Putting Away,
Departing and Remarriage:

Many do not know what marriage is; therefore, they err in knowing when it should end.

"...Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and
they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore
God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:4-6). Jesus, in answering the
question of the Pharisees, points them to when marriage began; for only then can they truly
understand the answer to their question.

After God had formed man out of the dust of the ground "and breathed into his nostrils the
breath of life," and placed him in the garden eastward in Eden, "the LORD God said, It is not
good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him" (Genesis 2:7,18).
"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of
his ribs, and closed up the flesh thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from
man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of
my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of
Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:
and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:21-24). When the woman was given to man, they
became a family; they were flesh and blood; they were kin; they were married. One woman
was made for one man. One woman was given to one man forever. It was a life-long
relationship, till they would be parted in death. It is not until Lamech that polygamy began
(Genesis 4:19).

Marriage was instituted by God. He gave the woman to man. It is not a relationship developed
by man nor regulated by man. God originated it, and God regulates it. God, and God only, in
reality joins a man and a woman in true marriage. It is not up to man to undo what God has

The Bible clearly teaches that marriage is a life-long commit­ment and relationship. It is truly
"till death do us part." "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her
husband so long as he liveth; but if he be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So
then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an
adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress,
though she be married to another man" (Romans 7:2,3). As long as the husband is alive, the
wife is bound to him. As long as the wife is alive, the husband is bound to her. (We will
discuss later if there are any exceptions to this rule.) One husband, one wife, for life.

The concepts of temporary matrimony which permeate society are contrary to the teachings of
the Bible. The idea that if things "don't work out," divorce is an acceptable option and one can
try again is totally foreign to the scriptures. Permanency is the law for marriage in the sight of

The primary function of marriage is companionship. Woman was made because it was not
good for man to be alone. None of the creatures of the field were acceptable or proper
companions for the needs of man. Not even another man could, or would, be the proper
life-long companion of man. Only woman, as God made her, could complement and
supplement man was the proper and acceptable help-meet, or help-mate. Man and woman
are made for each other.

Marriage also provides the proper framework for sexual satisfaction and procreation. "...To
avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own
husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife
unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise
also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife" (I Corinthians 7:2-4). "Marriage
is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whore­mongers and adulterers God will judge"
(Hebrews 13:4). Yet, it must be realized that sex is not the most important part of marriage. It
fits into the overall purpose of companionship. Marriage, even in the beginning, existed before
and "separate and apart from" sex.

When God gave the woman to the man, Adam and Eve were married. God joined them
together. Yet, as we search the remainder of the Bible, we find no formula for the beginning of
marriage. Jesus attended a wedding feast in Cana, performing his first miracle there (John
2:1-11); but, there are no directions for a ceremony, or wording for vows found in scripture. But,
one constant nms throughout the Bible from Adam and Eve to the wedding feast in Cana: a
public acknowledgement of marriage complying with local custom and law. We are to "be
subject unto the higher powers" and "submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the
Lord's sake" (Romans 13:1-3; I Peter 2:13-17). Therefore, one must meet the requirements of
the law in order to be married.

When the one officiating over the ceremony pronounces them "husband and wife," they are
married. Some mistakenly think that the marriage must be consummated in order to be
legitimate. However, that would present problems. First, it would mean the official lied when
he said they were "husband and wife." He should have said, if this is true, "You will be
husband and wife." Second, it means the bride and the groom on their wedding night go to
bed with someone who is not their spouse. Nothing could be more absurd. They are married
(given all else is right) when the ceremony according to local law is completed.