Couples living together is nothing new, but it seems like it is more common today than it has ever been. Even followers of Jesus appear to think there is nothing wrong with it. The truth is, you are not going to find a verse in the Bible commanding single people not to live together. If there is no verse in the Bible prohibiting people living together, then it must be all right to do so, right?
Why Do Couples Choose to Live Together
Many couples live together for some of the following reasons:
Loneliness or living alone is undesirable
We’re going to get married anyway
Fear of commitment to marriage
People believe cultural lies
We want to see if we are compatible
We don’t see anything wrong with it
What Does the Bible Say About Couples Living Together?
How should someone who has chosen to follow Jesus think about this culturally acceptable issue? Well, you are not going to find a verse in the Bible that says: “Thou shall not live together.” However, I believe some principles can guide our thinking and behavior.
If you followers of Jesus, and you are living together sexually, there are only three possible solutions:
- Get married. 1 Corinthians 7:9
- Live in separate houses or apartments and stop having sex until after your wedding day.
- End the relationship and live alone, if you cannot control your sexual passions.
Continuing living together is not an option for a follower of Jesus. If you are unmarried and living together sexually, you are sinning, and you need to repent and decide to submit your sexuality to the Lordship of Christ.
What if we are living together and remaining abstinent?
Because the Bible doesn’t have an explicit prohibition, does that mean we can live together? Not so fast, people.
First, you are placing yourself in the throes of temptation. You can’t play with fire and not eventually get burned. I have had a few men tell me: “Pastor, we can sleep in the same bed and not be sexually active.” Dude, I firmly say, you are freaking deluding yourself. You are a better man than every other red-blooded man I know.”
Secondly, you are negatively impacting your testimony for Jesus. Even if you are not having sex, and you tell people you are not having sex, they will look at you side-eyed and will not believe you. This can negatively affect your testimony for Jesus. We have an awesome responsibility to be a light in the world for our Father:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Living together cloaks and covers that light. I think people are looking for examples – people who say they are Christians and live like they are Christians. I think living together gives non-Christians a reason not to follow Jesus.
Why Getting Married is Wiser Than Living Together
First, marriage helps to create trust. When couples choose to live together, there is no upfront commitment, which creates trust. Most couples I know and counsel, who have decided to live together, suffer from trust issues. Some couples will say that they don’t need a piece of paper to declare their trust. This is true. However, you have to be concerned about a couple who will not publicly declare their commitment to one another.
Secondly, marriage states, plainly and openly, your love and dedication. The wedding ceremony is to marriage as baptism is to salvation. Baptism does not save us and the wedding ceremony does not make us married. However, both baptism and the marriage ceremony are public declarations and commitment to Jesus and our spouses, respectively. Baptism reveals our newfound identity in Jesus and the wedding ceremony declares our new found commitment to our spouses. If a person does not commit to marrying you publicly, you have to worry about his/her love for you.
No, you are not going to find an explicit verse in the Bible that prohibits a couple from living together. However, there are enough biblical principles and other dangers to warn couples against cohabitating. God expects us to swim against the current and let our lights shine in a dark world, not contribute to the darkness.
What are some other reasons why Christians should not live together before marriage?