Marriage Missions International

The Ex-Wife’s New Role

Recreating familiar, friendly or emotionally intimate responses can lead the ex-spouse and the children to false hopes. When they remain in bondage to such hopes, they have no chance of emotional maturity.

“I hated it when my ex-husband wouldn’t come in and visit for awhile,” Sharon told me. “I’m not going to bite!” I just wanted to know how he was getting along and tell him about my folds’ 50th wedding anniversary party. It’s been so long since we’ve talked about anything on a friendly basis. Is that so bad?”

Sharon’s comment is typical of divorced spouses who would like everything to seem “okay” again. After the fighting has calmed down, people seek the familiar. Many divorced women, like Sharon, feel that if they can resume some level of intimacy with their ex-husbands, he must still care or at least is no longer bitter. No one wants anymore rejection.

However such feelings are artificial and incomplete unless the ex-husband reciprocates in that old friendly way. If he doesn’t, the ex-wife remains in emotional bondage, seeking affirmation of her self-worth from her ex-husband.

With time, our memories of unhappy times fade. We block the pain and tend to remember only the sweet times, often exaggerated in our minds. A man laughing and recalling better times with his ex-wife may suddenly feel the strong emotions they once shared. Thoughts of love, old embraces and nights of passion can ignite a spark in his mind.

When he begins to entertain these thoughts, they can move to memories of bringing children into the world together and all the powerful bonds of marriage. Suddenly he’s filled with doubt again. Do I still love her? Did I make a mistake? Feelings of failure and regret rise within him. This can cause him problems in his current marriage, or tempt him to renew levels of intimacy with his ex-wife.

My husband shared a “word picture” of how he regards his ex-wife. When we don’t know how to categorize our relationship with someone, it’s helpful to say, “He’s like a father to me,” or “She’s like a sister.” My husband thinks of his ex-wife as the “Daycare lady.”

Imagine a nice lady who lives down the street. She owns the daycare center in your neighborhood. Every morning she drives to your house to pick up the kids. Sometimes you might drive to her house to drop them off. They get in her car and she takes them for the day. You relax and don’t worry about them because you know she loves them and takes good care of them while they’re with her.

When they come home and report something fun or nice the “Mrs. Daycare” did for them, you appreciate it. You don’t feel jealous. You know you’re their parent and they will always love you, but they have room in their heart for her too. You’re glad that your children have many adults in their lives to love, teach and care for them.

You and “Mrs. Daycare” sometimes smile and wave to each other in the mornings. Once in awhile she’ll take a minute or two to report trouble with the kids’ behavior and tell you how she’s handling it during the day. You may stop and tell her about the children’s rashes and leave the ointment with her for the day. You don’t spend a lot of time talking to her when you pick the kids up, and you don’t socialize on the weekends.

You consider your relationship with her the same kind you’d have with a child’s school teacher. While she’s a trusted caregiver for the children, you have your own life, circle of friends, and have no need to know more about or get involved in “Mrs. Daycare’s” personal life. You don’t tell her how to run the daycare center and she doesn’t tell you how to run your home. You have agreed to trust that you’re each doing your job.

Every month she sends you a bill and you mail her check out on time. That’s the extent of your personal relationship with her.

This picture helps my husband honor his ex-wife for the role she has as mother to his son, and helps him encourage his son’s loving relationship with her. It also helps him realize he doesn’t need to be any more emotionally involved with her than he would be with “Mrs. Daycare.”

The above article is from the book, How to be First in a Second Marriage by Rose Sweet published in by College Press Publishing Company, Joplin, Mo. This book is excellent in giving very practical insights in to how to resolve conflicts in a second marriage.


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25 Responses to “The Ex-Wife’s New Role”
  1. J says:

    (USA)  What a wonderful article to help the break up of families!!

    • JoAnn says:

      (USA)  My spouse-to-be and I have moved in together. It is so wonderful being in love! –and here it goes –BUT –he says he “feels obligated” to his hopefully, someday, soon-to-be ex-wife, as ‘his mother’. Yes, he is still legally married.

      Granted, she is older by nine years, they do share one 33 year old biological son, two 30 plus year old children from her previous, abusive marriage, and one 28 year old adoptive daughter (who by the way is married to a 50 year old man and they have 4 boys).

      She, the one-day ex, has had heart surgery and is in and out of the hospital ‘really, really regularly, and though they have been separated for over 5 years, she still expects him to spend the night with her at the hospital by her bedside, etc… He keeps saying he hasn’t divorced her because ‘she isn’t going to be around too much longer because of her health’.

      So this to me says, I am not worth him divorcing her & her emotional needs need to be met before mine –his future wife. This does not seem a healthy way to being in a marriage. I had ‘the pleasure’ and I am using that term lightly- to have lunch with him, her, and her sister who was visiting from out of state. She said she was happy to see me, while at the same time stating “He is my best friend and I don’t know what I would do without him”, as she touched his hand. What a slap on my face! But I just kept my cool and let her ramble on. That was not the proper time for me to have my say.

      I was reading things to do before you remarry, and well, I know he is not really ready for a new relationship. The thing is, he proposed to me (and I said yes), gave me an engagement ring, has told his children he plans to marry me, and even his “not completely ex” also knows. YET, there is no divorce for us to allow he and I to become ‘one’.

      As you wrote, I cannot fully, emotionally commit because she is still very much in the picture, financially and emotionally. (He has her on his work insurance because she is unemployed and can’t get health insurance with pre-existing conditions –so she and he say –yet I am in law school and know better). I thought I was being selfish in wanting he and her not to talk and know each other’s personal business anymore, but even after reading your articles, I know that I am not in the wrong with this. Yes, it is true he told me he had luggage, but I thought it was just a small carry on, not a huge duffle bag! I also thought that he would ‘check it in’ at the door, but he seems to be holding on to it pretty tight.

      He and I went on a 9 day vacation in the Hill country and we did not have phone reception. He told his children and I know he even told the ‘ex’ that we were going to be out of pocket for a few days –YET, as we returned home, he had a barrage of messages from her asking ‘are you mad or upset with me? I haven’t heard from you in days?’ I had told him this was to be OUR vacation, almost a homeymoon, free from the past. He agreed. But yet, I come home to this! It was very upsetting for me because of reason you are well aware of, since I am only human.

      So my delimma is more than one issue. It seems to me that if one issue is resolved, then the others would automatically be resolved also.

      I suppose my biggest questions are, 1- why does he feel the need to be obligated to her? 2- why or how or when will she ever accept she is not his wife anymore? (He will have to make her see/accept this is my guess) 3- since he is not 100% free from her and available for ‘us’, how do I cope with this? And I really do not want to ‘cope’! I want a solution. I am too old (53) to be continually waiting for something when I should be ‘doing’ something. Please help. I imagine there will be some ‘change of thought’ processing that I will have to do, but I am ready for it –or at least to try it!

      • Cindy Wright says:

        (USA) JoAnn, this man is still married. He has no business making plans with anyone — showing you or anyone else more acceptance, than he should be giving to his wife. I’m sorry this is blunt, but it’s the truth. Whether he’s living with you or not, he’s still tied to her maritally and emotionally, and you can’t expect him to be totally loyal to you. After-all, he wasn’t loyal to her. Whether there are major issues between them or not, he’s still a cheater.

        You say that you are 53 and “too old to be continually waiting for something” when you should be “doing” something. And you mention that you “imagine there will be some ‘change of thought processing” that you will have to do. Recognize that this man is married. He cheated on his wife. No matter what the excuse, you are in the middle of something you shouldn’t be. I wish I could say different, but I can’t. This is a mess that won’t be cleaned up with divorce papers. If you continue on with him, you will see what I mean. I can’t tell you what to do… that is for you to pray about and consider, but frankly, I would run in the opposite direction within a blink of an eye. This has dysfunction written all over it. Marriage is difficult enough to enter into and make into a good one, without entering into it with someone else’s husband and then expecting “love” to clean it up. I haven’t seen it work yet. And I’m not holding my breath that I’ll ever see it happen — in your case or anyone else’s.

        • Evalea says:

          (USA) Judge Not! Forgiveness is key, only God knows a persons heart. The Bible says that you can tell them by their fruit. I cheated on my Ex Husband for my own reasons, but I’m a new creation in Christ. My focus was wrong from the very beginning because I did not have a relationship with God and loved a man more than God.

          I began to seek first the Kingdom of God and built a relationship with God and fell in love with him. If you do not have a love relationship with God you will never have one ordained by God with a Man. God made men in his image and in his likeness so you will never get a Man until you get God.

          I’m remarried and have no desire to cheat on my Husband because of my love and fear of God. I honor my husband as ordered by God and so does he. God has called Husbands to love their wife as they love their selves. The Husband has to have a heart that is open receive the word of God and a mind that is sensitive to the holy spirit. If the wife is asking the husband to change something the husband is suppose to be obedient to the wife respecting her as the weaker person in the marriage.

          Men are difficult creatures and you have to pray and stand in the Gap for them where they fall short. But what is most important is that we as wives are obedient to the word of God. We have convenient rights in our marriage meaning we can tell the devil to take his hands off of our husbands and to leave in the name of Jesus. We have to be careful not to be puffed up with pride and allow the hurt to callus our hearts. This will bring division and open the door for the enemy to come in. When he gets there his agenda is to kill steal and destroy.

          I had a similar situation but I prayed for my husband and also told him that he’s my head. He’s leading and what he’s showing me is that it’s ok to have a BFF that is of the opposite sex, and that there is an emotional connection with, and even have had a sexual relationship with. I then told him ok, so as long as I don’t have sex with the person than it should be ok. I then told him I was going to follow his lead and do the same. Not as rendering evil for evil but as an example to open his eyes. He has the same responsibilities as I do to protect our marriage and he was not doing this by this relationship with the Ex wife.

          Long story short my Husband Loves the Lord and fears the Lord and had to make a decision to do things God’s way and not his own. He had to choose to let go of his own selfishness for the best interest of all parties involved. I told my husband you cannot expect God to come into a mess and bless it. He is a God of order and you are allowing our marriage and our home to be out of order by not following God’s rules on dealing with the situation properly. I advised my Husband to lead the Ex back to God, to apologize to her for allowing her to do things in his life as if they were still married and for letting her put him before God. I’m my Husbands wife now and our marriage is blessed and ordained by God.


          I’m so sorry but some of yawl folks sound like kids, I married him first so he owes me his life. Come on people, you and only you know the truth about how yawl got married in the first place. Where you having pre marital relations and got pregnant? That got the devil written all over it and now because you sinned first you should have priority of covenant in a persons life. This is sad and wrong.

          We can take these scriptures and turn them in any fashion we like but Gods way of thought is too high for us to grasp. So lets not man bash because we women have a responsibility to God first. If you sinned then you should repent and that consists of a change of heart a change of mind and a change of direction. Repent and allow God to operate in your life, examine what you are doing, all those times when your praying and asking God to give you the answer to why someone else did something then you go to the bible looking for the answer you probably got it but missed the revelation. If you are not right with God he is going to correct you first before anything. A God of order, remove the plank out your own eye first so you can see straight then remove the plank out your neighbors eye. Be Blessed People.

    • Evalea says:

      (USA) 1st Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you to live in peace.

      It sounds to me like there are a lot of bitter people being opinionated on this topic because they lost a spouse. If that is the case you are already messing up. God will always correct you but first you have to remove the planke out your own eye first before you can address some one elses issues.

      This is both mine and my husbands second marriage and it is blessed and ordained by God. I prayed and fasted and ask God if it is according to his will to send my husband to marry me. He came and asked me to be his wife in 1 week and 3 days. We didn’t move in togather until we were married repented and ready to roll. We don’t have to condemn other people or try and interpret the word to others because the spirit will do that for each one of us according to Gods will.

  2. Jenean says:

    (USA)  Matthew 19
    1When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
    3Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"

    4"Haven’t you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,'[a] 5and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'[b]? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

    7"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

    8Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

    10The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."

    11Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage[c]because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."

    Mark 10
    1Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.
    2Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"

    3"What did Moses command you?" he replied.

    4They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away."

    5"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. 6"But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.'[a] 7’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b] 8and the two will become one flesh.'[c] So they are no longer two, but one. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

    10When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."

    Romans 7

    1Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.
    1 Corinthians 7:
    10To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

  3. Jenean says:

    (USA)  Sounds to me like death ends the marriage, not divorce. And the first wife should be treated as what she is…his wife. This article is filled with earthly wisdom and contributes to the plan of the enemy to break up marriages and families. I think you should re-evaluate this article.

    • Jacob says:

      (USA)  Apostle Paul received his Gospel directly from the Lord Jesus, consequently he was in full agreement with Jesus that there was no legitimacy in any ‘divorce’ and that even when the civil courts granted the divorce, the divorce did not dissolve the marriage.

      Such is the irreversible union of the ‘one-flesh’ in the eyes of God. Divorce ends nothing. Pushing a piece of paper across a courtroom table changes nothing about that relationship in the eyes of God. As far as God is concerned they are still ‘one-flesh’ after the paper is pushed across the table.

      Man invented ‘no fault divorce’ and it has no reality in God’s world.

      Like Jesus, Paul regarded all marriages, Christian and non-Christian, as irreversible. Only the death of one of the partners can separate a married couple. Remarriage, Jesus pointed out, means adultery, not a legitimate marriage.

      If a spouse believes that by getting a divorce they have untied their marriage knot and are now free to remarry, they have mistakenly believed the civil court over Jesus. Divorce only opens the door to adultery and not to freedom.

      To believe that divorce actually ends a legitimate marriage is to call Jesus a liar. To obtain a divorce and then remarry is to sin against the Lord Jesus Christ.

      Securing a divorce is a sinful action and those who obtain them and believe that they have erased their legitimate marriage must understand that the Lord still holds them to their original marriage covenant unto death.

      They are not free and they will become adulterers if they remarry. The remarriage enters them into an adulterous relationship. A second marriage is only lawful when the original partner has died. Romans 7:2-3

      Pastors who care for the souls of men will speak the TRUTH!

  4. LT says:

    (USA)  Dear Jenean, I believe this article (and the book it is extracted from) is geared toward people who got divorced before they knew the Lord. There are many people who got divorced (and possibly remarried) before they came to know the Lord and his scriptural way of life.

    I Corinthians 7:17-24 says that we are to remain in the state in which we were called. This means whatever someone did in their life before they were called, is irrelevant. This includes if they got divorced and remarried. If they were called while they are in a second marriage, that is how they should remain. That is what the Bible says – remain in the state in which you were called. Anyone accepting Christ in a second marriage is not to be focusing on their first marriage or trying to go back to that.

    The verses you mention above, quoting what Christ said to the Pharisees, were from the Mosaic law written for the Jews. That meant anyone who was not of the Jewish faith did not have to abide by those laws (the decree that Moses gave). In turn, anyone who is not presently a Christian or was not a Christian when they got divorced, is not bound by the verses above. Not until after they accept Christ and get baptized.

    Christ died on the cross for all our our sins – yours and mine included. You should not be looking at whatever sins you have overcome since finding Christ or sins you committed before getting baptized, any more than someone who was divorced before they found Christ should be focusing on that.

    Christ forgave us all our sins and what matters is what we do and how we live from the moment of baptism (re-birth) and onward. I believe that is why this article is here – for those who fit into that category of people I mention. God bless.

    • Truth says:

      (USA)  It seems to me the Word is saying that if at least one person in the marriage had been baptized and had confessed the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, divorce and “remarriage” is a form of adultery. If the subsequent marriage did not work (another divorce), if there was a strong tie to the first (after years and maturity) according to the Bible should the two reunite? Please specify a verse or verses that can be further researched.

    • Jacob says:

      (USA)  Jesus Christ taught the indissolubility of the Marriage Covenant. Our civil laws may permit divorce and remarriage, but God’s Word condemns it. Marriage was established by God and not by man. In-as-much as marriage was ordained by God, His Word is the final authority in matters concerning it.

      God’s Word has not left us in the dark concerning marriage and divorce. Jesus made it clear that divorce does not end the marriage covenant. If remarriage was legitimate, Jesus would have never called remarriage “adultery.” The marriage covenant cannot be dissolved by civil law. When a man and woman unite in marriage and become ”one flesh,” no power on earth, but death can dissolve that union.

      In the divorce trial of Powers vs. Powers in the state of New York, Judge William J. Gaylord, instructed the jury as follows, he told the jurors; “If you decide for divorce in this case, remember you may only cut the knot tied about the parties by the state’s civil law, you absolutely cannot touch the covenant bond which states that these persons are married “till death do us part.”

      I charge you gentlemen, that so far as concerns a covenant bond existing between these two people, we have nothing whatsoever to do with that. If these people are bound by a covenant, you and I are not seeking to sever that obligation.

      When we are through with this case that obligation is left untouched. We do nothing whatsoever to it. They are just as much bound by it after we get through with them, as they were before. We do not sever it, we do not break it, and that is something that it seems to me is very often misunderstood. Civil law cannot end a covenant made before God.”

      If people realized the truth of Judge Gaylord’s statements we would not be confronted with our divorce problem. When a person goes to the courthouse and divorces his mate according to the law of the land, he only breaks the civil connection. He doesn’t break, “the one flesh” that was joined by God on his wedding day.

      That day a covenant was entered into, through God’s Divine Law and civil law cannot touch that covenant. That covenant is valid unto death. “A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives.” 1 Corinthians 7:39

      As the judge states, a civil court has nothing whatsoever to do with a covenant made before God and a civil court cannot dissolve a covenant that is bound by God.

  5. Jenean says:

    (USA)  LT, Jesus was telling the pharisees what God’s original intent was for marriage. God created all of mankind, salvation is for all of mankind through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s laws are for all of mankind. Does your status as a parent change after you get saved? All of our sins are forgiven through Christ, including divorce and remarriage. But if the word of God is clear that remarriage is adultery while you have a living spouse…and clearly adultery is sin. I think that is something that we should consider as Christians and not take lightly.

    There should be more promoting the sanctity of marriage within the church, then promoting things that breakdown the family. There is nothing in these verses that indicate these verses applied to Jews only. In fact, Jesus was correcting the pharisees views on the law of Moses. By the way, I am divorced, I am young, and spent my most of my adolescence living in sin. I am well aware of the struggle. There are no easy answers, but this article just gave me a check in my spirit and I felt it to be appropriate to go back to what the word of God says on the matter. If we have a better understanding of what God’s mind is on marriage, we may enter into it (or get out of it, for that matter) with more reverence for what it is. The consequences remain.

  6. Laina says:

    (USA)  I completely agree with "J" that this is an article to help break up families. The devil is a liar, a deceiver, and a limo driver to pits of hell. Wake up world! No ex wife is the "Daycare Lady". How offensive. And if this person believes the story of the ex-wife being the daycare lady who gets a monthly payment for her services, then she needs to be prepared to have the same thing happen to her.

    I was divorced against my will. There was another person in the picture who helped to massage my husband’s ego and persuade him to leave me and our two babies. The interesting thing is, soon after the divorce was final and he came to his senses, he wanted to come home and began his journey back to us. That’s when all out war and manipulation started from the other woman. They ended up getting "married", but he soon left her and realized he had been deceived. She whined and manipulated and pulled the "suicide" threat and he went back. Not 2 weeks into it, he was miserable again. HE left again, and the same thing started back up….calling him all the time and hunting him down.

    You see, this woman knows she took a man from his covenant wife. It does not matter what your theories are, God’s word is an everlasting covenant. God will not bless that adulterous situation. My husband has always known that he should return home to us. The enemy has deceived him, and we have to keep praying for the Lord to open his eyes to the truth. The woman he is with now is extremely insecure. She has accused me of all the things she did. She has berated me publicly in front of our children.

    Now I ask you, would a woman who was doing the will of God, and in a loving and secure "marriage" with her "husband" behave that way to an "ex-wife"? Absolutely not!!!! God is convicting her of her sin. God is revealing himself to her. That relationship will never work, because God is not in it. Both of them claim to be Christians, so God will not allow them to continue in their sin. God will never take a husband and father away from a praying spouse and give him to a woman of low character. We need to wake up and realize this.

    If your car were stolen, you would contact the authorities to find it. If you discovered it a few blocks away, you would go to the person driving it and demand it back. You would not settle for them saying, "well i stole it, so it’s mine just need to get over and move on with your life.". NO NO NO NO NO!!! So why then do we let the enemy steal our spouses and listen to the lie of the enemy to just let them go?

    If you will stop listening to free thinkers who want to twist the word of God and manipulate to fit their own guilt, you will miss out on the awesome power or God willingness to restore unto you all that has been stolen. No more excuses. Stand and fight for the healing and restoration of your marriages. If your spouse left you for any non-biblical reason, if they left you for someone else, that relationship and that marriage is already doomed for failure. Your spouse has been led astray, and if you pray for their eyes to come open to the truth, and that they be delivered from the trap of the enemy, God will move.

    You cannot erase an "ex spouse" from the heart of a man or woman. In God’s eyes, they are still married. No re-definition of a spouse being the "daycare lady" will ever fly in God’s heart. Believe the word of God only and be still and know that he is God. He will make a way of escape for your wayward spouse. And when he does, he or she will make their way back to you.

    God bless you.

    • Truth says:

      (USA)  “L” – Your comments interest me. I have been married multiple times and it only got worse. First marriage ended because of infidelity and emotional abuse. However, subsequent marriages involved decreasing levels of intimacy. I have always had a strong tie to my first husband. It interests me that you referred to this marriage as the covenant marriage. I have personally grown spiritually and emotionally. I know who I am in Christ. However, the peace, love and forgiveness I have for this man is unexplainable. I am trying to understand why the bond is so strong. The word covenant (contract, binding agreement between two or more parties) reminds me of the promise we made to love each other through sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, til death do us part.

      Today, we are dating again. The bond seems strong and I am not sure why or if he truly feels the same way. Yet, Biblically should we be together? God is trying to tell me something. I am trying to understand.

      • Jacob says:

        (USA)  “The deliberate contrast in Jeremiah 3:1 between the law that Moses laid down for the Israelites in Deuteronomy 24 and God’s own behavior towards His wife points out that the New Testament Church must not determine her marriage doctrine and practice from Deuteronomy 24.” -Professor David J. Engelsma

        The Bond Yet Unbroken: The first verse of Jeremiah 3 proves, in a striking, indeed, startling way, that God was still MARRIED to DIVORCED Israel. To Israel who had “played the harlot with many lovers” and whom God had already divorced, according to verse eight, God called, “Yet return again to me.” This was a call to His wife, as verse one makes plain: “They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.”

        Whereas it was not permitted in Israel for a wife divorced from her husband and remarried to another man to return to her first husband, God called His wife back to Himself, even though she had committed adultery with many companions and even though God had divorced her. Divorced Israel REMAINED the wife of the LORD.

        What is striking, even startling, about this insistence on the maintenance of the marriage and on Israel’s return to her rightful husband is the contrast between God’s marriage to Israel and a law governing the earthly marriages of the Israelites.

        Verse one refers to the law concerning divorce and remarriage in Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 forbade a husband who had divorced his wife, on some other ground than her adultery, to take her back, if a second husband divorced her, or died.

        God, however, will take His wife back, even though she gave herself to many lovers and despite the fact that He had given her a bill of divorce. The law of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 was merely Moses’ tolerance of deviation from God’s original ordinance of marriage on the part of hard-hearted Israelite men. It was a stop-gap measure, somewhat to protect vulnerable women, who otherwise would have been passed around like property.

        This was Christ’s analysis of Deuteronomy 24:1-4, and indictment of the kind of people for whom the law was necessary, in Matthew 19:8: “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives.”

        Deuteronomy 24 does not reveal the truth about marriage, divorce, and remarriage. It reveals the wickedness in marriage of hard-hearted, that is, unbelieving, men. The truth about marriage, already in the Old Testament, is revealed in Jeremiah 3:1: Even though He must divorce an unfaithful wife, God MAINTAINED the marriage and CALLED His wife back to Himself.

        Verse fourteen of Jeremiah 3 is decisive, and explicit, regarding the question, whether God divorced an original wife so as to annul the marriage and open the way for Himself to marry another.

        Addressing faithless, divorced Israel, Jehovah exclaimed, “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am MARRIED unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”

        Although His wife was unfaithful, although she committed adultery with numerous lovers, although she was as yet impenitent, and although God had divorced her, God was STILL her husband, and she was STILL His wife. The bill of divorce did not touch, much less dissolve, the marriage bond: “I am MARRIED unto you.”

        Indeed, the fact of the marriage is the reason why God called Israel back, as it is the reason why she ought to come back, to live with Him: “For I am married unto you.” -Professor David J. Engelsma

  7. Sharri says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA – WESTERN CAPE)  I have married a man who was manipulated by an experienced sexual predator. This ex-wife of his laid down with many a naval officer in a naval town. She fell pregnant at 17yrs, married and was divorced by the time she was 20 yrs old. The husband was 28 yrs old (10yrs older than her). He was awarded full custody of their baby son and never saw him until 31 yrs later. She partied, drank, one night stands, met my husband who was single and innocent. She wooed him, promised sex only on their wedding night (this while she was having sex, had been married and birthed a child) and hastened for marriage within a year.

    They married and had a child, (numerous affairs on her part), she divorced him for the neighbor, just up and left and left my husband frantically searching for her and their child not knowing she was across the road with the neighbor. This had to be an established affair for this to have happened so that she could leave/divorce and live with this man.

    My husband accepted it and within 6 months, she moved out to live with another guy in an area close by. Again she had to betray the neighbor who she lived with in order to establish a relationship so that she could move in and live with new lover taking child with her. This was bad for child — too many daddies. 4 months later she phones my husband, says she made a mistake and wants to come back. He says yes for child’s sake, as the child looked terribly neglected and she was no good at housework/shopping/washing clothes etc. She was not a good wife or a good housekeeper. She was too busy having affairs.

    After he says yes, he had to wait a few weeks for her to return to their home. Note. She is still having relations with the man she is living with while my husband is waiting for her to come home. She was a cunning, devious liar who never loved my husband and only used and abused him because he was innocent, trusting and a good father/husband.

    Within 3 years, she divorces him again. No warning, just a letter that her lawyer would be in touch. She left him for one of the managers at his sport club. His friends knew, but no one enlightened him because they probably all slept with her too.

    He then by the grace of God met me. We did the normal courting, engagement, fun things and decided to live together after engagement and then married 2 years later. 3 years later we had two children. She only managed to get the guy to marry her 2 years after we were married. She must have had to work hard at that relationship because she was getting older had a past history of 3 marriage/divorces – 2 children. Who would want to marry someone like that?

    She was an unfit mother. We babysat every full weekend and she drank in the sporting club every Saturday afternoon evening while my hubby and his child was there for sports. I detested it. I wanted him to do the normal visitation thing, no sleeping over as he had a home, received a good maintenance and she had to be mommy in full as she was despicable. She was nasty, horried to my husband and she should never had so much free time to enjoy her new relationship as ours was new and fresh.

    We were stifled with the responsibility. Also school holidays, my hubby’s mom looked after the child in full as she worked. But where was her family? Where was her new boyfriend/then husband’s family to look after her child? All the responsibility fell on us. I could not take it anymore and we moved far away, babysitting weekends still happened – distance did not change anything.

    I gave my hubby an ultimatum, and he chose them. We divorced, sold our house (financial expense) and within 4 weeks were back together. We bought a new place, different area, and lo and behold she bought a house across the way from us. I was devastated. This proved she still wanted my husband back but only to use and toss him aside. I stopped all visitation to our home and his wheels came off. Trouble in paradise, she had an affair with a man young enough to be her son, fell pregnant while still married (whose child is it) as she sleeps with both. Moves out/divorces stays with young lover, has affairs, moves out, meets 1st husband and begs to see long lost child. He agrees, lives with her has a relationship.

    Bear in mind she is still in with my husband’s family and I am not as they always believed her and wanted her back in the family with my husband. Never mind how he felt about it/being married to me and our children. They tricked him into going to her place to see if they could make him jealous to see her with very 1st husband. He was embarrassed and did not stay long and also did not tell me.

    Shortly thereafter, his mom became ill, comatose and that was the end of ex-wife in family. She then remarried husband 1 and 7 months later was leaving him for 3rd child’s daddy and he caught her. He shot her and himself and I only found out the truth 9 years later that my husband was in her house. It nearly destroyed my marriage/family life as he had no business being there as his “son” was a grown-up man already.

    We are still battling today as the trust is gone due to this infidel, unfaithful horrid woman who caught my husband, used and abused him and nearly destroyed my marriage. Be careful of people who have been married and divorced. Be very careful. It is not an easy road to travel.

  8. Sarah says:

    (USA)  My husband got divorced 10 years before we met because his ex-wife was cheating on him. He was only 16 when they got married and she was 22. The only reason that he got married was because she got pregnant and told him that it was his. They had another kid together and he caught her cheating. He got a DNA test for the kids without telling them what they were for and found out that the first child was not his. The second child however was his child. They got divorced because she wanted to marry the man that she was currently sleeping with.

    10 years later we met and began dating. We have been together for 2 years and now have two children of our own. She is now trying to convince my husband that he belongs with her and their child instead of with me and our children. I believe that a marriage is a covenant relationship made not only with your partner but also with God. However, how could it be right for him to break this new covenant with me when she broke their covenant with adultery? The whole situation is just so confusing.

  9. Peggy says:

    (USA)  I’m a firm believer in marriage being a Covenant, although my husband of 30 yrs, met an Indian woman. As He says, He has apparently became head over heels for her. He started the affair so aggressively, he started treating me like trash, and it really broke my heart and still is, because they are living together. I love my husband and willing to forgive and forget, but he acts like a teenager, and I pray that god will restore his love for me and our marriage will be restored.

  10. Deborah says:

    (USA)  Your heart convicts you of the truth. Also, when we read the truth we recognize it.

    I agree, when I read all this advice about how to blend step families, how to minimize the identity of your ex (the daycare lady? Really people? You didn’t vow to love, honor and cherish until death do you part, the “daycare” lady? All I feel in my spirit is panic. We are accepting worldly values and ideals and saying it’s okay for fathers (and mother’s) to walk away from their original commitments and responsibilities. We are teaching our children with our actions the enemies lie that “the grass is always greener…” We’re putting lipstick on a pig and calling it a princess. This is NOT RIGHT!

    Through longsuffering and forgiveness, God makes us all better people. We become stronger when we honor our original commitments and see them through, not to mention, we set the right example for our children to have happier, healthier, better lives themselves. I swear the world, even the church, has gone stark raving mad!

    My mother and father were married ONLY TO EACH OTHER for 52 years. They honored the commitment they made to one another through sickness and health, for better for worse UNTIL DEATH DO US PART and all of their children were the better for it. I was taught if you make a promise YOU KEEP IT! It aint all about you!

    This idea that new wives are acceptable and everyone can live together in harmony is insane! We are not wired that way! Nothing threatens a new wife more than an ex wife and her children, it doesn’t work and it scars the hearts of the children. I read an extensive study, after 5 years the number one regret of remarried men is divorcing their first wife! Keep praying for your husbands to come home ladies, you are not wrong! Through reconciliation we show the world what faith in God can do and we give others hope!

    • Bob says:

      (USA)  If women wouldn’t be in such a hurry to get married and have kids the world would be a better place. My mother married the guitar player in a local band when she was 22, had me and after about a year of him beating her, blowing her (only) income on dope and booze, and sleeping with hordes of other women, he split. That was 31 years ago and I have never laid eyes on him.

      My current girlfriend got pregnant at 19 years old and has two kids by a deadbeat methamphetamine addict who rarely makes child support payments, and gives her all kinds of grief every week.

      The June Cleaver days are over, folks. People make decisions that later effect the lives of dozens of people and they don’t take 2 little minutes to think “hey this may not be a great idea” or “what kind of quality of life am I setting my kids up for here?”

      Women. Just because you met a guy FIRST does NOT mean he’s the best person for you. Guys, use protection!

      The choices you have in a mate now are 1) 18 years old. 2) a divorced or unwed parent with enough baggage to fill a freight train 3) being alone. It’s a sad, Sad, Sad State of affairs. For anyone who was taught to do it the right way, read: no irresponsible marriages and no children born outside of marriage. Good luck.

    • Alexandra from United States says:

      Amen. My beloved husband is in what I call a “non-covenant” marriage with the AP. It’s been a few years since he left and I’m still praying that God convicts him (and her) and guides him home to me and our child, who wants his father home. He’s been conflicted just about the whole time and I have reason to believe he still is. Thankfully we’re actually on friendly terms. With God’s help I make every effort to take the high road.

      A divorce decree is just a piece of paper. A covenant marriage is not made void by saying vows with another person. Only death can break the marriage covenant. I’m leaving the door open for reconciliation. Yes, I want him back… but if he doesn’t, I’ll concentrate on raising our son the Christian way. People think I’m nuts… but the Christian way isn’t the easy way!

  11. TC says:

    (CANADA)  Charlene Steinkamp has a wonderful, anointed ministry dedicated to marriage restoration. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to answer anyone’s questions and to give you hope.

    Christ’s heart has zero to do with divorce in any circumstances. However, His mercy and grace and forgiveness are there for anyone who believes in Him.

    Divorce is NEVER the best option. People coming to Christ and seeking His powerful healing touch is.

  12. Confused says:

    (AUS)  I came on this site hoping to find answers to my questions and now am more confused than originally. In a nutshell my partner and I are new Christians, both baptized; we are getting married next month. He has an ex wife who cheated and left him 4 years previous, married husband no. 2 and they have a child. Since the announcement of our engagement she has been problematic, to put it nicely.

    My partner and I have discussed the biblical sense of marriage, and through scripture came to the conclusion that number one she was unfaithful, and on those grounds was okay to divorce. The scripture carries on to say that if the husband becomes full of desire it is okay that he finds a new wife. Also we were under the impression that as we have committed ourselves to Lord and been baptized we are new and starting a new.

    If I am wrong someone please give me the scriptures, which say I have wrong thinking regarding this…

  13. Blue says:

    (USA)  The first thing you notice in all angry “till death do us part” followers is the fact that your husband left you. You are angry and jealous that is all and looking for excuse why your failed marriages. I am married to a wonderful man that I love more than anything in this world. We were both married before by civil unions and divorced by the same and we got married in church the second time. Both of our ex’s were selfish with narcissistic controlling personalities.

    Why would God want anyone to stay with someone who makes you miserable day in and day out? Who shows you they don’t care and don’t love you?

    He was good husband and father, cook, clean, took care of their child, which by the way she could not conceive and had to use artificial insemination method. He does not drink or smoke or go out. But nothing ever was enough for her, he was not good enough for her. She would not even have sex with him. She would fight over everything and anything every single day. Until he had enough and left.

    I was good wife, but my spouse was only about himself. Never participated in anything that had to do with kids (2), no help at home but only complained and God forbid dinner was not ready when he got home or we had a fight. He hit me, pushed me and took my self esteem away even though I was the one who always made more money and had more education and put him through school.

    This is second marriage for both of us and we are HAPPY, VERY HAPPY. We respect each other, have fun together, we haven’t argued even once since we met. We are loving and happy couple. I pray to God every day and thank for all the blessings and for a wonderful new husband God brought to me when I almost gave up.

    Cherish your husband/wife show them love and respect, tell them how great and wonderful they are, not because they belong to you after signing contract, but because you truly love them.

  14. Chuck from United States says:

    Everybody always uses this “new creature” statement to justify remarriage. Here’s the thing, you are a new spiritual creature, but that doesn’t magically transform sin. If you were a thief and came to Christ, are future thefts absolved? No. So neither is adultry.

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