112 responses

  1. Ian Romaine
    June 20, 2008

    Hi Ray,

    This is an interesting post but what happens if you’re an atheist and the God argument doesn’t come into it?

    I have been with my partner for nearly six years. I’ve heard the arguments about cohabiting not showing true commitment, but frankly that’s absurd in our case. Neither of us are heading anywhere other than down the road of future happiness together.

    So why is it such a bad thing for us to cohabit? We love each other, we care for each other, we provide for each other. I just can’t see what’s wrong with cohabitation in that situation.

    Best

    Ian

  2. Ray Fowler
    June 20, 2008

    Ian – Thanks for commenting. I am just heading out the door so I can’t answer right now, but I will get back to you. Thanks for visiting and talk to you later!

  3. Ray Fowler
    June 20, 2008

    Hi Ian – Okay, I’m back again.

    This post is the third in a series, and I would guess for an atheist the posts would make less and less sense as they go along. The first post was just a general post showing some of the negative statistics that go along with cohabiting before marriage. Of course there are some people living together who are happy and get along, and some married people who are miserable, but the stats are significant enough that they should give anyone pause before making the decision to move in together.

    The second post was answering the question: What does the Bible say about living together before marriage? Of course, if someone does not believe the Bible, the second post will just be an exercise in curiosity. But for someone who believes in God and and the Bible, these verses are very important. They tell us that God designed living together and the sexual relationship for the commitment of marriage. They also tell us that the sexual relationship outside of marriage is immoral. So even if the couple is happy together, they are still disobeying God’s commands in this area.

    The third post (this one) probably makes even less sense to someone who is not committed to following God’s way, because there is no direct command in the Bible saying, “You will not live together even if you don’t have sex!” This is more a matter of following general principles laid out in the Bible as described in the post above.

    Ian, I have no doubt that you and your partner love each other, care for each other and provide for each other. You may even beat the statistics from Post #1! So why is it a bad thing for you to cohabit? Because if God really exists and if he has really given us his commands in the Bible, then you are disobeying the God who loves you and created you and wants to be in relationship with you. But even if you don’t believe in God, you should still take a careful look at Post #1.

    I wish you all the best, and feel free to link to this series over at your cohabiting blog – even if just as a contrarian viewpoint!

  4. Ian Romaine
    June 21, 2008

    Hi Ray, and thanks for such a long and detailed response – it’s nice not to be batted away as someone just trying to provoke an argument! :)

    I’ve seen similar stats before but as someone who’s been cohabiting for a long time, my partner and I are not suddenly going to stop living together.

    One of the main issues is that it seems to be considered a bad thing if you are using cohabiting as some sort of practice run for marriage. But I’ve seen very few statistics about separation rates for cohabiting couples for whom cohabiting is *the* major step because for whatever reason marriage is not on the cards. If you’re cohabiting but not using it as a trial run for something else – ie, you’re treating it as seriously as others would treat marriage – then I wonder if that beats the argument. I don’t know, I’m just wondering. Throwing a thought out there, if you like.

    I clicked on the link on your first post – ‘Statistics on Living Together’ – that took me to the National Review Online interview with Michael McManus.

    The following answer really struck me as flawed:

    “Lopez: You’re against cohabitation. What about premarital sex? Is that inviting problems too?

    “McManus: Yes, even though most people see nothing wrong with premarital sex, research shows they are wrong. Those couples who married in the 1960s who were virgins were much less likely to divorce than the sexually active — only 30 percent of virgins divorced, while 50 percent of the sexually active divorced. The same pattern can be seen of those who married in the early 1980s. By 1988, 14 percent of virgins had divorced, but 24 percent of the sexually active. That’s 71 percent higher. St. Paul wrote, “Flee fornication.””

    Yes, the research may show those figures. But it does not necessarily mean there is a direct link that can be correlated between sexual activity and divorce figures — rather, it could be a link between personality types of those willing to deny themselves sex before marriage. For example, were the virgins people from more conservative, traditional backgrounds where there may have been greater pressures on people not to divorce — ie, regardless of whether the marriage was happy or miserable, you never even contemplated divorce because of what society/your parents/anyone else would have thought of you had you got divorced. Therefore they might not have been necessarily doing what they thought was best for themselves (I know of countless older couples who should have divorced many moons ago but stayed together for a life of misery because they were worried about what they perceived as a social stigma towards divorce), but rather they were just trying to avoid what they perceived as some kind of public shaming. If that’s the case, the link is with the areas of society rather than a straight correlation between virgins and marriage success rate.

    It may be a huge stereotype and I’m more than willing to stand corrected, but it would strike me that those people from a more conservative background 50 years ago would have been a) more likely to remain virgins until marriage and b) more likely to be fearful of public recriminations had they got divorced. So rather than their marriage being successful due to their virgin status, it merely didn’t break up because of their own fears.

    Anyway, there’s some food for thought in that little lot, I’m sure.

    And yes, I may well put up my own post about cohabiting without sex and use your blog as the contrary viewpoint! :)

    Take care

    Ian

  5. Ray Fowler
    June 22, 2008

    Ian – Thanks for responding back. You raise an interesting question about people who live together instead of marriage rather than as preparation for marriage. I don’t know the statistics on that one, but I would still think the marriage statistics would win out. Even with a 50% divorce rate (which is shameful), I can’t imagine that over 50% of people who start living together stay living together for life. I would think the commitment made in marriage lends itself to longer term stability overall.

    Good thoughts on cause and correlation as well. Statistics can be helpful, but we need to be careful interpreting them. Of course as a Christian, I don’t make my decisions based on statistics anyways. Even if premarital sex correlated with longer marriages and less divorce, I would still see it as a moral issue. I’m just not surprised when the statistics seem to correlate with the biblical directives.

    I noticed you put up your own post on cohabiting without sex. And wonder of wonders, we both agree that living together without sex does not make sense. You just think live together couples should go ahead and have sex, and I think they shouldn’t be living together in the first place. Oh well, at least we found some common ground! :-)

    Thanks again for conversing with me on this topic. And thanks for the link from your blog. Here’s the link to Ian’s post for those who would like to visit: Could you cohabit without sex?

  6. tiffani
    July 26, 2008

    I thank you for your wisdom. I have often searched the bible for answers to these questions and couldn’t make any sense of what I found. But you spoke and laid it out so that I can see the truth. Thank you

  7. Ray Fowler
    July 26, 2008

    Tiffani – Thank you for your kind words, and I am glad you found the posts helpful.

  8. Jeremy Montoya
    August 5, 2008

    Hi Ray,

    I have really been struggling with this issue lately. I have been with my fiance for 5 and a half years. We are committed to refraining from sex till we are married, and have stayed true to this all this time. This can not be budged. We are to marry in December, but are moving to a new city in less than a week, and previously arranged living situations with roommates are falling through. I have a two bedroom apartment and it would be so easy to just welcome her in 4 months earlier. We have talked of how most cases of cohabitation fail because there is no pre-discussed expectation of marriage. Forethought now shows we should have moved the wedding date to the summer, but that is not an option now. We are both so committed to God and so committed to each other that we know we can easily make it through this and be stronger for it. Your points are exactly what I have been wrestling with. Anyone that knows me deeper than an acquaintance knows my stance on waiting to have sex, but I do not want to appear a man of this world to those who do not know me. There is no way around this though. I guess I just feel because we are so committed to each other and our marriage is so near that this could still be another triumph for God, showing people that even with temptation we have not faltered. My non-Christian friends have even vowed to wait until they are married after seeing our example. I guess I feel like the light of God is still shining brightly to those around me.

    And the thing is, where we were living last year, I stayed the night many times, as did she. We would see each other nearly all weekend and loved it. To me, it did not take away from that anticipation of marriage.

    I don’t even know exactly what to ask you, but am just feeling a little lost you could say, and wanted to seek the advice of an outside Christian.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Jeremy

  9. Ray Fowler
    August 6, 2008

    Hi Jeremy, Thanks for sharing your situation. I understand the difficulties you are facing, but I would still encourage you to find a way to live apart until marriage. Look at it this way. If you find a way to live apart until after the wedding, you will never regret it, but if you do move in together now, there will likely be regret later. You guys have made it so far already. In the meantime, keep laying it before the Lord in prayer and ask him to show you a way. All the best, and feel free to contact me through the comments here or by email.

  10. Leah
    September 10, 2008

    I’m planning on looking for a studio apartment for myself at this point, but I’ve been very successfully using my fiance’s spare bedroom for the last month without any great fear of the “temptation”. I had to move rather suddenly due to the decision of my stepdad. Fortunately the architecture firm I took up with needed someone in the same city my fiance is stationed in and even offered to take care of my housing. After my trial period, however, they decided I was on my own for housing, and thus, why I’ve been using his spare room. Sex, however, is something we know is not ok and we are both fully aware of the seriousness of the act and the consequences; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I understand the point that we are supposed to avoid “even the appearance” of sexual immorality. My question is, how far are we supposed to go to satisfy other peoples ignorance. I.E.= I never even went on a date or kissed a guy until I was 19. In spite of that, or maybe even because of it, it was apparently the “cool thing” in highschool for a guy to say that he’d done stuff with me. There is nothing more I could have done to prevent this mindset. I was a total tomboy and didn’t even start shopping in the girls section until my sophmore year. In my situation now, those who choose to believe that I’m sleeping with him will, regardless of where I’m living. We’re really open about our decisions to abstain and why and our faith. How far should we have to go to prevent the “appearance of immorality”? As far as the arguement that we are “playing marriage”, I’m not sure how it is so different to pour 800$ a month into an apartment across the street so I can go over there instead of going to my own room at night. It’s frustrating to me that there is so much more of an emphasis today placed on the “appearance” that we’re not having sex instead of the fact that…well…we’re not! If anybody has some feedback I’d appreciate it.

  11. Sharon Gamble
    September 10, 2008

    Hey Leah – I totally admire you for maintaining purity while living with your fiance. Very few would be able to do that. I still think it is wiser, even for someone who is very self-controlled (like you) to live elsewhere. God tells us in His Word to flee temptation. Over time, your longing for each other will grow more intense – as it should – that’s the way God designed us! If you are that easily accessible to each other, it will truly be easier than you realize to fall into temptation. It’s better to have some distance there until you can marry. And I say…marry soon!! You will love NOT having to be self-controlled in this area. With love, Sharon

  12. Ray Fowler
    September 16, 2008

    Leah – I commend your stand for purity with your fiance, but I still think living together is a bad idea. Living together unmarried is just different than living together married. And once a couple starts living together, even if they are abstaining sexually, they begin forming patterns that will be hard to change later. How much better to form those patterns within the bonds of marriage.

    I also would not discount the importance of your testimony. Even if you successfully live together without sex, you could be encouraging others to do the same, and they may not be as successful! I would not want to be a stumbling block to another.

    I hope you find that studio apartment soon, and I wish you and your fiance all the best. And I would echo Sharon’s advice above. If you are ready to get married, then get married. It’s the best of both worlds. :-)

  13. Tina
    October 15, 2008

    wow i love your posts! Im a christian and im in a situation where i have a choice to either move in with my daughters father who iv’e been with for 5 years(we are now celibate) or to wait until marriage but lately Iv’e been learning more and more through the scriptures and through church and Im deciding that it won’t be such a good idea to move in unless I get that ring! Thank YOU!!!!

  14. Ray Fowler
    October 15, 2008

    Tina – Good for you! I like that – don’t move in until you get the ring. Just make sure it is the wedding ring and not just the engagement ring!

    As you keep reading the scriptures and seeking God, you will understand more and more God’s will for you in these matters. I like what the book of Romans says about this:

    “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

    All the best, and thanks for commenting.

  15. bumblebee
    October 27, 2008

    Earlier this year, my boyfriend had to go out of town for a month. This was around the same time I was looking for a place in that area so I moved into his place a few days after he left and found my own place before he got back. As a Christian, I don’t believe in cohabitation as well. I don’t believe this was wrong because we weren’t living together. However, a lot of my christian friends frowned on this arrangement.

  16. Ray Fowler
    October 27, 2008

    bumblebee – Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with that, nor do I see where Scripture would say you were wrong. I would see that as a matter of Christian liberty where each person would have to follow their own conscience in the light of Scriptural principles and give each other grace to perhaps make a different choice than someone else would. Thanks for commenting!

  17. Casey
    January 17, 2009

    This is a very interesting post which I agree with personally…what I’m wondering about with the “appearance of evil” scripture…If a Christian was in a situation where he/she chose to rent a two bedroom dwelling with a cohabiting couple…is that Christian sinning as well by ‘supporting’ the behavior?

    I would appreciate your perspective! Thanks! : )

  18. Ray Fowler
    January 19, 2009

    Casey – I know I would not feel comfortable renting in that situation. I guess part of it is I might feel I was supporting the behavior, but it just doesn’t seem like a good situation for anyone to be in, Christian or not.

  19. joy
    February 23, 2009

    Hi! I found your blog very interesting though I am not yet in the situation of living with a partner coz I am still single, you know. But the fact that your statements help me in my analytic paper for my ethics course is enough reason for me to extend my gratitude. Thank you very much! Hope to read more about the issue, and enlighten me more about it.

  20. Ray Fowler
    February 23, 2009

    Joy – Thank you for your comments, and all the best with your paper.

  21. Sarah Romero
    April 8, 2009

    Ray, I just wanted to say, as a Christian, that I am really glad to see a faith based website out there that talks about real issues and acknowledges the shortcomings we have today with research and statistics. I appreciate your honesty with your beliefs and the manner in which you display statistics. I am currently doing a paper on cohabitation before marriage and how the different portrayals are with research vs. the media. It has been discouraging when I come upon faith based websites who attempt to use secular research and falsely display statistics. I think what you said sums it all up “Of course as a Christian, I don’t make my decisions based on statistics anyways. Even if premarital sex correlated with longer marriages and less divorce, I would still see it as a moral issue. I’m just not surprised when the statistics seem to correlate with the biblical directives.”

  22. Ray Fowler
    April 9, 2009

    Sarah – Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and all the best on your paper.

  23. Chara
    April 14, 2009

    Hey Ray!

    I wanted to get your thoughts on a complicated situation with my fiance, because he doesn’t really understand everything I’m trying to tell him, and I’d like to give him an outside perspective from someone that doesn’t even know us as a couple.

    First of all, I will let you know that I live in Colorado, and he lives in Tennessee. We’re not planning on getting married until next June.

    His parents are building me a room in their basement, which I never asked them to do. I was talking about moving to Tennessee to be closer to him, and they thought I could come out and live in their house. This would be for six months or so before we get married. The problem is that my fiance lives with them.

    Granted, we wouldn’t be sharing a bedroom since they’re building a room for me in the basement, but that’s really close proximity.

    I’ve given his mom 5 main reasons why God laid it on my heart as a bad idea through prayer, the Word, and godly counsel. #1–Cohabitation is a gray area. Even though I would be living with my fiance, his parents, and his brother, there are possible times when we would be alone in the house for a while. I don’t want us to do anything stupid. I know that he respects me and the Lord, but I also know how guys are wired. I also know that when you’re deeply in love with someone, if you’re under the same roof for a while, things can happen that you would never expect to get into. I want us to be as pure as possible.

    # 2–God also spoke to my heart that this thing about staying in their house for a while was my fiance and I’s plan–not His. I realized I had not even once asked Him if it’s ok with Him or not. I sensed Him speaking to my heart that He has a better plan–that He has somewhere else for me to live so we won’t be under the same roof for a long time.

    # 3–My fiance and I have been trying to take things into our own hands too much with how I’m going to save money, where I’m going to live, etc. I want to trust that God will provide a place for me.

    # 4–Avoiding temptation is simply easier when you’re not living under the same roof for a prolonged period of time. There’s more accountability that way. God says to flee temptation, and I really sensed Him speaking to my heart that I need to live in a different house or apartment out there for a while in order to flee.

    # 5–Avoiding the appearance of evil is very important, and that would be hard to do if we’re living under the same roof for several months. People will still think we’re having sex even if we’re not. If my fiance gets a youth ministry job, the kids will think it’s ok for them to live together if they’re not married, and they might even assume that we’re having pre-marital sex. I want to be above reproach in the eyes of our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as in the eyes of whoever we minister to as a team for the Kingdom.

    Now, you must know that he takes 5 classes at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Kentucky. He also works 30 hours a week for Citibank in collections. He also lost his virginity when he was 18, and he said that one experience completely turned him off from pre-marital sex. That was the only time he’s had sex. He’s 24 now. He thinks that we won’t have any issues with overcoming temptation because of how busy he is, and because his family will be around. He says that he’d rather break off our engagement than ruin my purity, since I am still a virgin.

    We have both sought godly counsel, and the godly counsel he’s sought has seen nothing wrong with it because of our “different situation.” However, the majority of my family and friends stand behind me and completely see where I’m coming from.

    I’m sorry this is so long-winded, but I really wanted your thoughts.

    Thanks!

    Chara

  24. Chara
    April 14, 2009

    I wanted to share two other things.

    Their motives in having me stay at their house were so that I could live rent free, save money, pay off more of my students loans, and still have time with my fiance before we get married.

    My fiance thinks there’s a very small likelihood that I would find a good, affordable living situation with roommates in an apartment or with a family in their house. He also has fears about me living with people I don’t know yet.

  25. Ray Fowler
    April 14, 2009

    Chara – I agree that it would be best for you not to move in with your fiance’s family before marriage. I believe your future in-laws’ motives are good, but I believe it would be best to find alternate arrangements.

    Beyond that, it seems that you have a conviction from God not to do this, and I would encourage you to honor that conviction. This would be in line with Romans 14:23 which says, “Everything that does not come from faith is sin.”

    I trust that God will show you his better plan soon, and I wish you and your fiance all the best with your future.

  26. Dana
    April 15, 2009

    Chara, I want to add that your fiance’s ability to respect your conviction, this side of marriage, is an important indicator of how he will or won’t respect you and the things you say/believe/feel on the other side of marriage. Respect is much different than agreeing–it is possible to disagree strongly while respecting the other person’s stand on a thing. I have been talking to my children about being able to disagree and state their argument without trying to pressure/force/cajole/badger the other person to change their stance. It’s not an easy lesson, but it’s an important one to have learned before joining one’s life with another person in marriage.

    I hope my kids learn that they can ask questions and state their arguments alongside of another person’s (at this time, usually their siblings’) “no”. But once stated, if the no still stands, they need to find a way to respect it. And by the same token, when they are convinced of something, they can listen well and openly to another person’s arguments and be open to the possibility of seeing new options, but they should not change their “no” just as a caving in to pressure/force/cajoling or badgering.

    Your “no”s are very well thought out and solid. You have listened to your fiance’s and his family’s reasoning, and you’ve made space for the reasonableness of it, but you have also seen how none of their reasoning changes your reasoning. I would suggest affirming to your fiance that you hear and appreciate the offer, but since you can’t, for your own convictions, agree, you can communicate that you are ultimately asking that he respect and accept your decision.

    Insisting upon help offered (i.e. the room they are building) without respecting the decisions of the person the “help” is being offered to is not help so much as it is manipulation, which is not a good thing to bring, unaddressed, into a marriage.

  27. Ray Fowler
    April 16, 2009

    Dana – Thank you for a wise and well-articulated response to Chara’s question. I will be sure to email your response to her just in case she doesn’t get a chance to check back in here.

  28. Kristen
    April 21, 2009

    Ray,

    I am actually reading Michael McManus’ book right now. While I’m finding it helpful, as are your blogs on this topic, I’m still struggling. My situation is unique. You see, I’m the daughter of a cohabiting woman. My mother has been dating a non-christian since I was a small child. When I was in college, this man had an accident and needed 24-hour care. My mom moved in to take care of him. She was working full-time then. Since then, she has taken a part-time job, so her boyfriend is partially supporting her. She actually held onto the house she owned for years and finally sold it. Ironically, she keeps her belongings in a storage unit. She did have her own room, but she now sleeps in his bed. I don’t know the extent of their physical intimacy beyond that, but she has claimed in the past to be abstinent. My mom claims to be saved, and I believe her. I am the only one in her life who has disagreed with her lifestyle. She floats between 3 churches, and, therefore, avoids accountability. My husband and I have a daughter and a child on the way. We told her before our first child was born that we would not bring our kids to a house where she’s living with a man to whom she’s not married for the kids’ sakes. It’s not to punish her or to make a statement. She is welcome to meet us on neutral ground or come over as often as she wants, and we want her to have a good relationship with her grandkids.

    I have been researching this in the Bible for years, so I thank you for these posts. Although we’ve spoken candidly numerous times, I am contemplating beginning a formal Matthew 18 process by bringing Scripture and statistics to her about being unequally yoked and cohabitation. My biggest struggle: Scripture teaches that younger women are not to rebuke older women. I’ve asked many people in our church (what she’d consider her main church) to help me, but everyone says, “It shouldn’t be me!” How can I speak the truth in love without it being a rebuke?

  29. Ray Fowler
    April 22, 2009

    Kristen – You are indeed in an awkward situation. A couple thoughts.

    1) It may not be appropriate for you to outright rebuke your mom, but it is certainly okay for you to share your heart on the matter with her and how much it pains you to see her living in disobedience to the Lord. I think it would also be appropriate to share Scriptures and statistics about this with her.

    2) I agree not to confuse your children by bringing them into a home where two unmarried people are living together. Do make every effort for your children to know their grandmother – have her over to the house, go out together, etc. but I would stand firm on not bringing your children into a morally wrong situation.

    3) Keep praying. I would hope that a pastor from at least one of the three churches would approach your mom and talk to her about this.

  30. Kristen
    April 23, 2009

    Thank you, Ray, for answering my questions. I shall “press on.” Maybe I will have good news to share in the future!

  31. Megan
    May 20, 2009

    So I have been in a moral dilemma since I started dating my now-fiance 9 months ago. We are both Christians (and we are both 24 years old), and before dating him, I had only kissed one other man. We talked about purity and our standards, and both agreed we didn’t want to go farther than kissing while dating. Two weeks into our relationship, we messed up – we didn’t have sex, but we did other things that were just as wrong. Since then, we have committed to not sinning sexually, messed up, prayed about it, committed again, the messed up again… and so on. My heart hurts when I think about how much we’ve sinned in this area. I’ve carried a lot of guilt for these mistakes and have partly convinced myself the Lord is completely ashamed of me.

    My fiance has full custody of his 2 1/2 year old son and currently lives about an hour away from me. His son’s mother is out of the picture, so in my heart his son is now my son. We all see each other almost every day… when they come to my apartment during the week, our son sleeps in his own room, my fiance sleeps on my couch, and I sleep on the bed. When they come on the weekend, I spend the night at my parents’ house (during the week, it is really rough to sleep at my parents’ due to getting up early for work). We talked to our pastor about this and he said we just have to not mess up… basically, sleeping in the same room isn’t wrong but messing up is. So we’re working on it.

    He and our son live with his parents, so I spend the night in a spare room when I go there. My fiance and I normally cuddle and sleep together until 2am-ish, when my alarm clock wakes me up and I move to either a) my parents’ b) the couch or c) another room. We both really like cuddling and always end up falling asleep after a day of work, travel and parenting, which is why I set my alarm.

    We are getting married on November 21, but I am moving into our new apartment in July. This new place is 45 minutes from my fiance’s house, and I am worried that we’ll end up practically living together. Our son goes to bed at 9, so we have to wait until then to get alone time. I am worried that the prospect of driving 45 minutes to my or his parents’ house at 11 at night when we’re done hanging out will seem completely unappealing, especially since we’ll be exhausted. I don’t want to live together before we’re married – neither one of us do; we want to honor the Lord as much as we can, despite our continual failings. How should this situation be handled? Is sleeping part of the night together wrong? Is him spending the night on my couch wrong? What steps should we take to ensure we are not living together before being married? We already feel like we live together, since we’re always staying in the same building (either my apartment or his parents’ house). His parents have advised us just to live together… this whole situation is very stressful. Any advice?

  32. Ray Fowler
    May 20, 2009

    Megan – Thank you for taking the time to share your situation. I am glad that you and your fiance are both believers, that you are talking with your pastor, and that you both want to do what’s right. That’s a really good start!

    However, I believe the reason you are feeling so stressful is that you have already crossed too many lines before marriage. As you say above, you are already practically living together, and the change in apartments in July will only make things that much tougher.

    You have shared that you do not want to live together before marriage. In order to ensure that doesn’t happen, I believe you need to take one of two radical steps. Either 1) stop spending the night with each other in the same house, or 2) get married now rather than later.

    If you can’t do number 1, I would encourage you to do number 2. If you can’t do number 2, I would encourage you to do number 1! If you can’t do either, then in many ways you will have ended up living together before marriage, and I know that is not what you want.

    As far as sleeping together for part of the night, I would encourage you to talk with your fiance about it and agree to stop doing this immediately. You are opening yourselves up for temptation in a bad way, and sleeping together should really be reserved for marriage.

    Megan, I wish you and your fiance all the best. Together you are laying the foundation for a lifetime relationship, and I pray that God will guide you into making good decisions that will strengthen your relationship for the long term. God bless!

  33. D.
    November 7, 2009

    We know a nice young couple who attend church faithfully but are living together with the young man’s brother in their home. They say they are not having sex anymore but still like the comfort and security of being together, holding together. They see each other in nakedness, also stay in hotel rooms when traveling. They are getting engaged next month. Need scripture, please

  34. Ray Fowler
    November 7, 2009

    D. – I am glad the couple is working towards marriage, but it is still not right for them to be living together or staying in hotel rooms together before marriage. As far as Scriptures that address this situation, you can see the related post in this series: Scriptures on Living Together Before Marriage. Thank you for commenting, and thank you for caring about this young couple.

  35. E.C.
    January 11, 2010

    I need clarification on my situation. My boyfriend and I have been living in sin for the last year and 5 months. We have a 1 year-old daughter together and I have 4 year-old twins from a previous marriage. We have renewed our faith in Jesus and have gone to God about what it is we need to do about our situation. We do live together, but sleep in separate rooms. We do not walk around naked or half clothed to tempt the other. We have three floors and decided to move him to the top floor away from the rest of the house…so he can have his own space. We are doing what we can make the best out of the situation we are in until we get married. We cannot get married until I am legally divorced from my current husband. I know…it just gets worse as I talk about it. I feel so condemned about all that has been done since the separation in 2007. (We separated due to physical and emotional abuse) I know that I could have gotten a divorce before now, but didn’t see anything wrong with my life at the time. Now that I’ve been talking to God, I know that the divorce will happen this year. In California, it takes 6 months for a divorce to be final. I am just lost about this entire situation and need prayer. Are we doing the right thing by separating the household? Any advice will be helpful. We want to please God and show him that he is number one in our lives. God bless you and thank you.

  36. Ray Fowler
    January 19, 2010

    E.C. – I am so glad you have renewed your faith in Christ and are seeking God’s guidance. It sounds like you know you have made mistakes and are now trying to do the right thing. I believe you have taken some good steps in separating out the living space as much as possible. Keep seeking God first, and don’t give in to those feelings of condemnation. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

  37. Jenny
    January 21, 2010

    Hi all,

    I have found your website really helpful and it has clarified some things for me but I could still do with some counsel.

    I have been with my boyfriend for 5 months although we have known each other for 15 years and dated for a bit when we were 15 so know each other rally well and are totally comfortable with each other. We are very serious about each other and plan to get engaged/marry at the end of the year.

    My boyfriend made a commitment to God in his teens but has drifted away, he is slowly coming back to God but has a lot of baggage to sort out, some sexual and other relational stuff between him and God. He is now coming to church with me and housegroup but can be quite closed about what’s going on in his head and it’s hard to know how hard to push him.

    Anyway after Christmas he moved cities to be with me. The plan was to find him somewhere to live, get a job and then get on with our courtship but things didn’t turn out like that. It’s proved hard for him to find a job and he is now short on money and doesn’t have a deposit or rent to pay upfront. He has now secured a job and is due to start in a few weeks but we are REALLY struggling with him moving out.

    We have been living together and sharing a bed and everything really. We have abstained from sex. We have messed up but have now drawn good boundaries and he is very respectful of me and my faith.

    I should also say I have a long term chronic illness so can’t do too much so spend a lot of time resting etc so the idea of having to go back and forth between our different house if we had them worries me.

    I have been feeling more and more unsettled with God since we got together, not in terms of our being together as I am sure we should be together and God has confirmed this but I think I have a lot of guilt over HOW we are together. I feel that I’m not being a very good witness to him when I’ve messed up with him sexually or perhaps not put God completely at the centre of our relationship. I think also God is convicting me of what we’re doing now (living together) not being right but it’s so hard to try and explain this feeling to my boyfriend as on the other hand I have LOVED the last 5 months.

    I have tried so hard to try and explain things to him and to say I want our relationship to proceed along the right time lines and that there are stages to enjoy as we grow together. I also said that I want marriage to be a really special and sacred thing, something we wait for and get excited about by waiting but it’s SO hard to express all of that to someone who is walking with God like I am trying to.

    He feels that we are being judged too much by others and that I am too sensitive to other people’s ideas about what we should and shouldn’t be doing etc. People’s opinions are important to me as I trying to be accountable and Holy but God’s opinion of me counts more.

    I have tried to explain that I am more sensitive about what God thinks we he seemed to take on board but I just can’t seem to get my belief and opinions across in a way he can understand. He said he can respect my decision but I know it is pushing us apart which hurts.

    He has no real interest in meeting people up here outside of us or particularly putting down roots here but I feel this is REALLY important. He says he’s come to be with me so he doesn’t have any interest in it. Maybe that will change when he starts working etc but it scares me to think I am to be his whole world – that can’t be healthy right? He is quite an introvert and happy to spend time alone with his computer but I am worried he won’t settle without making good friends here.

    I don’t want him to be turned off of God because of these things but I can see it happening too if I push too hard but I KNOW I need to be a good witness and stand up for my beliefs but how hard do I push?

    I’ve not really been able to get any good counsel and would value anyone’s thoughts.

    Thanks you,

    Jenny

  38. Nat
    April 21, 2010

    we have been married for 43 years and the last 30 have been without sex. Sex is needless, boring, a real chore, not exciting. Things in our life have been great without it.

    • Ray Fowler
      April 21, 2010

      Nat – Actually this post is on a slightly different topic, people living together before marriage without sex. As far as married people living together without sex, although sex is not essential to a good marriage (for example, couples who must abstain for health reasons), it is a normal part of most healthy marriages. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  39. Jeff
    June 12, 2010

    Here is the situation. My brother who is a Christian has been dating a gal who is a Christian as well. He lives in the upper midwest and she lives down south – 1100 miles away. She is a teacher and has the summers off. He bought a house lives there and now she comes up every summer and lives there for a month. We are fairly sure there is no sexual activity going on but don’t know. There are some of his family and some in his small group who have a problem with this. How do you go about addressing this with him? He gets very defensive if you try to insinuate that they are living together. Just wondering.

  40. Ray Fowler
    June 12, 2010

    Jeff – I’m sorry your brother gets defensive about it, but the fact is that during that month they are living together in the same home. And so if they are both Christians, they need to deal with the three points raised in the post above (temptation, testimony, and trivialization). Perhaps you could send him a copy of the post as a discussion starter. Or ask him why he doesn’t like it when family and friends describe what they are doing as living together.

  41. richard gregg
    June 13, 2010

    my girlfreind lived together for almost 5 years. She told me was was leaving because we were not married.I perfectly understand the reason for leaving. This I don’t understand.The next day she moves in with her brother in law.(her deceased sister husband). She is sporting a 2 karot ring from him. She says he placed it on her finger to make her a honest woman. I told her you are not doing anything different now from when we were together. She says we are sleeping together and this makes it different. Also she says he is no longer her in law since her sister died. Am I missing something here on living together without sex.

  42. Ray Fowler
    June 16, 2010

    Richard – One of the main points of this blog series is that a couple should wait until they get married before living together or having sexual relations. This is how God designed it, and anytime we break God’s commands we only hurt ourselves and other people in the process. I am sorry for the hurt you are experiencing right now, but I encourage you to see what you can learn from it. I believe if everyone involved in this situation had followed the simple principle of waiting until marriage, this hurt could have been avoided. I wish you all the best.

  43. Tammy
    July 21, 2010

    I don’t want to make you repeat everything about living together before marriage. I agree. My question is more about how to deal with this in my relationship.

    Background: My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 2 years. Both of us live separately at our parents house right now. I am looking for a teaching job, he is finishing school. We have talked openly about marriage and are basically just waiting on him to finish school (although I know that it’s still no guarantee). He was not religious but began going to church with me when we started dating and is taking baby steps. I failed us early on in our relationship by giving in to sexual temptation. I justified it in my head with the thought that God really just cares about our hearts, following rules is meaningless if our hearts are not with Him. I’ve since learned that a) that is NOT true, and b) my sin has slowly pulled me away so that my heart is fully not with Him anyway. A verse has been popping up in front of me repeatedly about how we show our love for God when we obey His commands. So I recently worked up the nerve to tell my boyfriend that I want to abstain until we are married. He is respectful of it even though he doesn’t agree because he doesn’t really know why it is wrong biblically.

    The issue is, that while I said I didn’t want to live together before marriage (for all of the reasons you have already listed that I agreed with before I ever found this blog), he said he didn’t want to get married before he has lived with someone. So our compromise was that we will live together when we are engaged. Of course now, that I have recommitted to abstaining I don’t want to do this.

    My question is more about how to deal with this. I’m afraid that if I keep laying all of this stuff on him it will only push him away from God out of anger. I know that his salvation is not my responsibility and I can’t let that be an excuse to do something that is wrong. But I wonder if I should just deal with the abstinence part right now and pray that God will begin to change his heart, or reveal to him why we shouldn’t live together. I’m so confused, I’ve been praying about that and I do feel like God is asking me to just wait and trust Him…but maybe I’m just hearing what I want to hear.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated, I’m sorry this was so long.

  44. Ray Fowler
    August 1, 2010

    Tammy – Sorry I am so late in responding to you. It sounds like you have taken some good steps in the right direction. Abstaining from sexual relations until marriage is the right decision. Not living together until you are married is also the right decision.

    Your boyfriend says he doesn’t want to get married before he has lived with someone. That is a huge red flag warning to me. So, if he lives with you before getting married and doesn’t like it, does that mean you won’t get married? Then you have given even more away that God tells you to save for marriage.

    I encourage you to stand firm on not living together until after you are married, not even during the engagement period. I suggest you show your boyfriend the statistics on living together before marriage and the Scriptures on living together before marriage. (Both links are at the top of this post.)

    I also encourage you to consider your boyfriend’s commitment to Christ. Has he truly committed his life to Christ at this time? If not, then you should not be getting married at all.

    You have some tough decisions ahead of you, and I encourage you to talk to your pastor and some Christian friends who are mature in their faith to help you make the right decisions and stand by them.

  45. Karin
    September 14, 2010

    Hello

    like I understand living together before marrige is not accepted from god´s point of view, but what god thinks about stayin for a night in my boyfriend place, when we are sleeping in same bed but we dont have sex? is it allowed to sleep in same bed without living together and without having sex

  46. Ray Fowler
    September 14, 2010

    Karin – I think it would be wrong for the same reasons as stated earlier in the post above; 1) you are opening yourselves up to temptation, 2) it is a poor testimony to other Christians, and 3) it is a trivialization of marriage and the marriage bed. We want to honor God with all of our actions, and it is wise to stay as far away from sin as we can, rather than get as close as possible.

  47. Tarah
    September 14, 2010

    I found your post after reading an application for a premarital course at our(boyfirend and myself) church that asked about us living together and had a few scriptures- one of which was linked to this blog. Long story short, I was 14 and my boyfriend was 17 when we met and first “dated.” By date I mean pretty much just hanging out and staring at each other listening to music for 8 hours a day when our parents would let us. My boyfriend and I both were very prone to depression as teenagers and one day he randomly brok eup with me- I tried for 5 years to just be firends with him and talk to him on a regular basis and finally gave up. Then he called and we went on a date and got to know each other all over again ( then 20 and 23) and, now, ages 22 and 25, we are still together. I ended up not havign a place to stay in our first year the second itme around and he lived with his parents- we got a place together. I had just learned about Christ from him although he did not like to talk about it as much as I was interested- his parents were missionaries and he was sick of it. This last year we both have gotten much deeper in the word and with the lord separately and together but we still live together- not sexally active as we agree in our faith not to be. My confusion with us not being able to live together is that right now temptation is low as it has turned into anticipation for when we get married- but when we weren’t living together and didn’t see each other all the time temptation was much higher for both of us. I don’t know if that says much for our future sex life, but does that make any sense? I know it’s still wrong to live together- but it seems easier just sort of being “in waiting” together, haha.

  48. Ray Fowler
    September 15, 2010

    Tarah – Most of the times people give into temptation is because of opportunity and lack of accountability. Living together before marriage increases opportunity and reduces accountability, and so even though you may not be experiencing temptation in this area right now, it is not wise to continue. I would encourage you also to read again the paragraphs on testimony and trivilaization in the post above.

  49. Tarah
    September 15, 2010

    Thank you. I did forget to mention that I had read the bits about it effecting our image and swaying the opinions of non-christians further in the wrong direction- I hink I actually feel the most conviction in that area because a lot of people look at me and what I do and bieng that I haven’t “messed up” in most areas that people typically do, a lot of people -especially teens and kids that I work with- use me as sort of a guideline. My boyfriend and I are also confused about another area- I just thought to bring up and haven’t looked to see if you’ve already written about it- but when are you married? I’ve yet to find anything specific in the bible about what makes you “married.” I understand it is a commitment and promise to God- but what is it that makes you “official.” Just the legal side of it, or having a pastor say okay? I mean, we’ve prayed about it and we’ve commited to each other and have promised/commited to God together – but who seals that? What does God say about it?

  50. Ruben figuora
    December 3, 2010

    Hey what if living with your partner as christians
    knowing all along it was wrong for some years by our
    God, than decided to get married and repent of your
    sins; would he forgive or condem you? Stay Blessed!

  51. Ray Fowler
    December 14, 2010

    Ruben – God is all about forgiveness, but we should never treat his forgiveness cheaply. We must always remember what the forgiveness of our sins cost – God sent his Son to die a horribly painful and shameful death for our sins. When we truly understand what it cost God to forgive our sins, we will never try to take advantage of God’s grace. Paul said it best in the book of Romans: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2)

    That said, no matter how badly you have sinned, when you go to God trusting in Jesus’ death for you on the cross, God will forgive you – every time.

  52. valdemar garcia jr
    December 20, 2010

    wanted to know if it would be better if “we would my babys mother and i move together in the house or would it be better if lived. WELL not together”and if we do is it going to be good for are kids because they would see mom and dad right?or wrong?

    • Ray Fowler
      January 23, 2011

      Valdemar – Your kids need to grow up in a stable, loving home where Mom and Dad are married and living together. Any other situation is less than ideal and will not be healthy for them. I encourage you and your baby’s mother to get some counseling from a pastor and work towards marriage.

  53. Sarah
    January 29, 2011

    Hello,
    My boyfriend and I are on very limited incomes (we both have medical conditions and are on Social Security disability). We are both Christian and we met a year ago. He has been married before, I have not. I have saved sex for marriage, he has been celibate since his divorce. We have no plans to have sex.

    We currently live separately in 1 bedroom apartments but our neighborhood has had an increase in crime and we both plan to move at the end of our current leases. He wants to get a 2 bedroom apartment together. I told him I did not want to live together with someone before marriage. Because he was married for 10 years before, he is so used to living together with someone and in my opinion devalues that part of a marital relationship. (He got married when he was 19 years old and they had dated for 3 years before in high school.) He looked at it as though the reason they were living together was the marriage but also just that they were adults out of their parent’s house. He doesn’t think anything of us possibly living together and I have considered it only because of the financial issues we have. (I am on food stamps and may be able to get off of welfare if I moved in with him and shared food expenses, etc.) I know he never has enough money for much and he expressed a desire to save money. I finally came out and asked him if he was saving money for a ring. That led to another conversation. Apparently he is very worried about getting married again to a point that he said there is only a “50/50″ chance that he would!!!

    Here is a review of facts though:
    1. He was married before and has the belief that living together would be good so that he doesn’t have to go through a second divorce. He thinks we can learn if we can live together.
    2. We both really do fully believe temptation will not be an issue. We do not and will not have sex. We are both in our 30s and have “been there done that” with previous situations of temptations. It’s not going to happen. We are both very strong in this area and would not change our opinions about morals.
    3. He thinks I “should not worry about what others think” because I have presented that argument to him. Thanks for mentioning that it is also a matter of testimony! I didn’t think about it that way.
    4. I think that he trivializes living together as a special part of marriage because he does not want to think about his previous marriage. I think he has been turned off by what marriage can mean – that it isn’t as important to other people. (His ex-wife was unfaithful and he agreed to the divorce because of what it says in the bible about when it is acceptable to divorce.) He thinks much of what our society reveres as important with marriage is managed by the government and that people don’t take it seriously anyway.
    5. One of my parents and one of my siblings think I should move in with him! They have noticed I spend all my time with him, that gas money is spent traveling between our apartments, and that both of us pay too much in rent. They also know that literally more than 50% of my income goes to my current rent not to mention bills/utilities and the rest is spent on medical expenses.

    I guess I’m on the fence, but knowing that God doesn’t want us to do it. I am seeking thoughts/ideas etc. about what to say to my boyfriend and to my family.

  54. Ray Fowler
    February 5, 2011

    Sarah – Thank you for sharing your situation. The fence is never very comfortable, and I think that is what you are experiencing right now. I encourage you to stay true to your biblical convictions and that is really all you need to say to your boyfriend and family. Tell them that you want God’s blessing on your life and future marriage, and that you can’t really expect that if you break God’s rules. I hope that they will not only understand but also be encouraged and challenged by your testimony. Blessings, Ray

  55. teresa
    February 6, 2011

    I have a boyfriend who lives 60 miles away. On the weekends I go to visit him. Now we are both christians and have decided to wait until marriage before we do anything. Is it wrong for me to stay the night at his house with me on the couch and he in his bedroom?

  56. Ray Fowler
    February 7, 2011

    Teresa – The Bible tells us that whatever is not of faith is sin. OR as I like to put it: when in doubt, don’t. I encourage you to study the Scriptures from this series, pray about it, and don’t do anything that you can’t do in full faith and with a clear conscience.

  57. Gucii Mane la Flare
    April 20, 2011

    BURR BURR!

  58. Rubenbongo
    April 20, 2011

    Lord please forgive me for have sin! Me and my girl got it, we started our relationship on the wrong foot that’s a giving, and yes we have fallen many times. Moving in together was a huge mistake on our part. She was coming out of a 30 year marraige and I was coming out of 4th relationship with child and a liver transplant. We met at our membership class at the church, for some reason i guess we were attracted to each other, we dated for about
    seven months and decided to live together, financially we need each other and love our God, but maybe not enougth to do the right thing by Him, we are now living in separated rooms because of all the convictions we go through. We are trying to better our relationship with our father with prayer and trusting that He would see us through all this, I recently bought her an engagement ring i’m planing to surprise her soon and there after hopeing that we get married sooner than later. We are in our fiftys and trying real hard to live in His will not ours, trust it! He’s the Only One that see’s everthing that’s going on and we know there’s no hiding from Him and i’m going to beleave that He will forgive of our sins we will repent and continue to have faith. Stay Blessed.

  59. Morgan
    April 23, 2011

    Hello Ray,

    This subject has been heavy on my heart and is the point of contention with my family. I am to be married to my fiancé on May 20th and he is moving out to my area on May 1st to start his new job. We made a promise, to God and ourselves, to abstain from sex until marriage but my family is concerned about us living together two weeks prior to being married. Financially, I do not see the reason for him to stay in a weekly rate motel when I have a spare bedroom in my house and we are trying to save every penny for our lives together. I asked my mother if he could stay at her house until our marriage but my sister told me no (she lives w/ my mother). I understand appearance is important but we are getting married sooner so our reputations as Christians isn’t compromised further. We know our hearts and God does too. Your advice would be appreciated.

  60. Ray Fowler
    April 23, 2011

    Morgan – Thank you so much for writing and sharing your situation. Despite the financial hit, I would encourage you to wait until marriage before moving in together for a number of reasons.

    First of all and most importantly you will start your marriage with a clear conscience before God, your family and your friends. Also, your wedding should be a happy time and moving in together before marriage will bring you into tension with your family.

    As far as the finances this is an opportunity for you both to demonstrate your trust in God. God can return that money spent on the hotel in a multitude of ways. Do the right thing and trust God with the financial end of it. Also I would encourage you to talk with your pastor and see if anyone in the church can help out for those two weeks.

    My wife and I had a similar situation where we rented separate places for three months before getting married. We did not have a lot of financial resources, and it would have been so much cheaper to rent one place together. But we knew it wasn’t right, so we decided to take the financial hit and trust God with it. We have never regretted that decision, but I know we would have regretted it if we had moved in together.

    You are just weeks away from getting married. Find a way to live apart until marriage and you will never regret it. Congratulations, and God’s blessing on your wedding and marriage.

  61. Tyler
    April 24, 2011

    Hi Ray, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple hours and have found the information to be very useful.

    My girlfriend and I are currently living together but not having sex or sleeping in the same bed. Essentially we’re roommates.

    The only reason we’re living together is because I had no other place to stay while I’m looking for a place. I just moved to this city from across the country and am looking for a job and what not.

    We have no intention of continuing our cohabitation any longer than necessary. But I know that realistically it may take several weeks to a few months to get sorted out.

    The way we’re looking at it is “if your friend needed a place to stay to get on his/her feet, would you give them a place to stay?” Our answer was yes, of course. And since we are best friends it did not seem wrong.

    However, I’m now very worried after reading your blog and questioning our decision. I was going to wait to get a job and get my own place to move out. Should I instead attempt to find someone else that is willing to take me in? I don’t know anybody here that closely and would feel very strange to put a stranger into that situation, seeing as my time for needing a place may be several weeks to a couple months.

    Hopefully I didn’t ramble to much there. Thanks for your help!

  62. Laurie
    June 6, 2011

    My boyfriend and I are both Christians and we planned to be engaged by the end of next year and married by the year after that. He currently lives four hours from me though. By the end of this year, he would like to move closer to me so we could live together or at least be closer. We have been dating for almost a year now and there hasn’t been any temptations; we believe living together would be more cost efficient. Why would I want to pay $625 for a one bedroom apartment when a two bedroom apartment costs the same amount? Splitting the cost with him would be so much easier. I have asked my parents, who are both Christians, about him and I living together and of course, they refuse and say it is immoral. I understand what they think will happen but I just wish they would trust us; we want to wait until marriage to be together in that way. I have read many bible verses and all they say are “sexually immoral.” How is it immoral if my boyfriend and I want to live together to just save money?

  63. Elissa
    June 13, 2011

    I have been living with my boyfriend for 2 years. We are both Christians, and we do not have sex. We are waiting for marriage. We don’t have enough money to live separately, and that doesn’t make any sense for us anyway. We want to live together, eat together, and actually see the “real us” after a day at work. We both talk about marriage all the time, and I’m pretty sure within just a few years we will be married. My boyfriend is most likely waiting for a raise because my parents still give us a lot of money to help us make ends meet.

    We are very sweet, loving, caring young people started their lives together. We have the upmost respect for marriage. People who know us know we are moral people who are not afraid to share our love for Jesus Christ. If people think we are having sex, that’s not my problem. I have gladly and openly told people that we have boundaries and are saving sex for marriage as it should be.

    Living together is not sinful. It’s the stuff that SOME people do while living together. If he were called my roommate would that take the stigma away? Perhaps living together could increase temptation, but we’ve been doing this for 2 years. We love each other truly. We want sex to be done right – the way God has intended. I wish people would pray for us to continue waiting instead of telling me I’m such a bad person. Our families both support this and love us dearly, and they are Christians. They just know the kind of people we are.

    I’m so sick and tired of feeling there isn’t a place for me in churches. We don’t attend church because we’re afraid we’d be preached to about this issue when it isn’t an issue for us! I want to be welcomed into a church.

    WE ARE ALL SINNERS! What makes living together such an abomination compared to anything else humans can do? I’m a Christian too… When will there be a place for me in Christian society? When will Christians start focusing on loving and obeying Christ, and not judging others based on the expectations of society?

  64. Kimberly
    June 22, 2011

    I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what the reason is, God’s Word always stands true. WE SHOULD NOT LIVE TOGETHER BEFORE MARRIAGE OR HAVE SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE. I’m in this situation now and it sucks. I’m waiting for my boyfriend to move out so I can be free in body and in Spirit. I can’t even worship the same because I am so convicted. I’ve asked God for forgiveness, and I pray I have not killed my ability to witness to others, because I personally feel I am no longer a good example.

    We cannot justify our sin. It doesn’t work. God’s word is real and holds true every time. “It’s cheaper to live together… We have a medical condition…” Blah blah blah! It’s all an excuse! How Christ died on the cross for us… the least we can do is be obedient to His Word. Think about it…

    Thanks Ray for excellent statistics and knowledge. This website is a blessing!

  65. Elissa
    June 23, 2011

    I commented before, but I would really like someone to tell me why it is a sin. What makes living together without sex any different than being roommates? I can live with my parents, brother, friend, other family member, etc and that isn’t sinful so why is living with my boyfriend with boundaries sinful? It isn’t an excuse if it isn’t a smart financial decision to live together. Money is an important factor in life unfortunately. If we lived separate, we’d have to work more jobs to make ends meet and we’d have much less time together and the quality of our relationship would suffer I think trying to get schedules to meet up. Plus, we’d eventually spend alone time at our separate apartments and then wouldn’t the same temptation exist only moreso because we’d miss each other? We see the real us daily, but with boundaries. I don’t feel our passions have been awakened yet because we’re just best friends. We help each other out, and I don’t have to get all dressed up on a date. I just walk around in my sweat pants and a t-shirt because we’re that comfortable around each other. We can go on dates too when we have the time. I don’t see there is anything at all wrong with that. It doesn’t hurt my worship ability because I don’t see it as a sin to begin with. I don’t feel guilty about it just as I wouldn’t feel guilty living with my brother. I don’t think it hurts my witness because I openly let people know who I am and what I’m about. I want to live by God’s Word too and it says to respect each other as brothers and sisters. If I feel we do that AND live together, then what’s the big deal? Why do Christians still insist it’s bad? I don’t think this living arrangement is bad nor do I think it will cause us any added stresses when we do get married. We have the upmost respect for marriage. This is the step before that. It doesn’t take away from that – it adds to it. We don’t have baggage right now. We are just making special memories of a time in our lives before marriage. It is also nice to know that our relationship is built on a trust and friendship that doesn’t require sex to be strong. That’s a good thing to know. Sex is important for marriage, but so is friendship.

  66. Daniel
    July 15, 2011

    It’s like setting a trap and walking around it everyday. One day you’ll walk right into it. 1 Corinthians 8:13 talks to us about our actions viewed through the eyes of others. If it causes others to judge you or even call into question if you are actually living a sexually pure life, then it’s not right. In addition, you are living the life of a sexless married couple. This can cause a strain in your relationship, despite the fact that you have been going strong. You should speak to a minister and ask him/her to answer questions you make have, with the word of God, and not take simple answers as sufficient. Pray, and ask God for either a way out or a solution.

  67. Ana
    August 26, 2011

    Hi All,

    I am found in a similar position to many people who have posted here. I have been with my boyfriend for almost two years. We are planning to get married next year in the summer. We would like to start living together from the beginning of next year. Both of us Christians and we would like to do the right thing by God. The reasons for us to start ‘living together’ are financial and also we would like to see more of each other. Currently, we live about an hour away from each other and we only see each other in weekends if we are not working. I know many of you would disagree but I cannot somehow be convinced that ‘living together without sex’ as in our curcumstance is wrong. Where in the Bible is it said that people cannot ‘live in one household’ until they are married? Isn’t this more of a human rule rather than an advice directed by grace?

  68. Liz
    August 26, 2011

    I have to mention that I have subscribed to this post for almost a year now and was planning on living with my boyfriend before marriage for financial reasons. I wanted to share with you that both of us did not like the idea of it but we are both in a financial situation that it felt necessary. I found a really nice condo where we could live together and have separate rooms. It was going to be $800/month. I went to look at it and liked it, then my boyfriend was going to come look at it. I called back the landlord and he said he had already rented it! At first I was so upset. I felt like that place was going to be perfect for us because it was a 2 bedroom for a really low price. I prayed about it and asked that God provide us both a place to live that we could afford. Within the next few days, my boyfriend (who BTW is computer illiterate) found an apartment using searching on googlemaps. I was shocked he was able to even figure out how to use googlemaps let alone that he found this place. It looked so nice and was only a one bedroom but he wanted me to have it because it was so nice. I thought there was no way it would be in our price range. GUESS HOW MUCH THE RENT WAS? $400!! Fast forward a month or so and I am currently living here. I told the landlord that my boyfriend is also looking for a place. An apartment just opened up downstairs! My boyfriend hasn’t looked at it yet, but I just wanted to point out that God will answer your prayers and take care of you. You just have to ask. I really do think that God was looking out for us and wanted us to live separately. Even though we have dated for almost 2 years, I think God knows what the right timeline is for us and that it isn’t now.

  69. Ray Fowler
    September 16, 2011

    Hello all, thank you so much for your comments and questions. I apologize I have not been able to respond to them all. I am in a different season of life right now and unable to be as fully involved in this blog as in the past. Thanks for understanding.

    Ray Fowler

  70. Adam
    October 5, 2011

    My girlfriend and I recently celebrated our one year anniversary together. We are both college students living in the dorms. After this year we had planned on getting a two bedroom apartment together. We were quickly shunned by my girlfriends mother who said we needed someone else in the apartment to watch us. I felt rather taken back by being treated like a 19 year old child but soon forgave her. My current roommate in the dorm is actually a homosexual. When we asked if he could live with us her mother still said no because it would be two guys and a girl living together. My girlfriends roommate is an irresponsible slob so we would prefer not live with her. None of my friends can room with us and my girlfriend has no other friends that need a place to live. We also would really like to avoid renting with a stranger. We want to get an apartment because neither of us are big socializers and an apartment would allow us to study our education and the Bible in a quieter more relaxed atmosphere. Also to add even more gasoline onto the fire we have to have applications for rental in in a couple of months.

  71. Briley
    October 5, 2011

    My fiancé and I are both Christians and didn’t move in together until we were engaged. He is a relatively new Christian and I’ve been one for a long time. I agree with what you say here, but it seems in my experience that the church is so willing to wag their finger at me but not willing to offer a solution. I’m a grad student, we just moved to a new area for my school, don’t know anyone, and the rent in this area is among the most expensive in the country. Both of us are blind and don’t drive, so living farther from the metro to reduce rent isn’t an option. Christians tell me it is just an excuse, but they all have cars or parents with money and good credit. We have no safety net financially, and no options. We are going to a church we found, but I feel judged by them. I never intended to live with someone before marriage, but we are getting married, and I don’t know what we’re supposed to do now.

  72. Liz
    October 5, 2011

    I have made some comments before but there have been several since then and the strand is pretty long. I just wanted to mention to those of you who recently posted that you should be sure to remember to pray about it, read the bible, and pray about it. I know it seems simple but I wasn’t really doing that when I made my initial post/read this strand. My boyfriend and I live on an extremely low income. We are both disabled and cannot work. We both have health expenses through the roof. We have dated almost 2 years and if it weren’t for money issues, I bet we’d be engaged. We were going to try to cut our expenses in half and live together. We found this place that was $800/month. Well, it fell through. At first I was really mad because I had finally decided after reading these blog post comments that maybe I should just live with him. When that fell through, I finally prayed about it. I told God that we are both in a tough situation and that we saw no other solutions. We needed a solution to stand out right in front of us. Well it unraveled and now we are in the same apartment building, in separate apartments, for $400/month. Do you get the math!? It’s the same $ amount but it’s the way God intends it for us. So many people have tried to convince us to live together but now we can say that it’s the same price to live separate and it’s what God wants. God created this situation so that we could tell this amazing story. Oh… and if you want to know where the rent is so cheap, it’s in the midwest. :)

  73. Adam
    October 5, 2011

    I’m really glad everything was able to work out for you Liz however in my situation being a college student even the $400 a month is very expensive. I would gladly live in a seperate apartment however if someone is willing to give me the difference of splitting rent and me paying all of it myself. Until that happens the lowest cost solution is to live together. As Briley also stated it becomes very frustrating when I’m told something is bad yet I’m offered no alternative. The fact is my girlfriend and I have to move out of our dorms because we can not afford it and since splitting an apartment is our only option for living why isn’t it ok. Would God rather us living on the street or living in poverty in two seperate apartments. No He wouldn’t because He loves us and will not forsake us. In my eyes he gave us this opportunity at a very low cost two bedroom apartment because He wanted us to take it to strenghthen our bonds with Him and each other. It’s not like we’re even sharing a bed and we both have taken a vow with God to remain abstinent.

  74. Liz
    October 5, 2011

    I worked for 10 years in college/higher education administration most of which was in housing. Have you tried talking with someone in your Residence Life office? They will want to retain you as a resident and can help you brainstorm options for your campus. I know in my job, I regularly hooked up students with financial challenges with a scholarship just to keep them in our housing. We did not want them to leave campus. That is part of the training at the schools but also in the Master’s degree program. I took an entire class on retention.

    Also, my income is $700 a month. My rent is $400. Believe me, I understand. My financial situation right now is way worse than it was as a college student… and I was a college student for 6 years (Bachelor’s and Master’s). On top of my medical expenses I have student loans I have to keep putting into deferment and forbearance (many of which are accruing interest at an alarming rate). So, yes, $400/month SEEMS like a lot but it’s a choice we made based on where we felt God was leading us.

    I just wanted to be sure that you had prayed about it. When I was originally reading these posts trying to figure things out, I had not prayed. Someone finally said “hey why don’t you pray” and it changed everything.

    This blog and it’s comments are really just a place for us to connect with each other as Christians to kind of sort things out, but it’s really God that we need to turn to in order to get things in order.

    I just hope I’m saving you some time. I wish someone had reminded me to pray earlier. Then again, maybe it wasn’t God’s will for it to happen that way. Had it all happened that quickly for me, maybe I wouldn’t feel inclined to share my story. Sometimes God wants us to live out things in a certain way so we will share the story. I’m sorry if you weren’t impressed with God’s work in my life as much as I was! :) Don’t be discouraged though, things will work out.

  75. Liz
    October 5, 2011

    Ooops sorry for a second post but I forgot to comment about the poverty thing. My boyfriend and I both were living in poverty before we met each other, while we dated for 2 years, and will still be living in poverty. I don’t feel forsaken by God at all. I’m not sure what others may think, but I don’t think that verse means that God saves us from hard times. I also have cancer and, again, I have not felt forsaken. God didn’t save me from that either. I just have a different perspective because no matter which way I turn, I’ll be living in poverty. So for me, I’d rather be living in poverty and not in sin than living in sin and in poverty. Seems like a better deal. PLEASE do not take me for one of those people who are judgmental though. I really am not. I just wanted to sort of “witness” in a way by saying look at what Christ did for me and my relationship, he found a different answer for me that I never even considered or imagined. Around here, you do not want to live in apartments this low of a price unless your other options are homelessness and then you might even choose to live in your car. You are getting into a danger zone going as low as $400 for a 1 bedroom. We really lucked out. The landlord even admitted to us that he normally doesn’t rent them this low. It was all a “fluke” that we got the rent this low and that there were 2 apartments opening near each other. I just wanted to share that for my experience, it was like the gates of heaven opened and helped us out. It’s completely the power of prayer – bringing your concerns to God and asking for his will to be done.

  76. Leah
    October 5, 2011

    I’ve got to agree with Liz on this one, and I can also speak from the experience of having been there and done that. When I was kicked out of my mom’s house by my stepdad in favor of my brother living there, I figured I might as well move closer to my then boyfriend (now husband). Like many people on here we were already quite certain we would be getting married and had no real problems with our commitment to abstinence. Like many on here I scoured the Bible for passages that referenced sharing a house but having separate rooms and I initially wondered what was the point in expending a lot of time, energy, and money to find a separate place for the few months before we got married. While that specific verbage isn’t in the Bible, there are many passages about avoiding immorality or (and here’s the kicker) even the APPEARANCE of immorality. While it would be great if we lived in a society where two people living together didn’t throw up red flags, we don’t. It’s amazing how much damage even little things can do to the efficacy of your testimony, and living together is no little thing. In my case we went to one of the couples who had come to us with their concerns about us sharing a home and told them to put their money where their mouth is. If you think sleeping on a futon for six months in a home with a couple of newlyweds while you’re dying to be with your own other half was the easy option, think again. That said, are you part of a church family around school? Have you gone to any of the local churches and shared with them your situation? I’ve never been to a church that didn’t have elderly empty nesters who would be more than happy to assist a couple trying to do the right thing. Following God is often not the easy choice, but it is the better choice, and He will always provide a way if we seek it. If you’re willing to share your general location with the board (for safety’s sake don’t get too specific) you may even find a sympathetic ear on here willing to lend a hand. Don’t give up, keep looking and keep praying. God is faithful to provide every time he calls us into something difficult.

  77. Leah
    October 5, 2011

    Final comment, there is also no shame in going to a justice of the peace and having a very small/inexpensive ceremony with family and friends. I’m married into the military and you’d be floored by how many people did that because of the way the military works and then you can always have a big blowout wedding or even an awesome destination recommitment/wedding ceremony once you’re done with school and can finally afford it :) That’s another option my now husband and I considered :)

  78. Liz
    October 5, 2011

    Oh… and by the way, while God didn’t stop me from getting cancer, it does appear that he helped cure (?) me of it… after lots of prayer and some crazy diets/treatments.

    I remember reading on this thread earlier someone talking about what other people think about you from the outside looking in and that they will assume you are not abstaining. That was one of the things that really stuck with me. I have worked really hard at abstinence… I’m in my 30s!!!! I don’t want people thinking I’m having sex after I have waited this long! Now this apartment situation gives me even more opportunities to talk about Christianity in general with people. I can’t even estimate how many people in my life (including members of my own family) have said “why are you living separate?” At first I wasn’t sure what to say. Now I simply answer, “we are Christian” and most people don’t ask for elaboration. I think that’s some good public relations for Christianity. :P

  79. duff
    October 9, 2011

    my situation is out of this context. 1. If I look at my wife lustfully, is it a sin, remember what the bible on this. 2. If I have sexual thoughts towards my wife, is God happy with me? Please I need help on these questions, scriptures needed too please. Thnks.

  80. Leah
    October 9, 2011

    If you go to itunes you can download for free a sermon by Tommy Nelson with Denton Bible Church called the Art of Intimacy. It’s based on the Song of Solomon which is probably the best place to start when looking at intimacy of any kind from God’s perspective. I believe the only way that “having sexual thoughts towards” or “looking lustfully at” your wife could be sinful is if it’s in the context of looking at her as an idol (i.e. worshiping the created, your wife, instead of the Creator, God). Your wife should be seen as an example of God’s artistry and His love towards you, and your attraction to her should not stop at her but roll forward into worship for the one who Created her. That’s my take on it anyways. I HIGHLY recommend checking out the sermon, it’s one of a series of six on Song of Solomon and they’re all fantastic.

  81. Kassie
    October 30, 2011

    Ray,

    I fully understand why I should not be living with my boyfriend. We have separate rooms and are abstinent, but I want to be a good witness to my two teens and his daughter as well as others God has placed in our life. I agreed to this situation because he promised me that it would be temporary and that we would be married soon. That was five months ago. We are locked in a year lease. Two months ago I was laid off from my job and now he is supporting me. We argue alot about the marriage subject. I want him to make good on his promise and he says that my angry outbursts on the subject have pushed him away. We decided to forgive each other and he is now praying seeking guidance on our situation. I talked to my pastors wife and she suggested an October wedding. He has been married before and so have I and he tells me he is very cautious and does not wish to go through divorce again. I agree as I am also divorced. He is praying asking God to show him what to do, but I don’t know what to do in the meantime. I have nowhere to go and I don’t have a job to support myself. I have gotten interviews but nothing yet. I feel that as a godly christian man he should make good on his promise to me. He tells me that him providing for me should show his intentions. I say it is a cop out. I appreciate everything he does for me, but it still isn’t right. Obviously I have no peace and I know we should not be living together. The bible also talks about providing a way of escape. I just need something to happen soon, either a cheap wedding ceremony or a job & place to live. I have been on my own for 5 years before this and prayed to God for a husband, not a live in boyfriend. I feel cheated. I do all of the work of a wife (cleaning, laundry, errands, pay bills, attend to the needs of the family), but I have no benefits. I’m sorry if I have been ranting. I am just frustrated beyond belief and when I pray God just tells me to be still. Please help.

  82. C Moore
    December 23, 2011

    I have a concern about a friend at church who is almost 80 years old. She was a widow at a young age then moved a man in with her for 10 years and not married. That relationship ended and now she has taken up with another man who stays several days at her house and visa versa. They both claim to be staunch and firm in their religion beliefs. I cannot condone this and what it appears to be. Even though I cannot judge its the appearance that makes me saddened by what she is showing her family and friends. What can I say to her that keeps her from continuing this type of lifestyle.

  83. Kristy
    March 23, 2012

    What about roommates who end up falling in love???

  84. Amy
    March 26, 2012

    Ray,
    I have a question. I had a child with my highschool sweetheart, who I am no longer with. My daughter is 3. My best friend Michael who lived in a different state brought me to Christ when my daughter was one. I was in a situation where I was living with my only family member I talk to, and the situation was abusive for myself and my daughter. Michael moved us to his state. We became romantically involved, and he has taken the role of my daughters father. We are in premarital counseling now, but because of finances are not married yet. We have no where else to live but with him. We love the lord and have committed to no sex before marriage and are sleeping in seperate rooms. We cannot afford to marry for another 8 months. If we did marry he could not afford health insurance for my daughter and me, we would lose our state coverage if we married, and I was just diagnosed with endometriosis and possibly ovarian cancer, so insurance is very important right now. I pray for god to show another way, but we can’t move to a homeless shelter. Any advice? please help this has been convicting me for months. Thank You so much

  85. Kate
    April 8, 2012

    Amy,
    God will not judge you for doing the best you can for your daughter: keeping her away from an abusive situation, a roof over her head, and ensuring that you are healthy so that you can be there to raise her. Follow your commitment, but understand that there are elements of your situation that set it apart from one of a couple who choose to live together for more typical reasons. Trust God to love you just as you love your daughter, with compassion and understanding.
    Honoring your commitment to not have sex before marriage may more difficult if you live together, but you two have already been through much more difficult situations, together, and gotten through them.
    Trust that God is showing you the way. Don’t destroy yourself worrying about this. Look after your health, try to do what is good and kind, and any mistakes you may make will be forgiven.

  86. nancie
    May 12, 2012

    i will agree with all the people on this site. i do beleive we should save ourselfs for marraige but i also think that temptation comes all the time. whether you live together or not. its a matter of self control. a person can have sex and not live together and its still wrong. and they can be living together and having sex and its still wrong. i think we have to have self control. the bible says we have free will to chose and we have to use wisdom and knowlegde as well. i personally beleive if you are disciplined it doesnt matter becuase temptation is everywhere. people commit adultry and thats wrong. but the temptation is ther because theres not self control or obedience to god. scripture tells us to flee from it but it doesnt mean we will not face temptation. i think soem situations make a person stronger and more commited to god.

  87. Chanheang
    June 11, 2012

    Hi everyone on this site. i have a problem with my living. I have a best friend. i love her so much. we have lived with each other and know each other over three years. But now we have a problem. She very angry with me. i don’t know how to do. We just live with each other and don’t to talk even a word per day. We don’t even look at each other face. This problem make me feel like i want to leave her some day. Please help how do better than this way…????? Please ????

  88. confusedDaughterofHis
    June 20, 2012

    Hi,
    recently I have entered into a LDR. Since we lived so far apart, we can only see each other on weekends. Therefore, to save the other’s the pain of driving long distance back and forth, we decided the person could stay at his/her place over the night on separate beds in separate room.

    So in this case, what would be your advice? Is it ok? Is it still against the bible teaching? Can the act of two people who refrain from sex and stay in separate room (though under one roof) ONLY on weekends still considered as a mocking to true marriage? We are doing this because we really lived way too far apart.

    what should we do that will both allow us to spend more time together and honoring God. (ps: moving closer isn’t an option at this point as both felt called to the place his/she works at)

    Your answer is much appreciated. thanks.

  89. Ray Fowler
    July 15, 2012

    Hello everyone,

    Sorry I haven’t been able to comment, but life circumstances keep me from being actively involved in the blog these days. Thank you all for commenting, and it is good to see all the interaction still taking place.

    Ray Fowler

  90. Kat
    September 17, 2012

    Just a quick question. My boyfriend and I are both Christians, I’m technically a single mom, and we do not live together. He pushes me in my faith and has helped me to grow stronger except in one area. He wants to live together separate bedrooms and everything but I can’t do it. He just doesn’t understand that yes my past I made mistakes but I don’t want to show my son I didn’t learn from my mistakes. I also feel like pretending we are married is wrong…right? HELP! How can he be such a good person/Christian but yet try to make me fall in my weakest parts? W hat do I do? How do I make him understand it is wrong?

  91. Lydia B.
    October 26, 2012

    Hi there, So my fiance and I have been living together for almost a year now. I just a recently as a little over month ago gave my heart to Christ and my fiance just days ago followed suit ( to woch I couldn’t be happier!!). It has been laid upon my heart that I need to move back with my parents until our wedding ( a little over a month away). I need help explaining why it is so important that we do this. since I have been experiencing such rapid changes he has other in his mind that moving it will lessen my love for him to the point that I will call off our wedding. I have reassured him several times that this will never happen. What can I do to help him understand that it’s the right choice and it will not be of consequence to our relationship?

  92. Rena
    November 19, 2012

    Dear Ray,

    Thank you for the scripture verses. Can you give me more about why we should not live together before marriage? Thanks again
    Concerned mom

  93. Isaac
    December 6, 2012

    Dear Ray,
    Im 18 years old and my girlfriend will be 16 this dec 12. Last year on Dec 23 we started dating and we dated for 5 months.. The school year ended and since she was here for her freshmen year she had to move back to her home state (montana) and im in georgia still. We dated for 5 months in person we didnt speed up to intimacy but rather took our relationship very seriously. We started to visit and date a lot more, until the day she had to leave. She left bu we didnt break up its Dec 06 and we havent seen each other in 7 months at all we texted emailed and FaceTimed during this time. We actually have grown closer than before and our relationship has gotten stronger in different areas. I am out of highschool this dec and before she left we have wanted to marry. I talk to her parents and they agree but until she turns 18. Well in between talks her parents and talked about me doing college there and yes i want to do my core classes there meanwhile she graduates from high school. I dont know anyone from there but my girlfriend, we have talk to her parents and they allow me to live with them until she is able to marry me and we move out. We both dont want our relationship to go down the drain andloose our hard work. Her parents and i have talked and we wouldnt be sharing rooms at all. But rather i would have my own room, i dont have to pay to be there but i we want to use that time to study and save up for our wedding. Time is coming up soon and its a huge concern to both of us. We treat each other as spouses already (except for the intimate part) we are best friends, we decide and talk about our future budgetting, we make sure we stay out of debt or problems in general. We really want to have the greatest marraige, i am coming into the househould concidered as a son in law rather than some guy . So im being looked at as a son but also as the future husband of their daughter, of course with the exception that we dont have the liberty as a married couple would have when it comes to intimacy, curfew, acivities that real married plle do. The last thing we want to do is screw up our marriage which we have been building so far.

  94. Donesia
    January 9, 2013

    My fiance and I are cohabiting, We have been living together for two years (engaged since 2010). Our wedding date is september 18, 2013. We have both vowed to abstain from sexual intercourse until marriage. We have kept our vows and we have also discovered other forms of loving intimacy (non sexual.) I do not feel that we are pretending to be married; nor do I feel we are devaluing God’s sacred covenant. As Christians we have our personal reasons why we have made this decision. We have also stated and signed our vows at our yearly Christian enrichment retreat. We were cleansed and washed by our pastor and God’s word (virgins again). Was our pastor wrong? Is our pastor a sinner? I feel the world is “new” times have drastically changed. Woman no longer respect their bodies, Men the same. My question for you???? So, men and woman who live separately but engaged in unlawful union (God’s Word) are less sinful than a couple who lives together and up holds the law? The ultimate law is love, with love my fiancé and I have the strength to overcome temptation and uphold the law. As far as on lookers God will be our judge… Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”

  95. David
    January 31, 2013

    Ray,
    I now this is a waaay old post; but I’m hoping you still get replies and will get mine.
    I am meeting with one of my pastor’s this afternoon to talk about pre-marital counseling with my fiance and myself. Two problems are that we have cohabited for a while now without sex and secondly we have a date set for our wedding already because we do know we are meant to be and have focused our relationship on devotion and dedication and growing in our faith in God. God has been center this whole time. While I know all the verses you have mentioned and especially the one on the appearance of evil/sin (1 Thes 5:22 & Ephes 5:3) and we want to be right by the Lord and by our Pastor so he will still marry us. Our wedding date is for March 16th – what am I to do? I have already moved into a guest bedroom; but according to many of the replies and other places on the Internet I have searched that is just a “cop-out” and we continue to justify our arrangement. We have never hid our arrangement and we feel our hearts are right by the Lord and are only lacking in this area of cohabitation.
    Should I ask someone to live on their couch for the next 40 days or so and continue with marriage counseling and hope we can get our pastor to marry us? We don’t want to make him feel backed against a wall; we want to be right before the Lord and get married.

  96. tarah
    January 31, 2013

    I want to post a response to David-
    Hi, David, I’m Tarah. I had posted on here in the past with questions, but I want to share my experience with you as it’s similar.
    My husband and I were living together before we got engaged and we were new Christians. We got engaged and as we grew in our faith it was always coming up if we shou;ld be living together or not. and it was so easy to lea toward yes because- we already did, we weren’t having sex (though temptation was there), we couldn’t see how we could afford to live separately…etc. But, being that it kept weighing on us, we took a leap of faith and figured out different living arrangements (not the most comfortable) for the rest of our 10 month engagement- almost a year. IT WAS SO WORTH IT!
    We got so much closer- to each other and God and could think more clearly about what we were doing and wanted and what God wanted and totally felt and received so much blessing from it.
    I also want to note that you say it’s forty days until you’re married- 40 is the number of testing in the bible- when God tested people it was usually 40 days or 40 years. 40 days is usually what Christians fast for because it is the period of testing and how perfect would it be to commit yourself to what God would be pleased with and invite him to work within your relationship for forty days leading up to your marriage? I think you and your fiance would benefit from it.
    Just my two cents
    Congrats!

  97. David
    January 31, 2013

    Thank you Tarah..
    I really appreciate your post. The thing that I feel the most guilty about is that I am not a new Christian. I know all the right verses and all the right “moves”. We moved in together because finances didn’t make sense any other way. Not to keep making excuses but my fiance would have lost her house because she wouldn’t have been able to make the mortgage<- and I know that is where people will respond about having faith that God will work miracles; but my human side has lacked so bad in that area. I am still working on that area the most.
    Also, if I would help her financially with keeping the house so that we had something for when we do get married then I wouldn't be able to afford to live anywhere else.
    So that brings us to the present..yes the 40 day thing hit home when I saw it too. I do want to do what is best for our relationship and we have already prayed and asked for forgiveness and I still have steps to right the wrong I did in being a poor example to my kids (from a previous marriage), as well as to those close in our lives who we were poor examples as far as giving the appearance of evil.
    We still feel our heart are right with the Lord and I do believe God's grace is sufficient since we confessed our sins to the Lord (1 John 1:9) but I hold to the other verse Romans 6:1 about so, do we continue sinning so that God's grace/kindness will continue to grow..no, we want to be living examples to those around us so that God can receive the glory and He can bless our marriage for this.
    I don't know our next steps; but please do pray for us though you don't know us – as we are to meet with our pastor at 3pm (PST) today (2-1/2 hours away). I feel really good about it though, because if our hearts weren't right, I could have easily lied to him and obtained his "approval" to counsel and to marry us. I pray that God reveals our hearts to him and gives him understanding and the same grace that God gives us so that we can continue on with counseling and get married on March 16th :)
    My fear which I should not worry about it as the Bible teaches us as well; that he is not going to be okay with the time frame. But I also don't think God expects us to wait and lose out on deposits and our already booked honeymoon. That would be a lot of wasted money. We know we have a relationship centered on God and He is center of each of our own individual lives as well. I have found a good thing in finding wife :)

    • Ray Fowler
      January 31, 2013

      David, I would echo Tarah’s counsel. No matter the sacrifice, no matter the cost, you will never regret doing things God’s way. Keep us posted on how things turn out!

  98. David
    February 1, 2013

    Great news Ray & Tarah!
    I prayed all day yesterday and really feel like God directed me. We (my fiance & I) met with our Pastor. We prayed together and had a great meeting. God definitely drove and directed us…especially me.
    My heart changed and with confession and of course God’s amazing forgiveness and grace.. I will be moving out of my fiance’s house for the next 40 days so that our lives can be a living testimony of God’s grace, forgiveness and who knows what else…it’s only a matter of time to see what God will do next…we give Him the glory because it is not us.. as of yesterday, I was feeling like 40 days isn’t enough time, and we are going to get married no matter what anyone says…today, a whole different story. We are still going to get married on March 16th and our pastor is going to marry us. We are scheduled for pre-marrital counselling with him, and he (our pastor) is overjoyed by our decision and faith.

    Thank you for your comments and for your prayers.
    Please continue to pray not necessarily for me or for us..but that someone in our lives will be touched by God during this time and will come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through the testimony God is creating in our lives.

    Thank you again!!

  99. Coleen Kennedy
    March 6, 2013

    I welcome any comments on my situation. I have been with my boyfriend for 13 years. In the earlier years, we planned to get married and talked about it. We lived 100 miles apart.
    I fully expected to get married as time went on. Living so far apart, we would travel and stay at each other’s houses. We now live together for the last 7+ years. I still pray every day that we will get married. About 4 years ago, my boyfriend decided that he didn’t want to get married again. He was married once and it was a nightmare for him. I love him but once I realized he was probably not going to marry me, I stopped having sex with him. He is not even affected by it. He is not mad, loves me just the same, but is simply not getting married again. I am now 47 years old. I feel I am too old to “start over”. I do miss the sex but can live without it, though when I think about the rest of my life without it, it is a little worrisome. All my life all I’ve wanted to do is be married. I may now never get the chance. I pray and pray every day for guidance from the Lord. I pray he gives me a sign whether he wants me to leave my boyfriend or not. My boyfriend also came along at a time in my life that was very low for me. I truly believe God sent him to me. I struggle with this every day. I don’t want to go to hell. I love my boyfriend and don’t want to leave him. I have no idea what to do. I’ve done some bad things in my life–maybe this is punishement for them–send me a man at the worst part of my life, then make me leave him 13 years later because he won’t marry me. Is this possible? Someone help. I am desperately in search of the right thing to do.
    Thanks for you time. Coleen

  100. Ruben Rosa
    March 7, 2013

    Hi Coleen,
    I’ve been trying hard to get it right by God for years, 5 relationships later. I’m a Christian now for 13 years, but do I feel like I’m doing right thing by Him? No! cause I’m always trying to do it my way. My advise is stick to the Word which never changes but we always try to go around it trying to justified everything we do, He knows already what we want before we even think about it. Enough is enough! Where do we ever read God understanding our situations? Nowhere in the bible, we want Him too, but it doesn’t work that way. Sorry. I’ve been trying to live together with my girl for 3 years now. I’m so convicted by the Holy Spirit that she thinks I’m doing her wrong or have some kind of medical problems cause I can’t get myself to have sex with her. My Christian male friends they don’t know how do it, but I tell them I don’t even know. But what do know is I love God and trying real hard to get it right. He gave me a second chance in my life, had a liver transplant six years ago, and its going well thanks to God and my medical staff. So you see no matter how much we try doing it our way, it would never work, trust it, believe it. His Word is true and it would never change, we just have to pray more each day for a better understanding of it. Stay Blessed and I hope that everything works out for you according to His purpose. Ciao!

  101. Megan N
    March 18, 2013

    Tarah,

    My fiance and I have known each other for ten years and started dating in August. I moved in with him a few weeks later and we got engaged in January. He was a Christian when we were dating and I was not. I always felt a desire to know God but I kept pushing it away. We started going to a church that he had periodically attended. We both agreed that we want to know more about the church and the people there. We took membership classes to join the church but our issue of living together before marriage kept coming up. We thought that we could just live together and not be sexually involved; however, that proved difficult. After a few discussions between us and our pastor I moved out yesterday and back in with my mom until our wedding in October (only 7 months!!). Last night was extremely difficult for my fiance and I both because we missed being by each other’s side. This morning I was looking for bible verses to justify my moving out. I read your post and it has helped me to see that what we are doing is the right decision and that our faith will keep us strong. Our small group has been so helpful thus far and I can only imagine how much our church family will support us. We are getting baptized this Sunday and can’t wait to grow in our love for the Lord. So, all that being said, I just wanted to thank you for sharing our story. It has helped us and I’m sure it will continue to help others.

  102. Irena
    March 31, 2013

    My exhusband was in full time ministry when he and I had marital problems leading to separation. He has moved across the country for substance abuse recovery and remained there. It’s been more than 3 years since our separation and more than a year since the divorce was final. When he moved he almost immediately found a girlfriend on a Christian website. Although he said he was abstinent – he was not. They were sexual and then broke up, reunited etc. Hard to keep track if this strange romantic/chaste/business unstable relationship. Off and on this relationship went and the current status is they live together but do not have sex and there is no promise of marriage or engagement. They share a house with her children (grown) and a room and sleep in the same bed. Our son rarely visits and has only been in the house one week and they slept separately during that visit. This was framed as a roommate situation, just friends, to save money and now has evolved to an acknowledgement that they are a couple. We housed a bride while she prepped for marriage, and a man who chose to stop living with his fiancé in preparation for marriage. I thought it was a value we shared. It floors me the ex has found this cohabitation loophole acceptable given his moral high ground … I think it is stupid for the woman especially if she desires marriage, because it is a test run, and if he doesn’t like it – maybe he’ll not renew the lease. Living together when your only committment is the year-long lease is a joke. And it should be tempting – living and sleeping with your partner and abstaining and doing that easily without feeling tempted means something to. There should be a spark and passion where you feel attracted. If you can live chastely, does a switch just get thrown when the time comes to finally make love. Sounds just weird to me. I should say my ex wasn’t interested in sex do his ability to remain abstinent now looks like he’s honoring God, when really I think he wanted a sexless marriage all along. Guess this is the same as buying the cow when you can get the milk for free, except he enjoys the cow and hopes he never has to actually deal with the milk. I’m dating and getting to know my boyfriend more and more, no cohabitation is planned … seeing my ex move in with his lady unmarried under any circumstances and my son’s response has made me very very cautious as how I will proceed in my relationship – slow for sure.

  103. Andrew
    February 17, 2014

    Ray,

    I am planning on having my an ex girlfriend move into my home. We have child together and she has a son from a previous marriage. All 3 will be moving in to my home. I will sleep in the basement and they will have their own rooms on the 1st floor. We have no romantic feelings for each other but are friends and want both kids to have 2 parents in the home. She has health issues and is not able to be active for long periods of time. So the benefits of living together are numerous. However, I work for a Catholic high school. I am wondering if this would be grounds for being fired since “living together” is viewed as being in a sexual relationship. This is a unique situation so information pertaining to this time of arrangement is not easy to find. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Andrew

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