“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.
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.
Why Is Marriage So Important?
When Jesus was on this earth, one of the ways He taught people was through parables. He used stories with characters that people could understand and circumstances that they could relate to in order to teach a greater lesson. For instance, someone familiar with farm life would understand what it meant to get ready for the harvest. This same teaching principle holds true with marriage.
Marriage has its earthly benefits, as was evident when God made Eve to be a helper for Adam. This partnership is also a way to teach the importance of our relationship with God. When we become Christians we have made a promise to God that we are going to faithfully serve Him all of our days. When we get married, we vow to our spouse that we are going to stay faithful to them all of our days. We did not promise God that we will be faithful except when times get hard, and the same goes with our spouse. If we are unfaithful toward our spouse, it is the same as being unfaithful toward Jehovah. God sees this as being so serious that He made adultery the only stipulation for a person to be able to get a divorce and be allowed to remarry someone else afterwards (Mt 19:1-9).
So when we ask why marriage is so important and why adultery is such a big deal, we should also ask why truth and honesty are important as well. Throughout the Scriptures we read of condemnation for those who speak lies and are false witnesses. The reason it is such a big deal is because Jehovah is an honest God (I Sam 12:24), and Satan is the Father of lies (Jn 8:44). If we break our promise to our spouse then we are breaking it to God, and we are following in the footsteps of Satan. Yes, it is that serious.
Why Is Marriage So Special?
Whether it has happened already or not, the day you get your first boyfriend is one you will most likely remember till the day you die. I remember being nervous around him and how awkward it was when he called me his girlfriend. I also remember how childish our break up was. It is humorous how unlike a real relationship it was because of the rules our parents put into place regarding our little infatuation. At the same time, the innocence of the crush is a good memory of my youth.
Most would agree the magnitude of difference the words boyfriend and husband, girlfriend and wife have. I was watching a show just the other day where this fifteen- year- old boy was expressing to his girlfriend how he wanted her to be his wife. Looking at the young man it seemed ridiculous to see him as a husband at that tender age. It is the same feeling I got thinking about eight- year- old Josiah becoming king of Israel (II Kngs 22:1). Why is that? It is because the roles of a husband or a king bring a responsibility and maturity that someone at that age seldom has.
Not only do the words husband and wife imply maturity and responsibility, but also commitment. Promising to spend the rest of your adult life with one person is not something to be done flippantly. A person needs to step back from all the gushy butterflies making his or her heart go pitter- patter and soberly look at what he or she is about to do. It seems more and more these day’s people enter into a marital relationship with no more thought than what is put into dinner plans. Please do not misunderstand me; love and romance are very important. Even more important is if this person’s number one goal in life is to be in Heaven and if they are committed to helping you get there as well.
The fact that marriage is so serious, though, is what makes it so special and sacred. There are times in life to goof off, and this is good. When Solomon was an older man, he looked back on his life and wrote what he learned. One of the things he talks about is that there is a time for everything:
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace. What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?”(Ecc 3:1-9)
Marriage is so wonderful because it is a time for a man and a woman to commit to one another as they have committed their lives to Christ. It should not be thought about or dealt with frivolously, but held in a place of honor and praise. It is something that children should be brought up to desire, wait for, and cherish once it is theirs.
Source: Choosing Epic