What Does the Bible Say About Relationships Before Marriage?

Relationships before marriage are a common occurrence in modern society. As Christians, it is essential to understand what the Bible says about relationships before marriage. In this article, we will explore what the Bible teaches about God’s design for relationships, sexual purity, the consequences of sexual sin, practical ways to avoid sexual temptation, guarding your heart, courtship as a biblical alternative to dating, building strong relationships, and relevant Bible verses on relationships before marriage.

Introduction

Before delving into the Bible verses about relationships before marriage, it is important to define what we mean by relationships before marriage. Relationships before marriage refer to any romantic or sexual relationship between two people who are not married to each other. As Christians, it is important to understand what the Bible says about relationships before marriage to honor God and avoid the harm caused by sexual sin.

The Importance of God’s Design for Relationships

God’s intention for relationships is to glorify Him. In Genesis 2:18, God created Eve as a suitable partner for Adam, demonstrating the value of a loving and committed relationship. In Ephesians 5:25-33, the Bible talks about how a husband should love his wife as Christ loves the church. Therefore, relationships before marriage should be centered on Christ and should honor God. Here are some Bible verses that emphasize the importance of God’s design for relationships:

  • Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
  • Proverbs 18:22: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
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The Importance of Sexual Purity

Sexual purity is a vital aspect of relationships before marriage. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 states that it is God’s will that we abstain from sexual immorality and that each of us should learn to control our own bodies in a way that is holy and honorable. Sexual purity means committing to remain sexually pure until marriage. Here are some Bible verses that emphasize the importance of sexual purity:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:18-20: “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
  • Hebrews 13:4: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
  • 1 Peter 2:11: “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”

The Consequences of Sexual Sin

The Bible is clear about the consequences of sexual sin. Proverbs 6:32-33 says that a man who commits adultery lacks judgment and destroys himself. Sexual sin damages relationships and can cause emotional and physical harm. Here are some Bible verses that emphasize the consequences of sexual sin:

  • Proverbs 5:3-5: “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
  • Galatians 6:7-8: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
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Fleeing from Sexual Immorality

God commands us to flee from sexual immorality and to resist temptation. Here are some practical ways to avoid sexual temptation:

  1. Guard your heart – Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Guarding your heart means being mindful of what you allow into your mind and heart, such as media or relationships that can lead you astray.
  2. Avoid tempting situations – 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality.” This means avoiding situations or activities that can lead to sexual temptation, such as being alone in a private place with someone of the opposite sex.
  3. Seek accountability – Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Having an accountability partner or mentor can help you stay accountable and resist temptation.

Courtship as a Biblical Alternative to Dating

Dating is a modern concept that is not found in the Bible. Instead, the Bible teaches about courtship as a more intentional and focused approach to relationships. Courtship involves getting to know someone with the intention of marriage, seeking the guidance of God and wise counsel, and pursuing purity and godliness. Here are some Bible verses that relate to courtship:

Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 19:14: “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:36-37: “If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well.”

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Building Strong Relationships

Building a strong relationship takes intentional effort and commitment. Here are some Bible verses that can guide you in building strong relationships:

Ephesians 4:2-3: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Relevant Bible Verses on Relationships Before Marriage

Here are some additional Bible verses that relate to relationships before marriage:

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.” Song of Solomon 8:4: “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” Matthew 5:28: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

In conclusion, relationships before marriage should be centered on God and guided by His word. The Bible provides us with wisdom and guidance on how to approach relationships with purity, intentionality, and commitment. By seeking God’s will and the guidance of wise counsel, we can build strong relationships that honor God and lead to lifelong partnerships. Remember to always put God first and seek His guidance in all your relationships, whether romantic or platonic.

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