Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Not Live Together Rather Than Marry

In Western culture today, the norms have changed drastically from what they were even 60 years ago. Things that were once completely socially unacceptable are now generally considered normal and acceptable.

There are also more temptations today for people have to have sexual relations outside of marriage. These temptations come through various sources, including the popular styles of clothing that reveal so much more and leave much less to the imagination. Temptations also come through the media in all forms, such as advertising, movies, books, magazines, and TV.

If you are walking down the street, it’s difficult to go for two or three minutes without seeing tempting messages of a sexual nature. And most of us don’t even realize it, because we’ve become so accustomed to it. So since we are constantly bombarded with these sexual messages, and since there is so much sexual promiscuity in our generation today, we find that even among Christian believers there is a tendency among many to follow the direction the world is going and question or even deviate from basic Biblical morals for godly living. That’s why I’d like to address this topic at the most basic level. Let me approach it from the perspective of the questions that may arise the in the mind of young people today.

“Why not have sexual relations with numerous people, so that once I am married I will no longer feel the need to know other people sexually?”

First we go to the Word of God for the answer, and we find that Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mat 5:27-28). Jesus taught that it’s true the commandment says not to commit adultery and people had already been taught this from childhood for many years. But He told them that it is not just the physical act of sexual intercourse that constitutes adultery, but also the act of lusting for someone in your heart. To lust for someone is to have an intense sexual desire for them or a craving to know them sexually. So adultery begins in the heart before the clothes have ever been removed and before the first touch. This is the way God sees it.

Since that sounds like a pretty common thing, it makes you wonder how God will ultimately deal with people who lust after others in their heart. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about this saying, “Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1Co 6:9-11). It’s true that all of these things can be forgiven. Some of the Corinthians had been adulterers and fornicators at one time, and had since been washed and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. But Paul wanted them to know that those who live this way will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

As a side note, fornicators are those who commit sexual intercourse outside of marriage. It would be good to understand why this is so serious.

Paul went on to explain why: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, "THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH." But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” (1Co 6:15-18). Paul taught that when two people join their bodies sexually, their bodies become one together. Something happens that goes beyond what we can see with the eye. In the same way, when we join ourselves to the Lord, we become one with Him. So when a person sins sexually, they sin against their own body. The reason that is so serious is that the body of a Christian believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Once you join yourself to the Lord, your body is not your own. It’s His holy dwelling place, a place of worship.

This is why Paul went on to write: “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1Co 6:18-20).

You see, when you join yourself to someone sexually, this uniting of your bodies creates a soul tie that was meant to be life long. So when two people who have become one sexually break up and go their separate ways, there is still a soul tie. A part of each person remains in the other person. The more this is repeated, the more shattered and fragmented inside a person becomes. This is not God’s will. It corrupts the body, which is His holy temple.

And it’s important to note that almost half the time, people who have premarital consensual sex together do not end up marrying one another. If they do marry, they are more likely to divorce.

"The chance of a premarital cohabitation breaking up within 5 years is 49 percent (compared to 20% for marriages). And after 10 years, 62 percent for premarital cohabitations dissolve (compared to 35% for marriages)." (Source:

Consider this info from another blog titled “What is Wrong with Living Together and Not Getting Married”:

A study done by Penn State University researchers proves that even though more than half of couples now do it, compared with only 10 percent 30 years ago, living together before marriage still is linked to higher rates of troubled unions, divorce and separation.

There is so much information like this readily available through surveys that have been conducted, but most people are not aware of it. They have been deceived into thinking it is better to try out your mate for a while before marrying, just to make sure this is really the one for you. The statistics prove that it doesn’t work. So from both a Biblical perspective and a practical one, premarital sex and cohabitation are bad ideas. They don't ensure that you will stay together or that you will not have desires for other people once you do get married.

Why not live with another adult in a consensual sexual relationship, rather than marry them, since the commitment that’s really important is the one of the heart and not the legal one we recognize as marriage?

To answer this we really need to examine what constitutes a marriage. Marriage is more than just deciding to spend your lives together. It’s more than moving into the same house together, and it’s more than having sex. Biblical marriage reflects the relationship that Jesus Christ has with the Church. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”(Eph 5:31-32). Marriage is based on a solemn covenant between a man and a woman to spend the rest of their lives together. The husband agrees to lay down his life for His wife as Christ did for the Church and to care for her as he cares for his own body. The wife agrees to respect her husband and honor his leadership. A solemn, holy covenant is made in the presence of God and other believers. Jesus said wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in your midst. So when a solemn promise is made in this way, it’s binding.

Most civilized cultures put it in writing that is recognized officially by all of society. And that written document is important, but the marriage itself is not based on the document. If the document is destroyed, it does not terminate the marriage. It’s the covenant that binds the two together. God recognizes the covenant. It’s powerful. And then they are free to enjoy one another sexually, because of that covenant. With the covenant come many responsibilities to love, respect and care for one another. And with the covenant come all the wonderful rights and privileges of marriage to enjoy, including sexual intimacy.

The Sexually Immoral Will Not Inherit the Kingdom of God
Perhaps the most compelling reason not to live together outside of marriage is that the Word of God teaches us that the sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God, as I have already mentioned.

Paul said, "Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals..." (1Co 6:9)

"Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying." (Rev 22:15)

If you are living in sin this way, then repent for the kingdom of God is near. Unless you repent, you will perish.

Putting it All Together
So the Bible warns us not to have sex outside of marriage for good reasons. It’s for our own good. God wants us to be whole and enjoy His peace, His joy, and His love. This can only happen when we follow his holy ways. That’s why with all the temptations around us to deviate from His ways, we need to flee or run from sexual immorality like the plague. We should not conform to the way the world lives, but live righteously and dare to be different.

When you do this, you’ll find that God will bless you in ways you never dreamed or imagined.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Author's Note: I also recommend reading Finding a Marriage Partner, The Forgotten Sin of WorldlinessAvoid Becoming a Corrupted ChristianSins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Ezekiel Moses Testimony of Heaven and HellIs Obedience Optional?, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Is Contraception a Sin? -- a Divine Revelation, A Warning for Married Christian Couples, Restored Truth, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets, A Warning to the Nay Sayers, The Ways of Life, and the other posts on the home page. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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