Divorce is a subject about which there has been much debate over the years. Like so many other subjects, all that needs to be said about it can be found in the scripture. Our Eloah, whose name is Yahuwah, set out the rules in the beginning, and those rules have not changed since. He is the Law Maker, and He is the only one who can alter or modify any of the judgments, laws, commandments, etc. of which He has proclaimed. For awhile, He did not strictly enforce His rule about divorce just as He also let people slide in other areas (See Acts 17:30) but there were reasons for that also, as there is for everything He does.
As usual, when man decided that he was in charge instead of the Creator, he started making up his own rules that did not necessarily agree with what Yahuwah had said and passed them off as the requirements of Yahuwah. Much confusion reigned then and still does today.
In the early days of what was called the "church" moral laws and codes were bound on the general population by people who were committing acts so immoral that it is a shame to even think about them. These events are a matter of secular and "church" history if you care to read about them. Just look up headings about the popes of Rome for starters. Remember that these were the guys who held moral sway over the majority of what was then considered the "civilized" world. They were committing murder, sodomy, incest, child-rape, and many other things that were crimes then just as they are now, but were done under the banner of the "church" and went unpunished on this earth. This is not to say that the Protestants were not just as guilty of the same kinds of infractions, because they were. No matter. They do not go unpunished by our Sovereign.
Divorce laws were also promulgated by those leaders of the "church" and these laws were not in agreement with the word and will of Yahuwah. Those laws are what cause so much dissension and confusion today. In order to clear the confusion and stop the dissension, one need only go to the scripture for the answers.
Pre-Law of Mosheh
B'ereshiyth (Genesis) 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh.
This is how Yahuwah wanted it to begin with, and except for the lustful heart of man (and women), which Yahuwah allowed, this is how it would have been.
Dabariym (Deuteronomy) 24:1-4 When a man has taken a wife and married her and it comes to pass that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, then let him write her a bill of divorcement, give it into her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her and write her a bill of divorcement and gives it into her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife, 4 her former husband which sent her away may not take her again to be his wife after that she is defiled, for that is abomination before Yahuwah and you shall not cause the land to sin that Yahuwah your Eloah gives you for an inheritance.
This is the "bill of divorcement" of which Yahushua spoke. It is part of the "school master" to bring us to Yahushua and shows how Yahuwah would deal with Yisra'el, both those of the flesh and of the Spirit in the future.
Ezra 10:3 Now therefore let us make a covenant with our Eloah to put away all the wives and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my Sovereign, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our Eloah, and let it be done according to the law.
Ezra 10:19 And they gave their hands that they would put away their wives and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass.
Yahuwah had placed the requirement for Yisra'el to keep their bloodline pure and they had failed to do so. These men realized their error and were taking steps to correct it. This is a good indication that if you are in the present day body of our Sovereign and hoping to marry, the person you intend to marry should be in the body also (among your own kind). To marry outside the body is to invite disaster for both of you.
YirmeYahuw (Jeremiah) 3:1 They say, "If a man puts away his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man's, shall he return to her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers yet return again to Me," says Yahuwah.
YirmeYahuw 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Yisra'el committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Yahudah did not fear but went and played the harlot also.
This explains a lot about the reasons Yahuwah looks on divorce as He does. He "divorced" Yisra'el for her infidelity, just as He has authorized us to do in the new covenant.
Yahushua's teachings - pre-Perfect Law of Liberty
MattiythYahuw (Matthew) 5:31-32 It has been said whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement. 32 But I say to you that whoever shall put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery and whoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.
This is the only reason given where divorce is authorized in the law of Yahuwah. This does not mean that you HAVE to divorce an unfaithful spouse, but that you CAN.
MattiythYahuw 19:3-12 The Parashiym also came to Him, tempting Him, and said to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" 4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female 5 and said, 'For this cause a man shall leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and they two shall be one flesh?' 6 Wherefore they are no more two but one flesh. What therefore Yahuwah has joined together, do not let man take apart." 7 They said to Him, "Why did Mosheh then command to give a writing of divorcement and to put her away?" 8 He said to them, "Mosheh, because of the hardness of your hearts, allowed you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever shall put away his wife, except it is for fornication and shall marry another, commits adultery and whoever marries her who is put away commits adultery." 10 His disciples said to Him, "If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry." 11 But He said to them, "All men cannot receive this saying except they to whom it is given. 12 For there are some eunuchs which were so born from their mother's womb, and there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men, and there are eunuchs that have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of the sky's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
Markos (Mark) 10:2-12 And the Parashiym came to Him, and asked Him, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?" tempting him. 3 And He answered and said unto them, What did Mosheh command you? 4 And they said, "Mosheh allowed to write a bill of divorcement and to put her away." 5 And Yahushua answered and said to them, "For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation Yahuwah made them male and female. 7 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife 8 and they two shall be one flesh. So then they are no more two, but one flesh. 9 What therefore Yahuwah has joined together, do not let man take apart.'" 10 And in the house His disciples asked Him again of the same matter. 11 And He said to them, "Whosoever shall put away his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and is married to another, she commits adultery."
Loukas (Luke) 16:18 Whoever puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries her that is put away from her husband commits adultery.
Yahushua is telling us that those who love Him are going back to what Yahuwah had said in the beginning. If you really loved the man or woman when you married you must love them until you die. If they really loved you they will do their best to see that you do. That is the way ONE FLESH acts toward itself and that is what a married couple is. One being in the eyes of Yahuwah.
The marriages between humans that are talked about throughout scripture are always between man and woman. There is no way that a man can be one with another man or a woman can be one with another woman in the sense of the scripture. Both of those situations are unnatural and have always been an abomination in the eyes of our Eloah.
Post-Perfect Law of Liberty
1 Korinthios (Corinthians) 7:12-16 But to the rest speak I, not the Master. If any brother has a wife that does not believe and she is pleased to dwell with him let him not put her away. 13 And the woman who has a husband that does not believe and if he is pleased to dwell with her let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband, else were your children unclean. But they are now clean. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases, but Yahuwah has called us to peace. 16 For what do you know, wife, whether you shall save your husband? Or how do you know, man, whether you shall save your wife?
Ephesios (Ephesians) 5:22-33 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as to the Master. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as the Anointed is the head of the assembly and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore as the assembly is subject to the Anointed, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as the Anointed also loved the assembly and gave Himself for it 26 that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 that he might present it to himself a splendorous assembly, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be clean and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it even as the Master the assembly. 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery but I speak concerning the Anointed and the assembly. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself and the wife see that she revere her husband.
Well, here we are! Right back where we started in B'ereshiyth 2:24! It was the will of Yahuwah then for man and wife to be together from the time of their marriage until their death at the creation and it is still the will of Yahuwah now. Many of us have not obeyed this for many different reasons before we were in the body. The only reason for divorce after you are in the body is infidelity by the other.
Everything that happened to you and all acts you did prior to your entrance into the body of our Sovereign are washed away in the regeneration of water immersion (See Acts 2:38, 22:16, 1 Keph [Peter 3:21) It is as if that part of your life never happened in the eyes of Yahuwah. You are a new person, walking in the likeness of His only begotten Son and without guilt. You have been washed and are clean.
If you have been divorced for any reason prior to your entrance into the kingdom, that marriage and divorce is of no consequence. Sha'uwl (Paul) recommends that you remain in whatever condition you were in upon your entrance, but also says that if you cannot contain, marry (1 Korinthios 7:6-9). If you have been divorced since your entrance into the body due to infidelity on your partner's part, you are not under obligation, but are as an unmarried person. You should stay that way if you can (1 Korinthios 7:32-33).
Abusive Relationships in a Marriage
Most of the divorces today cite some form of spousal abuse as the reason for the divorce. You can see from the foregoing that abuse, physical or emotional, is NOT a scriptural reason for a divorce. You also saw how fornication, or unfaithfulness, is the only allowable reason for divorce. With that said, let me make it abundantly clear that tolerating abuse of any kind by a spouse is not in accordance with scripture either. Read again the passage of Ephesios 5:22-33 about how husbands and wives are supposed to relate to their spouse. Let it sink down into your soul and really think about how you and your spouse can begin to meet that ideal, for that IS the ideal and Yahuwah's will for married couples. Unhappily, because we are human, not many are able and sometimes not even willing to meet those simple requirements. If every husband and every wife followed those guidelines, then divorce lawyers and courts would be out of business permanently. This does NOT mean that any person has to submit to physical or psychological abuse from their spouse.
Although scripture does not address the subject of abuse directly, there are plenty of inferences that say it should not happen in a marriage and even direct evidence that every person should treat every other person in a respectful and dignified manner. I would definitely put spouses in the category of persons, so the respectful and dignified treatment called for in those passages has to apply to them also. No man should EVER treat his wife in a manner that degrades her or harms her in any way. If he truly loves her, as he must if he is truly a follower of the Anointed, her welfare must be primary to him, even over his own. On the other hand, the wife should never treat her husband in a way that disrespects his position in the household. His physical and mental welfare should be her primary concern. But the bottom line is still that physical or psychological abuse is not reason for divorce. But, and this is my opinion, neither is the abused spouse required to live with the abuser. They can move out and live elsewhere separately. They just cannot be divorced and/or look for other partners.
If your spouse is abusing you, take whatever legal steps are necessary to provide for your safety, such as having the abuser arrested, tried, and incarcerated. You do NOT have to tolerate abuse.
Love is the Key:
If a man or woman no longer loves their spouse, and there is no abuse or infidelity going on, then they have to make the decision whether or not to live together. But neither is lack of love reason for divorce. When they married they promised Yahuwah, not the spouse, that they would live with and be faithful to the person they married. They must honor that promise until and unless the spouse dies or proves to be unfaithful.
Something that I have discovered over the years is that love is a relative term. It took me many years and a couple of failed marriages to discover that it is a quality or state that cannot really be defined in the context of what people believe about it. Many people seem to think that they can "find love" in some other person and therefore "receive love" from that person. I don't believe that is really true. You must find love in yourself FIRST and then GIVE that love to other people if you expect to be given love in return. It is whole lot easier to say than it is to do, but in my experience it is right. It takes an adjustment of attitude and it doesn't hurt for the people around you to understand that too. Unhappily most don't and only think of "getting love" for themselves. As Yahushua said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," and that is especially true of love.
Now it is time to come to understand the will of Yahuwah and follow the precepts He has given. If you are going to marry, make it for the rest of your life the first time. Follow what Sha'uwl and Keph said, both husbands and wives, and that will be the case. You will find that you have no better friend on this earth than your spouse. You will want to be with them at every opportunity because you enjoy their company and they enjoy yours. There will be no problem with roving eyes because you know the pain that your infidelity would cause your spouse, and because of your love for them you will not want to cause them any pain.
Remember that fornicators and adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of Yahuwah