Matthew 19 is an often disputed passage regarding divorce. Jesus informs us that “till death do us part,” is God’s plan for a man and woman. He does seem to make an exception for adultery, which is the act that breaks the covenant relationship itself. But Jesus is firm that marriage is a divine institution that should not be dissolved because the two “are no longer two, but they have become one flesh” in God’s eyes.

I always make someone mad when I talk about this, but here goes! I’ve watched numerous divorces over the last 30 years of ministry. Usually they come about because one or both parties say that they are “unhappy” in the relationship. The most frequent officially accepted reason for divorce today is “incompatibility.” I often argue with couples that the “unhappiness” is actually a result of wrong priorities. If happiness is more important than your commitment, you will find your commitments always leading to situations where you must break them to be “happy.” I argue, that true freedom comes from realizing that your commitments come first and happiness will follow. If happiness is what you want most in life, you’ll never find it. You will be a slave to your emotions and lose everything that matters most. God always has our best interest foremost in mind, and when his design is for a “death do us part” commitment to be made to our spouses above all else, He does so because it will result in the greatest happiness that can be experienced in our marriages.

I believe this is why Jesus ends his instructions regarding marriage by saying, “what God has joined together, let no man pull apart.”

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Matthew 19:5)