Could I pay the dowry now, have sex, and get married later?

Question:

Hello,

I have a few questions I'd like to ask. I have been reading your posts, and I like your answers because they are in line with God.

I have a girlfriend whom I love so much and want to spend the rest of my life with. I am a Christian, and she is also a Christian. But before I started growing in the things of God, we used to have sex until we decided to stop because she would move to another city soon. We would keep each other for marriage. She's also at school where she lives with a relative.

But the problem is that my sexual desire is bothering me. We decided that we will get married when she's done with school, but that will be five years from now. To be honest with you, I can't promise that I'll keep myself that long. However, I've been faithful to her. Her parents wouldn't let her get married before she's done with school.

I was thinking: Would it be possible to pay a dowry to her parents and  get a marriage certificate while she's at school? We would only see each other during holidays. If it gets done, would we be sinning against God if we start having sex while not living together but having a marriage certificate?

Thank you.


Answer:

First, let's be clear: Having sex when you are not married is a sin. It is called fornication. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). In other words, you cannot truly be a Christian and be actively involved in sin at the same time. The two are not compatible.

I have a feeling that you don't understand the gravity of the situation. You are looking for a way to have sex without being officially married. While you might bluff people, God cannot be fooled. It is especially worrisome that you are thinking you won't refrain from having sex until you get married. The way you worded your note, it almost sounds like you are thinking of having sex with someone else.

Since you mentioned a dowry, I assume you are in a African nation where there are several types of marriages. The dowry only comes into play if you are looking for a traditional marriage. What you and she can do is get a civil marriage from the government. (Perhaps that is what you meant by getting a marriage certificate.) God accepts any form of marriage, so long as certain minimums are met. See: Marriage Covenants. A civil marriage would met the conditions required.

It is not ideal for a married couple to live apart, but you could plan on being together as often as you can. Plus with today's technology you can see each other and talk daily. Then, at a later point you can have your traditional wedding.

Thank you very much for that advice. I will just have to endure it and do things right this time. I love her so much, and I want to take the high road. Even though it will be painful, it will be worth it. Better is the pain of discipline than the pain of regret. May you pray for us that the road give us grace to overcome and endure. Thank you.