Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Divorce and Remarriage

Here is a good article on Divorce and Remarriage by David Instone-Brewer

    Putting all this together gives us a clear and consistent set of rules for divorce and remarriage. Divorce is only allowed for a limited number of grounds that are found in the Old Testament and affirmed in the New Testament:
    • Adultery (in Deuteronomy 24:1, affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19)
    • Emotional and physical neglect (in Exodus 21:10-11, affirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7)
    • Abandonment and abuse (included in neglect, as affirmed in 1 Corinthians 7)

    Jewish couples listed these biblical grounds for divorce in their marriage vows. We reiterate them as love, honor, and keep and be faithful to each other. When these vows were broken, it threatened to break up the marriage. As in any broken contract, the wronged party had the right to say, "I forgive you; let's carry on," or, "I can't go on, because this marriage is broken."

    Therefore, while divorce should never happen, God allows it (and subsequent remarriage) when your partner breaks the marriage vows.

I always thought of divorce as defeat or giving up until someone once wrote to me,
    I have to say that often I admire those who divorce: it takes a great deal of courage to dissolve something so serious as a marriage, and I can only imagine that those who do it have a very good reason: they must be deeply unhappy or feel threatened.
I suppose that not everyone who divorces has a very good reason, but some people do have good reason, and it is no virtue to hang on in the face of abuse, abandonment or infidelity. It was important for me to realize that Jews understood divorce differently from some Christians. But the scriptures are clear that there is a time to let a partner go. 1 Cor. 7.

1 comment:

Peter Kirk said...

Thanks for the link to this important article. It is interesting that Instone-Brewer makes the point that breach of marriage vows by one party can be taken as grounds for divorce, because this has never been the understanding in Christian law - although I think it is in Islamic as well as Jewish law.