Must an Unscriptural
Marriage Break Up?
When a person's spouse dies, they may marry again and be acceptable in the sight of God
(Romans 7:2,3). When a person puts away their spouse for fornication, they may marry again
and be acceptable in the sight of God (Matthew 19:9). However, when one is divorced for any
other reason (including those who have been put away for fornication) and marries another, it is
not acceptable in the sight of God (Matthew 19:9; etc.).
An unacceptable marriage is an unscriptural marriage. They have no right to be married. If they
have no right to be married, they cannot remain married and be acceptable in the sight of God.
Even as a couple may not remain in a relationship of "living together" because it is fornication;
neither can they remain in an unscriptural marriage because it is adultery. One cannot continue
to commit adultery and be acceptable to God (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). They
must repent. They must break up the marriage.
During the period of the restoration of Jerusalem and the temple, following the Babylonian
bondage, Ezra addressed the problem of unscriptural marriages among the Jews. Shechaniah
said to Ezra, "Now therefore let us make a covenant with out God to put away all the wives, and
such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the
commandment of our God; and let it be according to the law" (Ezra 10:3). Ezra later said, "You
have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. Now
therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do His pleasure: and
separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. Then all the
congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As you have said, so must we do" (Ezra
The Jews had taken women to be their wives they had no right to take. In order to make things
right, they needed to put away those women. As long as they remained with those women, they
could not be acceptable in the sight of God. Ezra, the prophet of God, told the people they must
separate; it was the directive of God.