If I get a divorce, does that mean I will spend eternity in hell? I am saved so I don’t think I would be forgiven for it. I know that if someone gets divorced and then gets saved then they will be forgiven but I am saved so I’m supposed to know better. And I think the only acceptable reasons for divorce are abuse or infidelity and neither are true in this case. So does that mean I have to spend the rest of my life with someone incompatible just to avoid the lake of fire??

Sorry to be so intense but I really need to know, and could you use specific evidence from scripture to explain your point? Thanks.

Bless your heart. I can only imagine the pain that would bring you to the point you’re at.

No, divorce does not send anyone to hell. Refusing to be reconciled to God through Jesus is the only thing that sends anyone to hell. If you have been saved by trusting in Jesus, you have been sealed to Him through the Holy Spirit, and your eternity is secure. (We have a few articles on that subject that I think you will find helpful:

Back to your question: consider what the Lord Jesus said about divorce in Matt. 19:3-8—

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Yes, God’s intention is for our marriages to be forever. However, because God is good and because He understands the wickedness of the human heart, he allows for divorce; note His reason: “because your hearts were hard.” He knows that being married to a person with a hard heart is like a prison sentence, and He provides a way out. I think the issue is more remarriage than divorce. If nothing has broken the marriage covenant, then when a divorced person remarries, he or she commits adultery.

So if your husband’s heart is unrepentantly hard, know that divorce is God’s grace in that situation. If it’s YOUR heart that’s hard, then the order of the day is confession and repentance, asking for His help to make it soft.

But please know, regardless of what happens, that divorce will not send you to hell. Jesus forever indwells your heart through faith, and the Father would not send Him there!

I hope this helps.

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 40 years. She is a speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Engage Blog. In addition to being a professional calligrapher, she is the wife of Probe's Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

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  1. somecoder 10 years ago

    Are Christians being hypocritical if we oppose same-sex marriage but are mostly silent about re-marriage of divorced people (especially re-marriage of believers)?

    • Ashley matthews 4 years ago

      Hello I need to ask a question I have been seperated for 10 years and haven’t been able to get a divorce we were both committing adultry. And I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years. Well we have a baby girl she is 10 months old. But I was afraid of committing adultry so I left him for his sake and mine. But I’m living with my brother who is sick and he has seizures so I’m taking care of him. He drinks and I dont agree with his actions but idk what to do do I go back to my bf who I love and want to be with and marry him or is there no hope for us after all he is hurting I took his child away from him I love him and my child and want the best for us all. Please help me I’m so confused

      • Author
        Sue Bohlin 4 years ago

        Dear Ashley,

        I’m sorry for the difficult, confusing situation you are in.

        There is no easy or even direct solution to your problem, and I don’t know what to advise you to do except for one thing: please, please turn back to the Lord and start walking with Him again. Pursue intimacy with Him through His word. Invite Him into every aspect of your life, your relationships, your responsibilities, your dilemmas, your choices. Ask Him for wisdom, which He promises in His word to give richly when we need it and ask Him for it (James 1:5). Once churches start opening up again, find a good one that teaches the Word of God and promotes community with the people of God. Open yourself to the counsel and wisdom of godly people who can walk with you through these difficult dilemmas.

        You must have been searching for answers about getting divorced and going to hell, and I hope you read through other people’s questions and my answers in the comments section. There is a pattern there: your relationship with Jesus is THE most important part of the equation. So let’s start there: let me ask you the most important question of your life. If you were to die today and God the Father asked you, “Why should I let you into My heaven,” what would you say?

        I hope you’ll write back.


        • Ashley 4 years ago

          Hi, I actually thought about that question and Ididnt know why he would. But we arent saved by our works we are saved by the blood of jesus. I have a close relationship with jesus and I love him and he loves me. I really didnt know if I believed in him when I first got married. I was drinking all the time and we both committed adultry. But that is the past we haven’t been together for 10 years and the marriage didnt last 6 months. I’m not going to get back with him cause that would be wrong and I have a child with my boyfriend it would hurt alot of people if we were to end our relationship it feels wrong to me. That’s why I was wanting to know if god would want me to be with my boyfriend or not

          At first I couldn’t think of a reason why he would let me into heaven. But then I thought about jesus and how he died for my sins. And that we are saved by his grace not our works. And I do have a relationship with him. I’m just confused if he died for our sins. And as long as we believe he died for us then why does it say that adulterous and fornicators will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. I’m so confused about that

          • Author
            Sue Bohlin 4 years ago

            Hi Ashley,

            It sure sounds like you understand the gospel and you have a relationship with Jesus—praise God!

            I’ll address both of your questions. (I’m so glad you wrote back!)

            First, about your boyfriend. It sounds to me like your first marriage is completely dead with no real hope of resurrecting it, especially since you and your boyfriend have created another family. You have been divorced in every way except the final papers for 10 years. I think God is not only loving, He’s also realistic. And He supports the reality we create. Your current family (boyfriend and baby) is where you need to give your attention and energy. My counsel to you is that you do whatever you need to do to make your first marriage’s emotional divorce legal, and then if your boyfriend is a believer, marry him and build your family. If he’s not a believer and you are, you would be disobeying God’s command not to be unequally yoked. (Read 2 Corinthians 6:14, which forbids Christians from marrying non-Christians.)

            Second, about adulterers and fornicators (and a bunch of other sins) not inheriting the kingdom of heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). I’ve been studying this passage for years, and my best understanding is that there is a difference between salvation, which is a free gift we receive based on trusting Jesus plus nothing, and entering/inheriting the kingdom of heaven, which is about living in submission to the Lordship of King Jesus so that He rewards us. As one wise woman put it, “We can’t lose our salvation, but we can lose everything else.” The kingdom consists of people who obey God’s word and choose Jesus over our flesh—those who live according to Jesus’ call, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34)

            Yes, you have a history of adultery and fornication. But “the Christian’s Bar of Soap” is 1 John 1:9—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” You have confessed and repented—good for you!!—and now you are forgiven and made clean. The 1 Corinthians passage is about those who live in unrepentant sin, choosing their sins over Jesus, so they lose the rewards they had earned by walking in the light and in obedience.

            So, the bottom line is, I suggest you work on your relationship with the Lord, talk to your boyfriend about Jesus, and marry him if he’s willing to walk with Jesus along with you.

            I hope this helps!

            Blessing you,

  2. Author
    SueBohlin 10 years ago

    Hello Somecoder,

    Are Christians being hypocritical if we oppose same-sex marriage but are mostly silent about re-marriage of divorced people (especially re-marriage of believers)?

    Well, I think first we need to own the dismal state of marriage in the church and acknowledge that many believers have disobeyed God’s rules and intentions for marriage. And shame on us for not living up to God’s commands.

    But there is a very big difference between remarriage of divorced people, which is acceptable in some situations and not in others, and same-sex marriage, which is never acceptable. God calls homosexual sin an abomination, but not remarriage of divorced people. (We know He hates divorce because it causes such horrific pain, Malachi 2:16. But it is not an abomination; it does not violate His design for male and female.)

    What if we reframed the question: Are Christians being hypocritical to oppose incestuous marriage, such as between brother and sister or father and daughter, but remain mostly silent about remarriage of divorced people? I think this demonstrates the “apples and oranges” kind of difference between the kinds of marriage being compared.

    Thanks for asking.

    Sue Bohlin

  3. ed 9 years ago

    Thank you so much. My marriage was so bad and now I am divorced and remarried. Everyday I pray that I will not go to hell for these sins.

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 9 years ago

      You are so welcome! I’m glad the Lord directed your steps here.

  4. Shane Howard 8 years ago

    If I am with my soulmate and consider myself married is it enough to keep me from going to hell? I love my wife with all of my heart and we both feel that marriage is a jinx that would end in divorce and I do not want to ruin the absolute perfect relationship we have. I have talked to God about it but am still unsure.

  5. Author
    Sue Bohlin 8 years ago

    Dear Shane,

    I am so glad you wrote. You have some unbiblical beliefs about both hell and about marriage. It sounds like you are trying to figure things out on your own, but God has already spoken on these issues, so let’s look to see what He says.

    The more important issue is about heaven and hell, which means we’re talking about salvation. What is your relationship to Jesus Christ? We are all born sinners, worthy of hell, because we are incorrigibly independent of and rebellious against God. It’s not our individual choices and behaviors that send us to hell, it’s being born separated from God by sin and remaining separated from Him. That’s what hell is: separation from God, which means separation from all that comes from Him—life, goodness, light, truth, love, friendship, pleasure, delight, music, food, purpose, etc. The way to avoid hell is to be reconciled to God through His Son Jesus, by trusting that He died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead three days later. “Trusting” means putting your entire weight, your whole life, on Him. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) So . . . what is your relationship to Jesus? He’s the only way to heaven. He’s the only way to escape hell.

    Considering marriage as a jinx that would end in divorce: we need to ask, Is this how God sees marriage? Is this His intent for marriage? Many marriages end in divorce, this is true, but that’s not because of any intrinsic weakness in marriage itself—it’s because of justified selfishness. But when two people are deeply committed to serving each other and loving each other by placing their interests ahead of their own, especially when they are both pursuing intimacy with Christ, divorce is highly unlikely. The Bible (especially the New Testament) has a number of “one another” commands that, when obeyed, contribute to a healthy, stable, spouse-honoring and God-glorifying marriage.

    Now for a couple of observations. “Considering yourself married” doesn’t make you married in God’s eyes, which means in reality. (Because His eyes are the only ones that matter!) A single man becomes a husband after a wedding, which is an event where your community witnesses your mutual commitment to form a new family unit. Considering yourself _____ doesn’t work in the rest of life; why would it work here? If you consider yourself a millionaire despite having 30 dollars in the bank and then go out and purchase all kinds of expensive toys, that doesn’t make you a millionaire, it either plunges you into debt or it makes you guilty of fraud or embezzling. If you consider yourself exempt from speeding limits and get pulled over by a police officer, you’re still going to get a ticket.

    You may think you have an absolutely perfect relationship, but from God’s perspective you are both living in ongoing, unrepentant sin. That is not an absolutely perfect relationship. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” On the basis of your comment, you are not holding marriage in honor, and you are engaging in sexual sin. I’m trying to show you God’s standard vs. how you are living.

    Your bottom-line question is, “Can I get away with living with my girlfriend as if we were married and still go to heaven?” The bottom-line answer is, “Have you been reconciled to God through trusting in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection? If no, then that’s what you need to address. That’s the far more important issue. Come to Jesus! Be reconciled to God!

    If yes, if you have trusted in Christ, then I urge you to repent of living in immorality, confess it as sin and get married. If you are truly born again and belong to Christ, then He calls you to follow Him in purity and holiness. He said, “Be holy as I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)

    Thank you for writing. I’m so glad you asked. I end this with a prayer that you will receive my answer with an open heart.

  6. Dale Taylor 8 years ago

    In the bible it says malachi 2:16 god hates divorce
    And it quotes
    It was moses law to divorce not gods .
    That’s why pharisess did opisit what God really wanted

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 8 years ago

      Hello Dale,

      The divorce laws are established in Deuteronomy 24. They were set forth by God through Moses; they were not Moses’ invention. It isn’t right to think of divorce as Moses’ idea. God put restrictions on divorce because of people’s hard-heartedness.

      I would suggest that the Pharisees did the opposite of what God really wanted for the same reason God provided divorce in the first place—because of their hardness of heart.


  7. Deemo 8 years ago

    It is comforting knowing that you will not go to hell for divorcing, but at the same time it would crush me to do that to my children.
    I’m not going to go into details…the person that I loved and adored, who i wanted to have many children with and grow old with cheated on me for over 2 years.
    I’ve been battling with this for just about 5 years now, and find myself at wits end.
    I grew up in a broken home and it’s one of the last things I’d ever want for my children to experience, my mother had an affair and it killed my feather inside.

    I’d never want my kids to know what happened in our relationship, but how do I explain it if I leave? My kids are very young, and I fear they would feel that I abandoned them.

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 8 years ago

      Deemo, I am so very sorry that you have to deal with such heartbreaking devastation. Has your spouse repented of her unfaithfulness? Or is she hard-hearted about it? If there is any possibility of reconciliation, which of course demands confession and repentance on her part, I plead with you to pursue it.

      I have to be honest—if you did leave, your children would very much feel abandoned. No amount of explanation would soften the blow on their hearts.

      On the other hand, when couples stay together despite very rough situations (abuse notwithstanding), by the five year mark, things have usually smoothed out.

      Have you read the book of Hosea in the Old Testament? The prophet knew your heartbreak personally. He stayed with his unfaithful wife, and God honored him for it.

      I want to suggest an excellent book by a father-daughter pair called Surviving An Affair, by Willard F. Harley, Jr. and Jennifer Harley Chalmers. I hope it helps. I send this with a prayer for you to know God’s strong peace and deep grace.

  8. Deemo 8 years ago

    P.S….. I also fear that not fully forgiving my wife is a sin. A lesson that I have tried to learn but with all my heart just can’t

    After dealing with a lot of issues My wife’s attitude and love towards our children changed for the better. Our relationship changed for a while too, but has now dropped back into a very low state. I’m Lost at what to do

  9. Champ 8 years ago

    I have really been going through a terrible time in our marriage but my husband (a non believer) always throws parts of the bible in my face , like a wife should always obey her husband, etc . He is very abusive , mainly emotionally. We have 3 babies , and I have been lost as what to do about this , and what is best for my children. I am afraid if I do divorce him it will be wrong in the eyes of God . I am afraid I will be punished for divorcing .

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 7 years ago

      I am so sorry, Champ. Please ask your husband to get help to make your marriage better by getting couples’ counseling. I also suggest you read the book Boundaries in Marriage by John Townsend and Henry Cloud so you can craft a game plan for dealing with a controlling, abusive husband. I hope you are in a church where you can get support and encouragement in your battle for your family.

      It’s true that God hates divorce because it rips apart the fabric of a family, but He is also good and kind, and He understands how hard it is to be in your shoes. If your husband refuses to own his hurtful attitudes and behavior toward you, and the fact that he’s creating an emotionally unsafe home for your children, then the only one who can protect your children is you. Perhaps a therapeutic separation would help wake him up. But please find a church home where you can find the support of community—this is too traumatic a situation to handle alone.

  10. Author
    Sue Bohlin 8 years ago

    :::nodding::: You’re right. Withholding forgiveness from your wife is a sin. God has forgiven you for your sins that required the death of His Son, which is why it’s wrong to refuse to forgive anyone else when our debt to God is infinitely greater than anyone else’s debt to us.

    But are you aware that there is a difference between forgiving someone, and trusting them again? They are not the same thing. But first, if I may offer some help on understanding the forgiveness process, here’s a link to a blog post I wrote on the keys to emotional healing: https://www.probe.org/the-keys-to-emotional-healing-part-2/

    I’m glad to hear that your wife’s attitude and love toward your children improved. Possibly your refusal to entrust her to God’s care by forgiving her may have caused a barrier that has caused the current sad state of your relationship . . .?

    Please, please get couple’s counseling and work through the massive heart wounds that can be healed so you can move forward into a strong, healthy marriage and family.

  11. Cece 8 years ago

    After a year and a half of marriage (the entire time being emotionally abused and cheated on) I decided to leave. He is now repenting and asking my forgiveness and for me to come back. Am I in the wrong for still wanting a divorce?

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 7 years ago

      Hello Cece,

      I am so sorry you’ve had to walk through this dark valley of betrayal and pain.

      The bottom line is no, you’re not wrong for wanting a divorce under those circumstances. But there’s a bigger issue to be addressed. If you are a Christ-follower, then you have been called to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). There is the possibility of glorifying God in this situation IF your husband is truly repentant and is willing to do what it takes to reconcile to a whole new kind of relationship where Christ is at the center.

      My question is, when you say he is now repenting, what does that mean? Sorry he got caught, sorry to face the consequences of you leaving an unacceptable situation? He says he wants you to come back—but what has changed? What does repentance mean? Does he truly understand how he betrayed you and broke your trust as well as your heart? How does he communicate that understanding, if he does? If it were me, I would require him to be fully engaged in an accountability group with other men who will hold his feet to the fire and see if his claim to repentance is real or just a ploy to get things back to the way they were before. I would insist that he pursue intimacy with God through Jesus so that you wouldn’t come back to the same old same old, but to a whole new way of doing marriage energized by Jesus Himself. And it would be a minimum of six months of wait-and-watch to see if he’s able to be consistent.

      If he’s truly repentant and willing to do whatever it takes to prove he wants to honor and cherish you as you deserve as his wife, then it’s possible you could get an amazing marriage and have an amazing testimony in this situation. I’ve seen it happen numerous times, and reconciliation is ALWAYS better than divorce when the offending party is truly repentant. God gets a lot more glory from reconciliation than from the pain of divorce, which He hates because it’s so destructive. But—again—it’s dependent on the sincerity and commitment of the adulterous spouse.

      I hope this helps.

      Sue Bohlin

  12. Angela 7 years ago

    I got married young and not really understanding the consequences of being married and having an affair. I’m saved and knew better but I’ve prayed for forgiveness but still don’t feel forgiven. I now met someone I truly want to spend my life with but he’s divorced also and is it ok to remarry? I’m so upset about this and unsure of I still hold my place in heaven.. please help! Also, We are currently living together and I told him I want to get married so we are not living in sin but, now getting remarried is also perpetual sin! I’m devastated and don’t know what to do.

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 7 years ago

      Divorce is not a heaven-or-hell issue. Trusting in Jesus is. He paid for your salvation on the cross. You didn’t do anything to earn it, and you can’t do anything to lose it. (Please see: https://www.probe.org/do-you-have-articles-on-losing-your-salvation/)

      Lots of people don’t feel forgiven, despite what the word of God promises: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Often, it’s the stain of shame that is felt, but Jesus died to not only forgive you but cleanse you. When you think of your sin, remind yourself that He says to you, “I died for that.” And thank Him, by faith, for forgiving and cleansing you. Your feelings are real, but they are not reliable. What Jesus says in His word is what is reliable.

      Can you remarry? There is not a consensus on this, but in Matthew 5:32 Jesus said, “But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” This appears to say that remarriage after adultery is permitted (but the very best outcome would be forgiveness and reconciliation, even after adultery). Is your first husband, and your boyfriend’s first wife, still single? Are either of those doors still open for a possible reconciliation? If one’s ex has remarried, the possibility of reconciliation is over, which opens the door for a possible remarriage.

      Personally, I think the best response to the question of divorce and remarriage was hammered out by the elders of my church, Watermark Community Church in Dallas: http://www.watermark.org/blog/marriage-divorce-remarriage

      At the very least, I counsel you to stop living with your boyfriend to honor the Lord’s command to avoid sexual sin and live in holiness.

  13. BN 7 years ago

    My wife is filled with bitterness, anger and i think unforgiveness because of the past things that i did which i told her before marriage. I said thought she would forgive me but unfortunately it caused her emotion and heart break in the process until it exploded with truth from her mouth. She still married me and we have two kids. Praise the Lord. As the time goes by, she began to go far away from me in terms sexual intimacy with me. I knew its something wrong happening. When i talked about her, she said she cannot forget the past and so she feels filthy about sexual intercourse. It has been happening for past 2 years. I feel guilty and so face consequences of what i have done in the past. I watched pornography sometimes for satisfaction but accidentally my wife saw that history.. She hates me for i have done..I asked the Lord Jesus to forgive me for weakness and to make me holy again. I told her that but she is mad with me. sometimes i thought i feel cheated by my wife and feelings motivate me to divorce her but the voice inside me tells me NOT to to do so but to pray for miracles. I feel a lot for my dear children. Please advice……

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 7 years ago

      I am so sorry. So much pain for both of you! I think you have identified an essential part of the problem in your wife’s refusal to forgive you. Sometimes people refuse to forgive others because they haven’t seen enough (or any) repentance, and because they confuse forgiveness with trust and reconciliation, they withhold forgiveness. I am wondering what you have done to show your wife that you’re actively working on your sin patterns. (As opposed to merely confessing your sin to Jesus and asking for forgiveness and cleansing, but not DOING anything to change the patterns.) Are you in an accountability group with other men who are also working on sexual integrity? A recovery ministry like Celebate Recovery is a good place to find that.

      If I were you, I would also ask your wife, “What would it take for you to forgive me and open your heart to me again?” And since she is angry and bitter, it might be helpful for you to sit down with her and “be a bucket”—say, “I sense that you are very angry and bitter with me, and I would like to understand more fully why. I want to ‘be a bucket’ and just receive everything you have to say to me about why you’re angry. I promise not to be defensive, not to justify myself, not to try to explain myself, just listen. I want you to feel truly heard and understood.” Then, when she’s finished (which would be after you ask, “Is there anymore more?”), you can reflect back to her what you heard so she knows you were truly listening without trying to defend yourself.

      Please get marriage counseling and/or a marriage ministry (http://marriagehelp.org), You would both benefit from hearing others’ perspective on how you are relating to each other. Let me encourage you to lead out by honoring and loving your wife in ways she can receive. (Consider starting with the excellent book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.)

      And don’t give up! God gets glory out of saving broken marriages!

  14. eve 7 years ago

    I have been reading about the whole divorce thing because i want to go through one, my husband is verbally abusive and has thrown my things out twice. Am not happy staying there so should i continue because the society sees divorce as a sin. He always says he will change but does the same things, lying, telling everythibg about us outsidr. Am so frustrated and its a young marriage, we dont have kids yet that is why am considering it

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 7 years ago

      I am so sorry to hear how miserable your marriage is.

      More important than how society sees divorce is how God sees it. He says He hates it (Malachi 3:16), because it causes so much pain. It can be like undergoing the amputation of a limb. But he doesn’t want people He loves—like you—to live in intolerable conditions, either.

      When a relationship is as broken as yours is, the couple needs outside help to fix it (or else you would have been able to do it yourselves, right?). Instead of finding a divorce lawyer, please get marriage counseling. Some churches have a marriage ministry (marriagehelp.org) to help people identify what’s not working because it’s not in alignment with God’s intentions and ways of relating, and make the necessary adjustments.

      I also suggest Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s excellent book Boundaries in Marriage. The reason your husband persists in doing things so destructive to the relationship is that he knows he can get away with it because there are apparently no consequences painful enough to motivate him to stop dishonoring you.

      Please don’t give up yet!

  15. Jude 7 years ago

    I was married for 9 years and decided to leave the relationship because it was very stressful and my health was very deteriorated. While I was outside this relationship, I talked to so many individuals, including a pastor. Then after 4 to 5 months, I decided to go back and reconciled to her. Things got better, but 10 months later we got back to square one. I felt that the best thing to do was to get out of the relationship again. I am a born again christian, was raised in a christian home, and have been serving in church as a music minister for the past 20 years. I’m back to school seeking a Master of Divinity. God has called into ministry even before I got married. Now, that my ex-wife divorced me, I’m not sure about the negative impact it will have in my ministry if remarry someone. I guess my question is that will I end up spending my eternity in hell if I ever remarry? I’m seeking out the biblical truth about this issue of divorce and remarriage. Please, help me out and I’m looking forward to reading from your answer. Thanks

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 7 years ago

      Dear Jude,

      The most important part of your question is about the possibility of an eternity in hell. Divorce is not a heaven-or-hell issue. That is determined by your relationship to God through His Son Jesus. Have you trusted in Christ for your salvation? Have you been reconciled to God because of trusting that Jesus died for your sins, in your place, on the cross, and was raised again on the third day? If yes, then you are a member of God’s forever family. That’s the most important issue.

      Secondary to that is your marriage and divorce. I’m curious why you don’t mention anything about seeking help for your broken relationship, either in community or with counseling. If people can’t overcome the obstacles to oneness on their own, then it is essential to get help.

      Particularly since you are on a ministry track, the example of your life when it comes to marriage is extremely important. Paul teaches us in Ephesians 5 that the husband-wife relationship is an earthly illustration of the covenantal relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. So how you model this as a minister of the gospel is very important. Have you sought reconciliation with your ex-wife (if she’s still alive and single)? That would be the very best outcome.

      When it comes to “biblical truth about divorce and remarriage” (and I am SO glad you asked!), the very best thing I’ve seen is the white paper on the topic that the pastors and elders of my church (Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas) hammered out over several years to get it right: http://www.watermark.org/blog/marriage-divorce-remarriage. I hope you find it helpful.

      Sue Bohlin

  16. Brooke stough 7 years ago

    Hi sue,
    I am a Christian woman and a few years ago I divorced my husband of 10 years because he was showing sociopath behaviors, he constantly lied to me, stolen from me and also did not keep a job to help support our three children. he also was and still is not a believer in Christ.
    About 3 years ago I remarried a Christian man who also just divorced.
    Just today I have been thinking about the divorce and remarriage issue. It has been bothering me and I’m not sure if I disappointed God. I do feel bad .
    Did my husband now and I commit adultery?

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 7 years ago

      Dear Brooke,

      It sounds to me like you are under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I know that is an intensely uncomfortable place to be. Frankly, given the information you shared with me, it does sound like your remarriage was premature. I’m sorry.

  17. Kenneth 7 years ago

    I am going through this same thing unfortunately. I am a real Christian as is she.
    However she told me she wanted to leave and wanted a divorce. We were not “clicking” and it made her health go down (she has CP). It seems we should never have been married. I did not want the divorce!
    She left and told me when she had the money she was going to file….time passed and still nothing. I tried to reconcile and that did not work.
    The only reason I filed for the divorce was to get her off my insurance (I should have filed for legal separation but it did not fully occur to me to do that). I had to look at it not like I was filing for a divorce but rather to get her off my insurance. Divorce was never in my heart!
    I told her what helped me file was that it was SHE who in reality DIVORCED me, emotionally and I guess spiritually and mentally. And she agreed with me.
    She left with the intention of divorcing and has refused reconciliation.
    I am nowhere close to “being with” anyone right now. I know what Christ said about divorce and remarriage, but I getting the full understanding of divorce and remarriage.
    And I know that blasphemy is the only unforgivable sin but I guess there is still kind of a nagging doubt about divorce and remarriage being included with that….

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 7 years ago

      Dear Kenneth,

      The pain you are experiencing (and I’m sure your ex-wife as well) is one of the reasons God hates divorce. It is more like amputating a limb than simply breaking a contract. I am so sorry.

      Divorce and remarriage without biblical grounds are not unforgivable, but the consequences are deep and serious.

      My brother, I exhort you to pray for the reconciliation of your marriage and to guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23) against another relationship. You may be legally divorced but still married in the eyes of the Lord, if the “grounds” were “not clicking” and your ex-wife is still single. And to get really personal, as one who lives with a chronic disability, if the stress of your relationship was making your wife’s health go downhill, may I gently but respectfully suggest that you do some self-examination in the context of community and wise counsel, about how you contributed to the decline of your marriage, and work on that?

      I send this with a prayer that you both can find your way back to each other.


  18. Shay 7 years ago

    I am married for 5yrs got married young I’m still young um me and my husband separated because of the emotional abuse. for a min and as u can say I cheated n he did to because we was still married just separated we got back together but I still feel like I don’t want to be with him he drives me to think about other people his set of mine his control his cold heart and I feel ashamed even asking god to forgive me for cheating of thinking about cheating but I feel like it wil be wrong for me to just leave the marriage gid will not like that at all.. So really my question is if u ask for forgiveness but still keep doing the same thing will u be forgiven? And what if u feel out of love u still have to stay in the marriage?

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 7 years ago

      I’m sorry your marriage is so difficult. In order to honor God and His intentions for your marriage, as well as your integrity in keeping your marriage vows, I suggest you get marriage counseling and work on your relationship. It won’t work for things to stay as they are, but there is hope when people align themselves with God’s principles and ways.

      I also want you to know that the research has shown that when couples stay together during a rough patch, five years later they are still together and the majority of the time their relationship is doing much better. So there is hope.

      I send this with a prayer that you will be able to find a good counselor or marriage ministry, and that your husband will be willing to work on your marriage with you.

  19. Kenneth 6 years ago

    Hi this is Kenneth again. Things have come a long way for me! I am now biblically free from my vows as far as I am concerned and I believe that is how God sees it. I am looking forward to moving on now that I am no longer bound in any sense to those old vows. I pray though God will help me to learn from what happened and watch out for things in future relationships.
    I am glad though I handled things the way I did and not rushing into something else!

    • Sue Bohlin 6 years ago

      Hi Kenneth,

      I’m curious how you came to the conclusion that you are biblically free of your vows?


  20. Julie 5 years ago

    Hi, Sue
    I’m just thinking after reading all the questions and answers. What if one does divorce his spouse not under the conditions in the Bible and get remarried. What should be done then? Should the person get divorced because the marriage shouldn’t have happened on the first place?

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 5 years ago

      Hi Julie,

      I don’t see anywhere in the scriptures that would support such an action. Malachi 2:16 tells us that God hates divorce, and I think it’s because He loves us and wants to protect us from the pain of emotional amputation that is divorce. I believe the wiser thing to do is to invite the Lord into the new marriage and seek to honor Him and each other in this new family that has been created, allowing Him to redeem a foolish or sinful decision. Actually, I have seen that exact situation play out in a number of marriages. Even though people came to the point of recognizing their remarriage was outside the bounds of scripture, they gave the Lord full reign to glorify Himself in their relationship and bring good out of evil.

      Thanks for asking!


  21. Tamba 4 years ago

    Hi Sue, I am a Christian engaged preparing for marriage,but given that my fiancee is so obsessed with her job and education as well as my socio-economic status which I see as a potential future problem, I have chosen to break the engagement, though it is something that she is not willing to accept.
    However, people are telling me that once I have paid a bride price it means that I am legally married as such any attempt to find another woman is adultery. It worries me a lot and I feel like I am on my way to hell if I take another woman for marriage,please I need some counsel.

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 4 years ago

      Boy, that’s a hard place to be! I’m sorry!

      The concept of paying a bride price is a man-made custom, not God’s command. Adultery means being unfaithful once you are married; but you are not married yet. Breaking your engagement would be painful, but not sinful. And certainly not adultery.

      It seems to me that engagement and marriage are two different states, or why would there even be an engagement period at all?

      Of far greater importance, though, is your question about going to hell for taking another woman as your wife. This is not a heaven or hell issue. Your relationship with Jesus Christ is what determines if you will spend eternity with Him or separated from Him. If you have placed your trust in Him because He died for you and rose from the dead, paying the penalty for your sins, then you will be with Him forever. God will ask you and everyone else, “What did you do with My Son Jesus?” He won’t ask you about your marital status when it comes to where you will spend eternity.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Sue Bohlin

  22. Brady 4 years ago

    I’m scared… my parents got divorced and my mom is remarried… not because of abuse just because they weren’t working… I don’t want my mom to go to hell…I’m only a teenager… I can’t even imagine forever in hell … how do I know I can get into heaven so I can tell my family… what is reconciliation? I just don’t know. Some websites say you only have to believe Jesus is the savior. Some say u need to do that and repent and be baptized. Does that mean I need to be baptized again since I was only a baby. What’s the unforgivable son. I just don’t want to go to hell. It’s made me so scared that I’ve cried and almost had panic attacks. I’m so scared I can’t even imagine eternity in hell. I just want to be certain me and my family are saved I don’t want to keep questioning it .. I just don’t want my parents to go to hell because they divorced for a non-biblical reason and my mom remarried… I just don’t know anymore how to get to heaven… some websites say a lot of Christians will be self deceived and go to hell… I just don’t want that to happen to me or my family or anyone for that manner… I’m so scared please help me

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 4 years ago

      Oh Brady. Bless your heart. How I wish I could sit next to you, with my arm around your shoulders, and comfort you. I am so grateful you wrote this, and even more grateful that I have really good news for you that I pray will encourage you and give you peace, the kind of peace Jesus wants you to have because He died to make it possible for you to be connected to His Father and know you will spend eternity with Him in heaven.

      First of all, you need to know that neither divorce nor remarriage is a heaven or hell issue. The only question that Jesus will be asking—except He already knows the answer—is, “Did you believe in Me—that is, did you put your trust in Me?” Divorce and remarriage have nothing to do with heaven or hell. It’s all about our relationship with Jesus. Divorce is the result of sin and brokenness, which Jesus completely sees and understands because He is a compassionate God. It’s not the determining factor about heaven or hell.

      Second, I affirm you for doing research on what is necessary for salvation. We need to be clear on what the Bible means by “believe.” It’s not enough to intellectually assent or agree that Jesus is God or that He is the savior. James tells us that the demons believe that (James 2:19), but it doesn’t save them. Biblical belief involves trust. And in order to trust in Jesus instead of ourselves, it does require changing our minds and turning away from sin toward Him, which is what the biblical term “repent” means. Baptism is a step of obedience, but it is not necessary for salvation. Remember the thief on the cross who trusted in Jesus? The Lord promised him that he would be joining Jesus in Paradise that very day, and he wasn’t baptized. Being saved comes by trusting in “Jesus plus NOTHING.” Not good works, not baptism, nothing. Truly trusting in Jesus will result in the fruit of good works and obedience, such as being baptized, but that’s not how we are saved.

      Do you need to be baptized since you were baptized as a baby? A lot of us are thankful that our parents had us baptized as a sign of their intention to raise us the right way, but for many of us that meant they were checking off a box to try to earn God’s favor, or they were trusting in baptism (or the church) to keep us safe rather than trusting in Jesus. And a lot of us who chose to put our trust in Jesus when we were old enough to decide on our own, received what is often called “believers’ baptism.” Which we believe is the biblical form. I hope you can find a good, Bible-teaching church where you can ask questions and get connected to other Christ-followers. Our church baptizes hundreds of people every year, many of whom had the same questions as you.

      What is the unforgivable sin? While there is disagreement whether that sin can even be committed today, I think it’s safe to say that sustained unbelief, where a person refuses to come to God in humble acknowledgement that God is holy and we are not, and we need Him to save us, will not be forgiven because the person refuses to ask for forgiveness. Here’s wisdom for you: people who are concerned they have committed the unforgivable (or unpardonable) sin, haven’t! Because their hearts are still tender toward God and they experience the conviction of sin that is the hallmark of the Holy Spirit’s work in a person’s life.

      We have several articles on the unforgivable sin with lots of encouraging explanation. Start here, and please note the related articles at the bottom of the page: https://probe.org/i-fear-i-have-committed-the-unforgiveable-sin/

      What is reconciliation? That’s what happens when two people who are estranged from each other are able to reconnect. With people, that means both owning their part in conflict, repenting and asking forgiveness, choosing to forgive the other, so they can reconnect. (By the way, reconciliation is always God’s best for marriages where hurt people, hurt people.) Being reconciled to God is different in that God never sins against us— we come into the world with our back turned away from Him, so to speak, and we continually sin against Him because that’s what sinners do. Jesus made it possible to be reconciled to His Father by taking our sin onto Himself on the cross, to get it out of the way so we can turn and be face-to-face with a holy God.

      How can you know you are going to heaven? Here you go:

      But also, consider 1 John 5:11-13:

      And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
      He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
      These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.

      This doesn’t say “that you may HOPE you have eternal life,” or worse, “GUESS you have eternal life.” God’s word says we can KNOW. In the same way you KNOW you have physical life!

      I want to pray for you.
      Lord Jesus, I lift up Brady to You. He is so dear to You, and You love him so very much, so much that You died for him. Please draw him close to You and comfort him with Your presence. Open his eyes to the many ways throughout each day that You show him Your love and affection. Give him peace, Lord, that You died for him, You rose from the dead, and You will keep Your promise to keep him safe in Your hand, and in Your Father’s hand. Show him a good church where he can be discipled and helped to grow spiritually. And again, Lord, I ask for peace, the peace that passes understanding, for Brady.

      I hope you find this helpful.

      Sue Bohlin

  23. Brady 4 years ago

    Thank you Mrs Bohlin. I’m going to start asking my pastor questions whenever I have them. Thank you for helping me know that my parents can still make it into heaven because they were all Christians and I don’t want to see any of us go to hell. God bless you. Thanks again.


    • Brady 4 years ago

      Also, I did turn away from Christianity for some time because I thought that the atheists were right , but then I watched a movie by ken ham, read an apologetics book with my grandma, and I’m in a class with the youth at my church. Did I commit the unforgivable sin during the time I didn’t believe in God. I just don’t want to go to hell I’m scared.

      • Author
        Sue Bohlin 4 years ago

        Brady, wrestling with doubts is not unforgivable. Actually, it’s how we obey Jesus’ command to love God with our mind, heart, soul and strength. I’m so glad you kept seeking the truth!

        The fact that you’re even asking this question shows your heart is tender, and that is a sign of spiritual life and vitality.

        Please make sure to read the articles on the unforgivable sin that I mentioned in my response?

        Blessing you,
        Mrs. Bohlin

  24. Julius 4 years ago

    Hi ma’am,i have read all these comments and how you tirelessly answered everyone’s question without sounding rude or judging anyone.I also liked how you referred every matter to a Biblical perspective before you gave anyone advice, atleast i know i have somewhere to run to when i need advice regarding my salvation.I’m a 24 year old male from Tanzania(Africa) and by Gods grace i got saved in February this year.I’m looking forward to learn more from you and Probe ministries as a whole.Thank you and May God bless you and strengthen you to keep up the good work.will be praying for you too madam Sue

    • Author
      Sue Bohlin 4 years ago

      Hi Julius! Thank you so much for your encouraging note! I love that the Lord directed you to Probe.org, and I pray He will use our many resources to teach and equip you to think biblically about lots of topics and issues. The Lord bless you and keep you!

      • Ashley 4 years ago

        Hey I want to talk about a a believer marrying a unbeliever it is not a sin at all in fact 1 cornithian 7 12-14 clearly says that if you marry an unbeliever do not divorce him or her because they are made holy through yourself as a believer. Why are you saying to people to not marry an unbeliever

        • Author
          Sue Bohlin 4 years ago

          Actually, that’s not what Paul is teaching in 1 Corinthians 7. His instructions in that chapter are addressed to people who trust Christ and become part of the Body of Christ, and what to do about their relationships and life circumstances (such as slave or free) now that they are believers. God can do wonderful things in the marriages of the already-married when Jesus enters the relationship because one of the spouses becomes a believer. Important context: already-married.

          He specifically deals with the issue of Christians marrying non-Christians in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” This follows the Old Testament commands against believers marrying unbelievers—so we see this is an important command throughout the entire Bible.

          We have to examine all verses in the context of all scripture, so it’s important to not disconnect Paul’s teaching on marriage relationships in 1 Corinthians 7 from his teaching on GETTING married (and forming other partnerships) in 2 Corinthians 6.

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