bail or justify your actions in some way. If we did take this seriously, marriage would not be entered into casually.

  5. steve says:

    Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church,what an awsome message.This saying is talking to people who know that they are a new creature ,born of God.If a man or a women dont know how to distinguish between the two then this saying cannot well congrue in the houshold,hence Im! the head of the house, its in the bible! and people wonder why theres more disharmony in the house.this message can only survive in the agape love that flows from the new man,non gender specific.When times get tough this saying will fail unless prayer is applied.WHAT ABOUT COLOSSIANS,or the beginnig of EPHESIANS for a start.there is so much more to say on this subject

  6. Susanne says:

    A person asked me a question as the same as this, I am glad that you help me a lot to understnad. Truly, many people have no idea if the Lord will forgive and or accept them who are divorced and remarried. I only know that this verse allows them to divorce only for adultery reason. Someone said that the Lord will forgive them after divorce and remarried to a person if both of them walk in His way? Do you agree with this statement? Thanks, Suanne

  7. Joanne says:

    I do believe that in certain situations other than adultery divorce is acceptable. My mother divorced my father when I was 2 years old because he beat me, her, and my older brother. He drove drunk, forced her into the car and wrecked causing her a miscarriage. He was a police officer, she tried all kinds of ways to get help for him, and them as a couple. No one believed her. It would have been wrong for her to have stayed with him and let him keep beatimg on her and her 2 children. I know that adultery is supposed to be the only reason, but in some cases you have to “break the rules.” I would much rather her be divorced and alive than to have stayed with him and ended up dead. She raised me and my brother and did a fine job, I am proud to say my mom divorced a man to save us.♥

  8. Jeff says:

    In a prior post Mark was discussing sexless marriages. In that post he said “In my mind, denying your spouse and not meeting the sexual needs of your husband or wife is being sexually unfaithful and it’s a sin.” What if you have tried the suggestions to improve your marriage and there is no response. What if you’ve tried counseling and there are commitments but no follow through? Does this unfaithfulness to the marriage ever justify divorce?

  9. Warren says:

    I agree with Mark and yes we always seem to add a but.It so important to choose right,I am so glad that we have this tool to help us decide on who is the right person for us. Wel it is to late for me, I am know married for the second time.We both love the Lord and I believe there is forgiveness.If there was no forgivness for this then we have so much more we will be accountable for.What is the right thing to do ,well repentance is 180 degree turn around to do the right thing.It is what we do know that is important.We will never be able to say we could not make it work as there is so much out there to learn that all we need is teachable spirit.I have one question”I sit adultary when you devorce,remarry or both?

  10. Lisa says:

    “32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery…..” Actually what Jesus says is that if a MAN divorces his wife for any other reason, HE causes her to commit adultery. I think that is a pretty strong indictment against men, not women. Jesus doesn’t even address women in this passage. Now, does that leave open the possibility of a woman being able to leave her spouse for any other reason? Hard to say since women didn’t have those rights in that day and age. But I do know that Jesus was very specific in who he was speaking to and that the man was the cause of the womans adultery not the other way around. Just my reading of it…..

  11. chris says:

    Wow, Ive looked high and low to find a pastor with the guts to say this.
    I just love the post that starts “I dont think” and goes on to justify divorce, THATS the problem with Christians particularly as we are all taught to communicate with emotions….all the time….more like women. That he had the courage to state that divorce IS NOT occuring due to adultery and abuse etc, but for frivolous reasons is amazing. he left off the most dangerous fact. Women file 70% of all divorces. Note, that doesnt say WHY…just that they do file way more.
    Buried in all those facts is the beginning of the churches obvious pathway to addressing this disaster

  12. Pam says:

    My husband is a soldier and the last time he was deployed he was involved with someone from another country. this is his 3rd marraige and my 2nd. He 2nd lasted 17 years and 5 boys, mine 21 and no childers. Anyway, I chose to stay with him, he was deployed for 6 months we went to counseling and even attended a laugh your way to a better marraige. Well here we are and he is away again this time a different deployment in Kuwait on a base and today I finally after 2 months and probably since I had his youngest (14yrs) son he chooses to video chat…first time! I know soldiers are doing it and he has chosen not too. I noticed that he was not wearing his wedding ring. He says it’s hot and his hands swell and well I am sure they do BUT he has lost some weight. He didn’t have a problem wearing it at home? I am clearly upset. He has only been gone two months. he doesn’t play and when I try I don’t get much response in that department…I could just cry, I want to give up. I am tired of being hurt. I think there is more behind him not wearing it or do I just TRUST again…it’s hard when you have been devistated by something u felt and got hurt. that was 2 years ago he was deployed. I know this time there are more eyes upon him and watching him than the last but I don’t like it that he isn’t wearing it and my hunch is that if he was really interested in making this marraige work and last he would try harder to skype and not just talk on the phone. there are no big love letters either…I am doing all i can to what I learned and his just went out the door. OH well, I needed to vent, I haven’t many people and I don’t want to blow it out of proportion.

    • Kristi says:

      Dear Pam,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your pain. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in that place of deep pain…feeling helpless, hopeless and alone. I have jumped a new hurdle this year with my life. I have pressed into the Lord like never before. The enemy wants to kill, still and destroy everything, especially marriages and family. I have to choose daily that this difficult marriage (and the enemy) is not going to drag me down. I have to put myself in the light of our Lord constantly…in the word, worship, prayer and having support from others is a big one. I have been married for 21 years and the last three year have been hell on this earth with our relationship. I am happy to say that I am a better person because of these hardships. I have to ask myself “Lord what are You teaching me, what are You showing me?” The Lord has really taught me to let go, to trust in Him with everything. A big part of all this is the Lord showing me that I’m only responsible for myself…I can’t change my husband only the Holy Spirit can. The Lord has also shown me that I can’t base decisions on my emotions. They have to be based on His word and what the Holy Spirit is telling me to say and do. I encourage you sister…you’re going to make it and the difficulties are never in vain. You are being refined like never before and you are His precious daughter. He loves you and sees every tear you cry. I will be praying for you. Hugs. Kristi in Washington State

  13. Adrienne says:

    I have just saw a video of Pastor Gungor, and although I find him funny and entertaining, in this article I cannot agree with this statement. Many theologians, churches and evangelists now believe three biblical reasons for divorce which includes adultery(any sexual immorality) abandonment and abuse(physical and sexual)altough some tend to differ in this area as swell. British pastor David Instone Brewer and scholar wrote a book “Divorce and Remarriage where he states that Jesus was referring to divorce for just “any reason” since at the time men thought they could divorce their wives even if she burned his meal. Anyone can check out Mr. Instone Brewer’s website and can find his article on the subject “What Has God Joined” at Chritianity Today. Plus Author Barbara Roberts has a book called “Not Under Bondage” that also addresses Christian Divorce. There other books and articles on christian divorce as well.

  14. Michael Robison says:

    I agree completely with your thoughts except I do believe there is place in scripture that mentions seperation (not divorce) for situations that may include abuse. Just my thoughts.

  15. Agata says:

    Everything you wrote is true. However, I would add a strong caution to this because people often extrapolate. Just because a person cannot divorce their abusive spouse, does NOT mean they have to live in the same house as them. People who are being abused need to get to a safe place immediately and stay there, protecting themselves and their children, while their abusive spouse gets help.

    Otherwise, by staying, they are only enabling the abuse – allowing their spouse to continue acting that way.

    • Derrell B. Thomas says:

      I agree. Abuse may not be an valid reason to divorce, but I recognize safety is an issue. Some marriages are so volatile, that one spouse may need to move to another location. Even is these difficult and complicated situations, if at all possible, reconcilation should be the goal. Realistically, that may not always be possible. Yet even in these cases, the marriage bond remains, as Christ did not provide a release. (The disciples’ reaction, knowing the consequences of a bad marriage, was strong.)

      What then? Yes, it is a terrbile thing. A painfull reality. Yet the testimony to the church and society is even stronger: be careful who you marry. Give much thought and prayer about it. Marriage is not about “You make me feel good, and if not I’m out.” The marriage bond is a life committment. Even the disciples’ responded, “It is better not to marry.”

  16. Penny says:

    I understand God says that the betrayed spouse has a biblical out to remarry again if they were cheated on, but what happens to the “adulterers” when they justify the reason they cheated is because they were always meant to be together, even though they married other people, had children, find each other again, break up 2 homes because of adultery, (among alot of other broken “commandments”) they get married, as soon as their divorces are final. All the while claiming to be Christians. How does God view this marriage? Even though they are now married, they got there through infidelity, so are they still adulterers?

  17. Alicia says:

    Dear Mark, Your marriage stuff is fantastic and I have got heaps out of it for our marriage. However I do feel in some ways you are not aware of the deep pain in some peoples marriages. I know your marriage is not perfect but just imagine for a minute that your wife never wanted to touch you at all for years and you tried everything to change this. Or you are a wife with an emotionally abusive husband who put you and your children down constantly and wanted sex most nights with no hint of tenderness. I know you will say none of this changes the biblical stance. But Gods heart weeps for these struggling people in tremendously difficult circumstance. And you need to show this heart of God. I’m not saying you change your stance just your heart. These people are desperately wounded and need support. As you can see I have no answers but I know God can help you as you speak with not only Gods words but also His love. Just think how Jesus spoke to the woman caught in adultery. He did not follow any of the previous biblical guidelines but showed her forgiveness and not judgment. Even though Jesus was the only qualified judge. She walked away with her head up knowing she was free to finally be who God had made her to be. And all those ‘perfect marriage’ people on the sidelines walked away with their heads down aware of their own sin. I agree with you that a flippancy about the marriage covenant is very wrong and I think this is what Jesus was so angry about. However to throw in with these people deeply wounded women and men who are desperate for support is not right. And no one is too far from his mercy I don’t care how flippant they are. I have Christian friends who have done what I don’t agree with as far as leaving marriages and even marrying non- Christians. AND I HAVE SAID IN AS LOVING WAY AS POSSIBLE that I don’t think their decisions are the right ones while they were in this process. And then I have struggled with jealousy as their lives seem to work out so happily while I still fight for our marriage and family. My husband is a good man but severely disabled so has been very hard and future looks that way to! Thats why we need Gods love and not judgement as the only possible way to make it! But you know what conclusion I’ve come to? In the end we each make our own decisions and God is the ultimate judge and His judgement is Jesus! Thats why while we breathe there is hope! We are all just as much His loved children as our brothers and sisters whatever they have done. Very rambly and womanly I know but we are a reflection of God too so hopefully men will be able to sort through this!

  18. Jennifer says:

    What about the other condition for lawful divorce that Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 7- the departure of the nonbelieving spouse? Its clear in scripture that marriage to a nonbeliever who is willing to live with you is lawful and spiritually binding (1 Corinthians 7:12-14), and there are no biblical escape clauses for ‘unhappy’ or troubled marriages. Separation is lawful and sometimes necessary as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 7:11- “if she departs, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband”. But Paul does not seem to include this mandate to remain unmarried in 1 Corin. 7:15- if a nonbeliever departs, we are not bound in such cases. In other words, the believer is loosed from the marital bond if the nonbelieving spouse leaves. This became true in my own marriage when my husband left for the Jehovah’s Witness church when I was 25, after only a year of marriage. All be it, the marriage was otherwise troubled, but when he chose this path during our separation, he made it a mandate to ‘submit’ and follow him to his new false faith. Instead of following my husband in a direction that would lead me away from Christ, I was counseled at the time to “return to my first Love”, being Christ Himself. As my exhusband had decided in 3 months of attending Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower meetings that this was the “right way”, I had the Holy Spirit helping to convict my heart that He was not following the Christ that I knew and loved. To depart from Christ to follow my husband in his false faith would have been the breaking of a greater covenant. I am firstly the bride of Christ. Marraige is to be honored, but should the nonbelieving spouse depart; by all means, pastor Mark, lovingly exhort the believing spouse that God has called them to be at peace in this cicumstance, just as Paul said in 1 Corinthian 7:15. My husband maintained his ultimatum and we divorced in 2002. The Holy Spirit did a work in my heart, and renewed my mind through the knowledge of the Word, and I began a transforming return to the Lord. I thank God for His mercy and for His peace, and by a gift of His grace, after 7 years of living as a sanctified single, I was married to a wonderful christian man who had never been previously married. He understood that my divorce was biblical and I am so blessed that God saved him in singleness for 37 years just for me! Pastor Mark, I served as a biblical counselor at my church in the recent 2 years just before I moved out of state to marry last year. I have counseled singled women, married women and divorced women. I empathisize with all of them because I have walked in all of thier shoes. I am the last person to ever counsel a woman to divorce. Even in the case of marital unfaithfulness, God can reconcile. But the Lord also understands that there are conditions in which the marriage covenant can be broken. I agree with you that we must uphold the standards of the Word of God and not make unbiblical allowances for sin so that ‘grace’ can abound. Paul tells us in Romans 6, “God forbid!” we do such a thing. But I do thank the Lord for His grace and mercy in my life and I just wanted to share my story with you if perhaps you were to minister to another married person who finds him or herself in the same situation. By the way, my husband and I will be attending your Richmond conference today and we are looking forward to being blessed by your ministry. May the Lord continue to bless you.

  19. Derrell B. Thomas says:


    Finally, someone with influence and the courage to deal head-on with Christian adultery, and marriage. This has been and remains a critical issue among Christians and our churches.

    I disagree with only one point: that if illegitably divorcing and remarrying (making the remarriage an adulterous relationship), then repentance is necessary, as any other sin. That said, salvation is not lost, as our salvation is by faith alone. However, a thief, having come to Christ, must stop stealing. An adulterous relationship should likewise. But I iterate: salvation is not the issue. Marriage and adultery is a standard that our Lord established, howbeit strong; (the disciples’ reaction was strong).

  20. Heidi says:

    I think it would benefit all Christian churches to take a look at how the Roman Catholic Church (Christian) handles marriage and annulment. We treat marriage much more seriously considering it is a Sacrament. An outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. It is not a simple matter. There are very few reasons to grant annulment even after the couple has been divorced. The cases are looked at individually and presented before a tribunal that either grants or rejects the annulment. Their job is to determine if the couple was ever actually married without reservations. We take marriage very seriously. Until death do us part.

    This is an excerpt from: http://home.earthlink.net/~rickpen16/catholicmarriages/id17.html
    “There are three ways in which Church Law (also referred to as “canon law”) recognizes that a true and valid marriage does not exist in a previous union:

    1) where there was a lack or defect of what is called “canonical form.”

    2) where there was an impediment to the marriage.

    3) where there was a defect in the consent exchanged between the partners (the most significant in the majority of cases). ”

    Heidi L.
    Fairbanks, Alaska

  21. Marriage Advicer says:

    Hi there, this is just a thought that I have regarding the matter and hope you respect it like I respect your point of view. I think God’s words should not be obeyed only in times of convenience, sometimes it is very much confusing for us to understand His counsels but a scripture that comes to my mind is the one in Isa. 55: 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” I know that by our obidience we will someday understand the reason or maybe reasons why these commandments are given unto us =)

    I just got married last 6th of April and I am loving it. A friend of mine shared to me a book about marriage and an article titled Christian Marriage Counseling – Marriage Repair Magic in 5 Secret Steps I enjoyed this since I just got married last April, I think it’s worth sharing. Thanks

  22. Amaris Ramos says:

    Wow, It’s amazing how after reading this article which addresses how often Christians make excuses to justify thier situation, so many continue to send in comments doing just the same thing.

    • David says:

      Ditto to this comment. Many of the justifications and excuses given here cite strong concerns that we can all sympathize with, but they are all based on worldly reasoning. Those comments usually reflect the “other bracelets” that the writers wear (beside, or in place of, “WWJD”) — an idea Mark has brought out in the radio show and in his sermons. Take those bracelets off, folks — they’re weighing you down.

  23. Laura says:

    No woman should ever be denied the right to marry again if she had been in a previous marriage with an abusive spouse. Ever. I have seen women hurt by affairs, but I have seen women almost killed in abusive relationships! I’d choose a cheating husband over being a dead wife any day of the week. It’s not a woman’s “fault” if she’s beaten within an inch of her life (or stabbed, or shot), so she shouldn’t be further punished by not being able to be married again, in the eyes of God. I see this as nothing more than punishment for making a bad choice in a mate the first time around.

    I personally know 2 women who were in controlling, abusive relationships (not married) and were almost killed by their boyfriends when they tried to exit the relationship. Had they been married, they should not be made to feel they are adulterers because they left a relationship that very well could have ended their lives. And we’re not even talking about the potential for destruction had they been married with children and stayed married.

    Yes, “back in the day” of Jesus, sins of all kinds occurred, including men beating their wives. But back then, women were also the property of their husbands. My husband would never want our daughter to be considered the property of an abusive man – not ever, under any circumstance.

  24. STaci says:

    Wow! How refreshing to read this take on marriage and divorce. Our society has taken such a selfish view on marriage and divorce for what THEY are NOT getting out of it. Even Christians are fooling themselves by picking and chosing WHICH words of Jesus to follow. I applaud Mark for not marrying people who have traded in their “old” spouse for a new one. Wish all churches would take this stand, and like he said TAKE A STAND. Our silence is the biggiest mistake. I have such a passion for saving the marriges of today. Biggest mistake people make is to look to their spouse to make THEM happy. How about leaning and trusting in GOD! Kuddos to this website and to Mark! He will be blessed for his messages!

  25. Thomas Babcock says:

    Well Mark, The community that I live in is swamped with adultery, and divorce. We have a youth wrestling team that just about all the parents are sleeping with each other. Its crazy. You can look at them and tell there not happy.
    The only reason I am even reading your page is because I was going to leave my wife. Now she thought divorce. Not knowing what to do she went to church and got saved. Now we have a lot of work to do. And I think that’s the big problem people don’t want to work to make there marriage what God intended it to be.

  26. Gisella says:

    …and suddenly you come up with “its what the bible says” come on! I have a mind on my on! And I just can’t agree with forcing a woman to stay with a man who hits her. Just because is written? it’s insane! She can get divorced if he cheats but not if he hits her? And the only explanation you give me, is well He said it, He must know… that’s it? REALLY THAT’S IT?

  27. heidi says:

    My husband has abused me the past 7 1/2 years. I am still married to him but we are separated and the divorce is in the works,on hold right now. Not one time has God told me not to file. I see it over and over again that GOD HATES ABUSE MORE THAN HE HATES DIVORCE.There are a few other grounds for a divorce besides sleeping around which I know he has done that too. I get blamed for his actions.Dont think so.He has been out for over a year now and nothing has changed. I want to do what is right.What God wants me to do. Before I walked into those court offices to file,I prayed and asked God that His will be done.That if this wasnt to be,it wouldnt work.Well I have had no problem filing so far. If we divorce,I have no problem not remarrying as long as that is what God wants for me.God can and will open and close whatever door(s) he wants. Nothing is impossible with God.I just wont be abused anymore.You dont continue to lie,cheat and move out on your spouse every few months and expect it to all be fine and for HER to fix it all.He really is clueless.Dont stay in a marriage in which you are being abused.Get out.Even if you stay separated but remember,you are still married and have no right seeing others.No other relationships just cause you are separated.It give you time to think and pray even more so and do what God wants you to do. Dont worry about them.You need to worry about yourself.It matters where we as individuals stand.They will answer for their own wrong doings.God sees them and you.It does no good to run. You are running from God.Again,from experience,please dont stay in an abusive relationship.Its not worth it.Its not worth your life.You need to step up and move on .Keep your eyes focused on God and what He wants for YOU.

  28. Julie Campbell says:

    I agree that a lifelong commitment to marriage is taken lightly by so many now. Personally, I have a problem even with divorce being ok for unfaithfulness. If the partner refuses to change their ways and walks away, that is one thing. But as Christians, our goal is to be Christ like. I have never known Christ to not forgive. Sure there are consequences to our sin, but as our Bridegroom, He always takes us back. I believe that this should apply in marriages too. If the partner who has committed adultery is willing to change, I think the other partner has no choice but to forgive and take their partner back. I have seen too many times when the “innocent” partner will justify the divorce even though the “guilty” partner has changed and wants to put the marriage back together. The “innocent” partner usually isn’t completely innocent! There were problems in the marriage that led the other partner to look elsewhere. It takes 2 to make a marriage and it takes 2 to break a marriage! Stay committed!!!

  29. Chantel says:

    That answers part of a question I have had for a long time about my sister’s marriage. So she shouldn’t divorce him. However, she is in a relationship where he is an alcoholic and refuses to get help. He has been arrested several times, had her car impounded more than once, and is causing her financial ruin, not to mention all of the heartache of a one-sided love. She cannot force him to get help. The law tried to force him to AA, but that didn’t work. He is awaiting sentencing on his most recent DUI in which he lost her car(without a license). To say the very least, it is an unhealthy marriage that should have never happened in the first place. But it did. So now what? Is she just stuck for the rest of her life because she knowingly went against the advice of everyone she knew and married someone she thought she could fix but can’t?

  30. Dan says:

    So many people in the comments are stressing over abusive relationships and other possible exceptions to the “adultery only” rule. Perhaps Matthew 5:28 will be helpful: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” If the wife sees her husband looking at another woman lustfully, then it is clearly OK for her to divorce him and remarry. This might also be helpful in the case where the husband discovers his wife is a lesbian.

  31. Jenny says:

    I wholeheartedly agree that “falling out of love” is one of the most selfish reasons to get a divorce. People live in a throw away society and it only seems it’s getting more acceptable.

    My word on abuse: Have you ever gotten into a car only to realize the person is a drunk lunatic? Begging to be let out before you die in a car crash while the driver laughs and continues to drive faster and more erratic? Honestly, I don’t know if cheating is worse.

    Also, I am not an expert such as Mark, but could there ever be a possibility that not all the words of Jesus were recorded?

  32. Sara says:

    I think this is an outstanding article. Well said. How great to see a MAN call MEN to their responsibility. I think an additional topic of issue is defineing “adultry”. I have read Christian material that states that a spouse viewing pornography is adultry,and therefore a means of “escape” from marriage. I would be curious as to what you, Mark, think of this. If a wife in your church came to you wanting your blessing to divorce her porno pervert husband, would you give it to her?

      • Dan says:

        So using the mouth or hands to bring another person to orgasm doesn’t count; thanks for the clarification. Where does anal sex fit in?

        • Diane Brierley for Mark Gungor says:

          Whoa! I think I just walked into something I wasn’t intending to with my answer! Look, if you are behaving in sexual ways with another person other than your spouse–be it anal sex, oral sex, mutual masturbation, heavy petting, making out, etc, it is ALL WRONG. What I was alluding to is that he doesn’t consider “emotional” affairs or sexual thoughts the same as adultery. Many people email asking if they have grounds to divorce based on the fact that their spouse had an emotional attachment or was communicating personally with someone on Facebook, emails or texts. That is what I incorrectly assumed you were asking. My mistake. If a person is married they are supposed to steer clear of any of this…Jesus said that even if you look at a woman with lust in your heart you have committed adultery, so obviously it’s not ok to engage in any of this other stuff. Our culture has defined sex by only intercourse and all the rest of it isn’t supposed to be and that is NOT what Mark says. I am sorry I was thinking along another line when I replied the first time! Hope this clears it up!

          • Dan says:

            Thank you very much, Diane, but I’m afraid I’m still confused. I was the one who originally quoted Matthew 5:28 about lust in the heart being adultery, but you responded that Mark considers only sexual intercourse to be adultery. When I asked for clarification about what constitutes sexual intercourse, you went back to lust in the heart being adultery, which was what I said originally that I gather you didn’t agree with. Would you mind telling us clearly and explicitly what an aggrieved spouse must know that their adulterous spouse has done in order to have the right to be remarried by Mark? If it’s lust in the heart, then pornography or sexual thoughts about anyone other than the spouse certainly count. If it’s intercourse only, then what’s his definition of intercourse? Thanks in advance, and my apologies for being so dense.

          • Diane Brierley for Mark Gungor says:

            You aren’t dense…your question was just taken wrong by me because so often people will use the pornography or “my spouse was looking at another” to justify divorce. Jesus did say that looking at a woman lustfully is committing adultery in your heart. He also said that if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off….but we don’t go around doing that, right?! If lustful thought constitute committing adultery in your heart, then being angry or hating someone is the same as committing murder, but we aren’t locking people in prison because of it, right?! Jesus said you had done it in YOUR HEART….not in actuality. When Jesus was talking about divorce for reasons of sexual immorality, that actually meant sexual intercourse/fornication. The word Jesus used in the Greek was porneia and this is the meaning from the lexicon:
            1) illicit sexual intercourse
            a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
            b) sexual intercourse with close relatives
            c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman

            Divorce for the reason of adultery was when someone ACTUALLY committed the act of fornication. Are you following the idea here? Again, when you asked the original question about what is adultery….I read between the lines and thought you were looking for the ACTUAL definition not adultery of the heart explanation. I was not limiting adultery to simply vaginal penetration.

            YES, if people look at porn, have thoughts about how sexy the neighbor is, or become over-involved with another emotionally, etc….that IS adultery in your heart, it is sin and it is wrong, but it is NOT grounds for divorce. What Mark is talking about when he speaks of remarrying a person in his church, he is looking to see if the reason for the divorce was that adultery was committed by the other spouse–that means fornication and not an emotional affair, just a kiss, etc. EVEN in this case, if the betrayed spouse is left with children from the marriage, Mark HIGHLY recommends waiting until the children are grown…but that’s a whole other blog post! Now, there can be a grayish area…for instance, if the person is involved in an “everything but penetration” type affair and then they are trying to say “I didn’t commit adultery” that is just legalistic….I hope you are getting the point here.

            If you haven’t listened to any of Mark’s radio shows where he discusses this, you should. He explains it very well! Bottom line of this whole blog “When is is Adultery?” is not to look at EVERY detail of EVERY situation and say divorce is ok, here, but not ok there. The point is to get people to consider the question: WHEN is it adultery?? Because it seems like churches and Christians divorce on a whim for every silly and small reason under the sun, remarry, then act like it’s no big deal. Hope this makes it a little clearer. Like I posted earlier today, we will discuss the finer points of this subject on an upcoming radio show and will let readers of this blog know what date that will air. This post really raised a lot of questions and it will be great to have Mark address the whole concept!

  33. Milton says:

    I basically agree with your “when is it adultery” article. I agree that divorce is allowed for sexual unfaithfulness, I would like you to share the verse that, after such a divorce, there is allowance for remarriage that does not involve adultery.

  34. Gina says:

    “I do think adultery is a real deal breaker and the bible clearly makes accommodation for it. Other than this, I tend to be very conservative on this and in my church, but for a marriage that ended because of adultery committed against them, I will not remarry a person. (Unless it’s back to their original spouse, which I have actually done!) They can go somewhere else and find someone else to marry them.”

    I don’t understand why you wouldn’t marry someone who has been divorced because of adultry committed against them. What if the offending party did not truly have a repentant heart? Will you explain? Thank You and God Bless your ministry

  35. Felicia DeLacroix says:

    This subject is one that has weighed on my mind heavily, and this article only served to weigh me down more. At 18, I married the man of my dreams. At 19, I had our first child. For the 7 years we were married I worked full time the whole time to keep our family alive. I stood by my husband through unemployment, surgeries, medical treatment that turned him into a monster. I tired all I could think to to keep things together. But as time wore on, he became more and more unstable. The mental, emotion, and yes even spiritual abuse became so bad I quite literally wanted to die. No matter what I said or did, there was no love or compassion from him. He had a temper and a fasination with guns and knives. After on explosive episode I realized I couldn’t do this to me or my daughter anymore, and threw him out. For 2 months after that I left the door open for him to show he wanted to make the effort to change, if anything he was worse. After I filed the papers, there was 3 months until it would be final- it could be withdrawn anytime up to the day of finalization- no change. So finalized them and tried to pick the picese back up. Its been a long ride since then. But I did find a true friend in all of it, someone who had been right in front of me for years. Over time we found there was so much between us that we’d never considered. 6 months ago we married.
    As a result of all I’ve gone through my faith has been broken beyond recognition. My ex used our wedding vows as a open statement to treat me however he pleased- it said for better or worse, doesn’t matter how worse he makes it, and a backhanded threat- it says until death do us part. He never bothered with where the bible talked about how to treat a wife, no he could do as he pleased and I should take it, even if the process was killing my very soul. Once free, as much as one can be when there is a child involved, I deeply wanted a healthy home and family for my daughter. I wanted someone to love me who I could love in return, someone to share this journey in life with. And I found him. But now, this article, like so many other things I’ve come across, tells me I’m an adultress. And I’m not clear on Mark’s stance on what position the individual marrying the divorced woman- who he himself has never been married- is in if he too is committing adultry, but many have said that’s the case. If that’s true, then I find myself falling further from faith. To say because the man I made my vows to, for all intent and purposed, died when he started those pain drugs that forever changed him into someone I don’t know, but his physical being remained, my desire for love and a healthy love for my daughter to see and grow to expect when she chooses to marry is adultry, I am lost…

  36. Grace says:

    I totally agree with this article. Divorce has become common among christians. Sadly I will be divorcing my husband of 12 yrs because he has been seeing another woman for the past 5 yrs of our marriage. We finally seperated @ 17 months ago. Even though we discussed prior to getting married that divorce would not be an option my husband has told me that he never loved me nor wanted to marry me. He also said that he’s married to the wrong person and believes God doesn’t want him married to someone he doesn’t love. And he still hasn’t filed for divorce. He’s actually dating someone at his church where he is an elder. The pastor there encouraged him in his message “Are you married to the wrong person”. I would love to be reconciled but he’s told me that he’s not interested. I’d rather see him free of sin so I’m going to file for the divorce myself. Thanks for taking a stand. By the way I was 40 yrs old when I got married for the 1st time. I was unable to have any children. I’m guessing that may have worked out for my good too.

  37. Dennis says:

    I am a man and I do believe that what Jesus said about adultery to be true.

    I have been married and divorced then remarried whilst serving the Lord.

    My question is “What about the kids?”

    What sort of an upbringing would they receive should I have stayed in the home and suffer verbal and physical abuse.

    I left because that was what was happening and my kids were relieved I took a stand.

    Sometimes I have difficulty in understanding God’s word when it comes to that. ‘Suffer the little children come unto me’

    I am very happy now with a new partner and my kids are happy to. Before this they were headed for some serious mental problems.


  38. Jenny says:

    This entry, regarding divorce and remarriage being considered adultery, is so very disturbing to me that I would like to discontinue my association with this website. I am divorced from an alcoholic. My ex-husband’s alcoholic behavior very significantly damaged my children. I stayed in a very bad marriage for 20 years in an attempt “to do the right thing”. It was a tragic mistake for my children and for myself. I am remarried to a wonderful man and I am certainly NOT COMMITTING ADULTERY! Please remove my email address from your distribution list immediately.

  39. Lara Marafioti says:

    PRAISE THE LORD!!!!! clap – clap – clap!

    Well done Mark, thankyou – it is about time someone
    preached the truth and said it like it is (in the bible)
    I am sick & tired of people not willing to fight for their marriages & take the easy way out.

    Unfortunately today we have well know preacher & leaders
    who have not shown a great example in this area.
    This has taught those people who look to man & not God, that if
    its ok for them, then its ok with me, thanks Mark, bless you – regards Lara

  40. Kristi says:

    I agree with your thoughts on “When it’s Adultry” I have been married to my husband for 21 years. I have really fought for my marriage for the past three years. It’s been really rough dealing with physical and verbal abuse at times and my husband had an emotional affair with a woman a year ago. I know for a fact that if I had not stuck all this out with my husband that I would not be the woman I am today in Him. I am still praying that my husband, who has walked away from the Lord, would come back to Him. What a testimony that our Lord will use! I know from experience that we can’t put the Lord in a “box.” I have friends that have told me to leave my husband and that I’m crazy. The fact is the Lord has NOT told me to leave my husband. I can’t live by the world standards and what my friends tell me. I’m serving a God that wants to see this marriage through to completion and I need to wait for His timing, NOT mine. Blessings on you.

  41. Patti P says:

    I agree with Sue Kelly who commented below. When one spouse completely checks out and the other spouse is abused whether verbally or physically, I can not and will not believe that our God will look down and say that this is not reason for divorce. When a spouse/father decides that he is going to live his life however he wants with no responsibilities and not have to pay for the consequences, don’t tell me that being an Adulterer is worse. I wish that all he had done was cheat on me. I would still have my home, the love of my children and we would be together, and I would not be so in debt that I can’t see the end because of his carelessness. And he gets away with it because society and our Christian community do not hold men accountable. It is the women and children who suffer. I did know that when I said “I do” that it was forever, and I gave of myself till there is nothing left. And he gets off scott free!

  42. Kerry says:

    I totally agree with your post on adultery. It is so refreshing to hear someone speak up truthfully on this subject. Thank you for your stand!

  43. RevTrev says:

    I believe Christ’s command is for Christians only. But that leaves me with a lot more questions.

    If two Christians divorce and one gets remarried, does that free up the other to do the same? Most people say, “yes”. But isn’t the line crossed when partner 1 is sexually active with someone other than the former partner?

    Which of us want to ask the question? “Is your former spouse to your knowledge sexually active?”

  44. jim says:

    my soon to be exwife has found her 2nd boy friend on facebook in a year and has gone to be with both . can i ever remarry i tried marrage conceling 6 times in 18 years. and still she went out side the marrage how do i be a good christain and get on with my life i dont want to be lonely and a have a lot of love to offer the right trust worthy christain lady

  45. Wendy says:

    My husband committed adultery 30 years ago and he divorced me.
    I was quite young then – only 32 and had 4 children. I desperately wanted to remarry, but left the choice in God’s hands. I have never remarried and not even been on a “date” in the 30 years I have been alone!! It has been very,very tough at times, but the example of my life seems to indicate that God does not want us to remarry!!
    I agree with your sentiments 100%. Jesus said:” If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.” (All of them)

  46. Charles says:

    I was re-married just over a year ago. I’ve been going to another church almost 3 years ago, and starting to be asked to sing again, and do some things in the church. I have this guilt inside cause I was rasied very strick on divorce and pretty much get the impression from close family that I’m now “damaged goods.” Not sure if I should do anything in a church again based on being divorced. Just wanting to know your Biblical opinion on what you feel I could start doing in my church?

  47. anonymous says:

    Mark talks sense – you don’t have to assume balack and white here, it’s just huidance! And guidance that “marriage is for life” is a good place to start, even for abusive relationships – not as licence for the abuser to carry on regardless, but to allow the chance for him/her to choose to change.

    If someone is being physically abused I think there must be a (hopefully temporary) separation (not divorce.) I don’t think Jesus meant us to “put up” with anything so bad and sometimes there are other ways of dealing with a relationship problem other than walking out, but I do advocate walking out on physical abuse.

    This is all way before any talk of divorce. In every bad situation the abusing spouse has one choice – work on solving the problem in this marriage or find another partner. If they would rather find another partner (i.e. adultory is committed) the abused spouse is entitled to a divorce (or would it be annulment?)

    If no adultory is committed, but the couple choose not to live together, then nevertheless they have to stay married – maybe sad for the one that wouldn’t otherwise choose to live alone, but if a marriage is for life, that’s what it means!

    In every case of “abuse” other than physical abuse, I think that if you are married you should live together, but that doesn’t mean putting up with a bad marriage – it just means that in a bad marriage, repairing the relationship should be the number one priority until you have restored your faith that your marriage will last for life. (That doesn’t mean you will be ecstatic all the time, it just means that you stop considering divorce as a possible answer to the marital problems!)

    Have just now read through all the previous comments – msg to moderator: is there a way to flag up Mark’s article on separation nearer the top of this blog?!

  48. Diane Brierley for Mark Gungor says:

    Because of the flurry of responses and comments on this topic, Mark will address it on an upcoming episode of his radio program. We will post the date the show will air and the link to the archive so everyone can listen to what he has to say on this topic.

  49. Joy Barber says:

    Mark, you are right on target.. sadly…Marriage today is sometimes entered into as a temporary option that legitimizes relationships in the eyes of the church. God never means for anyone to be promiscuous, let alone to be unfaithful to their mates…
    because there are so many consequences to having more than one spouse, but when a spouse is unfaithful, there are physical dangers in even reconciling with them. STD’s etc
    As God’s word states… the offended party is “better off to remarry, than to burn”- GOD can surely change hearts, as well as lifestyles, but for every rule, commandment, or instruction in God’s word there are REASONS behind it that are based on WISDOM FROM ABOVE. God not only knows the hearts…. HE knows the outcome of sin… and the impact on everyone involved! So continue to instruct people to SEEK HIS WILL, live life HIS WAY, and allow HIM to guide their futures to fulfill HIS plans for their lives.. HE has promised WISDOM to all who will ask. Keep asking, for your instructions are certainly from HIM! God Bless you! Joy Barber

  50. Christina Hammond says:

    I would say that you have a incredible website. Very informative. My (NOW) husband and I saw you last year at Lancaster Mennonite High School. I loved every minute of it and he enjoyed it as well. He is still extremely mentally and verbally abusive to me. I understand what you are saying about back in the day…..In jesus day…..things were alot worse….I still do not think that any man has the right to put his hands on a woman….Wife or not….I am trying to find out what it says in the bible about abuse……I am getting to the point of losing myself…I feel like I am goin to have a nervous breakdown. I don’t know what to do. I sure as heck do not think that I can keep on staying married to a man whom does nothing but put me down and torture me all the time. HE has a huge problem with PORN. I have caught him 6 times already. He has done nothing but lie to me most of the time. Lastly, I just wanted to say that you have been of some comfort to me. May God bless you and all of your family

  51. Randy Y. says:

    My wife left me three months ago. Well, physically anyway. She had told me before she left that in the past couple of months she had kissed four different men while she was out dancing with her friends. She also was having a relationship with another man that she says hadn’t gotten sexual, though she says they had kissed also. I begged her to stay and try to work out our problems, but she said she no longer loves me and just asked me to let her go and make things easy for her. I had caught her in a few lies and am not sure if she’s telling me the truth about how far over the line she has gone with these men. I’m deeply hurt and saddened and am wandering aimlessly through my broken heart. When I ask her if she want’s a divorce she tells me she’s just taking things one day at a time. I didn’t want a divorce at all at first, but the longer she’s gone the more I think I want one. Am I wrong to want a divorce ? We also have two wonderful kids that are living with me. She cheated once before about seven yrs. ago. After our son was born. I don’t think I can go through it another time. I want to obey the word of the Lord, but I’m very confused. Your prayers would be appreciated.

    • Diane Brierley for Mark Gungor says:

      Please read Mark’s article on separation….I think it will help you understand that there is another option besides jumping straight to divorce. Here is the link: Divorce or Separation
      You also need to get some help….have you talked to your pastor? Family? Friends? A counselor? Please seek out the guidance of someone who can help you walk through this challenging time.

  52. Brenda says:

    What Jesus says is true all the time, in every generation. I have been in that situation. My first husband abandon me and had an affair with another woman. One year separation later, he refuse to reconcile, requested me to divorce him or he would divorce me. He married his mistress; lived with her for 16 years now their divorce. He has now married his third wife twice. I married again. I’ve been with him for the past 35 years. God’s way is always right.

  53. maricris says:

    My husband was thinking to have divorce. We are both christian believers. We are still living together but I found out that he was looking for another woman in the internet. Did he already committed for aldultery? I still love him but it was huts me too much.

  54. Michelle says:

    Thanks for taking a stand, Mark! BTW, our Sunday School married couples class showed your “Laugh Your Way To a Better Marriage” DVD series a few years back……it totally helped my husband and I to understand each other and communicate better and all while having so much fun laughing! :) I appreciate your ministry!

  55. pearl malyk says:

    Unfortunately I’m separated from my 3rd husband but agree totally with what you say. So many of us NEED HELP. Our lives are so wishy-washy. We don’t ahve a lot of success understanding the Bible and the ‘heads’ of so many churches are more mixed up than us. There is a way to stand firmly on the Word of God without ‘destroying’ our ‘brother/sister’ in the process. There is so much false teaching out there and most of us are so blind already, it’s really hard to ‘see’ that what we’re being ‘fed’ is rather toxic to our ‘health’. Even the mature .. aren’t! I think a huge cry for help to God is definitly necessary!

  56. Rochelle says:

    What if you are suspecting adultery but the other spouse denies it. Even after separating, there are clues but nothing obvious. What do I do?

  57. Sharon says:

    Awesome article! Having gone through a very unwanted and extremely painful divorce recently this article set off some emotions in me. The ironic part my husband, of 25 years, thinks God is ok with this. He reasons that I am stronger in my faith and that he is happier now than he has been in a long time. What amazes me is that while he is happy he has left his wife and family dealing with the destruction. I will continue to instill in my kids(23,20,15) that divorce is wrong and it is a promise and covenant with God. I am determined to break this cycle of broken marriages. This does not have to be their legacy! It is very hard for them to understand how their dad could walk away and think it is ok. If we were walking with the Lord during our whole marriage we would not be divorced. But we both found the Lord about 5 years ago…my faith has only strengthened during this time. I pray that one day he will wake up and see what his decisions based on pride and his search for his own happiness have done. Our marriage wasn’t a strong one and went through MANY storms but divorce wasn’t the answer and God does not think it is ok!

  58. Rori Kanar says:

    Because of all the wrong interpretations of the Bible millions are living in sin by staying married to a partner the shares nothing with them.

    Separating and never marrying is also wrong because of our natural human needs. Maybe this is why we have so many single parent children and persons turning to homosexuality.

    I was a Catholic and changed my religion 35 years ago to Islam and Islam allows divorce even though it should be avoided as much as possible. Having that choice has not changed my mind on working hard to save your marriage, at best it has made me respect marriage more.

    I hope one day Christian Churches accept divorce so couples can live happier lives with more time to spend on their faith instead of thier domestic problems.

    Mark, I love your CDs and respect the assistance you are giving many in their daily lives.

  59. sergio says:

    I´m a catholic beliver, married during the last 20 years in my second marriage and four wonderful children, three of the first and one from the second. While Í agree whith Mark concepts, I just would like to add a couple of ideas.
    First, I really think that problems that leads to finish with marriages are only results of bad choices. When we establish a relationtship, looking forward to marriage, we usually do not go in deep to find out answers to important questions, such as: who I am? what do I want? what I´m willing to give in the long therm to this relationship? ¿how many children we want to have? ¿do we want childern at all? ¿who is the person that I´m intended to marry? ¿what does he/she wants?, and such. It´s incredible that modern relationship jumps from the moment their meet, to the bed and in a few weeks, to the weeding having only in between some nice weekends, spending time together in the movies, or wiht other people but not knowing each other. So I think besides to debate in divorce, we need to debate in prevention as well.
    The other thing, is an idea that as superficial at it seems, and even would sound as an excuse, can be valid. Let us think for a minute that love, being a living entity can die as well. Because love death, or wath we tought or belived that was love, lead the couple to all those behaviors including unfathfulness, phisical or psicological abuse, and so on.
    Since you do not fall in love with who you want, you can not promise that your love will last forever as you can not promise that you will live forever; love will live live in the measure that you take care of it, that you nurture it, and even so, there will always be the risk of losing it.
    So, what happens it what takes the couple appart is not the death of the body but the death of love? Are we faling to observe the word of Jesus?
    Thanks to Mark and all of you for your comments. And sorry for my english; is not my first language.

  60. Amanda says:

    Please capitalize “Bible” It’s the Holy Word of God and is worth of distinction as such. Not capitalizing Bible makes it seem like it’s just an ordinary book, much like the phone book. It’s a bit offensive and it distracted me from your message.

  61. JANE says:


  62. Alison says:

    This scripture has been one that God has been speaking to me about over the last few months. I was married to a man who began a relationship with a female co-worker (non-sexual, but emotional). He subsequently left me and my children. About 5 years later I became a Christian and have been serving in my local Church.
    I recently went thru the breakdown of an engagement and afterward I was seeking God about my future and if there would be a man in my life. It has been my desire for as long as I can remember to be married and have a family. My children are both teens now, but I was still hoping for another baby or babies. At this point of questioning God, I came to a point of surrender, and said to God that while this dream is something I have held onto my whole life, and while my desire for that is strong, above all else I want His perfect will for my life. When I prayed that, the scripture about adultery came to me. I now believe I am called to be single, to not remarry.
    I totally agree with your stance on marriage after divorce, except in the grounds of unfaithfulness. I was a non-Christian at the time of my divorce, and in an emotional sense my husband was unfaithful. However, I feel that Jesus’ words are truth and he did not say that this was only applicable for believers.
    And can I say that at that point of surrender, when I gave that dream to Him, He took away that desire. Yes I still have bad days, yes there are times I look at married couples and wish it were different for me – but ultimately I want God’s PERFECT will for my life. I believe I could re-marry, but I would be missing out on what God has planned for me. And is there anything better than God’s way? Seriously, Jesus said “I am the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE”. He lived as a single man – it can be done, and it’s not the end of the world!!

  63. cindy krismer says:

    What Jesus said is true, always. period.
    As far as divorce goes, I think it shouldn’t be an argument. Get into the Word, pray for a deeper understanding and build your relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, and God will speak to your heart and guide your actions IF you let them. He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us for a reason, it’s one of the ways he communicates with us. Jeepers! read, listen(the Greek meaning of the word) and pray!

  64. Laura Samuelson says:

    Thank you, Mark, for taking this stand. I’ve wondered for years why Jesus’ words are ignored when it comes to divorce and remarriage.Forgiveness is readily available, and I’ve seen couples dramatically healed when they ask for it; but the blatant refusal to admit they’ve done anything wrong is puzzling.It’s like the kid with chocolate all over his face refusing to admit he’s been in the cookies. If it’s natural to ask forgiveness for lying, stealing or cheating, why do we kick so hard against this sin? If we admit that remarriage was a sin and Jesus’ words are indeed valid, we open ourselves up to an abundance of blessing and forgiveness in the new marriage. How bad can that be?

  65. Jase says:

    I look at marriage as a place in which to share and express God’s love. What a great proving ground marriage is to see where we are living in accordance to how God says He loves us, or to find out we are living in our old selves, seeking our “delight” just here on earth, and in particular through our spouse.

    Yes, there are lots of “bad” spouses out there – but what do you think made them that way?

    Instead of just dumping them, what would it be like if the “hurt” spouse, the one to whom the offense was done, recommitted to the marriage and the other spouse, and instead of just throwing the spouse out, as I’m sure has happened before, they loved more? What if we showed God’s love and mercy (and in my dictionary Mercy is defined as: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm). Yes, the cheated or whatever, but instead of punishing them, wouldn’t compassion, “lump burning coals of shame on their head?”

  66. Tom Perks says:

    I agree with your comments and how serious to take the marriage vow. However, there are other issues recorded in the Bible that divorce acceptable. When one partner is not “in Christ” and wants to leave the marriage, they can without punishing the other partner.
    It is not good for man to be alone and a help mate was created by God. Divorce is a sin and God hates divorce. But God hates all sin. Divorce is very obvious to everyone as it was in Christ’s time. When the Pharisees presented Jesus with a women taken in Adultery (the very act) they asked Jesus if they could stone her. His answer is very illuminating. He who is without sin can cast the first stone. They all left. The only one qualified to stone this woman was Jesus and he forgave her with the warning not to continue sinning. He was there to teach us a lesson and for many that lesson goes right over their heads.
    He who is without sin can cast the first ‘judgement’ stone. Be careful if you too are a sinner, for with what judgement you render, you will receive.


    • chris says:

      Let the unbeliever leave doesnt mean leave the unbeliever
      And. God hates divorce “BUT” God hates all sin is meaningless rationalization

  67. B says:

    I totally agree with what you say. I am the recipient of a divorce myself. My husband cheated with many married women and I stayed in the marriage praying and believing that God would change the marriage. I learned that God can only change someone if that someone wants to change. I hate divorce because it is like death but the corpse is still walking around and if children are involved it is even more difficult. People need to understand the devestation that divorce causes even if it is for adultry. It is so hard to accept the rejection that comes along with divorce. People need to understand that God is trying to protect us when He tells us what to do. He doesn’t want to take away our fun. Just the opposite He wants us to be each other’s best friend. If divorce is inevitable, He wants us to work our way out so that there is no remorse for walking away from a spouse who is unwilling to change. The pain doesn’t get any better even though you know you have to get out because NOBODY deserves to be treated like trash one minute and loved the next. No matter how old kids are divorce is devestating to them as well. LOVE YOUR KIDS BY LOVING THEIR PARENT AND TAKE CARE OF THE MARRIAGE FOR EVERYONE’S SAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  68. Liz says:

    WOW…yessss!! Thank you for bringing this out into the open. I don’t know of a church that takes what Scripture says and holds to it on this topic.

  69. chris says:

    Read the comments….women asking “isnt this a good enough reason, isnt that a good enough reason”

    The more “relational” gender, the ones who are held up as the caring ones, they buy the books they see the troubles first…etc etc funny they are the ones filing 70% of divorces?
    Unless and until the church speaks directly to women and theor roles in divorce in addition to the admonishment of men which is already done, in other words speak to BOTH genders, nothing is going to fix this problem.
    Want to test my theory?
    Start a conversation about limiting no fault divorce on a Christian forum of men and women….the women will go apoplectic against limiting divorce and the men will favor strengthening the laws. Reality is 180 degrees from conventional wisdom

  70. Charles says:

    I have and believe what you are saying is true and biblical. But I keep hearing all the talk about not getting divorced or how weak churchs are in this. But what about people like me who are Christian, born again..blood bought, going to Church and have remarried? I don’t hear hardly any preaching, guidance for those of us who are moving forward in our new relationship after being re-married? I have been blessed cause I have already been grounded in the Bible my whole life and through the grace of God kept moving on in a Church. But a lot of churches seem to not have a ministry for those of us who are re-married..and because of that look to other non-christian based “programs” for acceptance, then lose their way. Can you put a message together for those of us in this catagory? I know the Lord can and is still using my wife and I in our re-marriage. Thank you

  71. Kelly Gaisford says:

    I agree with your thoughts on divorce but I have to say that some relationships are so damaged and so caustic that divorce is a kindness and truly the union was a poor decision from the start, not blessed by God. And I also believe that we are not put on this earth to “save” another human being if it costs us our own life. I use that comment to describe the death of my sister. She married a man who purported to be a “Christian”. She was an incredibly talented actress/singer and loved the Lord more than anyone else I have ever met. She also loved to “help” others and her giving personality fell pray to the “Christian” man who came into her life, married her within in 6 months and then beat her in the first week of their marriage. He not only physically abused her he emotionally abused her and my family. His angry tirades caused him to even kill my dog who got in his way. He would then be so sorry for his actions, ask for forgiveness, tell her and my family that God forgave him and so should we and then went back to his abusive ways. My sister left this man 7 times but always went back to love, help and save him. He conveniently used religion to manipulate her but never was willing to change. He loved to control her, his children and tried to control me and my family but I refused his influence. When he couldn’t control me he threatened to take my sister and their children away from me forever. I told him that I would always love her and her children and I would never forsake them but to do what he had to do and I was not afraid of him. Within 6 months they disappeared and returned 2 years later. The entire time they were gone we had no idea where they were. My point is that I would have loved to have my sister divorce this beast on one of the numerous times she left him and although she got all the way through to the divorce papers process the last time she left him he was able to manipulate her and get her to agree to have him back in her life. My sister died of breast cancer three years ago. During her illness he left his job due to stress and dropped her health insurance. He then became a Christian Scientist and succeeded in withholding her life saving cancer treatments and subsequent pain killers. He told her that she didn’t love the Lord enough or he would take the cancer from her body in a second. During the last few months of her life he did take her to a hospital but would force her not to take the morphine. I had to alert the hospital so they would keep her door open and make sure he wasn’t withholding her medication. During this time I had to tolerate him and be quite or he would have me thrown out of the hospital. I stayed quite to be with her and help her as much as I could as I promised, I would never forsake her. When she died he told me he didn’t have the money to pay her medical bills or for her funeral and would lose his house and not be able to take care of his children if I did not help him. I took a second mortgage out on my home to help with those expenses. Obviously I have to work on forgiving him as God has commanded me too but believe me, their is no reason she had to sacrifice her life for this person and so my point is due to the extreme abuse she suffered if she were to divorce him and find someone to remarry who loved and cared for her and treated her the way God would want her husband to treat her, I would hope you would marry her if you were her Pastor. And believe me, if my ex-brother in law could have committed adultery and gotten away with it, he would have but he cited scripture that forbade him from doing so and therefore he felt that he was following the commandments and was in good favor with the Lord. If their was one commandment short it should have been “Thou Shalt not abuse thy wife and thy children….for ANY REASON.”

  72. Sandy Morreale says:

    My husband had a sexual affair but he says it was only a $20…..TO me it was an affair. His outlook is that he wasn’t getting any at home, so he went out. The reason behind my choices was because his abuse towards me depleted any trust, emotional attachment and love.
    At this time, he admits his mistakes and how terrible he treated me. Do I trust him, NO…do I think that he still is a walking time bomb, YES..
    I have made many mistakes, and I am so sorry that I put myself through all of it.
    I don’t want God to be mad at me, and I want to release the past to him and be free. I

  73. Wikenne says:

    I agree with what you think about divorce and marriage in the Christian churches today. I appreciate those verses you point out concerning marriage and divorce. My husband and I have been married for 18 years and a couple of months. We dated for a year before marriage. Together, we have 6 children. We never had any issue with infidelity until the beginning of this year. He met with an old friend around December and she invited him to her house and would not stop calling him. She calls him at work and off work at all kind of time. She reconnected him with some old friends, so he said to another person. Anyhow, the relationship turned into a sexual relationship, and he is no longer shows any interest in me or our marriage. Although we are not having any sexual relationship, he is still living in the house. He claims that I am the cause for his relationship with her; it is because I kept saying that he was having a relationship with her. When I ask what he wants to do about our relationship, he claims that there is not anything wrong with the marriage as far as he knows. He explained that he should be free to come home at whatever time he wants, and I should not say anything about it. He is spending half of every night with her and will not stop. Yet, he said, when I last brought that up, we are both adults capable of making our own decision; therefore, it is up to me if live or stay. Worst of all, he is still lying to his relatives about having a sexual relationship with her. I am a born again Christian and I truly agree with everything you said concerning marriage, divorce, and the churches stand on marriage today. There are not enough words to describe what I am going through in this marriage right now; however, I am still praying that the Lord will be merciful to me to turn things around and save my marriage, if it is His will. Most of all, I am praying that he will repent and return to his local church, after 16 years of no attendance.

    What would say about these two relationships, other than that one is a sin?

  74. Milly nankya says:

    I have been in a sexless marriage for 4 years but endured since i made a marriage covenant .Only to realise lately that my hubby was having multiple sex partners while i was enduring the sexless marriage.He now wants to divorce and remarry.I have forgiven him but he still wants to push for divorce.I know the pain involved in divorce but forced to live with because he is not cooperating yet its me who was hurt and forgave.Am trying to follow biblical teaching on marriage but it is becoming more complicated.Please advise.

  75. Tessie says:

    I totally agree with the above comments – and to be clear, I am not a person who has lack of experience in this situation – my husband is an adulterer; six years ago he began in an affair which led to the birth of a son – I have struggled for many years as to whether or not divorce him; it’s been a tough struggle – we are currently separated, though not legally, we live in separate apartments.
    I have prayed and prayed for God’s guidance and his will for my life; and every time I think I am done – God pulls me back and tells me this isn’t about me. This is about God – about how glorious our story will me – how glorifying to God the saving of this marriage will be. He always tells me, “WAIT”
    I don’t know if anyone knows how difficult waiting for someone who is not doing the right things is…. it’s heart wrenching, life altering and very discouraging. I want to quit almost every day and my husband always give me reason – including continue fraternization with the adulterous beyond just dealing with the son. (why we now are not living together and have not for over a year)
    But I will honor God; there is a reason my husband has not divorced me – there is a reason God continues to tell me to wait – I will not make it easy for this man to walk away from me,our family and most importantly God. I will not quit praying for him, I will not quit putting my trust in God; He wants me to stay for His glory – and I will give all of myself to do that.
    Churches, pastors should counsel in this way – I have gone through two churches – one counselled that we should rid ourselves of the child – but from day one God showed me this child was a blessing – it was one of the only things we agreed on – this child would always be part of his fathers life – whether I would or not
    The other church leaders counselled us to stay apart – to work on ourselves and then when we were healthy come back together –
    Well, I don’t remember God telling Hosea to leave Gomer and let her get healthy and then get back with her – I will not file anything and I will wait
    My current counsel – PhD and Dr of the brain – also the most christian man I have ever met – shows me what is my responsibility, what is my husbands and how to wait with God.
    So I wait – and every day my husband draws nearer to God – it’s like God’s voice is finally breaking through – day by day, little by little.
    Though my marriage is important and I would be devastated to loose 21 years of marriage to this man, whom I still love. It would be more upsetting for him to loose his life, his everlasting life with God; if being with me took him from God’s plan.
    I trust God, and I know reconciliation is part of my faith – both between God and I; God and my husband and God, my husband and I.
    Today….my husband is seeking a church where he feels God will be there with him. He is seeking christian counsel and he is dating me – One day, I will tell everyone, divorce never has to be the option – trusting God first should always be the first place you go. It’s not an easy path – people and christian friends, family and unknowns will think you are stupid, or too nice or gullible or anything other than what you really are.
    I am smart because God guides me; I am nice because the Holy spirit tames me; I am patient because sits with me and talks to me, calms me, loves me, despite the pain caused by others. i will never stray my path with God and I know no other who will be able to bring me through victoriously.
    Christians, churches, leaders, need to find God’s will before they counsel – stop trying to save people from pain – and start teaching how God will grow you in it; lead you through it and love you when think no one else does. And in my opinion – I would rather be loved by God than anyone else – no matter how much pain it involves – struggling with him has been the best thing that ever happened to me – and I’ve struggled alot in my life.
    Thank you Mark – your words are wise

  76. Leslie says:

    Interesting topic for this particular time in my life. I had met my ex husband when I was 19. He was 36. I was a born again, a bible thumpin young woman who never had any kind of serious romantic relationship to speak of. I was sexually and physically abused by numerous family members by the time I was 9. As a result of my abusive childhood I looked to GOD for salvation, love and the answers to so many unresolved questions. Because of my christian convictions…I married my first relationship of significance. Remember…I was 19 and this is what young christian women pray for. This man turned out to be abusive both sexually and physically. I was a prisoner of a life which was completely ruled and controlled by him. I was with him for 18 years and had two children. I loved my children and wanted to protect them in light of the abuse that I suffered as a child. When I noticed that my husbands abusive tendencies were now spilling over to his treatment directed at my children, I had had enough. Child protective services were notified by an anonymous source. I gave up nearly all financial support and security to get away so he would be financially motivated to let me go. As a christian woman, wife and mother, no one could have tried any harder to make this marriage work than I did. We attempted family counseling, only to have the counselor advised me to get out of the marriage before my husband killed me or harmed my children. I have now been single for 14 years. Some choices we can never be rid of. From what I am understanding from this site…because I married someone who could not honor and respect the word of GOD and care for me the way that GOD so loved the church, I am now never to have a relationship with a man who could show me the kind of love that I have never known. Because I chose not to stay and possibly be killed in an abusive relationship. I have made a commitment to never be in any kind of romantic relationship again. I divorced at the age of 38. By being obedient to GOD this has unjustly issued me a life sentence that I didn’t sign up for. This will certainly be one of my questions when I am standing before GOD on my day of judgement. I am glad that GOD is just, loving, kind and is caring for my well being because from where I’m sitting…I am definitely believing by faith and not the evidence of things seen.

  77. philip says:

    My wife is seeing a catholic married man that open a bunisess for her so he want give her a better life by follow his way…my wife think she didn’t do anything wrong by see him or desire to talk a single or marries man..she told me she doesnt feel guilty at all…she met his family and he met me and my kids and yet they have no remorse…one morning the man gave me a ride yo work..i blur out ask him question..do you believe in god and he said yes..so i didnt eant saying anything to him because he doesnt know that he seeing my wife…so i told my wife god want save our marriage she straight up said no and i said it will affect our children which it happen now i see it and she doesnt it…i keep praying even she still dont want be with me…in god time he will change her mind and it gonna be a huge open her eyes…and also i told her she will get caught and lose her job and she think it never gonna happen…

  78. Henry says:

    I echo your sentiments.
    The little girl I married 45 years ago was a born-again Christian. Unbeknownst to me, she cheated on me shortly before we were married. During the first decade of our marriage, she had adulterous relations with at least nine men – I will probably never know the entire truth.
    The two children I raised may or may not be mine – I will never know because I have no intention of having paternity tests done.
    I learned about all this just six years ago and have been struggling ever since trying to discover what I’m supposed to do from a Christian standpoint. The Church is no help because the advice I’m given is contradictory.
    I believe that marriage is for life and that just because she broke her promises doesn’t mean that I’m supposed to break mine.
    On the other hand, this surely does not feel like a marriage that was blessed by God.
    Now my wife is dying from fallopian tube cancer. Within a short period of time I will have fulfilled my vow, “’till death do us part.”

  79. Lori says:

    I’m a horrible person. Selfish. A liar, an adulteress. Disgusting. I didn’t even know how bad it was and how separated from God I was until a few days ago. I grew up in the church until my parents tell away when I was 10 years old, and then it was secular living. It was an abusive household, and my father began sexually abusing me from the ages of 12-15. I chose to forgive, and it was brushed under the rug, but it deeply affected me the rest of my life. At age 39, it still affects me today. I met my first husband when I was 17 and he was 23. He was controlling and emotionally abusive, from a different country, and here for the sole purpose of sending his money to his family there. I knew these things and still married him. He was violent with me once, but I told him I’d kill him if he ever touched me again, he apologized, and never physically hurt me again. So, I became a good, submissive wife, and we lived at or near poverty during our whole marriage. I wanted children and talked him into having two with me. That’s when I feel our marriage failed. I overcompensated for what I thought was his neglect, and I see now that I made an idol out of my kids. I meant well, but I put them as a priority over my husband. Years passed, and he started doing less and less with us, he was angry with me if i spent money on the family. We couldn’t even pay the rent and he still wanted to support his family in another country. So, I got us into debt by getting credit cards and payday loans. I found myself crying to my mom, friends, and sister. This was wrong, but I did it. I also gave him several ultimatums over the years. He was still faithful and I was not. I had wandering, lustful thoughts over the course of the marriage. In 2001, I took Christ into my heart and changed for a couple of years, but it created so much more turmoil in my marriage, I felt very much alone but prayed everyday for him. I thought I was such a great wife. But after a couple years, I went back to my old ways. I kept begging him to him to just love us, but he seemed to spiral into some sort of funk that only got worse when his sister died in 2007. Then at the time, he seemed unbearable to live with. By 2010, the house was a pressure cooker. Instead of turning to God or opening a bible, I got hateful and impatient. I resented him. I felt hopeless that I was stuck with him. He would come home and I my heart would sink. I should have been forgiving, but I told him I wanted to separate. 14 years of marriage. We were still in the same house, but I started seeing another men. I did awful, awful things. One day, he emptied our bank account, so I kicked him out and demanded a divorce. He begged for reconciliation. Said he would be more romantic and go to counseling, but I said no, too late. He moved in with his brother and family in 2011. I cited emotional and financial abuse as some of the reasons, but really, I was just being an unforgiving whore. I dated men in secret over the next couple years, foolishly let one of them meet my children. He cheated and I swore I was done with men. I got ok with just being single. Then in 2011, I met someone I thought was my soulmate. He was not divorced yet either when we met, but his ex had cheated on him and kicked him out, taking half of his pay for two years. She got full custody of their then 5 year old daughter. Along with the painful transition of blending families, he and I dealt with so much stress and insecurity. My son accepted and loved him but my daughter was a harder sell. But lots of hard work and a couple years later, we got to a good place as a family. He is a good guy. I still love him, and the kids love him. We have been married 2.5 years and now have a beautiful 4 month old daughter. The marriage has been riddled with problems and it should have been my cue to turn to God, but I didn’t. The other night, I was awakened out of a sound sleep by what, I don’t know. But I started googling info about remarriage, and learned our marriage is adulterous. I thought I had repented for all the horrible things I had done, but there it is in plain English. I’m an adulteress and need to repent. I know I need to end the marriage but don’t know how to go about doing it. I’m terrified.

  80. Lori says:

    This truth hit me so hard, I’ve been physically ill the last few days. I sometimes desperately miss my ex-husband. Then the man I married is also very sweet, and I love him dearly. He was raised Baptist but never considered himself a Christian. He became a Buddhist this year. I had been praying that he would come to know the Lord again. All these prayers and I didn’t even realize I was living in unrepented for sin myself. The kids love him, but I know deep down, they ache for me to be with their again. My son isn’t as close to his dad as my daughter is, but our divorce has still hurt him. My current husband and I have a new daughter together, and I have been a single parent because he’s suffered from mental issues for the past year. He pays the bills but I have zero access to money. He has a private bank account and he will put in $50 for gas here or there, but there is no transparency. I’ve accused him before of still loving his ex. I’ve seen questionable texts. But he says he doesn’t talk to her now except to talk about their daughter. I felt we were getting to a very good place as a couple and as a family, and the verses about adultery have shaken me greatly. Do you believe God understands my desire to repent and turn away from all sin? I am simply unable to divorce him and leave this second. I need to find somewhere to go and find a way to tell him what’s going on. I love him so much, I worry about his eternity, too! This will hurt, and I guess I’m not afraid to suffer, but I don’t want to hurt him, either. My prayer is that God knows how convicted I am, where I know what I need to do, and now I am going to take the steps to get it done. Do you think he understands it won’t be an overnight process?

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