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Sex with the ex

For those who are divorced or widowed.
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Duchess
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Sex with the ex

Post by Duchess »

This question has no personal application whatsoever, but the situation has come up in a couple different books I've read recently and started me wondering. As a plot device, I get why a story teller would have separated or divorced couples finding themselves increasingly (or suddenly) attracted to one another and either tempted and resisting the urge to have sex or just go ahead and do it. I also get that in real life, this is likely less often an issue (though I do know of actual cases where it happened). But I am curious: in the case of separated or divorced couples WHO HAVE NOT FORMED NEW ATTACHMENTS, is it right for them to share some passion, either as a trial get-back-together or just because they were having a moment of soft and friendly thoughts toward one another? I'm not really getting at whether it is wise or not; in one of the actual cases I know of, the couple decided not to get back together after all but their liaison resulted in a child. I can see many reasons why it might not be wise. I would like to get opinions specifically on whether or not it is sin. For me, this is purely an academic discussion, but maybe it will be of value to a lurker or someone in the future. Maybe this should have been under Theology of sex? If so, Mods can feel free to move.
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DoveGrey
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Re: Sex with the ex

Post by DoveGrey »

I see civil marriage and holy marriage as two separate things. I feel that in a church wedding, you have both types occurring. If you get a legal divorce but have not met the grounds for a biblical divorce, then I would think the liaison would not be a sin. After all, the last line of many ceremonies is, "What God has joined together let no man tear asunder." I've always taken that line to mean that a civil divorce under the laws of man is invalid in God's eyes unless biblical requirements have also been met.

I think it comes dangerously close to crossing the line if there is no plan of reconciliation, however. There may be other sins happening, aside from adultery or fornication, if you've decided your relationship while still biblically married is going to be merely friends with benefits.

Of course, I've never been to seminary. I would be interested in hearing other takes on this.
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Re: Sex with the ex

Post by David »

If a couple is separated, then they are still married. In that situation, sharing passion is to be expected, although I think it would be unwise to do so if the intention is not to reconcile.

If the couple is divorced, then they've made a deliberate decision to end their marriage. It seems to me that such a decision should be permanent, and I would question whether it is appropriate to subsequently rekindle the relationship.
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SeekingChange
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Re: Sex with the ex

Post by SeekingChange »

This is a question I have pondered because this very situation is very near to us, and personally affects some family members. I don't know when the spiritual covenant marriage begins and ends, but it sure would seem that a ceremony (wedding/divorce decree), at the very least, represents the heart. On the opposite end, I have had Christians argue that sex before an official marriage is okay, because they planned to get married and that's where the real marriage happened. To me, in both cases, it sounds a lot like one trying to justify their sin.

In the case near us, there's no plans by her to remarry or to reconcile. She's back under the same roof because she has no where else to go, though supposedly they're in separate bedrooms, or at least that was the agreement in the beginning. She's gotten pregnant and miscarried twice since the divorce. She still has been off and on with an OM, whom she was having an affair with while married. At this very moment, she's plotting on how to move out again. Sex seems to be a tool of convenience and manipulation. And the kicker, she claims to be a Christian.

I could give you an OT passage where it says returning for a remarriage, after being married in between, is a no-go....but it's old covenant and we shouldn't be basing our theology off of it, but different translations use words like "an outrage", "detestable", and "an abomonation" to/before the Lord, and references it as "bringing sin into the Land."
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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DoveGrey
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Re: Sex with the ex

Post by DoveGrey »

I base my thoughts on reconciliation on Matthew 5:31-32.

"It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

Jesus is saying that the divorce in this case is invalid, despite what the civil law of the time might say. So I still think that sex between reconciling partners in this specific case isn't a sin because their marriage hasn't actually ended. It's probably unwise, but not a sin in my opinion.

I think sex before an official marriage is still a sin, and I agree with @SC that people use the "we plan to marry" statement as justification for premarital sex. I know too many women, myself included, who were talked into sex using this reasoning. Even worse, it can be used against a partner to keep them bound to marry an abuser. ("You had sex with me, so you have to marry me.") Thankfully, my walk as a Christian was stronger by the time that one was used on me. Plus, his cheating on me would have given me grounds to leave him even in his weird Choose Your Own Adventure version of biblical marriage he had going on. (Darn it! I wish I'd thought to say that to him. It's been 25 years, so it's probably too late to track him down and say it, huh?)

But getting back to the topic, it's clear that the woman in @SC's example is sinning. Due to adultery, their civil divorce is also a biblically acceptable divorce. I am so sad for all the parties in that situation. I pray that they can get the help they need to move on from such an unhealthy circumstance.
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Re: Sex with the ex

Post by David »

@Seekingchange what we call the Old Testament is just as much God's word as what we call the New Testament. It was the Old Testament that the Apostle Paul was referring to when he said that all scripture is breathed out by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking and training in righteousness.

That passage in Deuteronomy 24 regarding a husband remarrying his wife after divorcing her and her remarrying another man is, I think, relevant. In it's immediate context, I've heard it explained as being intended to protect women from exploitation - a man couldn't divorce his wife, marry her off to someone else and then take her back again as a means of advancement. However, it also speaks of the seriousness of marriage and divorce - just as marriage shouldn't be entered lightly, it shouldn't be ended lightly either.
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SeekingChange
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Re: Sex with the ex

Post by SeekingChange »

David wrote: Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:07 am @Seekingchange what we call the Old Testament is just as much God's word as what we call the New Testament. It was the Old Testament that the Apostle Paul was referring to when he said that all scripture is breathed out by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking and training in righteousness.
Thank you, I am very aware if what the Old Testament is, and it has to be filtered through the new Covenant, which is what we see in the New Testament.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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Re: Sex with the ex

Post by David »

@seekingchange yes, we do have to interpret the Old Testament in light of the New, but my point really is it's the same, unchanging, God, and it's His word, so to say that we shouldn't base our theology off it is just plain wrong.


To return to the topic, the Old Testament makes it plain that if a man divorces his wife and she subsequently remarries, then he isn't to take her back as his wife if the second husband either dies or divorces her. I think that teaches us something about the nature of marriage and divorce, which the New Testament nowhere contradicts, but rather strengthens.
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Duchess
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Re: Sex with the ex

Post by Duchess »

David wrote: Sat Feb 27, 2021 10:58 am the Old Testament makes it plain that if a man divorces his wife and she subsequently remarries, then he isn't to take her back as his wife if the second husband either dies or divorces her.
Can you tell me what verse you are thinking of? I find it interesting that it would be forbidden to take her back if the second husband dies. I get the point of not remarrying a woman who has another divorced mate out there, but once he dies, it seems like she would be "free" again and if the first one has repented of his choice to put her aside and wants to take her back, it seems like it would be okay. (I'm not arguing a stance; I'm trying to understand.)
I think that teaches us something about the nature of marriage and divorce,
I do agree that an emphasis on the notion of making a choice and sticking with it seems to reinforce the idea that marriage is supposed to be permanent, presumably because it illustrates Christ and the church and He has promised us eternity and wants us to give Him our faithfulness as well.
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SeekingChange
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Re: Sex with the ex

Post by SeekingChange »

Duchess wrote: Sat Feb 27, 2021 4:19 pmCan you tell me what verse you are thinking of?
Deut. 24:1-4

eta: I still think one needs to be careful in applying old covenant to our ways.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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