If a person commits fornication before marriage while engaged, does that effect a later marriage?




My spouse was engaged to a woman for a month and a half. They were sexually active before and after they became engaged. They were not faithful to each other during the engagement and decided to break the engagement. He has since repented for his sin (been baptized, etc.) and is living a godly life. At a later time we married. I know that our engagement today is not the same as the betrothal (in which they were considered married) in the Bible. In God's eyes, is our marriage okay (not adulterous)?

The basis of a marriage is the covenant two people enter into before God. "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). In ancient days, the engagement period involved a covenant, which was followed by a second covenant at the time of the actual marriage. Today we typically only have the covenant at the time of the marriage.

Therefore, your husband at one time was a fornicator; that is, he had sex outside of marriage. The fact that he was having sex with someone he thought he intended to marry doesn't change this, nor does it change because he was two-timing this woman. Still, he did not break a marriage covenant because he had not entered into one at the time.

Even though he was a fornicator, he changed, as did some of the Corinthians. "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:11). Without that commitment to change, I would have warned you before marriage to take a second, third, and fourth thought about whether he was marriageable material. People who freely engage in sex generally have a hard time keeping commitments. But he has changed and you are married. So enjoy your time on earth together. You have not sinned by marrying this man. "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:9).

Thank you for replying.  He is a wonderful, godly husband and a fabulous father.  He is proof that the gospel can change us!  I also thank you for your web-site.  I have always wanted there to be a forum for people to ask real questions and get biblical answers without feeling dumb or unspiritual for wondering.  May God bless your efforts and your life!

Thank you for the kind words. I do what I can and it has been fun over the years. It keeps me on my toes and helps the local group because I'm more "in tune" with current issues around the world. It helps the members here be prepared to answer questions they run across.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Marriage
Questions and Answers regarding Fornication
Questions and Answers regarding Sexual Relations