Question:

This is regarding marriage I guess.

What is considered married? Do you have to have a ceremony? Do you have to sign papers? Do others have to be present? Or is it simply two people making a commitment with each other?

I am desperetly ready to marry my boyfriend and start a life. In many ways I feel we are already married just because our bond is so strong, and we know we will be with each other for the rest of our lives. We just can't marry until we are more stable. We are young, of course, and finding decent jobs is not easy. He does not even work at this moment, and I'm waiting for a promotion to better help with saving for the future. I should rephrase that: we are young adults, not teenagers, and we are both very mature.

Our parents won't let us marry until we have moved out though, which I can and can"t understand. I understand they want us to be stable, but then I feel he and I are postponing our life together when we already know where we will end up. It could take us another 4-5 years to reach some kind of stability. Is this even fair? We are adults who love each other and are ready to take on the responiblities of each other, but we can't because we fear if we did try and get married behind their backs, they'd kick us out, or give us an impossible time line to move out, and with money, jobs, and the economy it's just not possible right now.

I don't really know what I am asking anymore. Do you think it's fair we should have to wait so long just because our parents want us to start out stable? I want to be stable too, but I can't bare the thought of waiting so long to be with the man who I feel is already my husband. I don't know how to bring this up with anyone either, or what to do, but it hurts me to be away from him so often just because we aren't what is considered legally married.


Answer:

The Bible is clear that a marriage is formed by the covenant between a man and a woman. "Yet you say, "For what reason?" Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant" (Malachi 2:14). A covenant is a solemn agreement between two parties. It is somewhat similar to our idea of a contract, but carries a deeper meaning and weight than our modern-day contracts. (See the sermon outline "Covenants" for more details.) One aspect of the marriage covenant is that God serves as a witness to the covenant. Jesus alludes to this when he said, "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:6). There are other witnesses required as well. See Marriage Covenants. Thus, it is the vows made by a man and woman which join them together into a new unit. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). Notice the steps: 1) a man leaves his parents, 2) a man joins (marries) his wife, 3) the two individuals become one. The last step includes the concept of the act of sex, but it is so much more than just sex. The two bond so tightly that they behave as one person, a person different from either of them individually but which doesn't exist without them both.

Please notice that the only people preventing your marriage are you and your boyfriend. The reasons you gave for delaying getting married are in regards to your own personal convenience. Your parents aren't stopping you from getting married. They have simply said that once you are married, you won't be living with them. That is reasonable since the step before marriage is leaving your parents (Genesis 2:24). The fact that you are not ready to leave is your problem and your boyfriend's problem.

Nowhere does the Bible say you have to be financially stable in order to get married. It certainly makes life easier, but people have gotten married and lived in poverty for a while. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not recommending it, but financial stability isn't a requirement. You need food, shelter, clothing, etc. You might be only able to afford a small one-room apartment in a run-down section of town for a while, but you could do it. He might have to ride a bicycle to a job at a fast-food joint, but again it isn't impossible. Problems can be solved, if you put your mind to it and are determined to overcome all obstacles. If you would rather wait five years, so you can skip the harder times, then that is your choice -- but don't blame others for your personal desire of convenience.

You see, you talk about being ready to take on responsibilities, but when faced with those responsibilities you are hesitating out of fear. It's not your parents' fault, it is not the economy's fault, it boils down to your fears of taking a risk.

Again, I'm not saying you need to move out and get married tomorrow. When you both mature enough to accept risk and know how to manage it, then you'll be ready for the many responsibilities of setting up your own household.