Malachi 2:16 is often quoted (NKJV): “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts.”
So why does God hate divorce so much?
This verse tells us that it clothes a person in violence, not love. Marriage involves choosing to love another person, even when they are not “lovely” to love. They may act sinfully or selfishly but you choose to love them as Christ has loved you. It’s a choice.
People do NOT fall out of love. They only choose to quit thinking “loving” thoughts about their spouse and really begin thinking “hateful” thoughts about their spouse. Is it any wonder why they would claim to have “fallen out of love” with their spouse when they only think hateful thoughts about him/her?
Those hateful thoughts lead to violence. When someone divorces a spouse, they are suing that person. A divorce is a lawsuit against a spouse – that is a drastic, violent action in itself!
Divorce is ugly. It is like cutting a person in half since the two married persons have become one flesh that God has joined together according to Jesus in Matthew 19:6 (ESV): “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The violence of divorce always occurs because of hardness of heart according to Jesus in Matthew 19:8 (ESV): “He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”
When you have time, read Jesus’ teachings on divorce in Matthew 19 and in other passages (Mark 10 for example). Divorce is never a good thing. In very few cases, people I have counseled have divorced against my advice. In their minds, they are thinking that divorce is a necessary prevention step to protect themselves and their children from domestic violence and other dangerous problems in the home. In all of these instances, my counsel is for them not to divorce if at all possible, but knowing that they have already decided to divorce, then I show them God’s Word which says NOT to remarry in the real hope that they might be reconciled to a repentant spouse one day in the future. We can never give up on the Lord to change the heart! Usually, these cases of divorce are between an unbeliever and a believer in Christ, not two Christians.
Two believers should not divorce. They should be able to work out any problem, even adultery, by God’s grace! Believers can live at peace together because of the Spirit within them (II Tim. 1:14).
The persons getting a divorce quickly become adversaries when they were never intended to be such. Instead of being one flesh, they are pulling apart something that God never intended to be separated. Imagine sawing your body in half at your belly button. That’s what a divorce is and that’s what it feels like.
So, does God hate divorce? Yes. Why? Because it does not bring glory to His name and it hurts, separates, encourages hate, displays hard heartedness, and promotes violence. It will only bring heartache and harm to those family members involved, and that includes MORE people than just the two spouses!!!
If God hates something, Christians must hate it, also. God hates divorce. Do you?
-Mark (spreading a message of hope in Christ for your marriage and urging you to try everything else except divorce!)
P.S. This is NOT an exhaustive treatment of this complicated subject. For more on this topic, please read Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible by Jay Adams.