How Should Christians Respond to Couples Who Divorce?

Most people will agree: Divorce is a highly painful experience that rips apart families. In fact, many of us know several families whose lives are much more difficult because of a divorce or separation.

And yet, between 40 to 50 percent of marriages–many of them Christian couples–end in divorce.

Since divorce has become such a pervasive issue, it's important to ask: What should be the Christian response to divorce?

This post talks about:

  • What does the Bible say about divorce?
  • How can we lovingly council those couples who are considering divorce?
  • How can Christians support couples going through a divorce?
  • Should we judge couples who choose to get divorced?

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There's tons of Christian books on divorce here too for couples who want to save their marriage or who need healing from divorce.

Whether you are going through a divorce or know someone dealing with divorce, I pray that the information here about a Christian response to divorce will provide encouragement and insight into this difficult issue.


What Does the Bible Say About Divorce?

I don't want to spend too much time on this (because many people a lot smarter than I am have written entire volumes on this subject) but it's important to mention what the Bible says about divorce.

Bottom line, divorce is not part of God's plan for marriage. Divorce destroys the delicate bond that God creates when He unites a man and a woman together into one flesh.

I encourage you to prayerfully consider these Bible verses about divorce and marriage:

Genesis 2:21-25

Matthew 19:1-12 (see also the parallel passage in Mark 10:1-12)

Hebrews 13:4

Learn more about what the Bible says about divorce and marriage in this You Tube video teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Ministries.

What Should Be the Christian Response to Couples Who Want to Get Divorced?

Marital reconciliation should be a Christian’s first response if the couple is open to saving the marriage.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Christians: How can we lovingly help someone going through #divorce bit.ly/2sAvmUJ #christianmarriage #marriage” quote=”How can Christians lovingly help someone going through a difficult divorce? bit.ly/2sAvmUJ “]

God has a never-ending supply of hope, especially for hopeless circumstances (look at the cross!). That’s why we can confidently say that, by the power of God’s spirit, it is possible to bring life back to a dead marriage or to heal marital wounds that seem irreparable.

If you know a couple who is considering divorce, encourage them to talk to a pastor or Christian marriage counselor before filing divorce papers so that they fully understand what the Bible says about divorce (and the opportunity for marital healing).

Bible Verses to Encourage Couples in a Difficult Marriage

Here are 6 Bible verses for couples seeking hope and encouragement during a difficult marriage:

Psalm 33:18-22

Psalm 62:5

Psalm 119:114

Hebrews 13:4

Ephesians 5:21-33

1 Peter 3:1-2

Christian Resources for Those Who Want to Save Their Marriage from Divorce

The road may not be easy, but it is possible for God to heal your marriage! Here are some Christian books that can help a couples save their marriage from divorce.

Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken: Finding Forgiveness and RestorationHealing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken: Finding Forgiveness and RestorationI Don't Want a Divorce: A 90 Day Guide to Saving Your MarriageI Don't Want a Divorce: A 90 Day Guide to Saving Your MarriageHow to Save Your Marriage AloneHow to Save Your Marriage Alone

How to Respond to Christian Couples Who Don’t Want to Reconcile

However, sometimes a couple has so much anger, hurt and resentment that they don’t even want to reconcile.

Sometimes one spouse commits a grievous sin that is so massive that the couple finds it impossible to recover.

Perhaps the couple has been going to counseling for years and they can’t get past certain key issues that are grounds for divorce.

Sometimes one spouse still wants to remain married and doesn't want to divorce (our hearts should be especially soft to these grieving spouses since divorce was not an option they wanted to choose).

Divorce is still not part of God’s plan. Period.

However, we must become God’s healing arms of authentic hope to anyone facing divorce and its gut-wrenching aftermath, including children and other family members.

We must show them God’s love and forgiveness which is poured out to all people at all times.

This is especially true if the couple facing divorce is well-known in the Christian community because this family must also suffer public scrutiny along with their own private pain. Well-known Southern Baptist Pastor Charles Stanley shares here about what his life has been like since his divorce in 2000.

I love this honest post from Relevant about how Christians can authentically support those going through a divorce.

Why We Should Be Careful About Judging Couples Who Divorce

I’m not here to point fingers at those who divorce, especially when divorce happens because a spouse commits grievous sins (such as adultery or abuse).

Yes, divorce is wrong (as is adultery or abuse) and we cannot deny biblical truth.

But I’d like to suggest that a Christian response to divorce also include a spirit of forgiveness and understanding. We must not label those who choose to divorce as awful, terrible people. Every couple’s situation is unique.

Consider Galatians 6:1:

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.”

The Church should embrace both parties in a divorce, offering both deep compassion and gentle, loving conviction where needed.

Why? Well, first, because God calls us to share his unconditional love with everyone, regardless of their past. We are called to grieve with those who are grieving and to give freely to those in need.

However, Galatians 6:1 encourages us to offer forgiveness and love because all of us are capable of poor choices. We are all one bad decision away from choices that could destroy our marriages too.

We must continually keep that in mind as we encourage and comfort those couples considering divorce or suffering from divorce.

Christian Books on Healing from Divorce

Do you know someone walking the difficult path of divorce?

Here are some recommended books that offer Christian support on healing after divorce:

Divorce Care: Hope, Help, and Healing During and After Your Divorce by Grissom, Steve, Leonard, Kathy(January 1, 2006) PaperbackDivorce Care: Hope, Help, and Healing During and After Your Divorce Unraveling: Hanging On to Faith Through the End of a Christian MarriageUnraveling: Hanging On to Faith Through the End of a Christian MarriageThe FRESH START DIVORCE RECOVERY WORKBOOKThe Fresh Start Divorce Recovery Workbook


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