They are getting a divorce. Those in the know voice the statement with a tone of finality. It makes it official; all will soon refer to the couple with single terms. Divorce is not new, but our nonchalant attitude is now common. What people once discussed in whispers is now not newsworthy.
In Bible times, the formal engagement was as binding as our marriage certificate. The groom to be could terminate the planned marriage during the betrothal only by divorce. The two considered their relationship during the engagement sacred and binding.
“The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly (Matthew 1:16-19 HCS).”
Note that Matthew described Joseph as husband during the engagement. He planned to sever the marital covenant. God intervened through an angelic visitation in a dream, sharing the message of Jesus’ conception by the Holy Spirit.
Joseph would play a vital part in the birth of the long awaited Messiah; he would protect Mary and God’s Son. “He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus (Matthew 1:24b-25 HCS).”