Question:

Hello,

My question is about weddings that take place after a couple has been living together a year or two - sometimes longer. They have a child or maybe are expecting a child, then somewhere along the line decide to get married. They have a big wedding, white dress, bridesmaids all the trimmings with reception afterward.

While I think it is good for them to marry, I have major reservations about attending the wedding. Not because I think that I am better or more righteous, but because it seems to be sort of a mockery of what God intended. It is certainly not the way marriage is portrayed in Scripture. I feel that it not only approves what I call the "Hollywood," just live together lifestyle, but encourages it to occur more often because everyone just accepts it as the normal or right way to do things. I don't want my children to get the impression that it would be okay for them to behave the same way. No virgin bride; no purity; total disregard for these things and absolutely no shame about it. When they do get married it has nothing to do with God's word or moral behavior, but about getting to wear the dress, walk down the isle, etc. They are proud, see nothing wrong with the circumstances and want you to feel the same way.

I have attended such a wedding before, but I felt that it cheapened the ceremony under the circumstances (maternity wedding dress, no shoes, feet swollen). And I did not feel right in being a part of it. There may have been many brides who were not chaste, and it was not evident to others. But when a couple live together and bear children it is very obvious - a flaunting of immorality or even kind of thumbing their nose at God.

In a little over a month a couple I know plan to be married. The girl is pretty big (pregnant) now. Not only will the bride be wearing a maternity dress, but they want friends and family to take time off of work and school (for a week) to attend the wedding. Those who attend will also have to spend money for lodging travel and food. No need for time alone on a honeymoon since they have already been living together about three years.

So, my question is: Can you give me some scriptural advice about these situations? I do not want to be overly critical, but I just cannot feel right about this and I don't want my children to accept this as an OK way to live, or in any way think that this is what God intended for marriage.

And to go along with that question: If it is wrong to divorce and remarry under non-scriptural circumstances? How can it be right for me to happy about, attend that second wedding and celebrate it?


Answer:

My general rule is that when someone moves toward righteousness, I encourage them and when they are sinning to gently rebuke them. "He who says to the wicked, "You are righteous," him the people will curse; nations will abhor him. But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them" (Proverbs 24:24-25).

What typically happens in today's society is that when people have sex before marriage, no one says anything. No one wants to make waves, especially when society as a whole finds it acceptable. The result is that more young people do not understand that fornication is wrong.

When you decide to make your stand at the point of which they get married, you are saying by your actions that doing what they should have done years ago is unacceptable. Going to a wedding is optional. Whether you go is up to you, but I would strongly suggest that you do not discourage someone from making some steps toward straightening out their lives.

In the case of someone remarrying when their first marriage ended in divorce and that divorce was not due to their former spouse being in fornication, I would have nothing to do with the wedding. God says that such a union is adulterous and Christians cannot support sin. "So He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery"" (Mark 10:11-12). As Paul warned, supporting sinful behavior in others is also a sin. "Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:32).