Stay with me.
Herod the Great (the one who killed all the little babies in Bethlehem) was married at least ten times. He had a son, Aristobulus, by one of his wives, and a son Philip by another wife and a third son, Antipas by still another wife. Remember the names: Aristobulus, Philip, and Antipas. They will be important.
Aristobulus and his wife had five children, one of whom was a girl, Herodias.
Herod the Great felt his son Aristobulus was trying to take his throne, so he had Aristobulus murdered.
But that left Aristobulus’ child, Herodias, an orphaned minor. So, Herod the Great “gave” Herodias (his grand-daughter) to his son Philip (her uncle) as a wife and she and Philip, living in Rome, had a daughter, Salome.
Antipas married a woman named Phasaelis.
At some point, Antipas visited Rome and fell in love with Herodias, his brother’s wife. She too was enamored with him.
Antipas divorced Phasaelis and Herodias did the unthinkable. She divorced her husband. A woman divorcing her husband just wasn’t done, but she did it. Herodias and Antipas were married.
It was this relationship John the baptist objected to, and the one that cost him his life. Herodias, used to getting her way, removed him.
Christians have disagreed over the years about the propriety of divorce and who has the right of marriage. But if John was speaking the word of the Lord, and if this story teaches us anything, it is that some relationship are forbidden by God. Christians must come to grips with that very pointed fact, and from there, learn to deal with the issue of marriage and divorce. Love and personal happiness do not sanctify relationships God forbids.