I have a woman in my congregation who has been dating a divorced man. They recently came to me and asked me to marry them. I found out through counseling that he has been married and divorced three times in the past. His first three divorces were for non-Biblical reasons even though he told me that none of his three previous wives were Christians. I didn't feel that 1 Cor. 7:15 applied in his situation because he knew they were not Christians when he married them. To divorce them for that reason would be very hypocritical. He says that he grew up in a Christian home but was not a committed Christian during his first three marriages. He tells me that over the past few years he has rededicated his life to Christ and has grown and matured as a Christian. Finally my question...can I marry them Biblically or would I be enabling adultery?
This is an interesting case, but let's look at them more closely...
1. The Bible doesn't tell us that a believer had to become a believer while in an unsaved marriage relationship in order to exercise the "unbeliever departs" option. So he could as a believer, have married an unbeliever in violation of the Word and if that unbeliever later wants out of the marriage, then it would be a valid biblical divorce--technically.
2. There are reasons to be concerned about him getting married again after three different women that were married to him "all wanted out"--why? It would appear that he has a problem with relationships.
3. I would doubt that the man was saved during the first three marriages. He claims that he has "rededicated" his life in the past few years, so his "rededication" if it was real, may be his initial salvation. But if he is now truly saved then there must be clear evidence of a changed life, especially in his relationships.
I would question the woman (without him around) who wants to marry him now, and ask some very pointed questions about the relationship. I would certainly ask her to honestly tell me if they have had any sexual intimacies during the time of their dating. If they have, and it's ongoing then I would not marry them, for they would be unable to know God's will for them if they are living in sin. I would be especially curious of the man's part and attitude of sex during their time of dating.
Bottom line, I would have to be convinced that both are true Christians, living holy lives, before I would feel comfortable marrying them. If they can give evidence of their of a pure dedicated relationship and daily lives devoted to Christ, then I would marry them.
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