Question 18:

Is divorce forbidden for you Christians? If the love between two people is already over would it then not be an ordeal to let them carry on living together? If your religion forbids divorce, then why are the divorce rates in America and Europe so high? We read in the newspapers that every second marriage there breaks down.


Answer: According to Christian teaching marital love is fulfilled in lifelong fidelity. In this takes place an unconditional devotion of one partner to the other and a commitment to one another that does not depend on changing circumstances. The one holds fast to the other no matter what. Such behaviour signifies a high level of mutual responsibility and is a great sign of the mutual solidarity that people are capable of when, and to what degree, they really let God sustain them. Particularly in the life that comes from this fidelity, marriage becomes transparent to the love of God, who said an unconditional yes to the people and the world through Jesus Christ.


According to the Catholic faith, sacramental marriage is a bond which represents in its own way Jesus Christ’s love for his Church (read Eph 5:21-33). Christ gave himself and sacrificed himself to his Church by becoming human, by dying and by rising again. Only in this mystery can marriage be understood and lived as a sacrament. Marriage is a way of imitating Christ.


Christian marriage partners know that they are bound with Christ’s Church in their bond of love and fidelity, and receive in sacramental marriage the strength to sustain their bond of fidelity. This bond is a bond of mutual trust, a process which can also involve failure, guilt and the cooling of love. However, for Christians, this is no reason to revoke fidelity. Even when one partner has left the marriage, the other is still bound in fidelity to his or her spouse. They can consciously and devotedly carry their aloneness as their part of the cross in the succession of Jesus.


Regarding Christian life in marriage and family the Joint Synod of the Dioceses of the German republic states:

"In the bond until death the spouse brings Christ’s love, from which he cannot be separated (Rom 8:35) to the other spouse in daily intimacy. Such fidelity that spans an entire life shows the fullness of Christian existence: the belief in the resurrection, which encompasses the resurrection of the marriage partner; the hope that one partner has for the other in that he trusts in God; the love that holds one to the other, because he has said yes to the other in Christ’s love."


During crises and failures one needs the brotherly help of a spiritual director.


Contact us

J. Prof. Dr. T. Specker,
Prof. Dr. Christian W. Troll,

Kolleg Sankt Georgen
Offenbacher Landstr. 224
D-60599 Frankfurt
Mail: fragen[ät]

More about the authors?