Ask Your Preacher
Is it a sin to be married when I was divorced before? Will my husband go to hell if he stays married to me even if I was married before?
Dear Worried Wife,
It isn’t necessarily a sin for you to be married when you have been divorced before. The situation depends on a lot of various factors, but be wary of anyone that tells you that Matt 19:9 forces you to divorce your current spouse and nullify your current marriage; there is more to it than that. This issue is a big issue, and each individual must study the Scriptures concerning this before making a personal decision about it. Whenever people send us questions dealing with marriage, divorce, and remarriage, we always point them toward our sermon series on the topic. That series should answer most questions about the subject. If there are still questions after listening to those five lessons – feel free to write back, but please make sure to include your e-mail, so we can contact you directly. Here is a link to that series of sermons: “Marriage, Divorce, And Remarriage”. We appreciate your desire to find and do what is right.
I was married for twenty years, and we separated due to another female in church; I prayed that our marriage would not end and we would reconcile. But that didn't happen; we were divorced, and he remarried after two weeks. Can you tell me why my prayers were not answered? And why they committed adultery, lied, and even stole from the church but still think that what they did was not wrong? Thank you.
God desires for all of us to purify our hearts and minds and turn from sin, but He also gives us the freedom to choose for ourselves. God has multiple principles that He must keep in balance at all times. God hears prayers, but He also allows people to decide for themselves whether or not to be righteous or wicked. If God simply forced people to become better people, that would remove our freedom of choice. After all, He tells us that we reap what we sow in this life (Gal 6:7).
We cannot imagine the amount of pain you have been through. It isn’t that God doesn’t hear prayers; it is that your husband chose to do something sinful. God doesn’t like it (Mal 2:16), but as we said, God still respects our freewill. As for how these two people can believe that what they did was okay… sadly, when we choose to do wicked things, it can sear our conscience (1 Tim 4:2), and people rationalize all sorts of sinful behavior because they “feel” it is right. Every man believes he is right in his own eyes, but in the end, the Lord makes a just judgment (Pr 21:2).
My boyfriend and I have been living together for about four years. We have a one-year-old son and are both very active in his daily life. To us, we have a perfect family, although we are not technically married. We love each other very much and do plan to spend the rest of our lives together and have made that commitment to one another. We would, however, like to wait until we are more financially stable to have a wedding ceremony as that can be quite expensive. We recently rededicated our lives to Christ and are wondering if we are living in sin. I believe that we are, but I am not sure what we should do about it. Does God expect us to no longer live together, to rip our family apart and destroy our son’s happiness? My boyfriend will not get married now as he does not believe we are living in sin as long as we are 100% committed to one another and have made a vow to one another and God that we plan to spend our lives only with one another. I really want to live my life for God and I do in all ways but this. I cannot imagine allowing this to destroy my family. Please offer some advice.
Mixed Emotions Mom
Dear Mixed Emotions Mom,
There is nothing more important to God than you, your boyfriend, and your child. God loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us (Jhn 3:16). As a parent, can you imagine how deep His love for us must be to make such a sacrifice?
God wants what is best for us. The best thing is for you and your boyfriend to get married. Living together is wrong, and no matter how committed you are, it isn’t the same as being married. In Jhn 4:18, Jesus told a woman that she was not married even though she was living with a man. No matter how your boyfriend feels about you, he isn’t your husband. Show him Jhn 4:18, and then ask him (since you said you are both committed to serving Christ) what he wants to do about it.
As far as the costs involved with getting married, you don’t have to have a big wedding – a quick trip to the courthouse is perfectly fine. Save up and have a big party later. A big, extravagant ceremony is just a luxury, but being married is an issue of morality.
God doesn’t want to rip families apart; He wants us to be saved and to build our lives upon a proper foundation – Jesus Christ and His Word (1 Cor 3:11). It may seem like your life is working well now, but we can guarantee you that not listening to the Bible always makes things worse. There are some things that your child doesn’t fully understand but that you, as the parent, realize are dangerous or important. God is the same way. You don’t see why it is so important to be married, but God says it is. Will you trust Him, or will you trust yourself (Rom 10:17)? The answer to that question will decide your future and set the tone for your life and for your son’s life (Pr 22:6).
My wife says she won't be submissive; she says she never has and never will, and if that’s the way I think, maybe we should end our marriage. She also says that submission was only a thing of that time period. I want to live the best christian life that I can; what should I say or do?
Dear Too Aggressive,
The Bible never commands a husband to make his wife submit. God commands husbands to love their wives and wives to submit to their husbands (Eph 5:24-25). You cannot force your wife to submit to you, nor is it your job to do that. She will answer to God for the choices she makes in your marriage, and you will answer to God for the choices you make.
Love your wife and care for her as you do your own body (Eph 5:28). Don't be embittered against her (Col 3:19). These are the commands to a husband. When you live a godly life and follow your responsibilities, you show her that there is another way to live. When a husband lives up to his biblical responsibilities, he becomes a leader in his home. When he does that, his wife has a leader worth following.
Has God ever approved of polygamy?
Dear Double Vows,
Polygamy is never directly condemned in the Bible, but it is also never condoned . It is never treated as the standard… only the exception. There are scores of examples of monogamy being God’s preference for man:
- Adam & Eve were designed monogamously (Gen. 2:24).
- No polygamy existed until seven generations after Adam (Gen 4:19).
- Noah, the last righteous man of his day, had only one wife (Gen 7:13).
- It is a qualification for an elder (Tit 1:6).
- It is a qualification for a deacon (1 Tim 3:12).
- It is a qualification for a worthy widow (1 Tim 5:9).
- Every New Testament command for a husband or wife assumes monogamy in the commandments (Mk 10:12, 1 Cor 7:3, Eph 5:33, etc.).
- The comparison of Christ and the church to a husband and wife relies on a monogamous design for marriage (Eph 5:22-23).
- God clearly states it as His design for marriage in the New Testament (1 Cor 7:2).
On the same hand, there are multiple examples of the pitfalls of polygamy:
- Sarah and Hagar fought (Gen 16:4).
- Rachel and Leah fought over Jacob (Gen 29:30-31).
- Hannah and Penninah’s rivalry (1 Sam 1:2-6)
- Solomon’s idolatrous wives (1 Kings 11:4)
God allowed polygamy in the Old Testament because the Old Testament was a tutor designed to lead people toward a better and more permanent covenant (Gal 3:24-25). David lived in a time when God allowed polygamy even though it wasn’t His long-term preference for mankind. In the New Testament, we are told God desires for marriage to be between one man and one woman (1 Cor 7:2).