Question:

Hi,

I have been reading your blogs regularly. I have a query on a couple living together before marriage. For one question regarding this you advised them as they were willing to get married in near future to just become casual with each other, and meet up in public to avoid any temptation since everyone will be seeing them.

But my situation is I came to study in a new country. I and my boyfriend are alone here. We do have friends, but they are non-Christians. They drink and smoke. As we are students, we have problems with getting groceries, cooking and other things if we stay with an unknown group of girls for me and an unknown group of guys for my boyfriend. He has to send money every month back home, as his family is financially not well to do, so he works day and night and doesn't have time to cook and do other household chores. If he stays with other guys he has to do all that, which is not possible for him. I do work, but I have a similar problem with groceries. Is it OK if we shift together in one house with two separate bedrooms? I can cook for him, and we can work out things together. We can work for each other as we love each other, but some unknown person will never understand certain situations. If we stay together at least after 10 PM when he comes from work, we can dine together. Or is it OK that he shift to a one room, low rent place, and I go to his house to cook and share groceries together? Which one is advisable? As we both have to work, we will only be able to meet up after 10 PM since in the morning I have to leave early for work and in the evening he comes in late.

I do understand that if we stay together we might get tempted, and it is good to stay away, but we also have problems.

Thank you.


Answer:

The type of argument you are making is essentially that since it appears impossible to do right, it must be acceptable to do wrong -- at least part way. Your current situation is manufactured. By this I mean that you both chose to study abroad, no one forced you. In that decision, you did not make living arrangements that did not involve you both sharing a place. While it is great that your boyfriend feels obligated to help his family, yet what he should be sending is his excess income. The fact that he is sending most of his funds to his family doesn't excuse moving in with a girl he is not married to. He could face the fact that he can't send as much as he wants because he needs to have a place to live.

Instead of approaching this with all the reasons why you can't do what ought to be done, let's start with needs to be done, and fit the rest in.

First, you do have the option to just go ahead and get married. That would allow you two to live together and you would not have to worry about the temptation to have sex. In addition, you could even get a smaller place since you would not need the pretense of having separate bedrooms.

Until that happens, you need separate places to live. You can share groceries, you can even help him with cooking and leave meals for him at his place. If you so desire, you could also help him keep his place clean. Your work schedules won't allow you two to see much of each other. I assume neither of you are working seven days a week, so you'll be able to fit some time to see each other, but the proper thing is not to be together at each other's place. It is fine if he wants to leave you a key to his place so you can leave groceries, a meal, and a sweet note for him to find. But if you spend very late evenings with him, there will be temptations to stay up late talking and then it is too far and too dangerous to go home, so why not stay the night. You are just going to have to find times when you can see each that is not private when you are both not working or in classes. Between times, you both are going to become really good letter writers.

What I avoided was looking at the situation as impossible. You lay out what needs to be and then you start using your imagination to figure out innovative ways to make it happen within the parameters of propriety.

First, thank you. Yes, I think I was finding an excuse to stay with him considering his and my problems. What you said is true, if his place is far away and we stick together until late we would definitely end up spending the night at one place. If we find different houses nearby then at least one of us can walk back home. I think I should stay as a paying guest with a family, so that for their convenience I will need to go home early. We can get married, but for that we need to wait until this December when we both have to go back home. I especially want my wedding to be in front of God's ministry, my family and my friends. Thank you again for your wonderful advice. I heartily regret that I could not be like Joseph to run away from such sin. I cheated my parents by taking a boyfriend without their consent. I did pray to God and asked whether He is the guy God chose for me.

I need to ask what about those students who are staying all together and are not in any relationship. When I went to see some houses for me there was a house where the top floor rooms were for the girls and the basement was rented to some guys. They still share the same house, so is it wrong? I mean to ask staying with guys, but they are not dating or even friends. Is that also a sin?

One of my neighbor's sons is also coming here to study. He is not in my blood relation, but we are like brother and sister since childhood and of same age. If I pick him up from airport and let him stay for a few days in my house until he gets comfortable with this country, is that allowed? How will I be assured that God has forgiven me, as I will regret my entire life that in this one life the phase which I was suppose to give to God and remain pure from heart and body, I sinned, and I did cheat my parents. I feel guilty missing the joy of conquering evil, and I just became its slave. I will not get purity back. It will not give me back that time to erase and fix it. My boyfriend comes from a family where his parents were frank and open to him about everything, so he right away told them about me. But I could not as I knew my Dad would fume in anger if he figured it out, and he might stop my study and make me sit at home my entire life without even knowing who and how is this guy. My parents were never open to me and my siblings in such matter that we can openly tell them whatever is going around in our mind and heart, so we both end up cheating on them in different ways. I never lied to them, but I did that too.

I really regret that such sins come only before marriage. Once I get married, I will have my responsibilities. There will be nothing to hide. I will have no more sins to do. After marriage there will be no more temptation of sins coming, so I will keep regretting the fact that when I could have defeated Satan and pleased God by being His obedient child, I crucified him again and again by doing sins.

Thank you again.

Yes, people of the world are casual about sin or things that may lead to sin. It doesn't mean the Christian should imitate them. "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles -- when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries" (I Peter 4:1-3).

When your friend comes, have him stay with your boyfriend while he gets settled; just as you'll house female friends of his who come to visit.

You are incorrect in assuming that temptations will cease once you are married. Satan doesn't give up that easily. You will always have to be on your guard against his schemes, "lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices" (II Corinthians 2:11).