Question:

Hi,

I have a question about sex before marriage. My girlfriend and I have been together for seven years, and we have a child together. She has gone off and on for years to church and I never. We have had our share of problems and are working together to be better people. She wanted to start going to church and not sin, so I decided I would do this with her. We went to church together for the first time last Sunday, first time for her in years and first for me since childhood. I really liked it, and I have said that I will do what it takes to make her happy and stay in a committed relationship with her.

My question is where does the "no sex before marriage' rule fall with us? We are planning on being married in a few months, but I do not want her to feel as though she is sinning. So do we just wait to pick up on our sexual relationship until we are married? My thought is that if we have a family and have been together in a committed relationship for so long and are basically married in each other's eyes (just not legally), then it is no longer a sin. But she feels it is and neither one of us really knows for sure. We tried to look it up but have not received any good information on it. Would you please give us your input on if that is a sin? We both have prayed and asked for forgiveness for this, but we both have a strong temptation in this area with one another. So just asking to find out if I really need to be extra strong and not do or if we might already be married in God's eyes.

Thank you. I appreciate your help on this.


Answer:

According to the Bible, what makes a marriage is the covenant that is entered into during the wedding ceremony. "... though she is your companion and your wife by covenant" (Malachi 2:14).

Sex doesn't make a marriage. Under the Old Law, a couple caught having sex were required to get married, unless the girl's father objected. "If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins" (Exodus 22:16-17). Therefore, having sex and children doesn't make you married.

Intending to get married isn't being married either. Notice in your own note, you state several times you are not married, but you would like to consider yourselves as good as married. Yet, the fact remains that you have not entered into a covenant to create a new family. You only have an agreement that could be broken at anytime. At any point during those seven years, you or she could have walked out and there would have been nothing holding you back but your sense of obligation. Until you take those covenant vows, you aren't married in God's sight. "And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate"" (Matthew 19:4-6). A feature of a covenant relationship is that the covenant remains as long as you both live. "For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man" (Romans 7:2-3).

The simple answer is go get married. "But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (I Corinthians 7:8-9). If you want a fancy wedding later, that is fine, but you can go down to the courthouse and get married today. Then you will not have this constant temptation to sin since sex is supposed to take place in marriage. "But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband" (I Corinthians 7:2).

Jeffrey,

Thank you so much. Your answer makes complete sense now that I read it. I was thinking that if we were committed and made a commitment to God and had a child already that we might be married in His eyes. I see now, after you mention the wedding ceremonies are what God sees as a covenant, that I was wrong about that.

Again, thank you for getting back to me on this. I will tell my girlfriend that we will wait, as she wants to so we avoid that sin. I will hold off temptation until we marry.