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 Israel.

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.

Divorce and Remarry not Permitted – Matthew chapter 5. Divorce is as hurtful and destructive today as in Jesus’ day. God intends
marriage to be a lifetime commitment (Gen. 2:24). When entering into marriage, people should never consider divorce an option for
solving marital problems or a way out of a relationship that seems dead. In these verses Jesus is also attacking those who
purposefully abuse the marriage contract, using divorce to satisfy their lustful desire to marry someone else. For those who are
married, the question for you is, are your actions today helping your marriage grow stronger, or are you tearing it apart?  Jesus said
that divorce is not permissible except for fornication. This does not mean that divorce should automatically occur when the wife or the
husband commits adultery.  The word translated “fornication” implies a sexually immoral lifestyle, not a confessed and repentant act
of adultery. Those who discover that their partner has been unfaithful should first attempt to forgive, reconcile, and restore the
marriage relationship rather than use it as an excuse to leave it. Again, if you choose to divorce your wife or your husband, that does
not mean you may go ahead and marry someone else; no, because divorcing your wife or your husband takes away the right to have
any sexual relationship with anyone else for life. Because when you divorce your wife or your husband and marry someone else, you
will be committing adultery. Note that it is the same charge and punishment for the man and the woman who commit adultery (Lev. 20:
10). 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.
Jesus says that if you forgive others their trespasses against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you forgive not
others their trespasses against you, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses (Matt. 6:12-15). 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 failing love. There is no marital problem that Hosea’s
method would not cure. Only death can separate you from your wife or from your husband. Thus, “Till death do us part.” However, a
true Christian widow or widower is permitted in the Scripture to remarry, but only in the Lord (1 Cor. 7:39).


Scripture reading: Hosea chapters 1, 2 and 3; Matthew Chapters 5 and 19.
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