Should You Live Together Before Marriage?

Don’t you need to see if you will work out? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Go back a few decades in time and it would have been taboo to be pregnant before you were married. There was just this idea that if you are pregnant out of wedlock, you have done something wrong. That doesn’t mean that the treatment of such a person was always right, but we did recognize the wrong.

In a couple of decades, things have changed. Now not only is it entirely acceptable to many, but many couples are also living together before they get married. This includes nowadays people who are Christians and get divorced and then do so before they remarry, or people who are Christians and haven’t been divorced, but they are sleeping together without marriage. You can hear a news story about a woman and her boyfriend living together spoken of so casually.

Yes. It is a big deal. Something we have lost sight of is that Christianity entails a certain sexual ethic. One such rule is that sexual intercourse is to be reserved only for marriage. Some might say we’re going to live together, but we’re not going to have sex. Yeah. Just keep fooling yourself. You’ll sleep in the same house together and shower in the same house together and all that, but nope, sex will never happen.

Some people will say marriage is a big deal, of which they are right. They will say that one should not make the decision lightly, which is again right. Then comes forward the analogy that they use. You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive would you?

The question has to be asked who is the driver and who is the car? In each case, the person is asking if the other person is capable of meeting their needs. Marriage is much more about meeting the needs of the other person instead of getting your own needs met. If both parties work at that, they all get their needs met.

If the driver decides they don’t want the car, the car won’t tell. A person will care. A person will care if they have been rejected as they are while giving all that they have. This is one reason why it’s so especially devastating on girls when a guy they love will sleep with them and then dump them the very next day.

Sexuality is something too beautiful and too sacred to treat as a test or to treat as no big deal. There is something awesome and magical going on when a person gives someone else so much trust with their whole body. When a person is giving sex, it is a way of saying they are giving themselves entirely. Women especially need to realize this since they usually set the standards.

There are exceptions of course, but normally the men are the pursuers and unless they’re willing to rape, they take no for no, although they could beg and plead some before finally accepting. Women are normally the determiners then of if sex will happen and when a woman says yes before marriage, she has said what has to be done to get all of her. What is she worth? Dinner? Three dates? A month? A year? Engagement? Perhaps instead, full marriage?

When you live together, you are not upholding the Christian sexual ethic and as Paul said in 1 Cor. 6, sexual sin is in a different category. He who sins sexually sins against his own body. It is essentially testing each person and treating the relationship as a contract instead of a covenant.

Ladies. You’re the big losers here. Guys who move in with you get what they want, the sex, without the cost that they want, the commitment. They can pack up and go at any time and you are the ones who are living most often in fear of that. Guys don’t have to worry about being stuck with alimony and get their fun in at the same time. You’re not giving them incentive to commit. You’re removing incentive. Want to give them incentive? They only get to have their fun if they make that commitment to you.

This is also why sexual refusal is so painful in marriage. For a guy, it is them getting a message that they are still not good enough. This is not to say a woman can never say no, but there’s a reason Paul encourages couples to make the withholding something mutual and only for a short time. Paul knew what he was talking about.

Also, I really don’t think that anyone who is living together with someone of the opposite sex without marriage should be in a position of Christian leadership at all. We are often rightly fighting the marriage battle for marriage being a man and a woman. It does not help us if our own leadership is living like marriage is no big deal. They either get married or one of them moves out. Save sex for the marriage bed.

In Christ,
Nick Peters