Q: How can we know if we’re sexually compatible or not if we don’t sleep together before we get married?
A: God designed marriage. True or false? The culture supports marriage. True or false? Media supports marriage. True or false? What do you believe is God’s design for marriage? Is it the same now and forever as it was in the beginning? Does it change? And is the desire for marriage nothing more than nostalgia for the past? What do you think? Listen to Lisa:
“I’m about twenty-five, single, never been married. I’ve never lived with a guy, but I have close friends who say they’re Christians but cohabitate. Then they break up and their hearts are broken and they don’t understand why there’s so much pain. They justify living together by saying that it’s a test run for marriage—that you wouldn’t go buy a car without test-driving it. They try to say that marriage is just a slip of paper. They just don’t understand the spiritual significance of being joined as one. My girlfriends are living with their boyfriends thinking that they’ll persuade the guys they’re living with to get married. Sometimes it’s very hard for me, but I found that my stronghold is to have a really good church with a good singles group of people my age who are also career people.”
Lisa makes the point that God’s design is the best design. Biblical advice against premarital
sex works out to be true in life after life—both in the pain felt by those who disobey God’s plan
and the blessedness of marriage for those who have followed it. God gives us rules and guidelines not because he’s mean or wants to keep us from anything, but because he loves us so much. His plan for purity before marriage is the best plan. It’s like a hedge of protection.
Q: What about just living together without having sex? We’re planning to get married soon, and this saves us money.
A: A young woman called us with just this scenario. She said that she and her fiancé were Christians and wanted to live together. She said they weren’t going to have sex until they were married. She wanted to see if we thought this was okay.
Well, she discovered that we don’t think it’s okay at all. Here’s why.
Paul wrote to the people at Ephesus, “Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people” (Ephesians 5:3). We asked the young woman if she had neighbors or kids next door. She said yes. So then we asked if she believed as a Christian that God calls her to walk with him above reproach so that she could be a light to draw other people to a relationship with Christ. She assured us that she did.
Our encouragement to this young woman, and to any of you who might be considering this “living together/no sex” scenario, is that if you want God to bless this union, then the best thing you can do is to be above reproach. Listen to what another caller said:
“My husband and I dated for two weeks and then we moved in together. Within two weeks we had decided we wanted to be with each other and we were going to get married. Financially, we thought it would be good because we could pay off bills and save for a house. We decided we were just going to move in together, have separate bedrooms, and not have sex. But the temptation was so great and we were so in love, we did end up making love. Later we got married. I can tell you from experience that making love in marriage is completely different—and it’s amazing. Having sex without the bond of marriage truly becomes an obstacle to really knowing and learning and communicating and seeing the broad spectrum of gifts that you bring into the relationship.”
Even if you are truly able to withstand the temptation to have sex, you still are giving the suggestion of immorality to your family, friends, and neighbors. If you want to start your union on the right foot, let there be no hint of or putting yourself into a situation that tempts you toward sexual immorality.
*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!