Almost everything about the marriage between a man and a woman is under frontal assault. Whether it concerns the ease of dissolving relationships, the gay movement’s war on the gender composition of marriage, the massive rise of co-habitation rates, the increasing frequency of infidelity, or even the issue of how the institution of marriage is defined in the first place, the marital union has never been more fragile than it is today.
In first century Judaism (the backdrop of the New Testament), the main issue of contention was the conditions under which divorce was permissible. It was for that reason that Jesus was confronted with the question of divorce by the Pharisees, hoping to trip him into exacerbating the tension between two camps: The Hillel School of Judaic thought which argued that a man could divorce his wife for almost any reason versus the Shammai School which argued only for the grounds of infidelity. The Pharisees figured that no matter how Jesus responded, he would be in trouble with one group or the other.
What was Jesus’ immediate response? To deliver a soliloquy on the purpose and unity of marriage (Matt. 19: 1-12). What he was saying, in effect, was that, if the Jews spent half as much energy working on their marriages as they did on trying to resolve the issue of divorce, their arguments over divorce would be rendered moot. Of course, the Pharisees were not interested in that. They didn’t want to hear that divorce was granted only because of the “hardness of their hearts”.
Source: Dr. Gary Lovejoy, startmarriageright.com