Question:

Hi,

We have lived together for 7 years. We probably would've been married long ago, but I was going through a divorce for 6 of those years, and hospitalized due to medical illnesses for about a year or something like that, on and off. We are utterly and completely in love, but don't have the finances to get married or to get the marriage license. Also other serious complications in our lives.

I have rededicated my life to Christ about a month ago, and my boyfriend is slowly but surely getting there through lots of prayer. Praise God!

I've already told him that we have to get married, and until we do there will be no sexual interaction whatsoever. He got upset, and said, ”Now, after everything that we've been through, you decide to do this to me?” I asked what he was referring to, me living my life for God and putting God first? He replied, yes. He says that he respects me and understands, but he feels that I am rushing him into a marriage. After 7 years of sleeping together along with having children together, he feels that I'm being selfish, and doing this ”seeking God” at the wrong time in our lives, especially with our relationship being as good as it had been. I tried to explain to him that was not the case, I just want to live my life right through the eyes of God. He said he needed some time. That it's not right for me to give him an ultimatum, and trying to rush him into a marriage when he's not right with God and wants us both to be right with God before we get married, as I do too. I want to move out until he decides he is ready to get married, but I live on a disability check, and have no family or friends here in the state that I live. I literally just figured out where my home church is going to be, so I know no one.

I don't want to break his heart, or hurt him in anyway, but I have to put God first! He is very upset and sad and feels like I'm trying to separate with him, and said that he would respect me with sex and doesn't want me to leave, but I was told by our pastor that we are living in sin without being married, even if we aren't having sex. If we weren't ready to get married then we needed to separate until we were. I know that I can refrain from having sex with him, we even have a spare room. I just need a bit of advice on what a pastor or someone with a similar title may think I should do.

May God bless you.


Answer:

What your boyfriend is saying is that he thinks he should have all the benefits of a marriage without committing himself to a woman. No one rushed him into moving in with you, having sex, or having children. He claims he is committed to you; yet, when it comes to actually giving a vow to live with you for the rest of your lives, he claims seven years is not enough time to make up his mind. I don't think he is being honest with himself or with you.

I'm glad he sees that being married is different from shacking up with a woman, but that doesn't make the pretense at marriage right.

I'm also glad that you have decided living right before God is important to you. Your preacher is correct in saying that living together without being married is not right, even if sex is not taking place. Christians are involved in "providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men" (II Corinthians 8:21). Going through the motions of being married when you are not is just an exercise in hypocrisy.

The problem is that I don't know if you have the right to marry another man. You said you divorced your first husband and that you were involved in adultery while the divorce was being finalized. I would have to assume that the reason your first marriage ended was because you were committing adultery. If so, you don't have a right to another marriage. "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9). Hence, I don't know if your current situation is fixable.