The Pharisees attempted to trap Jesus again with a divisive question: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” (Matt 19:3).
This question stems from a misunderstanding of Deuteronomy 24:1–-4, where Moses appeared to encourage divorce. Jesus clarified Moses’s instruction by explaining that Moses permitted a divorce only because of the “hardness of [their] hearts.”
Even Jesus’s disciples reacted in shock to His teaching against divorce: “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (19:10). They could not imagine a bond of love or mutual submission being more powerful than a threat of divorce for uniting a marriage permanently.
Jesus answers with an intimidating question: “Have you not read . . .?” (Matt 19:4). God expects us all to read and know correctly all the instructions He has revealed to us.
Jesus goes on to explain four reasons why divorce was never God’s plan: First, Adam and Eve were created as man and woman. It was God who brought them together.
Second, they were to cleave to each other. The word for cleave means “to glue one thing to another.” God has designed marriage as a total commitment to one another.
Third, “the two [were to] become one flesh.” Married couples live together and do things together; they are lovers and refuse to think of anyone else. They are one body, inseparable until death. They are one in thought, goals, desires, direction, commitment, and submission to God.
Fourth, every marriage in the world is engineered by God’s intervention: “God has joined [them] together.” Marriage is always the work of God, and divorce is always the work of our own rebellion. Thus the command is to literally “stop separating or divorcing,” with only a few exceptions.
Always follow God’s principles in marriage to resolve conflicts and stay bonded together.
“Lord, every day I meet couples struggling in their marriage. Give me wisdom to engage them in dialogue and help them work through their conflicts. May we seek to avoid divorces as much as You despise the breakup of marriages. Thank You for Your grace always.”