There have been many questions surrounding what the bible says about relationships before marriage. So I decided to write on it. Let's trust the Lord that some of those questions will be answered in this article.
Everyone is created with the innate consciousness that at a certain stage in their life, they need the friendship and companionship of the opposite gender.
Mark 10:6 KJVBut from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
According to scriptures, God made as male and female. The desire to have someone special from the opposite gender is a default and natural instinct in all humans—deposited by God Himself.
For this reason, it shouldn't be seen as a strange thing when a teenager suddenly wants to be in a relationship. As Christians, this fact needs to be accepted and settled in our hearts, so that we will have the right mindset and approach towards relationships.
Some of us grew up in a strict and religious Christian background where no child dared not get caught in a relationship with the opposite gender. I strongly encourage Christian parents to upgrade their perception towards their children desiring a relationship at the teenage age.
If teenagers felt safe (and not condemned) for acting on their natural instinct to want someone of the opposite gender, I believe they would be more open with their parents, and possibly get the right counsel from them.
What Is A Christian Relationship?
A Christian relationship (also known as Christian dating or courtship) is often a romantic union between two people of the opposite gender who are equally yoked with each other.
Mark 10:7-8 NIVFor this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Christian dating or courtship should be done with the sole purpose and goal of marriage in view. It is literally pointless to get in a relationship if the intent is not getting married to each other.
Christian relationship among teenagers should be done under the watchful eyes of parents and gaurdians. Christian parents should take up the responsibility of ensuring that their teens neither get condemned by them nor destroyed through the wrong relationships.
Why Relationship Before Marriage?
Different Christian denominations have different doctrines, and these go a long way to determine people's path towards marriage.
In some denominations, I'm aware that a single lady will have to get informed by the pastor that an anonymous brother from the same church is about to come ask her hand in marriage. Then the lady will be left with the choice to either accept or reject the brother when he shows up. That crosses out the need for a relationship. A bit strange, isn't it? Well, such denominations claim it's all by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
I guess such an approach has worked for a good number of people. But I honestly think that, since Christian marriage is not going to be a walk in the park, no one should just barge into it without really getting to know the one they're about to spend the rest of their life with.
There have been many reports of regrets in marriages that were decided on, crafted by denominations and given to members. I believe marriage is a delicate thing, and no one should dictate for another on who they should marry.
A godly dating or courtship relationship should precede marriage. The dating or courtship stage happens to be the right time to assess a lot concerning your potential spouse.
In the story of Joseph and Mary, we find a very valid reason to be in a relationship before marriage. Mary was betrothed (kinda like engaged) to Joseph before marriage. As at when the Angel Gabriel visited Mary with the good news of the Messiah's birth, Mary was still in a courtship relationship with Joseph (they were not yet married).
Matthew 1:18-19 KJVNow the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
During this period, Joseph was very watchful of Mary; just to be sure she was truly worth settling down with. Then all of a sudden, Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant. Joseph had not known Mary before the pregnancy, so on a normal basis, the pregnancy would had definitely come out of cheating. Like every sane man would do, Joseph had already made up his mind to break up with Mary. The only thing that saved the relationship was that Mary was [supernaturally] pregnant with the Saviour.
Yet still, Joseph wasn't ready to believe any of such stories. He only became convinced when God sent an angel to talk to him about it.
Matthew 1:20 NIVBut after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
This is just one of the reasons why relationship before marriage is necessary. People are good at lying and keeping secrets while forcing their way into marriage; because they know that afterwards, divorce will be a difficult decision to make. No one wants to marry a cheat and no sane man wants to jump into marriage with a woman who is pregnant with another man's baby.
Cohabitation Before Marriage
Hebrews 13:4 KJVMarriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
Cohabitation is an agreement between two people to live together before marriage. The practice of cohabitation did not start from church—it started in the world and got introduced into the church. This practice is carnal and worldly in every way, a Christian shouldn't be part of it.
Agreement to get married doesn't equal actually being legally married. Cohabitation is discouraged in order to save intending couples from fornication and its consequences. Even at the stage of engagement, cohabitation should still be avoided.
Some people might ask, "what if we live together and not fornicate with each other?" Well, that's like playing with fire and expecting to not get burnt.
Proverbs 6:27-28 KJVCan a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?  Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?
Every genuine Christian should already know that fornication is a "no-no" for them. Avoiding fornication should be one of our daily goals.
Living Together Before Marriage Bible Verse
Living together before marriage is a bad idea and the Holy Bible speaks expressly against it.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 KJV
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;  Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.
1 Corinthians 7:2 KJV
Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
[No one is your husband or wife until you're legally married to them]
1 Corinthians 7:1-2 KJV
Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.  Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
1 Corinthians 6:18 KJV
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
2 Timothy 2:22 KJV
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
What To Look For In A Christian Relationship
I'm sure no genuine Christian wants to end up with 'just anyone' in marriage. Before deciding on taking our relationships from the level of dating to marriage, I think we should look for the following:
Yes, just one word: God. That is the first thing a Christian should look for in their potential spouse. Are they truly godly or they are just a mere churchgoer? That's an important question to ask oneself.
James 4:4 KJVYe adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
No one is expected to be perfect, but a potential Christian spouse should possess many Christ-like qualities; attributes that make them stand out from worldly people. Evidences of the notion that 'every man or woman is the same' should be absent in them.
The perception of many who intentionally get in a relationship with someone who doesn't know God is often that 'they will change' or 'I'll help change them'. But this often ends up being like going on a difficult (and sometimes, impossible) mission. Only God changes people.
2 Corinthians 6:14 KJVBe ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Compatibility is key in a successful Christian relationship. Apart from getting married to an unbeliever (which should be avoided), there is also the need to carefully assess each other's life goals, opinions about important matters, understanding and perception towards many things in life, etc.
Certain people might have a completely different view towards life—completely contrary to yours. There's nothing wrong with them but this might lead to constant disagreement on almost everything. That's a sign of incompatibility.
You may not always see eye to eye with each other, but a great level of agreement is a green light in a relationship; it is required. Arguing and disagreeing on just about everything is a red light no one should ignore and slide under the carpet.
Amos 3:3 KJVCan two walk together, except they be agreed?
Apart from the component of love (which must be deeply present), agreement is yet another glue that holds every successful Christian relationship and marriage together. If this is lacking, there's also a huge red light one shouldn't overlook.
It is not enough to claim we are godly and Christ-like. We should also be able to humbly apologise, accept our faults and take correction when necessary. Humility is a powerful tool for building a godly relationship.
If there is no matual understanding between two Christians in a relationship, they are like two horses attached to a cart but pulling it apart in different directions. It will eventually lead to a crash.
Final Words On Relationship Before Marriage
A godly relationship is always a good pathway towards marriage. But a sinful and ungodly relationship will lead to destruction.
A Christian is not expected to have just any sort of relationship, but a relationship that glorifies God. Christian dating shouldn't be used as an avenue for fornication.
People come and go, but God never leaves. It's okay to appreciate our partner, but no one should be idolised in a relationship. No human deserves to take God's place in your life.
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