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    Montanablue's Avatar
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    Unhappy A query about divorce (when is it permissible?)

    I recently found out that my aunt (who is a Christian although not reformed) is divorcing my uncle. I was initially shocked that she would do such a thing, but after hearing the details, I wonder if she is, perhaps, justified. My uncle has left her for another woman and is now living with said woman. Although my aunt has tried to set up counseling appointments for them both, he has only attended once. This has been going on for about 8 months. The reason that she decided to initiate the divorce is that he has begun to spend their money and run up their credit (they have joint bank accounts, credit cards, and both hold the deed to their house). A few months ago, she had no money to pay her electric bill as he had spent everything in their joint checking account.

    Of course, I know that God "hates" divorce, but then in Matthew 5:31, Jesus says “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’a 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery." Since my uncle is actively having an affair and has no remorse, I wonder if she is biblically corrrect to divorce him. I have talked to some other reformed people about the issue, and I've heard mixed reactions. A few have said that as he is still the head of the household, he is free to spend the money as he likes. I question this because he's leaving his wife without sufficient funds to feed herself and pay the bills.

    At any rate, what do the PBers think? Any additional scripture that applies would be most welcome too.
    Kathleen M
    nondenominational
    Montana

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    Theoretical's Avatar
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    Absolutely justifed. Matthew 5:32

    I have extreme problems with the idea he is within his rights to impoverish her while sharing another woman's bed.

    This is both desertion and adultery.

    This situation breaks my heart to read. for you and for her.
    Scott - Dallas, Texas - Faith OPC

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    Montanablue's Avatar
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    Thank you for the WCF reference! I am still "newly reformed" and although I've read it through, I'm not as familiar with it as I would like.
    Kathleen M
    nondenominational
    Montana

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    SolaScriptura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montanablue View Post
    I have talked to some other reformed people about the issue, and I've heard mixed reactions. A few have said that as he is still the head of the household, he is free to spend the money as he likes.
    Whoever said that is a moron. And you can take that to the bank.

    Unfortunately, your uncle has broken the covenant he made with both God and your aunt. He has committed adultery and he has abandoned his wife. To add insult to injury, to the extent that the joint account contains money that she has earned, he is stealing from her. And for him to take the money knowing that she has financial obligations to meet demonstrates a very callous heart.

    She should pray for his repentance, but at this point she needs to “cut sling load” (as they say in the Air Assault community).
    Ben
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    Scottish Lass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theoretical View Post
    Absolutely justifed. Matthew 5:32

    I have extreme problems with the idea he is within his rights to impoverish her while sharing another woman's bed.

    This is both desertion and adultery.

    This situation breaks my heart to read. for you and for her.
    Anna
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    Louisville, KY
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    There are two separate, but interrelated issues here.

    First the spiritual one. From your description, it does sound like she has Biblical grounds for divorce. If she is a member of a true church (one, which among other things, properly administers church discipline), she should turn to her elders for guidance. Reconciliation is preferable to divorce, but divorce can be permissible. But this is a decision that shouldn't be made alone. It should be made after obtaining proper counsel from the elders.

    The other issue concerns protecting herself. Whether or not she gets a divorce, she should see a lawyer about taking the steps necessary to protect herself - separate bank accounts, separating the credit obligations to the extent possible (note that agreements between the parties, even when reflected in a court order, may not be binding on lenders), etc.
    Edward
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    Montanablue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward View Post
    There are two separate, but interrelated issues here.

    First the spiritual one. From your description, it does sound like she has Biblical grounds for divorce. If she is a member of a true church (one, which among other things, properly administers church discipline), she should turn to her elders for guidance. Reconciliation is preferable to divorce, but divorce can be permissible. But this is a decision that shouldn't be made alone. It should be made after obtaining proper counsel from the elders.

    The other issue concerns protecting herself. Whether or not she gets a divorce, she should see a lawyer about taking the steps necessary to protect herself - separate bank accounts, separating the credit obligations to the extent possible (note that agreements between the parties, even when reflected in a court order, may not be binding on lenders), etc.
    Since she discovered that he was draining her bank account, I believe she has taken steps to protect herself (opening a bank account in just her name and having her paychecks deposited there instead etc).

    As well, I know that she has set up appointments and meetings with her church leadership. I'm unsure what her church's role in all of this has been. Like I said, she's a Christian, but not reformed (she's United Methodist) and not being familiar with the Methodist church, I'm unsure as to how they would likely deal with this. We're very friendly with each other, but we're not really close about our personal lives, so I hesitate to pry too much into what I am sure is a painful subject for her.

    Thanks to everyone for the responses. I have a very very small circle of reformed friends, and so I appreciate the insights.
    Kathleen M
    nondenominational
    Montana

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    Blueridge Believer's Avatar
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    It is obvious your aunt, bless her heart, is married to a hell bound reprobate. He has proven this by his unrepentant behaviour. To brother Joshua's posting of the confession I'll add this passage of scripture:



    1Co 7:13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
    1Co 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
    1Co 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
    Psa 55:16 As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.
    Psa 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
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    Michael is offline. Puritanboard Senior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueridge Believer View Post
    It is obvious your aunt, bless her heart, is married to a hell bound reprobate. He has proven this by his unrepentant behaviour.
    Hell bound if he continues, yes. But I think we should be cautious to stamp him as reprobate so quickly. From WCF XV.IV: As there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent. We should pray toward the latter as God may yet grant him repentance (see also WCF V.V). The aunt, however, is by no means bound to 'wait and find out'.


    To brother Joshua's posting of the confession I'll add this passage of scripture:

    1Co 7:13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
    1Co 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
    1Co 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
    Amen.

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    A.J.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montanablue View Post
    At any rate, what do the PBers think? Any additional scripture that applies would be most welcome too.
    Kathleen, the PCA has a position paper defending the Reformed consensus on the validity of divorce and remarriage in cases of adultery and desertion. The paper is well-written because it examines and responds to objections to this view. The position paper (which is divided into several chapters) may be accesed in this page: PCA Historical Center: Index to the Position Papers of the Presbyterian Church in America. Look under the heading "Divorce and Remarriage." The chapter that deals directly with your concern is chapter 2: Scriptural Perspective on Divorce and Remarriage.
    Albert, The Republic of the Philippines
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    Montanablue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.J. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Montanablue View Post
    At any rate, what do the PBers think? Any additional scripture that applies would be most welcome too.
    Kathleen, the PCA has a position paper defending the Reformed consensus on the validity of divorce and remarriage in cases of adultery and desertion. The paper is well-written because it examines and responds to objections to this view. The position paper (which is divided into several chapters) may be accesed in this page: PCA Historical Center: Index to the Position Papers of the Presbyterian Church in America. Look under the heading "Divorce and Remarriage." The chapter that deals directly with your concern is chapter 2: Scriptural Perspective on Divorce and Remarriage.
    I haven't been able to read it through yet (just skimmed it since I'm out the door to work in few minutes), but that looks extremely helpful. Thank you.
    Kathleen M
    nondenominational
    Montana

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    Only one other thought. The Westminster Confession summarizes the doctrine of scripture on this clearly. Understand this carefully, the innocent party is not commanded to do so, but may do so. That is, God does not require that kind of undue burden to be born by an innocent party and therefore allows exception but still leaves a door open for reconciliation, if desired by the innocent party.

    The case you describe sounds awful and gives biblical grounds, but understand biblically, there have been cases of reconciliation even from cases of this kind of immorality (and understand the adultery was repented of, forsaken, accountability instituted, grieving and reconciliation sought, etc. No easy process, but with God, all things are possible).

    You may also find helpful studying the Scripture proofs to this section of the Westminster Confession:

    [11] MAT 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

    [12] MAT 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

    [13] MAT 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. ROM 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

    [14] MAT 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. 1CO 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. MAT 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    [15] DEU 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
    Scott
    PCA
    North Carolina


    Post Tenebras Lux; "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." - Revelation 21:4

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