Living together before marriage may seem like the norm in today’s society, but as believers, we are called to a higher standard. God’s transformative power can enable us to make choices that align with His Word and experience the blessings of following His plan. Get excited as I share some real-life stories with you. But first, what does the bible say about living together before marriage? Consider the following verses:
10 Bible verses that address the topic of living together before marriage:
- 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”
- Galatians 5:19: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery.”
- Ephesians 5:3: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God.”
- Hebrews 13:4: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”
- Matthew 19:4-6: “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
- 1 Corinthians 7:2: “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8: “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”
- Proverbs 6:32: “But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself.”
- Colossians 3:5: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.”
Jared and Rachel
Jared and Rachel’s story begins with their decision to live together before marriage. Both of them had been raised in a Christian environment and understood that moving in together might go against their Christian beliefs. However, they rationalized their decision by considering financial factors and wanting to ensure compatibility before making a lifelong commitment.
During their first pre-marital counseling appointment, Jared and Rachel shared their dilemma with their pastor. They admitted that they were aware of the potential moral implications but believed that living together made more practical sense. They saw it as a milestone of commitment, an intermediate step between casual dating and engagement or marriage.
Their story reflects the experiences of many couples in today’s society. Research indicates that a significant majority of couples choose to live together before marriage for various reasons, ranging from fear of commitment to economic factors or convenience.
However, Jared and Rachel’s story serves as a launching point to explore the biblical perspective on living together before marriage and its implications. It invites us to delve into the reasons why this may not align with God’s best for us and to consider alternative paths that honor His design for relationships.
Four Reasons Why Living Together Before Marriage is Not God’s Best for You
1. Higher Likelihood of Divorce
Living together before marriage has been associated with higher divorce rates. Research shows that couples who move in together at a young age and then get married are at a greater risk of divorcing. The ease of breaking a commitment when living together can influence the mindset after marriage, leading to a higher likelihood of divorce. Instead of building a solid foundation for marriage, living together can create an unstable basis for a lifelong commitment. This is in line with what the bible says about living together before marriage.
Living together before marriage might seem logical, allowing couples to test their compatibility and get to know each other better. However, statistics indicate that this practice can increase the chances of divorce down the road. When couples decide to move in together before making a lifelong commitment, they often have an easier time ending the relationship if things don’t work out. This mindset can linger even after marriage, making it more likely for difficulties to lead to divorce.
Imagine two couples, John and Jane, and Mark and Lisa. John and Jane decided to live together before marriage to ensure compatibility and financial stability. On the other hand, Mark and Lisa chose to honor their commitment to each other by waiting until marriage to share a home. Years later, both couples face significant challenges in their marriages. John and Jane, having experienced the ease of breaking a commitment, contemplate divorce as an option. Mark and Lisa, however, understand that marriage is a lifelong commitment and are more determined to work through their difficulties, relying on their foundation of commitment and love.
2. Marriage Changes You for the Better
Marriage plays a significant role in the sanctification and personal growth of individuals. It exposes our weaknesses, selfishness, and pride, allowing us to work on them together. By committing to growth and supporting each other through shortcomings, marriage helps us become more like Jesus Christ. Living together, on the other hand, often shifts the focus from sanctification to compatibility. It emphasizes harmonious coexistence rather than learning to remain committed in spite of imperfections.
Marriage is not just about finding someone who fits perfectly into our lives; it’s about growing together and becoming better individuals in the process. When two people make a lifelong commitment to each other, they embark on a journey that exposes their flaws and challenges their selfishness. This process of sanctification, where we become more like Christ, requires commitment, perseverance, and the willingness to work through our weaknesses.
Sarah and David
Sarah and David decided to live together before marriage to ensure compatibility and ease of cohabitation. They focused on finding someone who fits perfectly into their lives and shared similar interests and habits. However, when challenges arose, they found themselves struggling to navigate through them. Their focus on compatibility did not prepare them for the personal growth and sacrifice required in a marriage. In contrast, Rachel and Michael, who chose to honor their commitment to marriage, recognized the transformative power of their union. They understood that marriage would expose their weaknesses, but they were willing to work together, seeking growth and sanctification.
3. Marriage Grows Intimacy at All Levels
Sexual intimacy is a sacred aspect of marriage that reaffirms the covenant between two people. It is meant to be an expression of deep commitment and trust. When couples live together without the bonds of marriage, they withhold their full responsibility to each other. By separating sex from covenant, they fail to experience the profound intimacy that comes with the complete union of body, mind, and spirit.
Sexual intimacy within marriage is designed to be a beautiful and intimate expression of the commitment and love between a husband and wife. It is a sacred act that deepens the bond between them, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When couples choose to live together without the commitment of marriage, they miss out on the fullness of this intimacy.
Jennnifer and Mark
Jennifer and Mark have been living together for years and have a fulfilling sexual relationship. However, they haven’t made the commitment of marriage. While they experience physical pleasure and connection, they miss out on the depth of intimacy that comes from fully committing their lives to each other. In contrast, Sarah and James, who waited until marriage to experience sexual intimacy, have the assurance that their physical union is an expression of their lifelong commitment to each other. Their intimacy is enhanced by the emotional and spiritual connection they have developed through their commitment to marriage.
4. Marriage Is God’s Design
The Bible clearly addresses the topic of sexual immorality and emphasizes the importance of honoring the marriage covenant. Sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage is considered displeasing to God. Straying from God’s design not only violates His moral standards but also grieves His heart. Living together in a sexually intimate relationship outside of marriage goes against God’s will and can hinder His blessings on the relationship.
God’s design for marriage is based on His wisdom and love for His creation. He desires that sexual intimacy be experienced within the commitment and covenant of marriage. The Bible consistently warns against sexual immorality and encourages believers to honor the sanctity of marriage. By disregarding God’s design and engaging in a sexually intimate relationship outside of marriage, we go against His will and miss out on the blessings that come from obedience to His Word.
In 1 Corinthians 6:18, the Apostle Paul urges believers to “flee from sexual immorality.” This broad term encompasses all sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage. Hebrews 13:4 emphasizes the importance of honoring marriage and keeping the marriage bed pure. These verses, among others, remind us of God’s expectations for our relationships and the significance of upholding His design.
Yet, There Is Much Grace
While it is essential to recognize the biblical stance on living together before marriage, it is equally vital to understand God’s abundant grace. God is willing to forgive those who humble themselves and seeks to restore and bless those who desire obedience. As believers, we are called to embrace our new identity in Christ and live accordingly.
God’s grace is not limited to our past mistakes but extends to our present and future. He offers forgiveness and restoration to those who acknowledge their wrongs and seek to align their lives with His will. It is through God’s grace that we can find the strength to honor Him by pursuing His design for relationships.
The Apostle Paul, in Colossians 3:1, reminds believers that they have been raised with Christ. This new identity, given to us by God’s grace, shapes the way we live. It empowers us to make choices that honor Him, including embracing His design for relationships. God’s grace enables us to learn from our past mistakes and walk in obedience to His Word.
What Should You Do Next?
Living together before marriage may seem like a practical or logical choice, but it is crucial for Christians to consider God’s perspective. The Bible emphasizes the sanctity of marriage, the importance of commitment, and the need to honor God’s design for relationships. Here are practical steps you can take to align with biblical principles:
Reconsider Living Together
If you find yourself considering the idea of moving in with your partner or already living together, it is essential to pause and reconsider. Instead of following societal norms, seek God’s guidance on honoring His design for relationships. Reflect on His Word and the principles it teaches about marriage and commitment. Consider whether living together aligns with biblical values and whether it is truly the best path for your relationship.
If you are already living together and have not yet taken the step of marriage, it’s time to prayerfully consider making a covenant before God. Recognize any mistakes you may have made in the past and seek forgiveness from God. Commit to living in obedience to His Word and His design for relationships. While immediate marriage may not be feasible for various reasons, explore the option of a private ceremony with your pastor to make your commitment before God. You can then plan a larger commitment ceremony later when circumstances allow. This demonstrates your willingness to honor God and take the necessary steps toward a God-honoring relationship.
Evaluate the Relationship
It’s crucial to honestly evaluate the nature of your relationship if you are with someone who cannot or will not commit to you. Prayerfully consider whether this is a person with whom you can build a life according to God’s design. Evaluate the level of commitment and mutual dedication to honoring God in the relationship. If you find that your partner is not willing to fully commit or lacks the desire to align with biblical principles, you need to give serious thought to whether this is the right person to journey through life with. Leaving a relationship that lacks commitment may be difficult, but it may be necessary for your own well-being and spiritual growth.
Nurturing Emotional Connection
Emotional connection is a vital aspect of a healthy and thriving relationship. Here’s how couples can nurture emotional connection within the context of marriage:
Effective Communication: Open and honest communication is key to building emotional connections. Couples should strive to understand and empathize with each other’s thoughts, feelings, and needs. Regularly setting aside time for meaningful conversations can strengthen emotional bonds.
Quality Time Together: Spending intentional, quality time together allows couples to deepen their emotional connection. Engaging in activities they both enjoy, going on dates, or simply having meaningful conversations without distractions can foster emotional intimacy.
Support and Encouragement: Emotional connection is nurtured when partners provide support and encouragement to each other. Showing empathy, offering a listening ear, and celebrating each other’s successes can strengthen the emotional bond within a marriage.
Bible Verse: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” – Ephesians 4:2
Seeking God’s Guidance
Seeking God’s guidance in all aspects of a relationship is crucial. Here’s how couples can seek God’s guidance within their marriage:
Prayer and Devotion: Regularly seeking God’s guidance through prayer and devotion deepens spiritual connection as a couple. Praying together, studying God’s Word, and seeking His wisdom in decision-making can help couples align their lives with His will.
Wise Counsel: Seeking wise counsel from trusted spiritual mentors, pastors, or couples with a strong marriage can provide valuable guidance and insights. These individuals can offer biblical perspectives and help navigate challenges in marriage.
Faithful Obedience: Trusting and obeying God’s commands in the Bible is essential for seeking His guidance. This includes living according to His principles, honoring the marriage covenant, and continuously growing in faith.
Bible Verse: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
In all these steps, rely on God’s grace and guidance. Remember that God is willing to forgive those who humble themselves and seek His restoration. As believers, we are called to embrace our new identity in Christ and live according to His teachings. Seek His wisdom, listen to His voice through prayer and studying His Word, and trust in His faithfulness as you navigate the choices before you.
Jared and Rachel’s story serves as a reminder that obedience to God’s design for relationships leads to blessings and a stronger foundation for marriage. By honoring His principles and seeking His guidance, we can experience the transformative power of God’s grace and walk in alignment with His will. May God’s wisdom and grace guide you as you navigate the complexities of relationships and pursue His best for your life.
Living together before marriage may seem like a practical or logical choice, but it is crucial for Christians to consider God’s perspective. The Bible emphasizes the sanctity of marriage, the importance of commitment, and the need to honor God’s design for relationships. By aligning our actions with biblical principles, we can experience God’s grace, grow in sanctification, and build strong foundations for lasting marriages.
May you find encouragement in God’s grace as you honor Him by pursuing His design for relationships.