Is It Acceptable?
Marriage, as we have already seen, is for life. It is not a relationship to take lightly. It has been
said we live in a disposable society: disposable plates, disposable napkins, disposable
silverware, disposable diapers, and even disposable marriages. But, some things are not
made to be disposable; marriage is one of them.
Paul commanded, "Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye
may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not
for your incontinency" (I Corinthians 7:5). When the wife departs from the husband, or the
husband departs from the wife, it creates temptation. The sexual desires, once aroused, are
not easily quenched. The longer the husband and wife are apart, the easier it becomes for
Satan to use the opportunity to entice one or the other. Therefore, such separation should be
avoided except with mutual consent for a short time of fasting and prayer.
Therefore, Paul writes: "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife
depart from her husband:... and let not the husband put away his wife" (I Corinthians 7:10,11).
The wife is not allowed to leave her husband, nor is the husband allowed to put the wife out:
they are to remain together.
What about those whose life is difficult with their spouse? Many husbands can make life difficult
to impossible for their wives. They can be overbearing and overly demanding, domineering and
dictatorial. Wives can make life difficult to impossible for their husbands. They can nag and
whine and complain, being uncooperative and a thorn in the flesh. What are wives and
husbands to do in such circumstances? Reconcile. Work things out. One of the failures of
marriages is a failure of commitment. Instead of entering marriage to stick it out "for better or for
worse," many begin only "for the better." The instant things become difficult, some husbands
and wives are more than willing to move out. That, however, is not what marriage is all about. It
is working through the hard times, a commitment to each other regardless of the
circumstances, with only one exception allowed.
Sometimes, what should be is not. Efforts to reconcile are rejected. Violence may be threatened
and/or inflicted upon a husband and/or wife and/or the children. Their lives, and possibly the
lives of their children, may be in danger. It becomes impossible either because of safety, or
because of the temptation to sin, to remain. To these Paul says, "But and if she depart, let her
remain unmarried, or to be reconciled to her husband" (I Corinthians 7:11). If separation
becomes absolutely necessary, they must remain unmarried, with one exception. If they desire
the companionship of a mate, they must be reconciled to the one they are married to. Notice,
they are not to separate, "but and if they do" they are allowed to remain unmarried or to be
reconciled. Remain with your mate; but, if that is absolutely not possible, remain unmarried or
go back to your mate. Society and the times have made separations acceptable and readily
available in a number of ways, under a wide variety of names. Rather than looking for ways to
save marriages, people are looking for ways to get out of them. Paul plainly shows excuses to
get away from marriages are nothing more than excuses and not acceptable to God. One is not
allowed to "walk out" on a marriage; but, if they do they may not remarry, they must go back to