“The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 7:39–40, AV)
One time, we decided to put a new updated laminate on some old counters in a church kitchen. The person doing the work applied the contact cement on the wood and laminate. Then the laid the two pieces together before the glue had set. He put weights on the laminate, but the pieces did not join. The reason was that the correct procedure is to apply the contact cement on the two mating surfaces and then allow the glue to dry before placing them together. Thus, the title, “contact cement.”
Realizing his error, he went to another section and gave it another try following the correct procedure. There he allowed the cement to set, but then did not get the laminate lined up before allowing the cemented wood and laminate to touch. The result was that the laminate did not align with the wood, but it was permanently bound together. He then attempted to pull the laminate off the wood. The result was that he tore the laminate. It was not possible to separate the laminate from the wood when it was properly cemented together.
These two verses are the last of Paul’s words in this section on marriage. There are many points to consider here. First, “Should one remarry if their spouse dies?” Paul answers as he had previously, yes and no. Yes, the spouse is free to marry again. However, in his mind, it is better if the spouse would not. He even stated regarding a widower, that “she is happier” if she does not marry. (Men let me say this, hopefully our wives would not be happier without us.) Paul again is referring to the thoughts previously mentioned regarding the blessings of those who have a gift of being single. Yet a very important point that widows and widowers must remember is that Paul stated that they may remarry, but “only in the Lord.” The widow or widower must marry someone of the opposite gender who is a believer.
Secondly, perhaps the main point is that marriage is a permanent joining of two people together. Jesus stated the principle, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:9, AV). Marriage is a serious commitment of two people whom God has joined together. Since God has joined them together, man is not to separate. Marriage is a lifelong bonding of two people.
Unfortunately, in my time of ministry, I have seen and spoken with couples who have divorced. I had one person tell me that the divorce was the most painful thing they had ever experienced. It was as if someone close had died. The divorce of two people is like trying to rip off the laminate that was bound to a piece of wood on a countertop. Either pieces of the wood will be torn off or the laminate torn or both. There are emotional issues and scars that come from it. Both the spouses and the children are emotionally injured and often scarred through the process.
Whether it is the first marriage or a biblically approved remarriage, marriage must not be taken lightly. In God’s eyes it is a lifelong commitment where God has glued two people together.