Question:

My story:

My wife and I are Christians. A few years ago my wife had an affair. I forgave her. But since that time I have been the spouse who has pretty much carried the relationship. I suggested counseling and suggested a closer walk with God. I notified my spouse that she needed to rebuild her spirit and renew her mind as the attack would be stronger in that area. In my opinion, her emotions and actions to save the marriage was inconsistent.

Recently, I discovered that my wife was secretly calling a worship leader in our church. This had been going on for several months without my knowledge. I was devastated. This behavior was unacceptable. How could she do this after her prior affair? Their communication stopped, at least I thought. I told her that she needed to decide what she wanted to do in regards to our marriage. I did all I could do to salvage our marriage and restore it. She stated that she would fast to think and would let me know. Unfortunately, her fast was not really a fast. She used that time to remove all feelings for me. She did not want to pray with me, we did not stand on one accord during the fast, she stopped wearing her wedding ring. But at the same time, she continued to go to Bible study and sing in the choir every Sunday.

Soon afterwards she stated that she did not want the marriage. She began to stay out late. All of the signs of her having another affair are obvious but no proof. In my opinion, none is needed. She has moved in with her mother. I have spoken with our pastor about her. He has yet to talk to her.He was aware of our situation since last year when I initiated counseling. He met with her briefly. He has been aware of her not wearing her ring. He is also aware of the worship leader calling my wife and has not said anything to him either. I recently met with him for status. He has not talked to him. I am frustrated. This man is calling my wife and vice versa, but the pastor is not saying anything about it. I asked him if he was familiar with the church at Corinth. Again, nothing is being said at all. I no longer go to that church. I am very disappointed in my pastor. It is a Methodist Church. This was my first experience with a Methodist Church. As a result, I did more research. In my opinion, the Methodists are very liberal in their approach to divorce. I fear that he gave her these words: "God's grace is sufficient and you can move on." This is SO not God's doctrine. It appeared that she was more rebellious after her meeting with him. I'm not 100% sure but looking back it appears that way. Also, I have given her Scripture on the consequences of an unscriptual divorce. Maybe he told her that those consequences did not apply if she divorced because he would say again, "God's grace is sufficient and you can move on." His lack of responsibility and discipline of his flock is disturbing. I never thought he would be this way. He has not called to check on me. He knows that my wife had moved out. He has showed no concern.

As of today, I have been served with divorce papers. Which brings me to these questions. I have searched and read the Bible. As you know, there are so many opinions: no divorce ever; the fornication theory (what is porneia? A married person cannot fornicate and that fornication and adultery was used in the same verse); Joseph and Mary were called husband and wife during the bethrothal period, so Matthew 19:9 applied to the engagement period; the guilty party can remarry after divorce; the innocent person can divorce for adultery but cannot remarry; etc.

I am asking the Holy Spirit to guide me. When my journey is over, I want to know I made the right decision.


Questions:

  1. My wife committed adultery. I forgave her. Does that mean that since I forgave her, that I no longer have adultery as a biblical grounds for divorce? The reality is, she has filed for divorce because she just does not want the marriage anymore. Do Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 still apply?
  2. Must I have concrete evidence such as video or photos to prove that my wife has had another affair?Ido not want to believe it butall the signs are obvious. So, then Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 would apply?
  3. If adultery is still valid for my situation, does it matter who filed first? Does it matter who the petitioner or respondent is? She has already filed.
  4. Will this divorce be on biblical acceptable grounds for me?
  5. We live in a no-fault state. Must the complaint actually state "Adultery" instead of irreconsilable differences?
  6. Can I remarry?
  7. Can she remarry?

Need your help. Thanks,


Answer:

There are many opinions regarding divorce and remarriage, but God has given only one teaching. People tend to make the subject more complex because they don't like the simple answer.

Fornication (porniea) is a broader term than adultery (moichoa). Fornication covers all sexual acts where the two engaged in them are not married to each other. Adultery is more focused because there a breaking of a covenant involved in the sexual acts. At least one of the two people engaged in sex is married, but not to the one they are having sex with. Thus, they are not only committing fornication, but they are also breaking the marriage covenant or helping someone break their marriage covenant.

When fornication and adultery are used together in a list, or joined with an "and," adultery is still adultery, and fornication is the catch-all for everything else. Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 are not examples of this.

The reason fornication is used is because the types of sexual sins which allow remarriage is broader than just adultery. It would include other sexual sins, such as homosexuality or bestiality.

Because you forgave your wife of her earlier adultery, the matter is over with. It doesn't factor into this divorce.

The reason your wife says she wants a divorce doesn't factor into the matter. The question is whether you have reason to believe she has been committing adultery again. No you don't need photos or a video tape. What would people have done for the last two thousand years before technology was available? I don't know you or your wife. I don't know the facts beyond what you have told me. If you are confident she has been committing adultery, I'll take your word for it.

Years ago, the only person who could file for divorce was the innocent party. The breaking of the covenant had to be proven in court. Today, the courts don't care. The guilty party can file and often does. There is no longer a requirement to prove cause for breaking the marriage covenant, a simple assertion is enough in today's courts. None of this is right, but it is what we are dealing with. So no, the papers don't have to mention adultery and usually won't. It doesn't matter who files first.

The divorce is a given. The question is whether under God's law you have the right to remarry. (Man's law doesn't care.) Since you are certain she has been committing adultery again, then you have the right to remarry. She would not in God's sight because she violated the terms of her vows and God holds her accountable. Whether she cares is a different matter.

I am fairly confident that my wife has or is having another affair. Of course no video or photos :-) but if I had a checklist most of them would be checked. Thanks to you, I am finally at a point were I can stop wondering if I am in line with the Word of God. I am very appreciative of your time to answer my email. Thank you and God bless you! I hope you will allow me to contact you again with any further questions. Again, thank you and God bless you!