Faith Feedback: ‘Shouldn’t We Live Together First?’

Why the national trend of sharing a home before marriage hurts couples — how to handle the decision

As senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, I am often on the receiving end of faith-based questions from people of all walks of life.

Here’s one that came my way recently — and my answer to it, in the hope that this will be helpful to many others.

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Question: “Isn’t it OK to live with my significant other before we get married if I know she is the one?”

Answer: Every year in America, millions of couples make the decision to move in together prior to their wedding day. For many, this feels like a good decision. After all, doesn’t the old adage say, “Practice makes perfect”?

If people spend countless hours with a violin or baseball glove, believing that excellent practice produces excellence play, then shouldn’t couples practice living together before their wedding day? Common sense would seem to indicate that men and women could gain valuable experience and insight by living together before taking their vows of commitment — right?

This sensitive subject is yet another example of how man’s natural inclinations and God’s divine wisdom come into conflict. Human intuition would have us believe there is no real harm in living together before marriage. Human wisdom would prefer to put experience in front of commitment. But God is the creator of marriage, and in His wise design, commitment comes first.

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True commitment isn’t about two people exchanging keys and sharing expenses, but exchanging marital vows and sharing life as husband and wife (Genesis 2:24).

The modern world bombards us daily with sexual temptations. Televisions, computers, and smartphones flash with hypersexualized images. Movies and magazines tantalize us with skin and bodies. Sex is everywhere — and we are beckoned to participate. But God says sexual intercourse is reserved for the marriage bed, for those couples who have made marital vows before Him. Outside of marriage, sex is wrong and dishonors God (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

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When romantically minded couples decide to live together before marriage, they are putting themselves in an extremely difficult situation in which sexual temptation abounds. Sharing late nights, early mornings, and close quarters doesn’t encourage sexual restraint but sexual compromise. God knows sexual desires are powerful, which is why He advises us to find physical fulfillment with our spouse (1 Corinthians 7:2). The bottom line is that living together doesn’t go far enough.

Marriage is what God prescribes — and what God promises to bless.

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This biblical perspective may seem too rigid, conservative, or old-fashioned to many modern minds. But God’s wisdom is best. Relationships that “go the distance” are the ones that follow His insights for sexual purity and marital commitment.

If you truly want God’s blessing on your relationship, embrace God’s way. Don’t share a room until you share a ring!

Pastor Ryan Day is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where he has served for 18 years.  He is a regular contributor to LifeZette.

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