Friday, February 11, 2011

Can a Marriage be Invalidated

I need to stop wandering by some sites. I know the information there is wonky. So I should just stop.

But anyway...

Is there anything, you think, an action, or a discovery of a previous condition, etc. etc. that would make you believe that you weren't really married to that person, or that you have to divorce them immediately on religious grounds?


  1. If I discovered they were already married (and not divorced, though it sure would put the marriage on shaky ground if I discovered they had been married before but hadn't told me).

    Other reasons that would make me consider divorce would not be for religious reasons.

  2. Wouldn't that make you legally not married at all anyway? Bigamy is illegal in the US and I assume it is in most other countries as well. There're plenty of very good reasons to divorce someone.

    The person I was reading that caused this post was very heavy into, 'xyz causes your marriage to be invalid and now you're fornicating!' where xyz could be almost anything at all that went against their interpretation of the Bible.

  3. Oh that's just crazy... Oh yeah, definitely would make it legally invalid as well, I was just thinking of things that would be a reason for me to choose not to be with someone based on religion.. meh, I don't know, I guess if I didn't want to be married I wouldn't blame it on religion.

  4. Like Becky said, someone who was already married and not divorced.

    Another thing is that I don't believe that changing your religion makes a marriage invalid. That's why I'm completely stunned when I see that people divorce their spouses for going, say, from Islam to some form of Christianity, or vice versa. Your spouse doesn't have to be the same religion as you in order to support your practice of it. God hates divorce, and the only grounds for divorce according to the Bible is adultery. That's good enough for me.

  5. Heather,

    I really don't know how I'd react if my husband up and changed religions on me. I guess it would depend on what religion he converted to what I would do. There are some where I just know I couldn't stay married to him.

  6. Hmmm, on religious grounds? Never really thought of it. You ask some hard (but good) questions! What do you think?

  7. Well, I know that I couldn't be with someone who practiced Satanism or Wicca or any of that other scary dark stuff. I think that part kinda goes without saying. It's not usually the "good" person who raises up the "dark" person, but the "dark" person pulls down the "good" person. Did I articulate that well? I dunno. : P

  8. Susanne,

    I don't know. Adultery is the only thing that I know for certain would necessitate a divorce, religiously, though there are other things that make the marriage non-existent in the first place, like known and undisclosed fertility, or a lack of intention to keeps ones marriage vows from the start.

  9. Heather,

    Wicca is not dark and scary, just for the record. It's a very nice and peaceful religion.

    For me, though, I'm saying that if I were married and my husband became, let's say a Mormon, or a Seventh Day Adventist, I couldn't stay married to them. Obviously other religions are out too...

  10. Honestly, I think there are worse things than a one-off case of adultery (when the partner is willing to work on it and apologizes, and the offended partner is willing to forgive and give the marriage another change). Such issues as physical and emotional abuse, or substance abuse is in my opinion much more detrimental to a relationship (although serial adultery would be a form of emotional abuse as well). I know that doesn't give religious right to divorce (at least not according to the Bible), but in my opinion it should.

  11. That's true. Some people's marriages do recover from an incident of adultery. I guess, if I were in that situation, I'd have to make that decision then. At this moment, I can say I'd kick his ass to the curb and change the locks, but that's from the position of not having any emotions for any specific person. And in my opinion, abuse in any form is far worse. But only adultery is an 'acceptable' excuse according to the Bible. Which is one reason I'm happy civil society doesn't stick to Biblical laws. Then again, if my husband abused me I wouldn't bother with a divorce. Widow-hood is far more dignified.

  12. "Widow-hood is far more dignified."

    As for adultery, I really think it depends on the individual situations, and the reasons behind the adultery. I do think it can be worked through in some cases, though by far not in all.

    "But only adultery is an 'acceptable' excuse according to the Bible. Which is one reason I'm happy civil society doesn't stick to Biblical laws."

    Me too! But I have a question, how do you conciliate that with your belief in the Bible as God's word? Shouldn't have provided that way out as well, or is this God saying, it's okay to beat your wife?

  13. Becky, a FB friend asked me about this just today! I'll copy what I told him in case you wanted my thoughts on this divorce matter. :)

    To Zayd:

    I read this on a blog last year and it pretty much describes how some people "deal with" divorce since you said Jesus made it impossible (or whoever added those words to the Bible in your opinion.)

    "...the argument is not over whethe...r divorce is bad. Everyone agrees that divorce is a result of sin and that healthy reconciliation is the perfect will of God. Well, let me rephrase. God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). Let me make this a bit stronger. God always hates divorce. This much is true. We must, however, keep this in perspective: there are a lot of things that are the result of a fallen world that God hates. God hates death (Ez. 18:23). God hates war. I believe that God hates hell, deformities, addiction, and cancer. But God also, to be sure, hated that he had to divorce Israel:

    “And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.” (Jer. 3:8; see also Isa. 50:1)

    So for God to say “I hate divorce” helps us recognize that divorce, as a part of the fallen order, is a result of sinfulness in the world and it is this that God hates. It also helps us recognize that divorce, like death and war, is sometimes a necessary part of a fallen world due to sinfulness."


    I don't think divorce is good, but it is sometimes necessary. Too many people, however, use divorce as an easy way out when they should take greater strides to reconcile and put others first instead of demanding their own ways. Most problems could be remedied if people simply honored others better than they honor themselves as the Bible instructs us to do and as Jesus lived. Sadly it seems not many people take these things to heart because we are selfish people by nature.


    Amber may totally disagree, but that's how I view it.

  14. Susanne, I like your comment, and I agree with you that many people don't work hard enough on their marriages. I do still think there are times when divorce is the better option, like I said, in cases of abuse and such, and I don't really think the Bible deals with that adequately, in my opinion.

  15. In my opinion the Bible credits people with common sense. If a man abuse you, get out of the marriage. The Bible doesn't spell out every situation you might ever encounter and how you MUST act accordingly. It gives principles to live by. It seeks to change hearts and thus lives. When you are honoring your spouse and cherishing him/her, you are not hitting or demanding of them

    Divorce is necessary in a broken world because people are messed up. But the Bible deals with helping people "get fixed" so to speak.

    I don't care that the Bible doesn't give me detailed instructions and assumes I do have some common sense in knowing to get out of abusive marriages. People who preach otherwise are just plain nuts who want to keep control over everyone. I don't go for those power-hungry interpretations...from ANY religious leader. I'm a rebel like that, I guess.:)

  16. I agree with that, and that makes sense. It's just that I see so many religious people saying that no matter what you have to stay married or you're no longer a good Christian.

  17. Yeah,I understand. I just disagree with them for the reasons stated previously. :)

  18. Becky,

    I think you'd have to be a more forgiving and trusting person than I am to work through adultery in your marriage. I just don't believe that I could ever look at my husband the same way again, ever trust him or even love him the same way again after a betrayal like that. I know couples manage to do it, I just don't think I'm that 'good' a person.

    re: your question. The Bible is a collection of historical documents. It is not, in my belief, the total sum of God's message to the world. That would be the Church. So the fact that the Bible doesn't contain provisions for what to do in every modern situation doesn't bother me in the least. The Church is there to act and react to the world, to hold the fort as it were on the things that are unchangeable, and to adapt the teachings of Christ to modern issues.

    As far as abuse/divorce problem. In the first place, at the time the texts that became the Bible were written, a woman couldn't leave her husband. Where would she go? There were no womens shelters, nor really any concept of abuse as we understand it. Women were, to one extent or another depending on the society, property. For the Bible to contain a quote from Christ saying, 'and if you husband beats you, flee to the mountains and divorce him' would be awesome. Totally unworkable in the context and unreasonable, but it'd be neat.

    Rather, what we get are instructions on how a husband and a wife are supposed to treat one another. The husband is supposed to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. If you love another person to the depths that you would not only die for them, but be tortured and tormented, mocked and belittled before hand, you wouldn't be capable of causing them harm intentionally.

    These are guiding principles, meant to cause changes within individuals, because that's where all change to society has to start. And in the end, it's only our individual actions and principles that we will be held accountable for.

  19. Susanne,

    I actually agree with you. Don't know why you thought I might not. Divorce is not something to be bandied about lightly. It's *bad*. God hates it and you can look around and see all the pain that it causes. But it is, in some cases, necessary for the safety and well being of the people involved.

    Would it be so prevalent if more people treated others as they are told to by God? No.

    But another problem is that people enter into marriage too lightly. They don't take the time to really get to know and understand their prospective spouse. Maybe because they know they can just divorce if it doesn't work out? Maybe because they truly believe that love conquers all? Disney fairy tales have done no one any favors on that count.

    If people put more work into choosing a spouse and then working through problems in the marriage, for the most part (barring things like abuse, adultery, etc. for which I will not make the demand that people try to work through it. That's...noble, but given my history, I can't say that I would do it and so can't recommend it.), divorce rates would go down sharply.

  20. Amber,I love how you explain things! Really, you should be a teacher!

    Oh,I thought you might agree with me, but didn't want to presume since I didn't think my stance was in line with Tradition. (wasn't sure). I was just speaking from a common sense approach and didn't want anyone to think I was speaking for all Christians. :)


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