A Marriage Counseling Question

Q. God bless you and your continuing work. I have a marriage question for you from a pastor’s perspective.

When and how does an illegitimate marriage move from being cursed to being blessed by God? For example, a believing wife divorces her believing husband without biblical grounds, and then shortly remarries an unbelieving husband. Now the woman is dealing with all manner of abuse issues including physical. This woman has recently been attending our church, with all these initial events in her past, and her remarriage is about a year old. She is a sincere but immature believer, dealing with the consequences of her sin the best she knows how, while living in pain and anguish.

I am unsure of the right pastoral counsel to give her concerning her marriage situation. She is hoping that her current husband will give his heart to Christ, but is that all that is needed? What is her responsibility to God and to her previous husband with regard to repentance? Is it simply a matter of her confessing and all will be made well? I understand that through confession she can receive individual forgiveness and purification, but does that mean that God will then move to heal her marriage as well, or will her marriage remain under a curse no matter what?

A. This woman has disobeyed the Lord on several levels. Heart felt confession will bring forgiveness, but it won’t necessarily relieve her of the consequences of her actions. For example, King David was forgiven for his sin with Bathsheba, but his household lived in heart breaking turmoil thereafter as a consequence (2 Sam. 12).

Deut. 24:1-4 made it illegal for a divorced couple in Israel to re-marry even if the 2nd husband left or died. For this reason I don’t normally advise breaking up a 2nd marriage to try and undo the damage cause by the first break-up.

I believe the Lord will respond to prayers to help make the 2nd marriage work if He sees that the woman is truly repentant and desires to honor Him. But there’s no guarantee that she’ll ever again have the blessing of a believing husband. (1 Cor. 7:16)

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