Question:

My partner and I want to get married so badly, but we don't have money for anything, not even rings. I have a six month old baby with my partner and refuse any longer to sleep with him until we are married because the truth about how the children of God should live has been revealed to me. We fight now and again because of this sex issue. Things between us are just sour and we love each other so dearly. I'm with him still because I can see that he really tries to hang in there with the whole sex issue but the craving sometimes really gets to him, and we fight. I'm so tired of fighting with him. I want us to be happy again, but I just don't know what to do.


Answer:

Get married and stop making excuses. So what if you can't afford the trappings? Go down to the courthouse and get married, even if you have to skip a meal or two to afford the license fee. It is clear to me that you are able to afford to live together, so you must have some income.

"But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (I Corinthians 7:8-9).

That's the thing we not living together. I don't work, and he doesn't either. On the other hand we have our parents telling us not now! They are already helping us maintain the child, they can't afford to help us with the license or anything else. Plus I'm still busy with my nursing practical of which my mom is paying all the fees for. So I'm stuck. I don't have any ideas of ways to raise some money, even if we don't get to live together afterward it would be fine, just as long as we don't continue to live in sin.

The reason I'm talking to you is because I thought he only loved me for the sex, but it's been quite some time now, and he is still with me even though we argue about the matter. He would tell me he will go and get it elsewhere and leave me crying, but five minutes later he would come back and say he is sorry and that he will try a little harder because this isn't easy on him.

And here in South Africa the man pays what we call lobola for his wife before he can have her as his own. I tried to convince my mother that he will pay it once he gets a job just as long as we do what is right before God's eyes. I believe that every day you live is an opportunity to try doing what you failed yesterday. In other words, it doesn't matter how many times you have sinned, it's no excuse for you not to try and do things right today.

Our parents are also making things hard for us by refusing him to marry me just because he can't pay lobola. This situation gets ugly every day. I sometimes feel like maybe he isn't the one for me and when I think of that I just cry because he is the father of my child. I want him to be my husband because I love him, and he wants me to be his wife. My heart is heavy right now, but that won't make me change my mind about refusing to sleep with him. I fear God.

In South Africa there are two types of marriages: civil and customary. The lobola or dowry is only a part of a customary marriage. It is not required for a civil marriage. While I understand your desire to follow your customs, understand that custom does not make a marriage. This dilemma is of your own making.

That said, your parents do have a just point. Marriage is about establishing your own family. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). Yet neither one of you can leave your parents. You have no means of supporting yourself. Instead, you have sex in violation of God's law and then complain that others are trying to get the two of you to be responsible adults before you get yourselves into deeper trouble.

The Bible talks about the prudent person. "Prudent" means someone who thinks ahead. "The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit" (Proverbs 14:18). What you and your boyfriend are doing is following your feelings and acting impulsively. The proper order is to fall in love, get married, and then have sex. But getting married means being able to support yourself, so it means getting a job that provides enough income to get by on.

It doesn't appear to me that your parents are trying to make it hard on you. They are trying the best they know how to get both of you to be responsible for your decisions. What concerns me is that he continues to demand sexual privileges though you are not married yet. Is he not interested in being a Christian?

It seems that the simple solution is for him to get a job or jobs that brings in enough money to support both you, him and your child to live together. You can then get a civil marriage, but I suspect that by the time he earns enough for all of you to live together as a family he will also be able to pay a lobola. In other words, this isn't a case of something with no solution. It is a matter of choices. He has to give up a lot of his free time to earn the right to marry you and with that marriage the right to have sex with you.

OK, I understand. What you are saying makes perfect sense, and I shall obey. Thank you for your help. It means a lot to me getting help from God-fearing people.