Greetings Fr. Andrew,
I am looking to pick your brain on an issue that has been on my mind for a while.
When as a dating couple you get intimate and you confess this sin and turn away with the resolve to abstain until marriage. What is the role of the church in handling the truth?
Should you get pregnant with a guy and are not married to him, what is the right thing to do? Do you live together if so is it the right thing to do according to God’s word.
Peace and love to you.
Thank you for the question. From the first part of the question you asked you wanted to know the role of the Church in handling the truth with regard to intimacy before marriage. I do assume that the intimacy you are referring to is one of a sexual nature or at least one involving very close connection to the same.
We live in a world which is highly and absolutely saturated with sex that there are young people who honestly wonder whether intimacy/sex before marriage is a sin. The Church on the authority of the word of God has the duty to defend faith and morals, teach the truth and show people the path they should follow. “Intimacy” is a euphemistic term which in relationship clearly implies sexual activity which could be any type of sexual union or contact. As a dating couple, a man and a woman who are not married, getting intimate is wrong, it is sinful for the only reason that the marital act is reserved for marriage only between a husband and a wife not for a dating couple. The word of God clearly instructs that such an act between people who are not married is sinful and that we ought to remain morally pure. A few verses from the Bible for you:
– Hebrew 13:4 – “Let marriage be honoured among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.” That means, sexual relationship is to be shared by a husband and a wife. The marriage bed should not be defiled.
– 1 Corinthians 6:18
– Ephesians 5:3
– Colossians 3:5
– 1 Thessalonians 4:2-5
– In both the Old and New Testament the purity or virginity of a woman before marriage was crucial and was highly esteemed. As it was in the past so it should be in the present and the future. (refer Deuteronomy 22:21)
– Marriage is a covenant and like any other covenant there is always symbol to mark that covenant. And in marriage that symbol is the marital act itself which involves the total self-giving of oneself to the other. This act seals the covenant. If you are not in that covenant then do not fool around with its symbol because by so doing you pledge death for yourself when you go against the covenant. Remember, a covenant is more than just an exchange of property it is an exchange of persons.
There are other reasons as to why you as a dating couple should not get intimate before marriage. These apply to both believers and nonbelievers:
– Intimacy before marriage implies a lack of respect for one’s own body
– It lessens the likelihood of faithfulness in marriage
– Real love develops and unfolds fully in marriage where you have to be responsible and committed. Marriage is a contract but much more a covenant which involves not only promises but oaths.
– Marriage cannot be reduced to the mere act of sex. Marriage is more than sex. Marriage is more than just being called Mister and Missus. Marriage as a natural institution has certain ends or finalities that are fixed in the nature of the institution itself.
– Believe me, abstaining from sex before marriage will help you cherish things like purity, endurance, patience, integrity, loyalty, faithfulness, strength and above all holiness. The proper context for intimacy is in marriage. You can live a life free from immorality. Attitude is everything, change your attitude and you change your life. You should be simple but not cheap for you are precious.
Any sin you commit can be forgiven if you truly repent. And by repentance we do not only mean saying sorry for what you have done and confessing your sins. Repentance demands conversion, a total change of mind and attitude regarding ones actions. It means making a u turn and taking on a new direction of life. There must be an effort in changing your behaviour and start living as God’s beloved daughter or son.
The second part of your question focuses on two persons living together and one getting pregnant or having children without a marriage bond. We ask ourselves, is there really anything wrong with living together without a marriage bond? Well, ordinarily getting pregnant means you have had sex with someone. If this happens outside the marriage context then it is the same with what we have explained above. It is exploitation of the marital act when you are not married.
The word of God reminds us that marriage is a committed relationship which belongs to the divine plan (Gen 2:22-24) and is permanent (Mk 10:7-9). This committed relationship is the very place God designed for the expression of sex. Through marriage covenant one acquires the right to conjugal act. Sexual union in marriage is a right (1 Corinthians 7:4-5).
Moreover, marriage is a public good. It is a sacrament of service. Those who get married do not get married just for themselves but for others as well. Marriage is by its nature ordered to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.
If two people wish to live together as husband and wife then they have to enter the marriage covenant because:
– By entering into the marriage covenant one changes his or her status. He or she acquires new rights and duties. He or she enters a different cadre, cadre of a family which has got to be respected. The family is too precious to fool around with. And because it is a different status, we need to be certain about it. It is therefore the right of the Church and the society to know of your new status.
– The consent, which in essence is the one that brings marriage into existence, having been expressed in public is put under the protection of the Church and the society at large. It becomes the public good of the Church and the society. The consent is an act of the will and is all inclusive. It leaves out nothing and binds you.
– The marital will consists in wanting to be a spouse. Your wanting is received so that you are spouses to each other. You are permanently given to each other. It is a union of personhood, not only friendship or companionship. Marriage is more than just living under one roof. The decision you make to become a spouse is a serious one.
– By entering into the marriage covenant you make a family. It is in the family where love of parents (mother and father) creates a happy atmosphere where children can grow up in trustful awareness of a God who truly loves and cares for them. Children need a proper atmosphere to grow in. The world needs good new human beings who certainly come from the family. Indissolubility of marriage is therefore to be defended lest we destroy the upcoming generation(s).
Marriage and family are essential institutions in building up any stable human society. These two are therefore to be highly cherished by everyone. Choice in life is a MUST. We ought to live a definite life not one full of uncertainties. We must be decisive and choose the way of life (ref. 1 Corinthians 7:1-16). Living together without the marriage bond does not reflect the commitment demanded by the divinely instituted sacrament of marriage.
Thank you so much for the question. I invite more questions.