Divorce and Matthew 19:9


I have been going through a rough time right now. My husband of 3 years has been having an affair with another women who is also married. I found all of this out about a month a go. He said everything is over and that he wants to be with me but over this last year and half he has been cheating he has hurt me so much that I don’t think I can ever love him again. We were trying counseling and seperation durning this last month which has been very hard. Yesterday the women started claiming that she is pregnant and that it is his child not her husband. This was my breaking point. I’ve been reading everything I can in the Bible about divorce and I ran across Matthew 19:9. Can you please explain this passage to me and why the Catholic church doesn’t allow you to divorce your husband because of adultry. Because they way I read it, adultry is the only reason besides an untrue marriage to start with. I need some help to stay or to go…please help. My husband is a Christian but not Catholic I am Catholic and have been so since birth. We were married in a Catholic church and I never thought I would ever go through something like this. My husband is the only man I have ever been in love with and the only one I have ever had sex with. Please help me in dealing with this enormous struggle. I am afraid that the other women will have an abortion, or keep the child and my husband will have nothing to do with it, or keep the child and the child will be in my life and I will have to deal with the pain of seeing that child every day. I think my only way to forgive him is to get out of the relationship and distance myself so that I eventually forget all the pain and lies.


The Catholic Church doesn’t forbid divorce. Rather, the Church forbids remarriage after a divorce, unless the earlier marriage was invalid.

I, too, have been the “faithful” spouse in a cheating relationship. I know your pain. I cannot give you any advice, though, because I don’t know enough about the situation.


I will pray for your srength through all of this. I too am going through a divorce after 36 years. My husband we think has become mental unstable. It was unsafe for me to stay with him. try not to think of of divoarce from the church right now.Take things in small steps. You have to take care of you and your mental well being right now. . Take care of you right now. You are the innocent victim in all of this. Can you stay with a sister or brother until you can get your head on striaght? When you put some distance between you and your husband you will start to think more clear.
Do you really want a life of not trusting him. That is what you are asking for .You are young and that sounds like a life sentence to which there is no parole. It is better to get out now then spend years of never knowing what he is doing.

I too have only been with my husband. I met him when I was 16. We have been togather ever since. I still can’t belive this is happening to us. He is a totally different person I don’t even recognize anymore.
It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I talk to a prist and I am certain that God guides me everyday. I just signed the papers to go to the court and I truly felt God was with me. I will eventually go for a divorce and go from there, but for now I take each day as it comes. And each day is better then the day before. Remember Your family and God love you very much.


Only you know what you can stand, but please remember the Catholic Church does not simply take the Bible as its sole reference.

You might not be married, actually, except observing whatever civil legalities there are. Your putative husband doesn’t seem as if he intended to keep his vows at the time he made them. A Church court, called a tribunal, might see it that way, just a wedding that was.

Why don’t you talk to a priest about it, and see what he says. He might surprise you. And find a good lawyer.


I am very sorry that you are going through all this. Please listen to the advice that you have been given.

As far as Matthew 19:9 is concerned, the passage may not have been translated well into English. The word that has been commonly translated as ‘adultery’ may actually refer to a ‘marriage’ between a man and woman that was not permitted under Jewish law. It probably wasn’t referring to a married person who became involved with someone who was not a spouse.


The interpretations I’ve read agree with this “forbidden marriage” interpretation of Matthew 19:9, rather than the “adultery” interpretation. If two people wanted to divorce, or even just one of the couple wanted a divorce, all the two (or one) would have to do is commit adultery, and presto, they get the divorce they wanted in the first place. So that can’t be the correct interpretation.

I’ve read that the “except in cases of ‘porneia’ (original Greek)” is referring to marriages of too-close blood or by-previous-marriage relations that never should have taken place to begin with. Under Roman law, for example, brother and sisters could marry. Ugh. Half-brothers and sisters? Woman and her uncle? First cousins? Son and his widowed stepmother? Daughter and her widowed stepfather? As pagans joined early Christian communities, some religious leaders allowed the pre-existing marriages to stand, but other religious leaders insisted they follow Jewish law forbidding certain blood or legal (by-previous-marriage) relations from marrying. That is my understanding of the no divorce “except in cases of ‘porneia.’”

I’m so sorry for the tremendous pain you are going through. But if you are not in danger of physical or mental abuse, and if your husband is genuinely contrite and trying to make amends, please, please, don’t rush into a civil divorce. Please, please try to work things out. It will take time and forgiveness and healing, and it won’t be easy. But your relationship can recover, and you can be happy once again. Difficult marriages don’t always stay that way; sometimes “the better” comes after “the worse.”

Best wishes,


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