What do you advise concerning a woman who left her husband because of his adultery, but did not divorce him, and later lived in adultery herself?


Question: I have a bizarre situation.

I met a woman, not a member of the church of Christ, who married an atheist when she was young at the urging of her grandmother to avoid fornication. However, she was not tutored properly about Christís teachings on marriage.

Some years down the line she became privy to her spouse's extramarital affair with another woman, which was verified. She desired to divorce but remained in the marriage due to insurance reasons. Unfortunately, relations between the two eventually deteriorated until they parted ways without completing civil divorce proceedings.

The woman traveled to another and eventually forges a new relationship with another man. She filed for divorce in her late twenties from her spouse because she had become pregnant. The law in the state she moved to said child gets name of current husband regardless of who fathered the child. Her new partner wanted the child to bear his name. They cohabitated for about five years but never marry. This relationship then failed.

She believes she can marry because her husband severed their marriage covenant first. I advised her that Christ has some stringent rules about remarriage but never speaks on that. Can you share any input? Are there are any Scriptures or scenarios I can use to illustrate if she can remarry now or should she try to return to spouse, who is now remarried, or remain celibate until death if she desires to please God?


"Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes" (Ecclesiastes 7:29).

People certainly do make a mess of their lives. The religious status of her and her original husband in merely a distraction. It has nothing to do with the matter. God's laws apply to everyone.

Her excuse that she didn't know God's laws concerning marriage doesn't match the facts. She knew her husband was committing adultery. She knew she was committing adultery. Though she knew her husband was committing adultery, she chose to remain in the marriage. She did not file for divorce because of his sins but because she wanted to please the man she was committing adultery with. Even then, she did not bother to marry the father of her child.

I have a hard time saying that "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) applies. She left her husband because of his sexual sins, but she didn't divorce him because of them. It would probably take a smarter man than myself to unravel this knot.

My best advice is that she remain unmarried and focus on raising her child in the truth. While her life is in a mess, perhaps she can keep that mess from continuing into another generation.