Questions on Marriage

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Is there such a thing as annulment of marriage in the Lutheran church? What are the grounds for it? Also, while I know what the Bible says about divorce, provided both partners in the marriage stay faithful to their vow and don't get involved with another person romantically, is legal separation permissible and acceptable if the main motive is to resolve the issues that are causing problems in the marriage and the other goal is to get back together as soon as possible?

In the Lutheran Church there is no provision for an ecclesiastical or theological annulment of marriage. This means that we do not recognize any Biblical basis for declaring that a marriage that took place never really existed, theologically speaking. Roman Catholic marriage annulments are based on church laws and decrees, not the Bible. We do Continued.

What does the Bible say in regard to getting married by elopement or quick marriage in a courthouse and then doing a renewal of the vows at a later date?

The Bible says nothing at all about the place (church or courthouse) or officiant (pastor or judge) for the establishment of a marriage. This is fully in the realm of Christian freedom and therefore subject only to Christian love, wisdom and discernment, and a concern for how other believers might perceive it (in case the Continued.

What does the Bible say about the role of husband and wife? Is the man the boss of his wife in a marriage?

The simplest answer is: “No.” Yes, Scripture speaks of the husband as the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23), but that is vastly different from what is often meant when we speak of a “boss” in our culture. In what way? Is the man as head more important than his wife, on the top position Continued.

In 1 Corinthians 7 and Matthew 19 we read about the gift of continence. How does one know if one has this gift? I am single and so far all my attempts to find a life companion have failed. Would this be an indication that I should turn my mind to choosing to "live like an eunuch for the sake of the kingdom of heaven"?

In 1 Corinthians 7 the apostle Paul expressed gratitude that God had gifted him with the ability to have self-control in sexual matters and not “burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:9).  For that reason, Paul explained that the single life suited him well.  For others who did not have that gift of self-control, he saw Continued.

Is divorce a forgivable sin according to the Bible?

I do not know what prompted your question, but in an attempt to give an adequate answer, I will stress three things: First of all, divorce does involve or give evidence of sin, real sin, on the part of one or both of the marriage partners seeking the divorce. God’s revealed will and desire is Continued.

Abuse was mentioned in my mother's church sermon as grounds for divorce. This brought up a discussion in our family of what are the biblical grounds for divorce. I've read abuse could be considered malicious desertion and could be grounds for divorce. But I wasn't quite able to determine what exactly was meant by this. I would appreciate some clarification if possible.

Beyond physically deserting a spouse, the Bible does not specifically list other ways in which malicious desertion can take place (I Corinthians 7:15).  As malicious desertion is characterized by sins that are unilateral, willful and permanent, it could take the form of physical or emotional abuse, refusal to have sexual relations with one’s spouse, or Continued.

My wife is seeking a divorce from me because she believes I'm abusive. She looked for advice from the pastor who directed her to our counselor. The counselor told her that divorce is the path she should take. Obviously there are more details to the whole situation, but is divorce the right step in this case?

I am not able to answer your question because, as you indicated, there are “more details to the whole situation.”  Malicious desertion (1 Corinthians 7:15) can take the form of abusive behavior.  Your pastor is best suited to answer your question.  More than that, he is in a position to minister to you and your Continued.

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