Can the adulterer marry again and that marriage be acceptable to God?


Hello and God bless,

I have some questions that I hope you can address.  I am a born-again Christian who has suffered through a divorce.  This divorce was not my desire, as I absolutely belief in marriage vows and the concept "until death do us part."  I want always to make the right choices, those that God ordains, because as His child, I want to be faithful and obedient.  I say all of that to emphasize that I want solid Biblical answers and not just whatever happens to be popular this year, and I believe you are one to give solid answers.

As I said, I am recently divorced.  My husband of many years found another woman, a non-Christian, whom he decided would make a better wife.  This man had claimed to be a Christian for over a decade, and he truly had seemed to "walk the walk."  I was astonished when he announced his affair and desire for a divorce.  I fought against it, prayed hard and often, insisted we go to Christian marriage counseling, everything I could think of.  I did and still truly believe this divorce will bring him (and our children) nothing but pain and strife.  After him openly and unrepentantly conducting his affair from our home for more than a year, I gave him the divorce he wanted.  I am ashamed that my marriage ended.  I fought hard for reconciliation.  This is the greatest failure of my life.  I filed for divorce myself because if this was going to happen, then I wanted the real reason - adultery - on the divorce papers, and not some cheap "no-fault" divorce decree.  Okay, here come the questions.

I don't belief that he (as the adulterer) has any godly right to remarriage.  But he has married his affair partner mere weeks after our divorce was finalized.  Is this a legitimate marriage in God's eyes?

Additionally, I have heard that he is already having problems in this new marriage.  I can only hope it is a sign of conviction and that he will return to God.  I personally believe that true repentance on his part will involve dissolving this ungodly "marriage" he has entered into.  Most of my Christian friends disagree and think that if he "repents" of the adultery, that he is free to continue this new marriage. Is that true?

And finally, if he would indeed repent and wish to return to me, can I even accept him back biblically?  I seem to recall some passage dealing with the idea that once a former spouse has remarried, that he is never again to be married to his first spouse.

I should emphasize that I am not seeking another husband, nor do I cling to hope that my wandering husband will return (it would take major life changes and evidence of repentance before I could even begin to think of reinstating him in my home).  I am content with what the Lord has blessed me with, and I am willing to live my life alone if that is the way the Lord leads.  But any answers you can give me will be appreciated.


Your husband's marriage, like his affair, is adulterous. "So He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her"" (Mark 10:11).

Usually when a man commits adultery, it is the thrill of knowing he is doing wrong that lends spice to the affair. "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant" (Proverbs 9:17). It is very common for marriages based on affairs to fail because the "illegitimacy" is removed which removes the excitement. Such men usually then seek out new conquests to restore the excitement.

You cannot repent of a sin while continuing to commit it. "For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man" (Romans 7:2-3). Notice that the woman remains an adulteress while remaining in a forbidden marriage. There are people who try to define the act of adultery as only being the wedding ceremony. That contention is false.

Under the Old Testament law, once a person married again after a divorce, they could not return to their original spouse (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Such a law is not repeated in the New Testament. The closest we have is Paul's command: "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). I know Christians who have refused to take back a spouse because of Deuteronomy 24, but it isn't something that can be binding on all Christians because we are not under the Old Law.

Since it was your husband who committed the adultery, you are free to marry again, if you so desire. But if you wish to remain single, that also is perfectly acceptable.