Do I need to renew my vows with my current husband since my former husband has died?


I have spoken to several sound brethren who are elders and ministers in churches of Christ in regard to marriage, divorce, and remarriage. This is the situation that I addressed to them concerning myself:

I was in a previous marriage with a man for twelve years. The man I was married to had a living wife and I knew that I was living in adultery. My marriage to him ended thirteen years ago. After my divorce, I went back to the church and was restored. This is where my concerns start. I met another man, two years after my divorce, who had never been married. We dated and was married two years later. The man whom I am now married to was never a Christian and never attended services anywhere. Six years ago he was baptized into the church of Christ. In the following year, my former husband died. My husband had fallen away and was restored a few years ago. I had fallen away, but I was restored a few months ago.

The question I had for the brethren was: due to the fact my previous husband was dead, did I have the right in God's eyes to be married to my current husband. The brethren advised me that my husband and I need to renew our wedding vows, and for us both again to be restored. Due to the fact that, yes, we were married and had a piece of paper that said we were married, but in the eyes of God we were not and that in order for God to recognize the second marriage and for it to be right in His sight that we should renew our vows. Could you please give me your insight according to the Scriptures on this matter as well.


You present a number of distracting issues that really don't come into play in this case. Your first marriage wasn't a proper one. The man you married did not have the right to marry you. As a result, you both were living in adultery. That marriage ended. While he did not have the right to marry again, you never were properly married in the first place. The marriage to your second husband is the proper marriage.

Even if someone wishes to argue about the second marriage, the fact is that your first husband has died. "For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man" (Romans 7:2-3). If a woman enters into an adulterous relationship by marrying another man, when her former husband dies she is no longer in adultery because she has been released from the covenant with her former husband. This remains true even though she married another man. Therefore, I would conclude that your current marriage covenant is binding no matter how matters stood in your prior marriage.

You had been guilty of adultery, but you left that marriage. You became a Christian, which washed away your sins. Your current marriage is not and never had been sinful. There is no call for repenting over something that isn't wrong.


Thank you so much for your reply.  I searched and searched the Scriptures and prayed.  The same Scripture you quoted (Romans 7:1-3) is the same I kept referring to also.  Please pray that I may continue to have the faith I need and to continue to be obedient to the God Almighty.

I assure you that the man, who I am married to now, has never been married, and that we strive each and every day to live as we should do in harmony which is pleasing to God.  Thank you for your time and for answering the question.  I do feel at ease.

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