Just back from church and an important discussion with Sylvia and Sue! I had read the gospel with my usual dramatic flair. They had heard it and nearly walked out! Why wouldn't you? St.Matthew's Sermon on the Mount -
‘It was also said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.” But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.'
I should have said something in a sermon to put it in its context! As it was, our discussion afterwards went someway to putting it right.
What I think is, the teaching is related to that at Matthew 15.5 which is about people's hardness of heart
But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, 'Sorry, I can't help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.'
A divorced woman might not have any means of supporting herself - save for prostitution.
As I understand matters, men were permitted by Jewish law, but not advised, to have more than one wife. Whilst, a wife, who objected to a husband taking another wife, was entitled to a certificate of divorce. So for my money, Jesus is saying to husbands, " You can't just shake off your responsibility when you feel like it!
The earthly Jesus is speaking to his first century audience and first century culture. What he might say today would be quite different.
For me, 'til death us do part' means just as much the death of a relationship. If the 'mutual society help and encouragement that one ought to have of the other' no longer exists, the marriage is dead.
On another vexed question, which the Church does not discus often enough, and with which some will take objection, where 'the mutual society, help and encouragement ' exists, as in some same sex relationships, then marriage ought to be possible!