I was saddened the other day as I thought of all the people I’ve known over the years who chose to live with someone instead of getting married, even those who did in fact marry each other at a later time. I couldn’t help but think how God feels when people make such a decision, and even worse when they profess to be Christians and seek to find a way to justify it as being acceptable in Gods sight. While there may have always been some who have done this in the past, it seems as though it is becoming rampant in America and the world we now live in as never before. What is this world coming to?
One of the reasons some choose to live with someone before getting married is to see if they can even live together before making an official commitment to each other. They view it as a “try before you buy” transaction with the option to walk away if they find it doesn’t suit them. Another reason some give for this is that they don’t need a paper to show their committed to each other, and that outside of a piece of paper their relationships are no different. Some say they do it because it is more cost effective than it is to be married, and others are just flat out against getting married. Finally, and possibly the most ludicrous reason of all, comes from professing Christians who try to say that God views living together with someone the same as being married.
There are a number of reasons why people embrace the above mindsets to justify a life style of living with someone without marrying them. It could be that they’ve had bad experiences in previous marriages and don’t want to go through that again. It could be that they’ve seen bad marriages and feel the best way to avoid the pitfalls of marriage is to not get married, or at least try living together first for a period of time before making such a commitment. For some, it could be that money speaks louder to them than a committed relationship, or perhaps they just don’t want to feel ‘weighted down’ by a commitment that they view as restrictive or as a form of bondage.
What it comes down to is that these individuals are just “committed to not commit”. Have you ever heard someone, perhaps yourself, adamantly say that there is no such thing as absolutes? Well, they are saying that they are absolute in thinking that there are no absolutes, so in essence they are discounting their own statements. The same is true when people are determined to avoid making a marriage commitment by just living with someone. They are basically saying that they are committed to not commit themselves to another in a marriage relationship.
When it comes to professing Christians that take the position there is no difference in Gods eyes between living with someone and being married, they are grasping for a way to rationalize such behavior as okay. These individuals seem to think that if they are living with and having ongoing sexual relations with someone then God views that as marriage, but is that true? If that were true then at what point does fornication become adultery? By definition, the primary difference between fornication and adultery is whether or not it involves at least one individual that is married. If at least one individual is married then it is considered adultery, otherwise this same behavior is considered fornication. I should add at this point that even if a couple is separated but still legally married, sexual relations with someone other than their spouse is considered as adultery. I talked with a professing Christian several years ago who was living with someone and trying to convince me that it was the same as being married in Gods eyes. They seemed to think a piece of paper was a mere technicality that really held no real significance. As I pondered this I came to a conclusion that in one way a piece of paper is not the key, though at the same time it is. In our American culture one of the steps required for two people to become married includes this piece of paper we call a “Marriage License”, but this is not required in other cultures. While it may be true this piece of paper is not required in other cultures, my understanding is that each culture still has a process, if I can call it such, by which two people become officially “joined” together that friends and family observe and recognize as binding. So, while on one hand it isn’t the piece of paper that makes the difference in Gods eyes, it is the culturally recognized, accepted, and legal means through which people are known as married to each other, and therefore it is what God looks at. So, to say that God views the two lifestyles as the same is merely a twisting of things to help themselves feel justified in their behavior, basically deceiving themselves into believing one of many lies the enemy of our souls is selling to any who will buy them.
When we talk of being “committed to not commit” in regards to these relationships, I find it interesting that this is often true in regards to many people’s relationship with Jesus. Just as many want the benefits of marriage without the marriage commitment, and they will find every excuse they can to justify it, the same is true regarding our relationships with Jesus. Many want the benefits of being a follower of Jesus, but they don’t want to make the commitment Jesus requires of all who follow after Him. They will find some reason, some excuse, as to why they won’t commit to following Jesus on His terms, but oh how they want all the benefits and blessings of such a relationship. Just as some don’t want to commit to another in marriage because they want to keep parts of their life to themselves, many do the same with Jesus when they ‘compartmentalize’ what parts of their life they will or will not give and surrender to Him. Just as a person choosing to live with someone without marrying them is actually demonstrating a lack of commitment to them, even so a person who chooses to follow Jesus without the commitment and terms He requires is telling Him they are not really committed to Him.
So, there are two simple questions to ask ourselves. The first question to be asked is for those who are living with someone they are not married to, “Are you truly committed to them for the rest of your life?” If you are truly committed to that person for life, then you need to stop living with and having sexual relations with the other individual until after you’re married to them, whether or not they want to get married to you. If you’re not truly committed to that person, or they are not committed to you, you still need to stop living and having sexual relations with them. That is the right thing to do in the sight of God. The second question to ask is, “Are you truly committed to following Jesus with your life no matter what?” If so, then you need to be committed to Jesus wholly and completely no matter what. To live any other way is to only be a fan of Jesus and not a true follower. If this is you, then you need to renew your commitment to Him, and to begin making the necessary changes in your life that reflect that commitment. It’s not a one-time decision you make, but it’s a daily decision to make, and for some a moment by moment decision. Will you make that decision to commit, or are you “committed to not commit”?