God Hates Divorce: The Truth And Reasons Behind It

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Published by Shannon Jacobs



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Divorce today carries a different connotation than it did in Malachi’s day. People frequently mention Malachi 2:16, which declares that God hates divorce. The Lord God of Israel declares, “I hate divorce.” But this scripture says much more.

Interestingly, divorce is not expressly forbidden anywhere in the Old Testament. While there are various limitations on “putting away,” the Old Testament contains not a single word that forbids the dissolution of a marriage through divorce. If we want to find answers to a question about what the Bible means for our lives, it is insufficient to ask, “What does the Bible say?”

Key Takeaways

  • God hates divorce due to the pain and suffering it causes, especially to children, but He does not despise the individuals who go through it.
  • The Bible presents marriage as a sacred covenant that God values highly, not just a contract, and views divorce as a violation of this covenant.
  • While divorce is not aligned with God’s plan, He offers compassion, healing, and restoration to those affected by it, emphasizing the importance of seeking His intervention in troubled marriages.

Why Does God Hate Divorce?

God hates divorce. The Bible verse continues by saying that God despises divorce because it causes two individuals to shred each other’s flesh violently. It goes on to caution those going through a divorce not to be treacherous to one another.

God Hates The Pain Of Divorce, Not Those Who Go Through It

The Lord Almighty detests the suffering caused by divorce. He dislikes it when his priceless children endure this ordeal in pain and anguish. The Lord God does not like divorce because of the grief and mourning associated with it.

Another mind-blowing fact is that God despises divorce because of what it does to children[1]. Divorce leaves a path of misery, and children are nearly always involved. It does not matter how old they are.

God Hates Divorce And Cares About Divorcees

“Come to me, all you who are restless and burdened, and I will give you rest,” says the Lord in Matthew 11:28. God knows that divorce makes you tired. He is aware that a broken marriage adds burdens. He desires for us to turn to him in times of weariness and weight. He wants us to turn to him in our time of need.

You are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit when you are divorced or going through a divorce. As it says in Psalms 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God does not despise you. He desires to protect you. He wants to give you comfort. He wants to let you relax. He loves you.

He cares for them because they are hurting, broken, and dependent on him. God loves them because he does not want his children to experience pain or suffering. God desires that we all succeed and enjoy good health, just as our souls do (3 John 1:2).

The truth is that telling people that God hates divorce invites their judgment. It gives the roles of judge, jury, executioner, divorce proceedings, and divorce law to those who have misconstrued that verse and undoubtedly many others.

Interpretation Of Malachi 2:16

God gives a clear explanation of why he values marriage so highly. He claims to have “made them one” (Malachi 2:25). God created marriage. He has the right to define something if he created it. Any departure from his plan repulses him. Marriage is a covenant, not a contract. The entire notion of a covenant, which is so crucial to God, is destroyed by divorce.

Marriage is a metaphor for God’s bond with his people (Hebrews 9:15). God wants us to comprehend the significance of a covenant—an unbreakable commitment. The idea of a covenant relationship, which God designed, is mocked when we divorce someone with whom we entered into one. Through a covenant he made, he is “married” to us as his people. Isaiah 54:5 exactly compares God and Israel.

The phrase “covering someone with your cloth” refers to offering protection in the Old Testament. Men are expected to “cover” their women as protectors and providers. Malachi’s two-part complaint in this chapter is that this is not happening.

Malachi 2:11 states that Israeli men are divorcing their Jewish wives to wed heathen women (Malachi 2:14). In fact, it is an act of spiritual aggression, which is the opposite of “protection.”

This verse’s Hebrew wording can be interpreted in one of two ways. In any case, the message of verse 16 is clear: God in no way endorses divorce. The introduction of verse 16 either alludes to a man who “hates and divorces” or to God himself “hating divorce.” Either a double proclamation from God emphasizes this, or the act of divorce is linked to an attitude of “hate.”

God hates divorce for yet another reason, according to Malachi 2:15. God’s intention for the family was that one man and one woman dedicate themselves to each other for life and raise children to comprehend the concept of covenant. He states he is “seeking godly offspring.” Children raised in happy, two-parent homes are much more likely to have satisfied marriages of their own.

While this is a different statement from God saying, “I hate divorce,” it would not change the point of the passage that divorce does violence to the wife the husband has sworn to protect. Therefore, there is no wrong or correct translation for it. However, an alternative translation of Malachi 2:16 would read something to the effect of, “If he hates and divorces his wife…” rather than “I hate divorce.”

man and woman walking together through ancient ruins and god hates divorce

The Significance Of Covenant And Commitment As God’s Design For Marriage

“Anyone who divorces his wife must offer her a certificate of divorce,” it has been said. “However, I will inform you that anyone who divorces his wife, barring sexual immorality, makes her an adultery victim, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

— Matthew 5:31–32

Understanding the profound nature of marriage requires recognizing the significance of covenant and commitment as integral aspects of God’s design. These principles serve as guiding lights, establishing a firm foundation for a relationship that reflects divine intent.

Within the marriage union, God’s teachings emphasize the importance of fidelity and purity, condemning all forms of sexual immorality. Jesus Christ exemplified the depth of commitment through his sacrificial act on the cross, providing a model for married couples to display unconditional love and unwavering devotion to their spouses.

Marriage is not a mere legal contract but a sacred covenant ordained by God. This covenant involves a lifelong commitment between a husband and wife, sealed in the presence of God and witnessed by the Holy Spirit. It is a bond that should be approached with the utmost reverence and not be easily broken.

In this covenant, couples are called to seek God together, nurturing a relationship centered on faith. By anchoring themselves in God’s presence, spouses can draw strength, wisdom, and guidance, fostering a deep spiritual connection that strengthens their commitment to one another.

Sacrificial Love

God’s love for humanity is exemplified in the sacrifice of his only Son, Jesus Christ. This sacrificial love serves as an inspiration for married couples, encouraging them to prioritize the well-being and happiness of their spouse above their own.

While divorce is not in accordance with God’s plan, it is important to recognize that God also abhors abusive marriages. The design of the Heavenly Father for marriage does not condone or tolerate any form of physical, emotional, or psychological abuse. In such situations, seeking safety and professional help is crucial.

The Holy Bible serves as the ultimate authority and guide for all aspects of life, including marriage. Its teachings and principles provide wisdom and direction for couples, offering a blueprint for a God-honoring and committed relationship.

Fidelity In Marriage

Adultery is a grave violation of the marriage covenant. Jesus Christ emphasized the importance of marital fidelity, teaching that even the lustful thoughts and desires of the heart constitute a betrayal of the marriage commitment. Couples are called to guard their hearts and remain faithful to one another.

In addition to physical abuse, emotional abuse can be equally destructive within a marriage. God’s design for marriage includes emotional support, respect, and kindness. Emotional abuse violates these principles and can have severe consequences for the well-being and trust within the relationship.

Embracing the significance of covenant and commitment as God’s design for marriage enables couples to cultivate a bond that withstands the trials and challenges of life. By upholding these principles, seeking God’s guidance, and embodying Christ’s love, marriages can thrive and fulfill their intended purpose.

Seeking God’s Intervention In Restoring Troubled Marriages

Seeking God’s intervention in restoring troubled marriages involves embracing his wisdom and grace. By incorporating the following principles into the process, couples can navigate the path of restoration.

A God-seeking approach is fundamental. Both spouses should commit to seeking God’s will and guidance, individually and together. Surrendering personal desires and prioritizing God’s plan for their marriage sets the foundation for restoration.

Influencing Each Other In Marriage

When an unbelieving husband is part of the marriage, the believing spouse should display Christ’s love through their actions. Demonstrating qualities like patience, forgiveness, and kindness can showcase God’s transformative power and potentially influence the unbelieving husband.

Similarly, when the wife is an unbeliever, the believing husband should embody Christ’s love by extending understanding and grace and living out the teachings of Jesus. This approach may help the unbelieving wife become more receptive to the gospel message.

Prioritizing Faithfulness And Trust

Addressing and repenting of adultery is essential. To commit adultery violates the sanctity of marriage and erodes trust. Both spouses need to acknowledge their actions, seek forgiveness, and allow God’s healing and restoration to take place.

Recognizing the concept of becoming “one flesh” emphasizes the unity and interdependence of the couple. Prioritizing the well-being of the marriage over individual desires is crucial. Mutual respect, selflessness, and open communication are vital to restoring unity and harmony.

Ongoing adultery or any form of sexual immorality within the marriage must be addressed and repented of. Seeking God’s forgiveness, accountability, and professional counseling may be necessary to overcome these destructive behaviors and restore trust.

Nurturing The Marriage Through Communication

Communication should be approached with kindness, empathy, and respect. Avoiding foolish or harmful speech within the marriage fosters an environment of healing and understanding.

Jesus emphasized the permanence of marriage and discouraged separation, as God hates divorce. Understanding that God’s ideal plan is for the union to remain intact encourages couples to face challenges with the intention of preserving their marriage.

Centering the marriage on a shared faith in the one true God is crucial. Nurturing a personal relationship with God and fostering spiritual connection as a couple provide solace, guidance, and strength throughout the restoration process.

In seeking God’s intervention, humility, forgiveness, and a willingness to change are key. By embracing these principles and relying on God’s grace, couples embark on a journey of healing and restoration, experiencing the transformative power of his love within their marriage.

10 Significant Bible Verses About Divorce

He told them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of your hardness of heart, but it was not permitted from the beginning. And I tell you that anyone who marries another person after divorcing their spouse, barring cases of sexual immorality, is guilty of adultery.”

— Matthew 19:8–9

“And he told them that anyone who divorces their wife and marries someone else is guilty of adultery against her. This is the same as anyone who divorces her husband and marries someone else.”

— Mark 10:11

“Should a man get back together with his ex-wife if she leaves him and marries another man after divorcing him? Would not the land be entirely contaminated? But after having numerous lovers while living as a prostitute, would you want to come back to me now?” the Lord declares.

— Jeremiah 3:1

The Lord says, “Where is your mother’s divorce certificate that I sent her away with? Or to whom did I sell you—one of my creditors? You were sold because of your faults, and your mother was exiled because of them.”

— Isaiah 50:1

“Some Pharisees approached Jesus to put Him to the test and start asking Him if it was proper for a man to divorce his wife. “What did Moses command you?” He asked them. They replied, “Moses allowed a man to create a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

— Mark 10:2–6

“She noticed that I had divorced her and sent her away in retaliation for all of Israel’s adulteries. However, her cunning sister Judah showed no fear and went off to play the whore as well.”

— Jeremiah 3:8

“Because a married woman is legally obligated to her spouse while he is alive, she is exempt from the law of marriage if her husband passes away. As a result, if she cohabitates with another man while her husband still lives, she will be accused of being an adulteress. However, if her spouse passes away, she is exempt from that rule and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.”

— Romans 7:2–3

“In a similar manner, husbands should treat their wives with respect and love as the weaker vessel because they are also heirs to the grace of life, preventing any interference with your prayers.”

— 1 Peter 3:7

“But if she does, she must continue to be unmarried or find happiness with her husband. Additionally, a husband cannot leave his wife. To the others, I (not the Lord) say this: If a brother has a non-believing wife who is prepared to share a home with him, he should not divorce her. And a woman should not divorce her husband if he is a nonbeliever and is willing to live with her.”

— 1 Corinthians 7:11–13

“Anyone who divorces his wife must offer her a certificate of divorce,” it has been said. “However, I will inform you that anyone who divorces his wife, barring sexual immorality, makes her an adultery victim, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

— Matthew 5:31–32
woman in red and man in white standing by an archway and god hates divorce


Many people in our culture now view divorce as a good way to end a difficult marriage. Divorce, says the Lord, is traumatic and heartbreaking. That is why he hates it. We also hate divorce because of the pain that comes with it. Matthew 7:5 applies in this context: “You hypocrite, first, take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Challenge yourselves to start praying together for 30 days as a couple that God will restore your marriage, that he will mend your relationship, and that he will be the builder of your home. Ask for his grace and guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does God Hate Divorce?

God hates divorce because it causes pain, suffering, and emotional harm to the individuals involved, particularly children, and it violates the sacred covenant of marriage.

Is Divorce Ever Permitted According To The Bible?

Divorce is permitted in the Bible under certain circumstances, such as in cases of marital unfaithfulness or sexual immorality, but it is generally discouraged as it goes against the ideal of a lifelong marital covenant.

What Does The Bible Say About Marriage And Divorce?

The Bible presents marriage as a sacred covenant, not just a legal contract, and views divorce as a disruption of this covenant, except in cases like adultery or abandonment.

How Does God View Those Who Are Divorced?

God views those who are divorced with compassion and love, offering healing and restoration, rather than with condemnation or judgment.

Can A Marriage Be Restored After Divorce According To Christian Beliefs?

According to Christian beliefs, a marriage can be restored after divorce, especially when both parties seek God’s intervention and forgiveness and work toward reconciliation.

What Role Do Forgiveness And Reconciliation Play In A Christian Marriage?

In a Christian marriage, forgiveness and reconciliation are crucial, as they reflect God’s grace and are essential for healing and restoring the relationship, especially in the face of challenges or conflicts.

How Should Christians Approach The Idea Of Divorce?

Christians should approach the idea of divorce with serious consideration, viewing it as a last resort and seeking guidance through prayer, counseling, and reflection on Biblical teachings.

4 thoughts on “God Hates Divorce: The Truth And Reasons Behind It”

    • No an abusive marriage is grounds for divorce if your life is in danger especially, can’t quote scripture on this one sadly but I’m sure your life as a believer is more valuable to the lord than a covenant / principle… Jesus healed a man’s hand on the Sabbath, some rules and laws have leeway in extreme situations (again assuming it’s deadly abuse)

      • …stated well under the heading, “Sacrificial Love,”:

        While divorce is not in accordance with God’s plan, it is important to recognize that God also abhors abusive marriages. The design of the Heavenly Father for marriage does not condone or tolerate any form of physical, emotional, or psychological abuse. In such situations, seeking safety and professional help is crucial.

        The Holy Bible serves as the ultimate authority and guide for all aspects of life, including marriage. Its teachings and principles provide wisdom and direction for couples, offering a blueprint for a God-honoring and committed relationship.

        GOOD STUDY!


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