“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” Albert Einstein
Is Everybody Doing It?
I once read a news article that talked about the rising trend of couples living together before getting married. This was not altogether shocking to me because I have known several people who have done just that. One of the reasons why this has become so prevalent is the lack of biblical education on how men and women are supposed to relate to one another, the purpose of dating and marriage, and how to have a healthy relationship. There are several passages throughout the Bible that address these very issues. I find it interesting that when Paul wrote about it to the Ephesians, he commented how mysterious all of this can be (Eph 5:32).
Since there are several different reasons why people decide to live together before getting married, it is a good idea to study God’s Word to know what He thinks about it all. Although most of the people I know had the intention of marrying their significant other at some point in the future, there are others who don’t feel like marriage is important enough to even strive for. So is living with the person you are dating before marriage wrong? In order to answer this question we need to explore the intricacies of temptation, influence, dating and marriage as well as the complexities that encompass couples living together without marriage. I hope you will enjoy this three post series on appreciating marriage.
The Beauty of Marriage
Marriage. What a simple plan that mankind has made so very difficult! Whether it is done for love, money, social status, spite, force, desperation, or in the middle of an incoherent booze- fest, it is something practiced in just about every culture all over the globe. A man and a woman make a promise that they are going to stay by one another’s side through the good, the bad, and the ugly. No matter how it is proclaimed, a vow like that is huge!
Have you ever wondered where this tradition originated? If you think about it, how could cultures whose lifestyles are so vastly different from one another share something like this? The only answer is that, as the Bible confirms, Jehovah our God designed matrimony. In Genesis chapter two we read a deeper account of the sixth day of creation. It is here that after making Adam, God put him in the Garden of Eden and charged him to take care of it.
God knew that in mankind, loneliness would ultimately breed insanity. So, He made the animals and had Adam name them. It was through this process that Adam was able to learn that animals and humans could not be equal to one another in any way, especially as mates, and also to appreciate God’s plan for compatible mates (Gen 2:18-20). After this, the scriptures teach that God “… caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man” (Gen 2:21-22).
Adam was able to realize that this new creature was compatible with him, and called her a woman because she was taken from man. After this, Jesus points out in Matthew 19:5 that Jehovah performed the first marriage ceremony with the instruction that a man and a woman were to leave their parents and join one to another. Now, because marriage is an invention of God, He has every right to set boundaries and have precepts concerning it.
Everybody knows that when parents set rules for their children, they are doing so because they love them and do not want to see them get hurt. After all, if a parent does not have rules for their children they will act foolishly (Prov 22:15). When a mother tells her son not to play in the middle of the road and he starts running toward it, she scoops him up and swats his bottom. However, she is not doing it to be mean. She knew he could have been killed, so she set the rules, and gave a memorable consequence for breaking those rules so he does not do it again.
Our Heavenly Father is the same way. He loves mankind, and wants what is best for us. He knows us inside and out, and when He gave us marriage, He did so with the plan that this is how we could show love to a spouse and build families without producing painful consequences. Unrestricted sexual behavior can cause so much pain, and breaking the rules He has set in place about marriage can as well. The difference in breaking marital laws though is that there are consequences here on earth, and left unrepentant, eternal consequences as well.