Ask a questionQ & A
I have recently been separated from my wife and another woman has come into my life. When is it right to start another relationship?
Thank you so much for your enquiry about marriage and relationships.
I am very sorry to learn that you have gone through the trauma of a broken marriage. The right way to deal with this, and with your question about beginning another relationship, is to ask what the Bible teaches about these things.
In the Old Testament, provision was made for divorce and remarriage if a husband found himself unable any longer to view his wife as devoted to the marriage for some serious reason (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Similarly, a wife could demand a divorce if her husband failed to provide for her a secure home, material care, and a sexual relationship (Exodus 21:10-11).
Some biblical scholars believe that Jesus changed this rule by limiting divorce and remarriage to an innocent partner, husband or wife, who has been betrayed by adultery (Matthew 5:31-32). The apostle Paul seems to include desertion as a ground for divorce as well (1 Corinthians 7:10-16).
Other scholars understand The Old Testament, Jesus and Paul to teach the same essential thing: that divorce without a serious cause is a betrayal of the marriage akin to adultery, yet if the marriage is ended a divorced person is free to remarry. It seems clear that adultery and desertion are grounds for divorce, and if Deuteronomy 24 is taken as an abiding rule, other similarly serious betrayals of the marriage bond - such as the consistent refusal of a sexual relationship, or the physical abuse of a partner.
This is a difficult question of interpretation and each person must be satisfied in good conscience that they are acting in obedience to God's will as revealed in Scripture, and only when there is no hope of reconciliation.
With regard to your question about starting a new relationship, the moral issue is whether you should at all. This will also depend on your understanding of the Bible. Some regard Jesus as forbidding remarriage altogether, others think he forbids remarriage except for the innocent party in adultery, and others that he regards remarriage as valid but a loss of the original ideal of marriage. Again, you are faced with studying Jesus' teaching very carefully before making up your mind what is right before God. One more aspect of this is the possibility that God doesn't want you to be married and is calling you to singleness (Matthew 19:12).
Turning to a practical issue about forming a new relationship, some evidence has shown that it takes divorced people on average about two years to return to a place of emotional stability. Before this, people tend to form relationships in reaction to their loss and loneliness rather than with good judgement. If you consider yourself morally free to make a relationship, I would advise you to ask several people you trust to tell you honestly what they think about its suitability for you. If you are a church-goer, you would be well advised to ask your pastor or elders. Your immediate family might also be able to give you an honest opinion.
Do be careful that you don't rush into something you will regret later on.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- John 8:3-12
- John 4:4-32
- Matthew 19:8
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church
Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question
*Taken From The New King James Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
Find more answers in...
If you can't find an answer to your question, please ask us instead.