Question:

Please help me. I am a spiritual person who believes in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. My husband does not. That is OK. The problem is that we were not married before God nor did we invite him to our union in any way.We were married by the justice of the peace and all our documents say we are married by the court and the state but not by God.

I feel I am sinning living and making love to my husband and he won't get married again in front of God saying only we are already married. What do I do? Give in and do what I feel is sinning or live in the upstairs apartment and let him divorce me? Please pray for me.


Answer:

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God" (Romans 13:1).

All marriages are established by God. "And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."" (Matthew 19:4-9). It doesn't matter whether a marriage was performed by a minister of God or by a state official. God knows the vows made and holds those married to abide by their covenant.

Paul addressed the issue of whether marriages were legitimate or not before a person becomes a Christian in I Corinthians 7. "But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?" (I Corinthians 7:12-16). One of Paul's arguments is that if only church sanctioned marriages were legitimate, the world would be full of illegitimate children -- but it isn't. A marriage is no less real for a couple who were non-Christians when they married than it is for a couple who were Christians when they married.

As you read through the Bible you don't find a particular way required for marriages to take place. Nor do you find any requirements about who must perform a marriage. In your case you were married by a government official, but that official's authority -- whether he recognizes it or not -- comes from God. He is God's representative. So even here your marriage is real. The reason your husband objects is because you are insulting his integrity. You are say you don't believe you were ever married, but he knows that you were. To insist on a remarriage is not romantic when it undermines the legitimacy of your earlier days together.