Question:

I don't doubt God's forgiveness, but can a person remarry when he is separated from his spouse for over seven years? The marriage was not annulled nor have they divorced yet. Do both commit adultery if they have new partner?


Answer:

"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).

There is no passage in the Bible that places time limits on separations. The only reason for divorce that allows for remarriage is sexual sins (adultery) on the part of the person's spouse. If a person divorces for other reasons, they are not allowed to marry again until their original spouse dies (I Corinthians 7:10-11; Romans 7:2-3). If they do remarry, they will be committing adultery.

First I'd like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to know more about the Scriptures.

I've been troubled for a while regarding my current situation. I wonder if God will forgive me for entering into a relationship that I think according to the Scripture is a sin. I have a young child. His father lied to me about whether he was married. I learned the truth about his marriage one week before our scheduled wedding. I was afraid what people would say, so I forgave my boyfriend and accepted him regardless of his past. His marriage was not annulled or divorced until now. He was separated from his ex-wife about seven years ago because of his wife's infidelity. Did he commit adultery by marrying me? What about me? Did I also commit adultery for accepting him for the sake of our son because we're still living together until now.

I want my guilt to be gone and live in peace. What should I do? Will God forgive us? Do I have to break up with him to follow what was said in the Bible about adultery?

There are two ways to read what you wrote regarding the man you married. If I understand you correctly, the man you married was married to another woman. He claims to have left her because of her infidelity, but he never ended that marriage. Thus, he is married to two different women, which is called bigamy, which is a form of adultery.

My biggest problem is that he kept his past marriage hidden from you until just before your wedding. Since he lied about this, I don't know I would trust him about the reason he left his wife either.

The simple fact is that since he did not get a divorce, he had no right to marry you or anyone else. Your marriage would not be recognized by God and I strongly suspect that your government would not recognize your marriage either as being legal. "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). Thus, you have been committing adultery with this man.

You should have insisted that he ended his first marriage before considering marrying you. Since he lied about being single, I would have suggested locating his first wife and talking to her instead of just taking his word about the matter.

God forgives those who leave their sins and start completely following His teachings (II Corinthians 7:9-11; I John 1:8-2:1; 5:2-3). Right now, I would suggest doing some research to find out why he left his first wife and why he didn't bother ending his marriage.

Good day,

Thank you so much again for the reply. Yes, it's true that our marriage certificate was not filed yet because of his registered marriage before, but I am sure about his separation with his ex-wife because his child by the first woman is now under my custody. When asked why he didn't file for an annullment or divorce, he said he don't have enough money yet to file for the divorce. That's why I am giving him time to settle his first marriage.

Thank you so much for the time and for giving me a clear biblical explanation regarding what I have told you about my situation. I hope and pray I can bear all the pain and one of these days everything will be settled for the sake of my child and stepchild.

God bless you. Thanks a lot.