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Unhappy marriages are the leading cause of divorce. Well, what is the leading cause of unhappy marriages? There is no cure for selfishness but there is treatment available, so there is treatment for an unhappy marriage. Divorce isn't treatment. The idea of divorce being "allowed" or not is caused by a misunderstanding of what the scripture is teaching us concerning an unhappy marriage. The context is the key to discernment. Men of Israel were divorcing their wives the way movie stars and celebrities, and even some common people, do today. People will marry with next to no intention at all of building and spending a life together for the eternity of their lifetimes. Jesus gives Heaven's view on adultery first and then Heaven's view on divorce (Matt 5: 27-32). Neither depiction is attune with our thoughts and ways of living, and He knew that before He outlined His sermon. Telling them they've committed adultery by simply lusting after a woman is an effective eye opener for a man thinking he's innocent of sexual sin. The same is true when told that divorcing his wife for any reason other than adultery causes her to commit adultery. He says nothing about a woman lusting after men or filing for divorce. Why? Context is why. To anyone who would remind me that women couldn't file for divorce I say 'you're helping me with my point'. Could they lust after a man? The word of God stands for ever (Isa 40:8). The grass withers but not the word. Women lust and divorce their husbands IN THEIR HEARTS even when they don't file or perform. The description Jesus gave for adultery and divorce wasn't meant to be a clarification of the RULES of adultery, marriage, or divorce. It was meant to be a revelation of Heaven's regard for our idea of righteousness. This was a message for the most religious in all of Israel, and by extension, the most religious in all of Christendom today. His message had very little to no effect on the religious of that day, and the same is true for this era. The scripture is seen as a RULE. It's suppose to circumcise our hearts, show us how ungodly we are "in the flesh." Jesus was preaching on righteousness not marriage or divorce. "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven" (Matt 5:20). Then he begins to give Heaven's views on anger/murder, adultery/divorce, love/hate, giving, etc.. Divorce for any reason other than adultery is frowned on by many in the Church but not an "eye for an eye." "But I say unto you, That you resist not any evil person.... turn to him the other cheek" (Matt 5:39). "Stand your ground" (a self defense law) is very popular with believers; very few make turning the other cheek the religious rule the way some do for reasons to get out of an unhappy marriage. To stay in a marriage where there is violence and such is not what Jesus had, or has, in mind, no more than allowing someone to invade your home and you "turn the other cheek." He was painting an eternal picture of pure righteousness for the eternal record. 1Sam 16:7 says "the Lord doesn't see as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. God's not looking at our cheeks.
A wise and elderly marriage counselor once told me the following: "Problems arise in most marriages because men marry for sex and women marry for security." I met my wife on a blind date. The first time I saw her I was blown away; I said to myself "this woman is gorgeous! I will put on my best front but even with that this will probably be our last date." So I tried my best to impress her. She told me later she did the same thing, by wearing form fitting clothing that showcased her figure, making sure her makeup, hair and fingernails were perfect and wearing some wonderful perfume. Along came marriage, children, mortgages, lost jobs, and lost dreams. She discovered that I was NOT Mr. Perfect and I discovered that she was NOT Mrs. Perfect. Her Coke bottle figure looked more like a Mason jar, and my forehead grew larger as my hair receded and my midsection started growing out! The company I was working for was purchased by another larger company and my position was eliminated. So the security she married me for was gone and the sex I married her for was not as frequent or as satisfying as it was when we first married. So we went to our pastor. We told him about the lost security and the sex stuff and he said GOOD! Now you can start working on making a good marriage based on the foundation of Jesus Christ not on temporary security that is here today and gone tomorrow, and sex which only lasts a few years before it in gone. So what did we do? Did we throw in the towel and seek security or sex elsewhere? No, we stepped up the the plate, gripped the bat and hit a home run. We prayed that God would forgive is for our failure to trust wholly in Him and asked him to replace of "butterfly in the stomach" love for biblical agape love. And guess what? Not only did He give us a huge measure of agape love but He left the butterflies too!
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