Divorce, Marriage and adultery

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Bri1Hug

Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Bri1Hug » Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:17 pm

I am just starting to discover Jesus Christ and I am reading Mark. I am troubled by Ch 10, 1-12. It impies that anyone divorcing is committing adultery. I am happily married and this is our second marriage - we are both divorcees.
Have we both committed adultery, are we living in sin? We were married in a C of E church.

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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Karen » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:28 pm

This is what the General Synod of the Church of England decided in 2002.

"The Church of England teaches that marriage is for life. It also recognizes that some marriages sadly do fail and, if this should happen, it seeks to be available for all involved. The Church accepts that, in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in church during the lifetime of a former spouse."

As a result people who have divorced can marry in a C of E ceremony at the discretion of the clergy person concerned. So you aren't commiting adultery as you are legally married!

However, as you begin to explore faith then maybe some of the things that have happened in your past look different. It is a bit like going into a changing room in a shop and having lighting that really shows up all your faults and blemishes. It may not be a brilliant metaphor but it works for me. Realising that you aren't perfect and have made mistakes is good, it hurts, but it is good because we have a loving and forgiving God. It might help to talk over some of these feelings with your priest, minister, mentor or whoever, and ask about how to ask for and receive forgiveness. I've taken stones, thought and prayed about what I've done badly and would wish forgiveness for and then droppped them in a river to symbolise letting go of the 'sin.' That may work for you, as may writing them down and then putting them in a fire. It doesn't mean that you won't do dumb stuff in the future but owning the dumb stuff and asking for forgiveness is part of being a Christian.
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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Isobel » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:37 pm

Different Christians will have widely differing views on this and many will disagree but this is my personal view on this topic:
1) God is merciful, and knows that we all fall short of His ideals, as expressed in Jesus' life and teachings. Jesus also talks about giving up all our possessions but most of us don't! God knows the circumstances of the messes we get into, and while I think most people would agree that divorce is never ideal, I feel it can be the least bad option in some situations.
2) Marriage in ancient societies must have been very different, as women were normally regarded as property, and would have had a limited life expectancy due to the risks of childbirth. I have always wondered whether this discussion was intended protect women by avoiding men disposing of their wives as they would other property.
I'm not sure what theological scholars would say to this but that is how I have looked at it.
I do know though that many Anglican churches do marry divorced people and therefore must see it as acceptable.
Also, it is not for me or anybody else to judge your life, only God can do that.

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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Ernest » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:52 pm

IMR,

Thank you for raising a topic, which causes many to wrestle with their conscience. Marriage is indeed intended to be for life. Sadly, it does not always work out that way. You are right to say that to condemn those who have been through a divorce is to be judgemental, as nobody but those involved and God know the full circumstances.

Speaking from experience, divorce is very similar to bereavement, which a huge amount of grief and loss involved, especially if it involves separation from children. The guilt and a whole raft of other emotions contribute to making it a really dark and lone time in your life.

Someone said to me recently that grief, never goes away - the hurt will be there for ever, it will come back at the most odd times and the whole gamut of feelings and emotions can be stirred up. But in time, your life expands and grows around it. Which was a most profound thing, which it took me some time to accept and fully understand.

No one is perfect - even two people together can grow apart and mistakes are often made on both sides, but sometimes one person takes the whole blame or puts the whole blam on the other party and allows it to rule their life and future with bitterness. That is the sad aspect of divorce and family breakdown.

I have been fortunate indeed to recover faith after its loss, another consequence of divorce and other life trauma all happening together. I have found the time and space to discuss these issues and have been reconciled by prayer and understanding and support to the fact that we make mistakes, someof which can never been fully repaired. The only thing that we can do is to be reconciled with our past, lay it aside and move on to follow the path that God has marked out for us.
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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Pam » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:49 am

I think here he was turning the Pharisees' argument against them, as he usually did, to point out that there is no such thing as an 'innocent' party in divorce - you can't just write off your wife if she displeases you (which is what some Pharisees were teaching at the time) and let her take the blame, even if she's committed adultery you are just as guilty since once you take a new wife you are also breaking your previous marriage vows.

In the Book of Hosea, God tells Hosea to stay with his unfaithful wife as a sign to his people that he will stay with them no matter what they do. So marriage as a covenant is important, and Jesus is pointing out that if you take on that level of relationship you can't end it without being damaged yourself - whatever the circumstances.

We live in a fallen world, people get married for the wrong reasons or at the wrong point in their lives, or things happen that undermine the relationship, and sometimes it's so painful and difficult to live in a relationship that it would be inhuman to make people stay together. Jesus himself acknowledges that people's hearts are hard so divorce is necessary. But he's also saying you can't walk away from a marriage without accepting some of the responsibility.

Jesus also said 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone' - in the context of adultery - and that we should forgive 70 x 7 times - i.e. a lot!

Christianity is about hope and forgiveness, if you sincerely did what you could to make your marriage work and carry no bitterness about past events then you have been given a new start and should accept it.

When you were remarried the priest should have talked through the ending of your previous relationships with you to make sure there was no 'unfinished business' and also that your intentions towards the new marriage were serious. Ie that you weren't taking the attitude that marriage is disposable that Jesus was critiquing.

If there are any issues that are now worrying you, go to the priest who married you or another priest who you feel you can be open with, you can talk to them in complete confidence about your worries and work through them so you can feel forgiven and able to move forward in your new relationship with Jesus.

Bri1Hug

Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Bri1Hug » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:53 am

Thank you all for your responses - especially Pam who put my quote from Mark into the context of the sermon: call it what you will.
As in all things, we are way short of perfection and therefore we all sin in some way or another.
When I was divorced in 1987 I felt as though my heart had been ripped out of my body. I had 4 very young children at the time.
I felt enormous guilt - still do to a certain extent. I begged God to save my marriage, on my knees, in a CofE church in front of the alter.
This was only the beginning: I had to give up a well paid job because my health, I ended up with enormous debts, I lost my family home and it went on and on for the next 7 years. Eventually I had a massive nervous breakdown.
The turning point for me was curious. I had gone back to former wife (as a paying lodger!). The Inland Revenue said I wasn't paying her rent because I couldn't prove it so I left and went back with my aged parents to live. I was 49 years old by then and my parents were in their '80's - God help them but thank God they were still there for me.
By a strange quirk of fate my Aunt was on her own and she invited me to live with her - a miracle!
When I look back on those events it was though an invisible hand had taken hold of me and was guiding me in the right direction - the hand of God if you like.
I never looked back although Fate still had some nasty surprises for me like the death of my eldest daughter Xmas 1996 from an overdose of alcohol and antidepressants: accidental death according to the Coroner. And another guilt-trip for me. By then I was re-married and I accepted Elena's death as God's will.
Although I have always believed in God I have never had a proper relationship with Jesus Christ until recently.
But that's another story!

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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Glo » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:58 pm

That's quite a life story you have to tell, Bri1Hug!

It's lovely to meet you. :hug:
A little lost in the world.

Bri1Hug

Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Bri1Hug » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:58 am

Thanks Glo for your kind wishes - it's great to be among friends!
Also thanks to Ernest for your 'life experience thoughts'. What you say is very true and I do concur with what you say.
All the best!

enyaj

Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by enyaj » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:11 pm

Pam wrote: We live in a fallen world, people get married for the wrong reasons or at the wrong point in their lives, or things happen that undermine the relationship, and sometimes it's so painful and difficult to live in a relationship that it would be inhuman to make people stay together. Jesus himself acknowledges that people's hearts are hard so divorce is necessary. But he's also saying you can't walk away from a marriage without accepting some of the responsibility.
I am divorced, not by my own choosing. When I took my wedding vows I took them for life. When we separated, that was as far as I was prepared to go, divorce was out for me. My wife decided otherwise, and took the steps that made her, again, single.

I understood why, and accepted her right to make that decision for herself, forgiveness did not come into it, as to forgive her meant that I had first to judge her, and I could not. So I remain *married* and celibate, but that is my choice. In today's climate I could have found a partner, and been technically married, but I chose not to.

That does not mean that I condemn others who decide differently, God is the only one who can judge us, and I leave it to Him to decide the rights and wrongs of re-married divorcees.

At the same time two people meeting can come together in love, and that love can be a binding cement that will hold the couple together through the rest of their lives, if one or both have been divorced who are we to say no?

As Pam has pointed out Jesus accepted that there could be acceptable reasons for divorce. For me personally, it is not the divorce that is wrong, but rather the breaking of vows made before God. Incidentally my wife has not married again, or indeed had any romantic relationships.

We each must do what seems to be the right thing for us, feeling guilty after the event does not help the new relationship to thrive, so perhaps you should find ways of putting the past behind you both, and together enjoy your new found life, acknowledging before God what that past has been, and asking His help to build your lives anew. Leave the rest up to Him.
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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Ernest » Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:50 pm

What I find so affirming about this topic, is the kindness and gentleness that people have dealt with something, which no matter how civilized a divorce or marriage breakdown may be, is a huge loss! Most certainly, if you went into marriage as I did, quite young (20 years old) and took Sacred Vows in church.

Those Vows have been rendered asunder - not by any man, but by the two people who took them. Blame and judgment is not the issue - but the guilt and regret and a whole black depression which follows such trauma.

I have been fortunate to meet someone, who I have now been married to for 20 years - who took me baggage and all and have never once recriminated with me over the past - rather through love and tenderness and infinite patience and peace - restored a great deal peace into my life.

Since than, I have also refound faith and I am on a journey of seeking and discovery and huge learning which fills me with joy, awe and wonder and which continues to be revitalised daily, and this very topic is one of those affirming things, which dealt with in the way it has been - helps me to see God working in a whole new way. :votive1: :votive1:
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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by marybeth » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:01 pm

I have found this a very interesting thread Bri, thank you for bringing it up.
My own story is that at the age of 19, when I was not a christian, I married a young man who found it impossible to stay faithful to me. I became very ill, both mentally and physically, due to his conduct. I forgave him many, many times, but in the end it was destroying me and hurting our two children. We divorced, and five years later, I married a man who was totally opposite to my first husband. This turned out to be a terrible mistake, but as I had became a christian three years into the marriage, I did my best to make it work, not succeeding because as we all know that it takes two to make a marriage. I eventually left after 18 years of hell. We have not divorced, I don't know why my husband has not taken steps after 9 years of separation. For myself, I do not feel the need, as I will never marry agan, as long as he is alive, and I have chosen to remain celebate. I am much happier with my life now, than I ever have been in the past.
Everyones story is different, but our God is so merciful and forgiving, I feel no guilt as I did my best both times. In the end you can only do your best, can't you?


marybeth

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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Ernest » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:04 pm

Marybeth,

Thank you for sharing. I have seen so much inside the lines of your posts.

You are able to turn a situation which might be one of dispair around with God's love and grace. We are blessed to have you here. :votive1:
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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by marybeth » Fri Jun 12, 2009 12:21 am

Thank you for your kind words, Ernest. I did not realize just how tragic my life has been until I started writing things down on these boards. I have wrote only little bits of what I have been through. What amazes me is that I am still standing, and coping without any meds or anything. It just goes to show me that our God is able to meet all of our needs, whatever they may be. He has never let me down yet, even though I have had quite a few arguments with Him. :) He always wins, because He is always right :) He is so patient with me and will wait until I come around to His way of thinking. I so love Him! ('cos He loves me)

marybeth

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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Bri1Hug » Fri Jun 12, 2009 12:05 pm

As I said in my earlier thread, I would have done anything to save my marriage at the time. I still loved my first wife.
It took a few years to discover that she didn't love me anymore. Without being too critical of my first wife it became apparent that the only thing I was good for was money! After many years I had a massive nervous breakdown and was off ill for nigh on 15 months - that's when the money ran out and my ex soon substituted me for Social Services!
I have no guilt about re-marrying because I honestly believe that a loving God doesn't want to see people being eternally miserable. I think that The Good Lord said that love was the greatest thing anybody could aspire to, and everything else follows.
Also, in my "defence" is the fact that I didn't seek divorce, my former wife did. As I have said, I would have done anything , at the time, to save my marriage.
I've started something here haven't I!
It's good to hear all the different points of view - no universality of agreement. What's 'good' for one person isn't necessarily right for another. So this proves to me anyway that we all have a unique relationship with God. And if we admit our sins - as I have done - in regard to a failed marriage and ask for forgiveness then we can move forward without carrying a massive guilt burden.
I certainly acknowledge my contribution to my first marriage. The question I ask myself is this: if I had behaved differently would it have made any difference? I have to say, with the benefit of hindsight, and the subsequent actions of my ex-wife, I don't think it would have mattered what I did.
All I know is my wife and I love each other absolutely and we are happy after nearly 15 years until death us do part. This marriage is forever!

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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Ernest » Fri Jun 12, 2009 3:32 pm

Bri,

I think that you have come out of your experience admirably. You are quite right to feel lucky with the second time around. I am 20 years into the second time - and we plan to renew our wedding vows at the end of August.

The thing that this thread has demonstrated to me, is that when you are in the grip of dispair and depression, perhaps generated by a deep personal guilt at the failure of something you thought was for life - God is there, he is working and he is loving and supporting us all of the way. At the time I did not recognise it and went a further 20+ years without knowing his love and support. So many wasted years!

What I did have was the loving support of a great spouse, who I am devoted to, and who reciprocates 100%. I am due to retire, and she had thought that we might spend more time together, but I am testing a Vocation towards Ordained Ministry - she has accepted this and supported me all of the way, despite the disruption and complete change of life style it may bring in the longer term. She may have to cope with me studying and committing to a whole range of things, which have never been part of our life together. She is prepared to do so for 'us' and our relationship.

I am blessed indeed to have her. :thumbs:
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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Bri1Hug » Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:59 am

Ernest,

Looks like you and I have a lot in common! I am well retired - early retirement on health grounds in Jan 1994. Re-married in Aug 1994! Two 'birds' with one stone so-to-speak!
I am just starting down the path of discovery at 67 and I have a long, long way to go, of that I am sure.
I admire you for choosing the next path in your life and I wish you all best wishes.

Brian

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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Ernest » Sat Jun 13, 2009 3:29 pm

Brian,

Thank you for your post. I cannot do it alone. I am so well supported and encouraged by my family, those in my home Parish and even here on i-church, where the community is wonderful.

I had plans for retirement, but these have all been turned completely on their head - I could not forsee how God would be working in my life, only he did and does. The renewal of my faith is only recent, last year, when I was at my lowest ebb dealing with a very traumatic death and a completely devastated family. I had no emotional or spiritual strength left when God spoke to me - I recall thinking out of the blue, He is here - he wants me to ask him in.

I had made a joke a short while before with a Padre who I was working with, about the state that I was In, I could get Religion - his response in jest was that he might become an athiest. This cheered us both up at how silly an idea it was. But the spark was lit!

We actually discussed this particular incident last week when we met to discuss some stuff connected with Vocation - it is from small things, that wonderful, joyful things can grow.

I think that every path is individual and unique, we all need support and to be affirmed that we are not alone, we are not made - there is someone there who has given us the chance to share his great love and to be enfolded in it and to be with him in eternal life as he promised. What joyful times indeed.
Where there is hope and love there is life!
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Bri1Hug

Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Bri1Hug » Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:20 pm

Ernest,

If you read my earlier thread I talk about how horrendous my divorce was (1987) and then losing my eldest daughter at Xmas - she was 18 - and how I dealt with it. I accepted her death as "God's will", which was a strange thing for me to say because at that time I didn't have any particular religious feeling, didn't go to church. But it helped me to deal with her tragic death.
My new wife worried about the effect it would have on me knowing I had suffered a nervous breakdown - she really thought it would tip me over! But it didn't.
I still believe that. I thought of the horrible alternatives (she was a very disturbed young woman with a multitude of problems which I only found out about after her death through the Coroner). Unfortunately I had been denied any meaningful contact with my children after I re-married so I didn't know all this.
My only guilt is the fact that I didn't (or couldn't) help her. My burden for the rest of my life and I still miss her teribbly. God bless her - at last she is at peace.

May God go with you,

Brian

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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Ernest » Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:41 pm

Brian :votive1: :votive1:
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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by enyaj » Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:33 pm

Bri1Hug wrote: My only guilt is the fact that I didn't (or couldn't) help her. My burden for the rest of my life and I still miss her teribbly. God bless her - at last she is at peace.
We often wonder about if we had done things differently, made different decisions. The words *if only......* echo frequently in our minds, yet we cannot undo the past, but the past can help us solve the problems of the future. We cannot live in the past, we have to go forward into the future, using the past to shape that future to the best of our ability.
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Bri1Hug

Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Bri1Hug » Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:34 pm

When I said "I feel guilty about not being to help my daughter etc." on reflection, I think I really mean "sadness". I think one should only feel guilty about some action they did or didn't carry out. In my case I only learnt about my late daughters mental problems after the Inquest into her 'accidental' death because I had access to the Coroners Notes.
As I said previously, I coped with her death at 18 years of age by accepting it was God's will - I still do. But I still miss her and will until we are reunited some day.

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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Pam » Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:38 pm

:votive1:

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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by marybeth » Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:23 pm

Hello Bri,

I lost my son when he was 29, he was murdered, and had led quite a troubled life. I know what you mean when you talk about the sadness you feel. We will always wonder if there could have been a different outcome if only we knew what was going on in their lives, and if we could have done something to help. I believe it is just part of the grief we are going through. Part of the proccess of grief is to feel guilt or something like it. We both know we have nothing to feel guilty about, but still we wish we could turn the clock back and somehow change things. It is something of a relief and consolation to me in a strange sort of way, to know that he isn't suffering now and is at peace. I will miss him and love him always and I look forward to the day when I will see him again in heaven.

Sending a big hug to you Bri,

marybeth

Bri1Hug

Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by Bri1Hug » Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:33 pm

Hi Marybeth,

A big 'Hug' to you too!! I think exactly as you do. I always imagine Elena could have had a worse end to her life. Although I also think the opposite - as I am sure you do - what if she had changed her life and become a happy woman, married, children etc. etc. And that is where the accepting of 'God's Will' makes it slightly easier to accept the unacceptable, if you know what I mean.
My hope is, like you, that we meet again in Heaven. And, no, I haven't got a death wish! Far from it! I am only 67 and hope I live (healthily) until I'm 100!! Such a lot to do as I'm only a novice Christian!!
PS How do you get 'smileys' on to the the text?

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Re: Divorce, Marriage and adultery

Post by marybeth » Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:18 pm

When I read psalm 139 verse 16, it tells me that none of us are born by accident, but God determines when we are born and also when we die. I'm sure there are other scriptures to support this too, but I cannot think of them at the moment. Maybe someone else will come up with them. Not all of us will have a long life, and some are cut very short. I believe it is Gods will how long each of us will live, and when we have fulfilled the reason He sent us to this world, He will then take us home. His will is hard for us to understand, because His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55 v 8 & 9) Some people, more than others find it easier to accept Gods will. You are able to and are very blessed.

To put a smiley on to the text, just click on one of these on the right hand side and it will appear where your cursor is. :D


marybeth

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