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multiple marraiges

A Xt3 Member asked at 3:30pm on October 17th 2018
An administrator Xt3 .com edited this question at 7:38pm on November 15th 2018
Hello Father,

I'm a Christian (Baptist). Does God's Law consider a woman's marriage valid that occurred when the man was STILL married to someone else (not divorced) at the time? The first spouse was still alive. The second marriage can be legally annulled thru Man's law, but did the second marriage even count in the eyes of God?

I realy feel like God put this woman in my life so I can be happy. The problem is that she's married to a man who was still married to another woman when they got married (she did not know of this at the time). The man (husband) took off and married a third woman and hasnt spoken to my friend in years. There is no marriage and she wants to get it annuled but the lawyer is expensive. If I get involved with her before its annuled, am I commiting adultery?

Please provide any Bible references to support your answer.

Thanks!

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Hi Ray, let me start with the Bible references: in the book of Malachi, God says that He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). And in the Gospels, Jesus says:

'Haven't you read that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?" So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate' (Mt 19:4-6). And: 'Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery' (Lk 16:18, see Mk 10:11-12).

St Paul writes: 'Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives. . . . Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive' (Rom. 7:2-3). And: 'To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband) - and that the husband should not divorce his wife' (1 Cor 7:10-15).

None of this means that a couple could never separate - since infidelity, violence or other serious issues, could make it impossible for the couple to stay together. What Jesus and Paul are ruling out is the remarrying of a validly married couple, who remain married to each other even after they're physically separated.

Since you're a Baptist, I don't feel qualified to go into the details of what you should do, but would suggest you consult your Pastor and find out what are your Church's procedures for dealing with what is an extremely difficult situation for you and this woman. If you were Catholic, the Church would have to examine that situation to see if the woman's marriage could be annulled, and if it could be, then you'd need to get a civil divorce as well, before you could be married in the Church. Hope that's not too confusing! Very best, keeping you in my prayers, Fr Brendan
Xt3's Ask a Priest answered at 3:47pm on February 12th 2019 reply
 

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