My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 7 years. We have lived together for 5. We are not ready for marriage. He and I think we don't need a piece of paper to prove our love, but I want to make it right with God. Is there a prayer that a pastor could say without going through the legal marriage of the state? What did people do a long time ago? They had a pastor or a priest marry them without a marriage license. Like I said before I just want to make it right with God. What should I do?


"Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth" (Malachi 2:14-15).

A marriage is not made by the government. The government requests that a marriage be documented because it grants special privileges to the married which are not available to the unmarried. But a marriage is made by the vow or covenant made between two people.

In the Bible, a covenant is a very special form of agreement. It is made before God, which is why most seek out someone involved in religion to administer the vows -- though such is not a requirement. A covenant also requires witnesses to the vows. That is why we have the tradition of naming a best man and a bride's maid to be at the wedding. Their primary purpose is to serve as witnesses that the covenant was actually made. It is also the reason why we invite people we love to attend the wedding; they, too, serve as witnesses to the covenant. A covenant also requires that a record be made of the covenant. In the past some covenants were recorded on monuments of stone, but most were written down. That is what the license serves as -- a record that the covenant was made -- and that is why the witnesses, the best man and bride's maid, sign the document. In addition, a covenant requires a physical witness or reminder that the covenant exists. That is why we exchange rings. The rings are the physical witness to the covenant made. Finally, a covenant is celebrated by a common meal to show that all are in agreement, which we handle by the reception. See "What are covenants?" for more details.

You claim you are not ready for marriage, but this isn't the truth. You've been living together for five years without a commitment to each other. You know you aren't married since you call him your boyfriend. You know you are sinning since you want to make it right with God. What is sadly funny is that you claim you don't need a piece of paper to prove your love; yet you don't love each other enough to make a binding covenant commitment with the one you claim to love. Your actions and your words don't match.

Unless the case is that you and your boyfriend know you don't have the right to get married, such as having a prior spouse, there is no reason you can't get married immediately. See "I don't need a piece of paper to say I'm married," "Can I tell you about a way to get married without government involvement?" and "We took vows before God, isn't that enough to say we are married?" for why excuses for not marrying are lame.

Therefore, the answer to your question is "Get married."