I am in college, and so is my boyfriend. We have been dating for about two years and have known each other for about six. I am in love with him and know he is the one for me.

A few months after we started dating, we fell into temptation and had sex with one another. We have since repented, but the temptation was still unbelievably strong. After discussing it with each other and some friends, we decided we wanted to marry one another. However, we live far apart from one another and cannot financially able to be together at the moment. So we made a commitment before God and a friend that we would be together forever and only with each other.

Does God consider this marriage, or are we still unmarried in God's eyes? Also, if I genuinely asked God's forgiveness for previous sexual transgressions, am I forgiven even without asking the person's forgiveness as well?


Your note leaves me wondering. You don't consider yourself married (you think of each other as boyfriend and girlfriend, not as husband and wife; you speak of making a commitment, but avoid calling it a marriage; and you wanted to marry, but you lived too far apart), yet you ask me if you are married. Actually, the idea that you can't get married now because you live apart is a false one. It is not an ideal situation for a couple, but I've known a number of couples who married and then lived separately for a period of time. It happens frequently with military personnel. If you wanted to get married, there was no reason you could not go down to the courthouse and had gotten a marriage license. You even could have gotten a justice of the peace to do the ceremony if you were in a rush.

As matters stands, if your boyfriend (I hope it never happens) dumped you, where would you be? You have a claim that you were to be together forever, but would anyone believe you? Would it stand up in court? Or must we conclude that all you currently have is a pretense and an intention to get married?

I don't know the motivations behind the choices, but I suspect that the goal was to play two sides at the same time. You could pretend marriage so you could continue to have sex, yet when it comes to financial matters you still say you are single. What it really comes down to is an avoidance of accepting responsibility.

Since you aren't certain you are married, I can't agree that you are. As it stands your marriage isn't recognized by any civil authority. It wasn't a properly done covenant as several features are missing, such as two or more witnesses, a sign of the covenant, and a record of the covenant. See "Can a couple get married by simply taking a personal vow between them and God?" for additional details.

What bothers me as well is your final question. You appear to be hinting that your boyfriend doesn't think he has done anything wrong by having sex with you. That leads me to wonder if he made his "commitment" just to satisfy you, but isn't ready to tie himself down as a husband.

What I recommend is that at the first opportunity you have, get properly married, and until then stay out of his bed. And when that is done, you both can go to God and apologize for trying to play games with His commandments.

I understand what you have said. Perhaps I have not been as clear with the details as necessary. We refer to each other as husband and wife and to those around us that know about the commitment and that were there when we made the commitment. We both understand that we could get married legally at this point; however, we would want the support from both of our families, and financially we cannot afford to live alone together and pay for school. When it comes to money he helps me and I help him as much as possible. In fact he has even given me a debit card in his name. We do as much as we can as a married couple. We discuss all of our actions and decisions before we do them. We are loyal to each other. When we did perform the ceremony between ourselves and a friend we did make a promise before God to stay with each other forever, and that no matter what we would work through everything.

I do not think that he is just trying to get me to sleep with him because he is the one that came to me and told me that God came to him in a dream and said that us having sex before marriage is wrong and that we needed to be married in His name for it to continue. We both repented immediately and felt true conviction. A while later is when we decided to marry in His name. As for me, I feel that we are truly married because when I told him and God that I would stay with him forever I meant it, and I believe that he meant it as he even cried when we did this. I just want to be certain that us marrying this way is possible as I want to please God. Yes, honestly one of the main reasons we did it is because we have a very strong desire to be with each other sexually, but also because I know that he is the one for me I have known it from the moment we first met and I do not doubt it in any way. I believe that we will be working towards a legal marriage in the next year or two as finances come together a little bit more, we certainly do not want to live outside of the government law, and want to have the legal paper that puts my name with his as soon as it is fully financially possible. As for what if he 'dumps' me, I do not have concerns for that, he would have to answer to God for that. With all of this information, do you think God recognizes us as one?

I'm sorry that I must point out what you've told me once again. Though you say you have no doubts you are married:

  1. You admit that you weren't legally married.
  2. You don't admit your marriage, except to yourselves and a few close friends.
  3. You have asked repeatedly if I thought God recognized your marriage.

I'm not trying to make things rough, I'm pointing out what you won't admit out loud -- you are concerned that you didn't truly get married.

I pointed out that your description of your commitment left out several features of a covenant. Yet a marriage is a covenant. "Yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant" (Malachi 2:14). Feelings and tears are not what makes a covenant.

You did confirm what I suspected, that you are trying to play two-sides for financial reasons. You want your families to pay for your schooling, but that would stop if you got married. So let's assume for a moment that you really were married -- then you have been lying to those financing your education -- a lie based on a self-profit motive. I think it saddens me most that you won't even admit your "marriage" to your own families, the very people who ought to be thrilled with your next step in life.

What you need to do is obey the laws of God and your country (Romans 13:1-2). Get married properly. Tell everyone. Wear the sign of your covenant on your finger. Does it mean you finances will be tight? Perhaps, but you will be amazed what two people can do when they are bound together in life. Whatever the hardship, it will be worth it. You just have to trust God that when you do things His way, things have a way of working out for the best in the long run.