The Guide for Today’s
Marital Problems
If you are having marital problems and you are thinking of having a divorce, you should first look over this guide provided
by God in Hosea.

In obedience to God Hosea married “a wife of whoredoms”. As distasteful as the events between him and his wife might
have been to the prophet, they were divinely intended by God to portray the relationship between Him and idolatrous

If ever anyone had “grounds for divorce,” Hosea did. He could easily have divorced Gomer within the provisions given by
Moses in Deuteronomy 24:1. In spite of the darkness of the picture and hopelessness of the sinful Gomer, Jehovah did
command him to go and reclaim her (Hosea 3:1). This command of God to Hosea ought to lay to rest any speculations
concerning the permanency of marriage and the husband's responsibility in the matter. If adultery were sufficient grounds
to break the marital union, Gomer’s adulteries would have obliterated the union between Hosea and her. Though the union
certainly was damaged by her infidelity, it was not broken. Nothing breaks the marital tie but the death of one of the
partners (Rom 7:3; 1 Cor. 7:39). In obedience to God, Hosea went and found Gomer and redeemed her to himself “for 15
pieces of silver . . . a homer of barley, and a half homer of barley.”  The price paid is indicative of the depths to which
Gomer had sunk. Barley was a coarse grain eaten only by the poorest of people and animals. The price commonly paid for
a slave in good health was 30 pieces of silver (Ex. 21.32). So deep had been the inroads of sin on Gomer that Hosea
bought her for only half the price commonly paid for slave plus about 10 bushels
of animal food.

Hosea’s serious words to Gomer, “Thou shall abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be
for another man; so I also be for thee” (Hosea. 3:3), can be understood either as spoken sternly or in great love. While
Hosea had every right to speak them to Gomer sternly, it fits the context better to view them as having been spoken in
great love and assurance.

Hosea illustrates several truths concerning marriage: (1) the responsibility for marriage is on the husband’s shoulders—
the command to consummate the marriage was given to Hosea; (2) the  husband is responsible for keeping the marital
union together---God commanded Hosea to go and reclaim his wife; (3) sexual infidelity does not break the marital
union—while it may damage and strain the relationship, only death breaks the marital bond; and (4) divorce is not the
solution for marital problems—Hosea could have divorced Gomer on “biblical grounds” but it would not have solved either
his problem or hers.

Divorce has never solved marital problems; it only compounds them. It should be observed that in commenting on
Deuteronomy 24:1, Jesus said that Moses made this provision because of “the hardness of your hearts” (Matt. 19:8).
Thus whether it was in Moses’ day, Hosea’s day, Jesus’ day, or today, there is no such thing as a “spiritual divorce.”
Whenever anyone gets a divorce it is testimony to the hardness and spiritual insensitivity of his or her heart. Those who
are seeking guidance in how to deal with marital problems would do well to consider spiritual Hosea and follow his
examples of seeking his wayward wife, forgiving her, restoring her to himself, and loving her with a never falling love.
There is no marital problem that Hosea’s method would not cure.

Scripture reading: Hosea chapters 1, 2 and 3.
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