Cohabitation Confusion: What does the Bible say?

By Hal Lane
Aug 9, 2007

The fact that many couples live together without the legal commitment of marriage surprises few in our morally dysfunctional society. What is surprising is the number of professing Christians who choose to live together without the benefit of marriage.

Churches and families are increasingly faced with the question of how to respond to these individuals who believe their personal commitments to one another are morally equivalent to legal marriage.

Every moral issue is fundamentally a biblical issue. Genesis 2:18-25 describes marriage as a divine institution. God presented Adam with Eve and established the first marriage.

Genesis 2:24 is the basis for all future marriages: “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.” When Jesus was asked about grounds for divorce, He quoted this verse with regard to a legal, binding marriage relationship (Matt. 19:5).

When God revealed the law to Moses on Mount Sinai, there were many regulations regarding marriage. A man who seduced a virgin and had sexual relations with her before marriage was required to pay the father of the girl and was required to marry her if the father permitted (Ex. 22:16). Sexual relations with a virgin betrothed to another resulted in death by stoning of both parties (Deut. 22:23-24). These laws revealed the importance of marriage and the sin of premarital sex.

Malachi 2:13-16 speaks against the abandonment of wives by husbands. They are accused of breaking faith and abandoning their marriage covenants (v. 14). God’s intention was that sexual relationships between a man and a woman should occur only after a legal covenant was established. The covenant was to provide security and a formal obligation that could not be easily abandoned. Governmental regulation of marriage recognizes the importance of protecting the rights of marriage partners and children.

The New Testament also forbids sexual relations outside marriage. Hebrews 13:4 commands everyone to honor the institution of marriage. In 1 Timothy 4:3, Paul warned that a sign of the end times would be an abandonment of the divine institution of marriage.

Despite the arguments of some, the odds of a successful marriage do not increase because a couple lives together before marriage. In fact, studies reveal the opposite is true.

Where do professing Christian couples find justification for living together without marriage? Their own desires and an immoral culture provide support, but God’s Word is neither vague nor confusing on this point: A personal commitment between a man and woman is not the moral equivalent of a biblical marriage.

Further Learning

Learn more about: Family, Marriage, Sexual Purity, Abstinence,

76 Comments

1 On Aug 14, 2007, at 9:58pm, ronnie lee wrote:

It is little wonder that there is confusion amongst Christians regarding whether or not cohabitation is morally wrong.  The society, including many, if not most within the church has lost sight of the whole purpose of marriage and the marital sexual relationship.  Its ultimate purpose is to teach us about the relationship within the Trinity and to mirror the relationship between Christ and His bride.  Since we have become unaware of this concept, it may have been inevitable that we end up with those who are Christians not being convinced that the biblical teaching on marriage and sexual relationships is outdated.

2 On May 16, 2008, at 3:45am, The Reverend Doctor wrote:

What is “marriage”? If a man and a women agree with Genesis, then they are married, regardless of man’s law(civil law). In ancient times, there was the tribe. There were families. The civil government was not involved. Today, in America and Europe, the civil marriage is not Biblical(e.g. California, gay marriage). The family laws in America and Europe are not Biblical.

In the Bible there is plenty of authority for polygamy. The civil laws do not allow this. We are to obey God, rather than men.

3 On May 16, 2008, at 10:57pm, Pastor Bob wrote:

Biblical marriage: Gen 3:16 God told the woman that her husband will rule over her. In the NT: Eph 5:22, 1 Corn. 11:3.  The Apostle Paul (1Corn 7:3-5) stated “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone, but also to her husband.” He also stated that the wife needs to satisfy her husband’s sexual desires, as part of her duty.  The Apostle Paul emphasized to need to marry to satisfy a man’s sexual appetite(1 Corn. 7:9). 
The word “marriage” in California has no practical meaning. Under California law, a man can get married in the morning and legally have sex with another man or woman in the afternoon(adultery has no legal meaning in California with no fault divorce).  Today, in California, the word marriage can also be applied to a couple of men.

Does a Christian really want to give credence to the unGodly California law by getting a marriage license? The Bible states to separate ourselves from the unGodly and come out from among them.

4 On May 17, 2008, at 4:31pm, ronnie lee wrote:

On May 15th, 2008, at 6:45pm, The Reverend Doctor wrote:

“In the Bible there is plenty of authority for polygamy.”

Reverend Doctor, could you show us where the Bible gives authority for polygamy?  I realize that it tells stories of those who engaged in marriages with multiple wives, but where does it authorize it?

5 On May 19, 2008, at 8:11am, lee ronnie wrote:

Cohabitation is not a synonym for pre-marital sex. If pre-marital sex is the sin then please condemn that and not cohabitation, especially since you have given no scripture to support your claim that it is sin for people in a relationship to live together unless married. Cohabitation may be discouraged as imprudent, but please don’t add laws to the bible.

6 On May 19, 2008, at 6:31pm, The Reverend Doctor wrote:

Ronnie, I do not advocate polygamy any more than cohabitation. But both are permitted under certain circumstances, but not encouraged. The Bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart. Look at Solomon, a wise man. Both had many wives and the prophets did not condemn them for it, but they did condemn homosexuality. Polygamy is currently against the law. But since now it is legal in California for two men to get married, next polygamy will not be denied as Justice Scalia said in Lawrence v. Texas.

7 On May 21, 2008, at 10:03pm, Pastor Bob wrote:

God hates divorce. Matt:19:10,11, the disciples said if this is the situation better not to marry. Christ said, not everyone can accept this. Half the people today should not get married because they get divorced. Better not to get married if may get divorced.

8 On May 22, 2008, at 3:07am, Tim wrote:

The Bible states clearly what God says is right and wrong. If cohabitation exhists in a relationship while two adults are preparing to get married, why would that be a sin? Especially if abstinence is practiced! Please, among all of the people who talk, think or respond about this question of cohabitation, please tell me where exactly in the bible it says living together before the marriage ceremony(Christian) is a sin. We all know about the 10 comandments and many other statements about sexual immorality. Where I ask does is state “For a man and women to live together, but not have sex before the wedding ceremony sins against God?” If you know please tell me for I have read through the bible…..can’t find it.

9 On May 22, 2008, at 5:11pm, The Reverend Doctor wrote:

Tim, you are right. As it was mentioned, in the old days, there was not always an organized government. Sexual regulation rules are for good order in a society due to the concern over the production of children. (Old folks on Social Security get a pass here.) As Pastor Bob would say, consider a vasectomy if marriage is not in your future. Paul was also concerned about the pagan religious prostitutes. Paul also said that we are free, but we should not do things that will offend a weaker brother. The law of love governs(not always Me, but consider your neighbors). You understand Tim, this is a complicated issue, depending on facts and circumstances of each individual case.

10 On May 22, 2008, at 7:36pm, MODERATOR wrote:

Gentleman,

We’ll be enforcing our Comment Policy (see below) more consistently from here on out.

Please note this requirement in particular:

1. Use a real name, at least a real first name. We find folks are less-rude online when not hiding behind a screen-name.


Thank you and carry on,

ERLC.com Moderators

11 On Jul 10, 2008, at 5:29pm, Kurt wrote:

Tim,
I certainly agree with your points. The arguments against cohabitation are not logical even from a biblical perspective if the couple abstains and are honoring God in their lives. I understand a concern for a “slippery slope” theory among Christians (especially evangelical/fundamentalism) and it is something to be seriously considered. A rigid, legalistic perspective without a conversation is simply divisive and, I think, unfairly and too readily places judgement. Old Testament Law is difficult due to contextual issues.

Thanks for the forum on this issue!

12 On Jul 11, 2008, at 5:20am, Ronnie wrote:

Tim,

Do you know of a couple who are actually living together but do not engage in sex?

13 On Jul 12, 2008, at 5:23am, Tim wrote:

I did…my now wife and I. Due to her financial status she needed to move in with me for about 6 months….then we got married…I feel I am a strong Christian man, and saw nothing wrong with this.
...by the way…thank you all for this engaging message board, its nice to see a good discussion!!!

14 On Jul 14, 2008, at 11:11pm, Bill wrote:

Before cohabitation, Christians should ask themselves, “what would Jesus say about it?”  Well, here you go…

John4:16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.

17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

  Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband—18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

This sounds like Jesus doesn’t approve of this woman living with a man that she is not married to. He never says anything about sexual impurity while she is living with this guy.
Is cohabitation without sex more likely to bring glory to God or give satan a foothold?

15 On Aug 5, 2008, at 9:18am, Cortney jackson wrote:

I dealt with this same issue and stil am. I too didnt find anywhere in the Bible where it talked about cohabitation being a sin. Although this may be true. In my journey God has given me a number reasons y cohabitation is wrong for ME. Some of those include, God can not use you the way he wants to because your attention is misfocused, if one is yet a babe in Christ or struggle with sexual immorality then cohabitation is not a good idea, As Christians God does not want us to do anything that would call our Christianity into question, Cohabitation is one of those topics that do, although living with that person may not affect you or put your relationship with God into jeopardy, it could put your significant others in jeopardy.its only through prayer,fasting, and supplication that one will come to know what is right for them. If God does not have it for you, he will let you know, because he loves us so much, and wants the very best for us.

16 On Aug 9, 2008, at 11:52am, Bob wrote:

I have been a Christian for a few years now and I am learning every day. I am also living with a gal and have been for a long time according to WA. State law we are common law married. We love each other and have a great relationship. If doing this is wrong then,exactly where in the bible does it clearly state this is wrong or a sin. I am not looking for any Personal Opinions Please!!! Just the passages I can read myself…
Thanks   Bob

17 On Aug 11, 2008, at 8:37pm, Brittany wrote:

I have been facing this issue a lot lately. I am engaged and have been dealing with whether or not living together before we get married is a sin in God’s eyes! I am a christian but of course am not all to educated on where everything is in the bible. Anything anybody can contribute would be greatly appreciated.

18 On Aug 13, 2008, at 11:45pm, cj wrote:

One is not going to find a Bible passage saying living with someone before marriage is wrong. But just because you do not have a Bible passage that states that, it should not give you free rein to do it anyways. You should ask God for discernment about ur situation, and revelation, fast and pray about what God would have u to do.

19 On Aug 15, 2008, at 5:05pm, Bill wrote:

John 4:16-18 Especially the last part of verse 18.

20 On Aug 15, 2008, at 10:00pm, Bob wrote:

Fist let me say we are an older couple. We have prayed about this together - and we have prayed about this with our prayer group. We had a small get together / “Our Marriage” with family and friends, we made our public vows to each other, and ever since then we believe in our hearts and minds we are one together and married in god’s eyes. What constitutes a marriage according to the Bible anyway? Other then that an not try and justify some type of wrong behavior ee try our best to live our life as any other Christian lives there’s. Ultimately the way we believe is we are married in gods eyes and that is between the couple and God. God knows our hearts (1 John 3:20). God knows the difference between a true marriage covenant and an attempt to justify sexual immorality.

21 On Aug 20, 2008, at 11:53pm, Samantha wrote:

My Fiance and I have lived together for the past year or so and now that we getting married and “Making it right” no one wants to perform the ceremony. I guess I just need help understanding why, if it is so wrong to live together without being married (though we are totally in love and will never stray), is it so hard to find someone willing to perform the ceremony?

I’m not trying to upset anyone, I just want to know why this is so hard.

22 On Aug 21, 2008, at 5:14pm, cortney Jackson wrote:

How is it that your not willing to find anyone? where are you looking? you dont need anyone ordained to marry you, do you know that?

23 On Aug 22, 2008, at 12:20am, Samantha wrote:

We have been speaking with several ministers at his church and people that they know. All of whom are Baptist. Finally today I broke down and just called a Justice of the Peace who prefers to include passages from the Bible in her marriages.


I just don’t understand why the Baptist ministers that we spoke with refused to marry us unless one of us moved out of the house until the wedding? Will one of us moving out now really make a difference?

24 On Sep 5, 2008, at 5:40pm, Bill wrote:

Continued…

But, if “living together” means living in the same house, that is perhaps somewhat of a different issue.  Ultimately, there is nothing wrong for a man and a woman to live in the same house – IF there is nothing immoral taking place. However, the problem arises in that there is still the appearance of immorality (1 Thessalonians 5:22; Ephesians 5:3) and it will be a tremendous temptation for immorality.

The Bible tells us to flee immorality, not expose ourselves to constant temptations to immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). Then there is the problem of appearances. A couple that is living together is assumed to be sleeping together – that is just the nature of things. (sorry - this got to long ... to be continued, again…)

25 On Sep 8, 2008, at 8:52pm, Cortney Jackson wrote:

Totally agreed Bill, that is a big problem with living with each other before marriage. The Bible says dont let your good works be evilly spoken of. Even though you are not doing anything, people always assume the worst. When that does happen, I think it becomes a little more difficult for God to use you in the way he attended. At least, thats what I am learning from my experience.

26 On Sep 10, 2008, at 1:25pm, Karen wrote:

Cortney,
    I have just started living with someone and will let people know we are not having sex. After all, if we’re going to let them know we’re living together, I’ll also tell them there is no fornication going on. If people don’t believe me, then they are being judgemental. They are believing what they want to believe. This should not have anything to do with the way God intends to use us. This is their problem.

27 On Sep 10, 2008, at 8:00pm, Cortney Jackson wrote:

Karen,
Ok! thats your personal choice, but God does instruct us to not let your good works be eviliy spoken of. So as christians, we are suppose to do everything in our power to stop that from happening. I understand where ur coming from, but to nobelievers our actions look hypocritical.. “thats why i dont like soo called christians, they say they love God but shakin up, look at them, i would never want to be like that” many things such as that can be said. why put yourself in the predictment to have it said. Our serves is first to GOD. I am not judging at all! I am living with my bf right now! and doing everything in my will to get out of it! only because God has convicted my spirit. So, i dont expect you to see things the way I do. But its important to remember what would God have us to do first! beyond what we want, beyong whats comfortable or convenient for us, what would God have us do. And if your spirit is not convicted then Amen to you!!!! lol thats great!

28 On Sep 19, 2008, at 5:45pm, Cathy wrote:

It’s obvious that sex is the issue, not co-habitation. True, the chance of people living together and not having sex is close to zero, but what if they’re already having sex and not living together? Would them moving in together really make it worse? i have recently decided to let my bf move in, something I have never done before in my life and usually looked down upon. What pains me the most about it is that my church will not allow me to be part of our praise team once this happens and they will not marry us when we do get married.

29 On Sep 19, 2008, at 9:39pm, Cortney wrote:

Cathy,

That is terrible! I don’t know why people who call themselves christians, which are actually “churchgoers” do things like that, try to reprimand or punish you,when they themselves know that their doing much worse! it seems like some people get pleasure out of making others miserable or feel like they dont belong! who are they to judge what you do? the most they can do is let you know what the Bible says, and give you instruction to pray! I have learrned that no matter what church you go to there are always “churchgoers” that will try to make you feel less because of what they consider sinful! Praise God that you put faith and assurance in God and not man!what you are going through right now is a testimony for others! be strong! let God direct your path

30 On Sep 19, 2008, at 9:49pm, Bill wrote:

Cathy, I think your church is doing the right thing for you out of love. The fact is, statistically, your future marriage has a MUCH higher chance of failing now that you’re living together. They are protecting you. Additionally, it sounds like you knew what the consequences would be BEFORE you had him move in, right? Count yourself blessed to have a church love you enough to not let you mess your life up…even if it hurts you in the short run.

31 On Sep 19, 2008, at 11:22pm, Cortney Jackson wrote:

Thankfully we put our faith in God and not statistics!i think to say she is messing up her life is pretty harsh and if that is the case God must love messups! such as paul,david,noah many others to name! those who had plenty of faults but God use it for their good and his glory I truly beleive that God uses our “messups” what the devil meant for evil as a testimony of his greatness his awesome power,its reflected in the Bible through and through.now am I saying that if God is telling you you shouldnt be doing something to go ahead and do it? most definetly not! but as human we fall short in every area of our lives and what man sees as a “messup” or a failure God see’s as an opportunity to demostrate his awesome power, to make us bearers of his love, his word and his way! I still dont beleive that you need chastisment from your church, or rejection, did Jesus reject the tax collector,adulter, or prostitute, God even honors those who marry to others which they are not equally yoked!

32 On Sep 22, 2008, at 5:46am, mona wrote:

I have been grappling with this cohabitation issue for 3 years now.I am more concerned with what God thinks of me than what people do.Can someone state claearly,a verse in the bible,forbidding cohabitation?It feels wrong to me.I would appreciate a response so that I can show my boyfriend what is in the Bible that states this is wrong.He states that we do not need to be married because there is no law in the Bible that states we need a piece of paper to show we love each other.I am torn.Thanks..

33 On Sep 22, 2008, at 7:39pm, Bill Young wrote:

Dear Cortney,  You are correct in saying that God loves us even when we mess up. In fact, we get MORE grace when we sin… but that is not the issue here.  The issue is choosing to sin when we know better. That’s called licence. Romans 6:1-2(NIV) “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”  Also see Galtians 5:13 discouraging us from using our ‘freedom’ to indulge in our fleshly desires.

34 On Sep 22, 2008, at 7:52pm, Bill Young wrote:

Dear Mona, I appreciate your desire to honor God. I think you will find some of the previous comments helpful. I would also add this: The answer to this question depends somewhat on what is meant by “living together.” If it means having sexual relations – it is definitely sinful. Premarital sex is repeatedly condemned in Scripture along with all other forms of sexual immorality (Acts 15:20; Romans 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13,18; 7:2; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). The Bible promotes complete abstinence outside of (and before) marriage. Sex before marriage is just as wrong as adultery and other forms of sexual immorality, because they all involve having sex with someone you are not married to. Hope that helps.

35 On Sep 22, 2008, at 8:44pm, ronnie wrote:

Mona,
  As a marriage counselor let me point out a couple of concerns.  First, is the reason that you have dated this man for 3 years and yet have not married an indication that there are significant problems in the relationship?  Are there issues with commitment? 
    As has been stated above, there are various scriptures that condemn fornication, which is sex outside of the commitment of marriage. 
  It seems to me the basic reasons behind cohabitation boil down to a lack of deferring gratification.  Sexual union is supposed to be a picture of the union between God and the Christian. 
  So, Mona I don’t see God agreeing to give me the benefits of a close relationship with Him without the responsibilities on my part.  I must commit to Him in order for me to receive the benefits of that commitment. 
  Thanks for being torn rather than simply accepting societies view on sexuality and cohabitation.

Ronnie

36 On Sep 22, 2008, at 11:56pm, cortney wrote:

Mona,
Little confused, you sais that you are more concerned of what God thinks of you than what people can do to you, which makes me also think that you are neither concerned with what people think.  If thats the case why try to prove anything to your bf? if you are convicted, and beleive its wrong then that is what the spirit of God is leading you to beleive! u dont have to prove that to anyone else. It is going to be difficult to find a passage in the Bible that states that. No there is no law in the bible that says you need paper to be married to prove it. But, that is what the law of the states require, and it does say in the bible that we are to obey mans law, as long as it does not contradict Gods law. Plus in the bible marriage was a public ceremony, just like today, you cant be married if its not public(2 witness)

37 On Sep 24, 2008, at 11:14pm, freddie wrote:

cortney,
now i’m the one confused. adam and eve were joined together in front of God and God alone. unless you count the animals in the garden witnesses. why should we, as christians, be bound by a law that now promotes homosexuality in some states.

38 On Sep 25, 2008, at 8:36pm, cortney wrote:

yes in the beginning, when all was perfect before sin! when sin was committed laws needed to exist! why should we? because the Bible says we should, laws and statutes create order. Just b/c there are laws in some states that allow ungodliness, doesnt mean you shouldnt obey the laws that dont contradict God and His word.

39 On Sep 30, 2008, at 7:48pm, Fred wrote:

What about when the two families of the betrothed couple are living together and the unwed couple do not share a bed? Or what about two friends who are not romantically involved are roommates? Cohabitation doesn’t mean that the couple is having premarital sex by any means. Is the situation only viewed as “cohabiting” when the couple is alone or planning to get married? Just because two people share a living arrangement does than mean that they are living in sin? God doesn’t care about circumstances, He knows the hearts of everyone. Are all these situations wrong only because of what man might think of them?

40 On Oct 1, 2008, at 6:32am, cortney wrote:

now roommates!?!? dont u think that is a little different? I am not telling u what God thinks and what he doesnt think, I am just letting u know what was revealed to me any my circumstance of living with my boyfriend. Thats why i state to pray about it and let God lead you. if man is saying one thing and God is telling u something different then of course go with God, but i truly beleive God would not put you in a situation that would cause your words to be evily spoken upon! Smiles and Kisses!!

41 On Oct 14, 2008, at 7:40am, Lauri wrote:

Deut 21:13-14
13 She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally, because you have humbled her.
NKJV

1 Cor 5:1
5:1 Immorality Defiles the Church
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!
NKJV
Sexual immorality is many things, laying with your fathers wife, with your close reletives or with animals.  per verse above

42 On Oct 14, 2008, at 7:52am, lauri wrote:

1 Cor 6:16-17
16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”  17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 
NKJV
become one flesh isnt that what he says about being married?  Hmmm sounds like weddings are a man made law.

43 On Oct 14, 2008, at 8:01am, lauri wrote:

1 Cor 7:1-9
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.  5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

44 On Oct 14, 2008, at 8:11am, lauri wrote:

. 6 But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. 7 For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.
8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 
NKJV

please look into all my answers yourselves dont take my word i only gave you the word that i found in the bible myself.  I would love any proof of diference by verse

45 On Oct 14, 2008, at 9:25pm, Lauri wrote:

This verse looks as if there was a gathering of some kind with a feast, before the daughter was given in the evening to be his wife to lay with her.

Gen 29:21
21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to lie with her.”
(from New International Version)
Gen 29:22-24
So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23 But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob, and Jacob lay with her. 24 And Laban gave his servant girl Zilpah to his daughter as her maidservant.
(from New International Version)

46 On Oct 17, 2008, at 5:06pm, Ashley wrote:

I have been struggling with this for awhile and have yet to come to a conclusion myself. I am currently living with my boyfriend and plan on getting married. I understand if other people make opions about what we’re doing. But, that is them judging us. Doesn’t the bible actaully state that man should not judge anyone?? We aren’t hurting anyone and I don’t think it will affect wether or not our marriage will last. Did the people who did these studies that showed living together first ended up in divorce actaully add in all the other factors or just paid attention to the living together part?

47 On Oct 17, 2008, at 6:12pm, Bill wrote:

Dear Ashley, I appreciate your desire to follow the Bible in the area of not judging. I encourage you to read all the postings on this topic and apply the same diligence to the area of God’s moral standard for unmarried couples living together.  The question I would ask: Are you having sex with each other? Please don’t be offended - only you two (and God) really know. Since we do not know, we only can make judgments based on circumstances. Please note: Making judgments is not always wrong. In fact 1 Corinthians 2:15 (NIV) teaches: “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things.” Christians are actually instructed to make “right judgments”. Jesus teaches in John 7:24 (NIV) “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” Unfortunately, it seems you’ve set yourself up for scrutiny by appearing to live in a way that is Biblically imprudent at best.

48 On Oct 17, 2008, at 11:46pm, Samantha wrote:

Bill,

There is a big difference in “making judgments” as far as what is spiritually right and “judging” a person. I think you may have gotten the two confused. Besides, “weddings” are man made the act of marriage is holy.

49 On Oct 18, 2008, at 6:58pm, Bill wrote:

Dear Samantha,

Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate and agree that judging a person just for the sake of condemning them is different than judging a person’s actions.  Consider this: In John 8:11 (NIV) Jesus judged the actions of the woman caught in adultery, but no one doubted his compassion for the sinner. He made a “right judgment” based on wisdom and circumstances and witnesses. It says this: “‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’”

Jesus called out the sin but obviously still loved the woman. When it comes to sexual sins (or as it pertains to this blog “no hint of sexual immorality” - Eph 5:3), often the most loving thing we can do is make a right judgment and compassionately encourage people to “go and sin no more.”

50 On Oct 20, 2008, at 7:48pm, Ashley wrote:

Samantha…. Thank you. I was trying to think of how to say that last week but couldn’t come up with the right way to say it. No sleep will cause the brain to slow =]

And Bill… as far as your comment about “we can only make judgements based on circumstances”... If anyone is ASSUMING that we are having sex then that is their mistake. My mom taught me at a young age what happens when you ASS-U-ME something.

So, if there is a couple who is living together and NOT having sex where does the problem lie with them living together?

51 On Oct 20, 2008, at 10:23pm, Bill wrote:

Dear Ashley,

Please understand, I in no way want to be contentious here. Like God, I care for you and those reading this blog. I simply want to help you understand why it might not be the wisest choice to live together if you are not married. But, ultimately, it’s your choice.

In answer to your question, clearly people can choose to put themselves in less than wise circumstances and not be in sin. For instance, a person could frequent adult bookstores and not partake in the pornography. Likewise, people could spend lots of time in bars and liquor stores and not get drunk. In the same way, a man and a woman claiming to be in love could live together and not have sex.  (to be continued…)

52 On Oct 21, 2008, at 12:01am, Bill wrote:

cont…

I would argue, however, that in each instance listed above, the people choosing to put themselves in these circumstances are in most cases unwise.

And pertaining to the issue of cohabitation, it seems clear that God wants us to be particularly careful. It says in Ephesians 5:3 (NIV) “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

It seems that in our culture, when two people live together before getting married, the implication is way more that a “hint” of immorality. Here’s a question: how would you speak to, say, your daughter regarding Ephesians 5:3 if she were in your situation? Do you agree with it or do you read it another way?

53 On Oct 21, 2008, at 2:06am, Cortney Jackson wrote:

Ashley,
I was just like you,living with my bf looking for the right answer, and this i can share, if you are lookin for people to give you the right answer, you will never get it! because you will be caught between looking for the answer you want to hear versus the answer you need to hear! The God that gives all these other people wisdom can give you wisdom too! so read the bible, meditate on Gods words,ask him to give u direction in the situation, seek him and not people, and u will be enlightened

54 On Oct 26, 2008, at 8:43am, Andrew wrote:

1. I am reluctant cohabitate because the temptation to fornicate would be greater. 2. Cohabitating could lead to financial strain if you decide not to marry. Cohabitating puts you in a situation where you have to work w/ someone else as it relates to $. Couples are usually more effective w/ $ when they work together. Say a cohabitating couple ends up not getting married. By then they have purchased items together, including possibly cosigning for items because they believed they had a lasting relationship, only to end up separate everything. That sounds like a simulated marriage/divorce. I think that each person should pray & make a God-led decision. IMO, it is wiser & less risky to not live together before marriage. I also think that it is easier to have peace that surpasses all understanding by choosing not to cohabitate.

55 On Oct 28, 2008, at 1:48pm, james wrote:

If we ever wish to find some sort of “blueprint” for who can live together, let us look at Adam and Eve as an example.  God gave Eve to Adam and hence were married in God’s eyes - God pronouncing them as “one flesh” and effectively bound them together in legal covenant (evidence today – marriage certificate). They were not hanging out in the garden together before this, that is, they were not watching the world go by together.  It was only when God joined them together in legal union that they started living together. Hence, it not correct to say that fiancees can live together because of one reason or another; it is correct to say that married people live together because God ordains marriage as the only institution or arrangement whereby a couple can share their lives together.

56 On Nov 3, 2008, at 9:45pm, Marilyn wrote:

Your discussion about cohabitation leaves out a group that may have many Christians bewildered. Many Baby Boomers have either lived with someone and been heartbroken after it did not work for them, or are currently in a committed relationship without the benefit of marriage. My partner passed away. Without the legality of marriage, I was not able to claim his remains.
The question remains, though, after childrearing years, and dependency upon each other financialy and emotionally whether an older couple should marry and what role a congregation should play in encouraging both people to live a way pleasing to the Lord.
I sincerely hope that each person will investigate, and if necessary, make adequate provision for your partner in whatever situation you are in.
Our God is a loving Father, who will forgive and change the seemingly unchangeable.

57 On Nov 4, 2008, at 4:41pm, Mary wrote:

I have friends who were thrown out of church for
living together. In fact, most churches that I have
knowledge of will and if you want to marry, they refuse.
They refuse to marry people who have been married before
and say that is a sin. Does that mean if you were married to a man who had sex with multiple people during the marriage, you are bound to him anyway? If a man marries you then tells you that he still loves his ex, are you bound to him by the laws of the bible if he abandon`s you in every way? Is a woman bound to a man who severly abuses her? Yes, a lot of questions.This is all totally confusing.

58 On Nov 5, 2008, at 4:13pm, Ashley wrote:

Mary, although I do not have the scriptures with me and do not know them by heart…. there are places in the bible where it does say that in those cases NO the woman is not bound to that man. And yes, some churches are like that. But, in my eyes and I believe in God’s those churches are wrong and I believe that God looks down upon them and hangs his head. We are supposed to be accepting, forgiving, understanding and show mercy and grace. So, if you are in one of those situations PLEASE do not feel like you need to stay in it. You deserve to have a man that loves you and treats you the way God expects him to treat you.

59 On Nov 7, 2008, at 10:09pm, wanda wrote:

my future husband and I live together. We pray together. We go to church together. We tithe together. And After we are done with marriage couseling we will get married. I had a son from my previous marriage 6yrs ago, and we have a daughter who is 5mths. Our home is very peaceful, and we are awaiting the moment where we can be legally bound. Like another poster, I believe that our union is honored because we have made a commitment before God. I was told by a pastor that God does not honor our relationship or our home or our tithe. But, I can’t believe that. Because it has taken such stregnth and prayer to over come some of thethings that we have been through. And aside from us not having a public ceremony, our commitment to God and our family is more in order than most of the legally married couples I know. If they sayd God honors their marriage and not my commitment, then why is their marriage not in order?

60 On Nov 11, 2008, at 9:55pm, cortney jackson wrote:

Wanda,
If you dont mind me asking, what type of committment have you made before God, that you consider to be honorable? and whay has God shown you that leads you to beleive what you are doing is Honorable?

61 On Nov 13, 2008, at 11:27pm, wanda wrote:

No,I don’t mind at all. We prayed and made a commitment before God to work at our family in which he has blessed us with. We talked to him about the fact that we live together. And as soon as we complete our counseling we will take vows. Now, I believe that he honors what he put together. He put our family together. He has seen to it that nothing come against us. And while he has allowed us to have the home in order, he hasn’t completely allowed us to receive the blessings we would get if we would have taken vows before him. We are awawre of that. I know that until we do take vows, he wonn’t unlock the full potential of our family and our relationship. Had we done things the right way I do believe that we would be in a better place, but we didn’t. And he still granted us the vision to see what we can have. But we can only have them if we do what’s right.

62 On Nov 14, 2008, at 3:20am, Cortney wrote:

Sounds good to me! congrats!!!!

63 On Nov 14, 2008, at 5:21pm, wanda wrote:

Thanks cortney. Please keep us in your prayers.

64 On Nov 16, 2008, at 7:37pm, Darrell Matlock wrote:

I have an un-mentioned situation related to this topic and would love to hear some opinions. I was previously married and divorced unwilling, after adopting her two kids. We were together 5 years married for almost 4 years. Divorced for 2 years now. My GF and I have dated 1yr, met on Christian website She lives 7 hours away from me. She is a student and non U.S. Citizen. Haven’t married yet because of handcuffs at our locations, and our cultural differences. She is ready for marriage, but I am trying to be extra careful, because of my past failure. We made commitment at beginning of relationship for no premarital sex. We have bible study every night via web cam, and extended time spent in bible study and prayer individually. This strengthens our ability to avoid sexual immorality. We both have our own homes, money, bills, no shared belongings. Our “Cohabitation” which I am being accused of consists of over night visits. Continued read bellow….

65 On Nov 16, 2008, at 9:11pm, Darrell Matlock wrote:

....Continued from above….
We won’t share beds for sleep. Holding and kissing is allowed in our relationship, but not sexuality. I do freely admit to temptations, but they have not over come us. Most visits are a week or less, however she visited me the whole summer. Does the time period make a difference? Is one day acceptable, but 12 weeks Cohabitation? The lack of funds and the fact that neither of us lives near family to stay with them during visits, contributes to our staying under the same roof. How does this influence my children? I want to guide them against premarital sex, Is my behavior with my visiting arrangements a bad example sharing the same roof but not the same bed? FYI my Son is 9 and My daughter is 13, I am 28, my GF is 30 for those who think age may matter. Also my GF has a roommate, and my children stay with me on weekends and extended days for holidays and summer. Thank you very much for any opinion with scripture support and God bless you all!

66 On Dec 3, 2008, at 10:30pm, jenn wrote:

ok.. i just found this.. didnt read everything. but i have to say that polygomy is not okay!!! There were definitely people in the Bible who practiced it, that does not make it okay. And Yes, David was described as a man after God’s own heart.. that does not mean he was perfect. He was in sin committing adultry with bathsheeba and then killing uriah. he was wrong. God did not approve. and there are evident consequences in david’s life too. polygomy may have been more socially acceptable at the time, and im sure most ppl wouldnt go against the king and tell him he is wrong. that doesnt mean that God didn’t find fault. it is adultry. it is sexually immoral. It is wrong. Please don’t ever believe anything different!

67 On Dec 17, 2008, at 6:10pm, Rhonda wrote:

Please, correct me if i am wrong. Aren’t we, as Christians, to obstain from sin in both act and appearance (1 Thess 5:22), so as not to draw those around us to cast a cloud of doubt over our faith?  If, by your behavior you cause another to sin, are you not also guilty of sin(Mark 9:42)?  Cohabitation certainly provides the appearance of impropriety.  Also, aren’t we to avoid temptation rather than throw ourselves wholeheartedly into it (2 Tim 2:22)?  I cohabited with my now husband before we were married, and have regretted it ever since… Taking liberalities in reading the scriptures doesn’t make what you are doing right in the eyes of the Lord.

68 On Dec 30, 2008, at 2:43am, Jessica wrote:

Hello! I have appreciated reading through all of these posts, and have still not come to a conclusion.

I am currently living with a friend of mine who is male, and have received mixed counsel from strong Christian friends.

There is not romantic involvement between my roommate and I, and we know each other well enough to know that a relationship is not a possibility. While he doesn’t share the same convictions that i do (abstaining before marriage) he’s respectful of my beliefs, and will not be bringing women home should he begin dating.

I searched the Bible and my heart before agreeing to find a place to live with my friend, and was unable to find anything other than “abstain from the appearance of evil” to lead me to think that this was wrong. Anyone who knows us, is well aware that we are not sleeping together, but I’m hoping for some guidance, or some verses I can show some concerned family members who believe whole heartedly that I’m living in sin.

69 On Feb 11, 2009, at 1:37pm, Emma wrote:

Thank you for a very lively discussion regarding cohabitation and abstinence. I have recently had to leave the church I love over this issue as I have been told by the leader that I cannot be baptised because I am living with my boyfriend (but not having sex) and this doesn’t look good or honour God in any way. I disagree and have searched the Bible for an answer, nowhere does it say that what I am doing is wrong. I prayed and spoke to God about my decision before I made it and found that God’s counsel was positive. I also learned that a couple who are living together and have two children and are having sex would be allowed to be baptised by the same man who said I couldn’t. His argument is that they were together before they were Christian and me and my boyfriend were not. I cannot sort out this double standard and so have had to leave the church

70 On Feb 25, 2009, at 9:11am, Amy wrote:

Hi all, I am a single mother of 1, living with my parents, temporarily, due to financial difficulties and am considering moving together with my fiance. We are both dedicated Christians who don’t have sex, and surprisingly enough, are not tempted by it either. My parents even at my age of 27, are extremely controlling and emotionally abusive. I love my fiance and he is definately a gift from God. Neither of us are fit to live in seperate apartments. Me being a single mother, and him, being a full time student and with a full time job. We would have seperate rooms, but share the house. We plan to get married this year, we get along perfectly, and spent most of the time we have together finding ways to grow as a strong Christian couple. I don’t want to disobey God, if this is wrong, but I don’t feel in my heart that it is. We are soon to be legally married, we have a covenant with God, and times are tough. Feedback appreciated!

71 On Feb 26, 2009, at 12:50am, wanda wrote:

well,Amy….first off congrats on your engagement! That is the first step. I too was in your position. I had been living with my fiance for about 6 mths. We were married on yesterday. We understood that in order to get it right with God that we had to be married, but we did make a commitment and saw it through. I can’t advise you against the will of God. You and he need to pray together.

72 On Mar 4, 2009, at 11:54am, Nikko wrote:

I have been living with my girlfriend since the summer of 2007 I met her almost one year ago, and we have been inseparable since then. I am completely in love with her and she with me. Lately I have been really getting deep into the things of God. And I feel that we need to be married. I am only 20 and she is 21, but I feel that we need to live honorably before the Lord. Statistics don’t mean anything to me, God blesses the married couple…we have a great relationship, and we have been abstaining. I feel that everything that I’m doing now is fine in God’s eyes, and that he is growing inside of me. I could care less what other so-called Christians think of me, and my living arrangement, because I am diligently living for God now…continued

73 On Mar 17, 2009, at 7:53pm, Laura wrote:

I really need help. I’m facing my boyfriend moving out of state, long distance relationships don’t work out for long periods of time. We have lived together in the past, but it was to soon. Nothing wrong happened, just thought it would be better if we didn’t rush the way we were. Now he’s going to be doing his residency, working 80 hour weeks. We won’t see each other much.But I can’t see giving up on him and staying behind… I can transfer with the company I’m with and I’ll have so much time to focus on me and what God wants to do in my life. I’m so confused. Please help.

74 On Mar 26, 2009, at 6:25pm, Jeremy wrote:

I understand that the bible says the appearance of evil is a sin and therefor living together before marriage is looked upon as a sin because it gives the appearance that the couple is have (sex) which is the actual sin…. but in todays society wouldn’t it be safe to say that the majority of people would look at a couple that have been dating especially for a long time and assume they are having sex, even if they aren’t living together…. so in that case is it wrong to even date someone?

75 On Apr 15, 2009, at 7:10am, Karisa Wilson wrote:

I, a believer, am engaged to a believer. We are getting married in two months, live together now because the housing opp and ceremony were not perfectly timed.  We have made a commitment to save intimacy for after the ceremony.  Are we dirty sinners because we couldn’t get the hall rented two months sooner?  My Uncle has cursed our marriage, saying that it will not last if we don’t find other places (and pay for) to live for the next two months.  Moving, and then moving again would place a great economic hardship on our new marrige, as well as be physically impossible to pull off. 
We have exchanged rings and announced our commitment before our church and family.
We’re not being immoral or sporting the appearance of anything immoral, why so hung up on timing?  Is God this petty?

76 On Apr 17, 2009, at 2:58pm, Ronnie wrote:

Karisa,

I will not doubt that you and your fiance are staying sexually pure though living together.  But what about your friends who are not believers?  What do they think?  Do they really think that you all are sleeping in two separate beds?  Do they really believe you and fiance are refraining from having any sexual contact? 

If all of your non-Christian friends are convinced there is no sexual contact, that is one thing.  However, if they don’t really believe you are staying sexually pure, you have lost your witness with them.  Although your non-believing friends may have no problem with cohabitation, your Christian influence with them will suffer.  How much is that trade off worth to you and your fiance financially?

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