What Does The Bible Say About Living Together Unmarried

Living together as unmarried partners has been an issue in society for generations and one that has sparked much debate and caused controversy. While there is no single answer since opinions differ, it is important to look to the Bible for guidance on this subject. In this article, we’ll explore what the Bible says about living together without the benefit of marriage.

The Bible’s stance on the topic of extramarital living starts with strong prohibitions that forbid adultery and sexual promiscuity. In the early books of the Bible, God excommunicated His people for immorality and threatened punishment for violators. Leviticus 20:10-16 outlines specific rules against sex with a neighbor’s wife, as well as rules that forbid other sexual behavior.

The Old Testament also prohibits certain additional types of conduct that a couple might engage in when living together without the benefit of marriage. For example, Exodus 22:16 forbids a man to “go about as a slanderer among his people” which can be interpreted as forbidding any kind of defamatory verbal behavior between the couple. Deuteronomy 22:13-29 also has similar proscriptions, including the demand to be married or the man sending off the unmarried woman.

Aside from these negative prohibitions, the Bible provides no specific advice or guidance on unmarried couples living together. Consequently, this lack of guidance can often lead to a situation where couples may consider their own moral principles and cultural convictions to form their own view on the issue instead of turning to the Bible for advice.

Donna Harrison, a professor of religious studies at the University of Georgia, is an expert on Christianity and biblical interpretation. She speaks to the largely grey area that the Bible leaves when it comes to partners living together without marriage. “The Bible itself does not explicitly address the issue of whether it is acceptable for an unmarried couple to live together,” says Harrison. What is known is that many aspects of this kind of relationship are explicitly deemed sinful in the Bible. “Cohabiting, often referred to as ‘shacking up,’ has been condemned in the Bible,” she said.

Other faiths do have explicit guidelines when it comes to unmarried couples living together.The Quran forbids cohabitation, and there are all kinds of rabbinic literature discouraging the practice. But, when it comes to the Bible, a grey area remains.

Theologian Joseph O’Reilly speaks to the complexity of interpreting the Bible accurately. “For Christians, the Bible is divine in origin but the precise interpretations that are made can vary,” he said. Consequently, it is not a simple act of reading the Bible to get a straightforward answer on this issue, as we humans may interpret it differently.

The difficulty with relying on the Bible lies in how strictly any one person interprets what the Bible says about sex. According to experts, some couples may find the answer in themselves and make a decision based on their own internal compass. There are couples who may deem the outcome to be less important than the effort, the commitment and the relationship that they have reaped from the experience.

The cultural influence

Cultural expectations often influence the opinions of people living in the same area, and opinions on unmarried couples living together in modern times have changed drastically over the years. Society as a whole has become much more tolerant and open-minded, though couples seeking the blessing of their religious community or the approval of their parents may find it difficult to receive the kind of support they may be searching for.

Recent surveys have indicated that a large number of Americans today are in favor of unmarried couples living together. A 2018 Gallup poll reported that nearly a quarter of U.S. adults think that extramarital living is morally acceptable. Subsequent studies conducted in other countries found similar results.

With the stigma that was once attached to living with a romantic partner being drastically reduced in modern society, it has become much more common for couples who are not married to set up homes together. For those torn between their religion and their personal feelings, the Bible can provide a moral compass, though the strict interpretation is subject to personal interpretation.

The impact of modernity

A key factor in determining the prevalence of unmarried couples living together is the impact of modernity on our lives and our societies. The rise of technology in people’s lives has drastically changed how we interact with each other, resulting in more opportunities for couples to meet and connect.

The proliferation of the internet and social media has also turned virtual relationships into an easy option for couples to explore without the long-term commitment that traditional marriage entails. This has caused unmarried couples living together to become more accepted in many societies, though some aspects of the relationship remain controversial.

Studies suggest that young couples who choose to live together may be more likely to face social disapproval from their peers and family members, but proponents of cohabitation suggest that living together can actually benefit couples. The research on this topic is mixed, with some studies indicating that unmarried couples who live together are more likely to break up, while other research shows that couples who live together may be more likely to form a lasting bond.

The pros and cons

When examining the issue from a financial point of view, living together can bring many advantages. Couples are able to share expenses on rent and other living costs, which can help them to invest in their future or simply live more comfortably within their fixed budgets.

However, a common disadvantage of living together without being married is the lack of legal protection. Unmarried couples are often not afforded the same legal protections that married couples are in case of a separation or a death. Additionally, unmarried couples can often face discrimination from employers and other individuals since legal marriage is often seen as a mark of commitment and stability.

The role of religion

Religious faith and beliefs often come into play when considering living together without the benefit of marriage. From a religious standpoint, many denominations see marriage as a God-ordained relationship that transcends economic, legal, and social pressure. Religion can be a powerful motivator in the decision to live together without being married, as some couples feel that having the symbolic blessing of their faith community can bring moral significance to their relationship.

In the end, it is important to consider the religious, cultural, and social implications of living together without being married before making a decision to do so. While the Bible does not provide an answer on this issue, it does provide guidance that forbids certain behaviors and encourages us to think deeply about our choices.

The psychology of the decision

Making important decisions about relationships can be difficult and can often bring up a host of emotions and difficulties. When deciding whether or not to live together as unmarried partners, it is important to think about how the decision might affect one’s relationship with family and friends, as well as how the relationship may grow with time. For example, couples might consider how the decision to live together influences the path of their relationship. Will it strengthen the relationship or weaken it?

Couples might also consider the importance of commitment and the long-term implications of their decision in regard to marriage. Many couples are afraid to make commitments because they worry that it will limit their freedom or they worry that they won’t be able to trust their partner. It is important to carefully consider these matters before making a decision to live together.

The decision to live together without being married is a matter of personal choice and should not be taken lightly. It is important to consider the moral and legal implications of this decision, as well as the social, religious, and psychological aspects that accompany it. Understanding the complexities of this decision can help couples make the best decision for them.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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