Our social media promotes the idea of cohabitation, coexistence, before marriage. The rationale behind it is that, by living together, one can learn the quirks of a significant other and determine if they live well together before tying the knot.
Now, what seems like the norm, coexistence has made its way to becoming a transition between dating and marriage.
But should Christians commit to this step? Is cohabitation before marriage okay? In this article, we will dive into what Scripture says about living together. Then we’ll talk about the myths associated with living together and how Scripture breaks down those myths.
What does the Bible say about living together?
The Bible often doesn’t have an explicit verse for our cultural norms in terms of dating and living together, as neither actually existed during the Old or New Testament.
However, we can look at the cultural norms of biblical times to understand that living together = marriage in their minds then. Living together before marriage was not an option.
In Bible times, after a man asked his bride to marry him, he would immediately begin work on building an apartment as an addition to his father’s home. Only his father had the authority to declare when the apartment his son was building was finished.
The bride would wait and wait until the groom returned, which could have been at any time of the day or night. As soon as the apartment was finished, he would take her away to the new house he had built for their new life together. The wedding celebration would begin immediately after finishing this important project, not a second before.
In fact, when Jesus tells his disciples that he will “prepare a place for you” (John 14: 3), he is using the language of marriage. This is also the reason why Jesus declares when we will go to heaven “But no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36).
This shows that coexistence was a very important step for God’s people and that it was only taken in conjunction with marriage.
Also, Scripture has a lot to say about having sexual intercourse before marriage. Most of the time, cohabitation involves sexual intercourse. Although, not always, it is usually implied. We will appeal to those couples who live together without having sex in a moment.
Scripture issues the following verses against having sex before marriage.
Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure, as God will judge the adulterer and all who are sexually immoral. Hebrews 13: 4
Now to the unmarried and widows I say: it is good that they remain single, as I do. But if they can’t control themselves, they should get married, because it’s better to get married than burn with passion. 1 Corinthians 7: 8-9
Because God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 1 Thessalonians 4: 7
But there must not be a hint of sexual immorality among you, or any kind of impurity or greed, for these are inappropriate for God’s holy people. Ephesians 5: 3.
God forbids sex before marriage because two become one when they have sex (Mark 10: 8). If someone has sex with someone else and doesn’t end up being together for life, the separation creates a painful and incredible wound.