If I divorce my wife, can I get remarried?


Please help me.  I came across your web site and your Bible based answers to many questions seemed right on point with the Word of God.  I have asked many pastors about my situation and gotten many different answers.  My situation is complex but I will try to get to the point quickly.

I have been married for many years.  My wife had a drug problem when we first married but hid it from me pretty well and I discovered it several years into the marriage.  I stayed because I felt (and still feel) divorce is wrong.  We never had sex before we married (again I thought that was wrong as well) and I had no idea that my wife did not enjoy sex until we married.  We saw counselors, pastors, priests and no matter what happened my wife would allow me to have sex for short periods of time then stop having sex with me for years.  Her rationale was "if you don't have sex with your children and you love them, why do you have to have sex with your wife to love her?"  After many years I began to get angry and I even tried to make her jealous by talking to and flirting with other women.  Nothing worked.  On one anniversary I rented a beautiful suite for us and took her out to an expensive dinner.  When we returned to our room she informed me that if I thought we were going to have sex I was sadly mistaken, and I should find another woman for sex.  I was so angry I could barely contain myself.  Unfortunately I went out and took my wife's advice and had an affair.  The woman became pregnant and I now have a daughter outside of my marriage.

I felt we should divorce at that point, but my wife's drug problem became much worse (her mom had just died as well) so I tried my best to care for my wife.  She couldn't hold a job and became more and more dependent on the drugs.  A few years ago she finally agreed to go rehab and I was ecstatic.  I dreamed we could work on our marriage when she got clean and came home.  After the rehab program she came home a belligerent ex-addict who swore and cussed me out repeatedly.  She told my children she only used drugs because I beat her profusely over the years.  Thankfully my children didn't believe that, but the whole matter has made me hesitant to want to stay in the marriage.  Late that same year, I filed for divorce and was granted custody of my children, and she was granted only limited supervised visitation.  Friends at church and marriage counselors said I should not throw the marriage away and go through with the divorce.  I honestly still loved her and when she asked me to give her another chance I did.  The problem is her abusive language and cussing never stopped (not to mention she has continued to refuse to have sex with me).  In fact all she does is go to AA/NA meetings and say I abuse her.  She told me recently that she could rarely have sex with me because she never desired me.  She claims that all I am is a good provider and that she would rather have no sex or sex with someone else than with me.  She also said she was only stalling in saying she wanted to work on the marriage because she didn't want to accept the limited supervised visitation the judge gave her.

My question is this:  If I divorce her, can I remarry?  After all, I can prove I had adultery (I have a child), but I cannot prove my wife did (although I strongly believe she did). I want to do what is right in God's eyes and I do love her still but I want to have a wife that loves me as the Bible says a wife should love her husband. Can you give me some guidance or some Bible based teachings on this?  Every pastor I have spoken with has told me to divorce her, but I was brought up to believe divorce is always wrong. Please help me.


I am truly sorry that you have been stuck in a such a difficult marriage. But to answer your question, Jesus said, "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9). Since the proposed divorce is not because your wife is committing fornication, the divorce won't release you from the covenant that you made with your wife. It would not give you the right to remarry, and so it won't satisfy your underlying desire to have a sexual relationship. "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife" (I Corinthians 7:10-11).

Your own adultery definitely would not have allowed you to remarry if your wife at that time had decided to divorce you.

Your wife is clearly in need of help, but I don't see anything within your note that is solid justification for breaking your covenant with her. Unhappiness with your partner and a lack of sex is bad, but it something you can and have lived with. I would advise continuing to get your wife the help she needs. I would also suggest that you make sure that her wild claims of being abused by you are well documented to be false, just in case someone gets fooled by her.