Does the Bible condemn premarital sex and pre-wedding sex?

I know you might be scratching your head right now asking “Isn’t premarital sex and pre-wedding sex the same thing?” Biblically speaking the answer is no they are not the same.  These are two separate and distinct things.

This topic is crucial for young Christian couples who are dating or engaged to consider in this age where sex before marriage has become so common that a couple is considered weird if they do not have sex before marriage.

Does sex automatically make a couple married in God’s eyes?

Some Christians have tried to argue that there is no such thing as “premarital sex” because they believe the act of sex automatically makes a couple married.  They reason based on this logic that the Bible does not condemn something that is impossible to happen.

But the Bible does not support this notion.

We will show here from the Scriptures that there really is such a thing as “premarital sex” and the act of sex itself does not automatically constitute marriage.  Later in this article we will distinguish “premarital sex” from “pre-wedding sex”.

So if sex does not automatically constitute marriage what does?

Biblical marriage may be constituted in one of four ways.

Marriage Method #1 – A man seduces a woman into sex and her father consents to marriage

“16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.

17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.” – Exodus 22:16-17 (KJV)

One key word in this passage as it relates to the “does premarital sex exist” debate is the word “endow”.  This occurs AFTER the man has seduced the woman into having sex with him and BEFORE she actually becomes his wife (is married to her).

The word Hebrew word that “endow” is translating is Mahar which means “to obtain or acquire by paying purchase price, give a dowry” – http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/kjv/mahar-2.html

So we have just proven from Exodus 22:16-17 beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is indeed such a thing as premarital sex in God’s view of sex.

In this passage God was saying that if a man seduced a virgin who was not betrothed to another man and he had sex with her that he had to pay her father the bride price and her father would decide if he would allow the man to marry his daughter.  The father had the power to refuse him even after the man seduced his daughter but he still had to pay the bride price because he violated the father’s property rights regarding his daughter.

But then the question must be asked – what is the lasting moral law here in Exodus 22:16-17 and what is the temporary civil law that applied only to Israel as a theocracy? There are two moral law parts in this passage and one civil law part in this passage.

The first part of God’s unchanging moral law in Exodus 22:16-17 is found here in this phrase:

“And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her”

Whether the woman is a virgin or not – God only honors sex AFTER the covenant of marriage has been established between a man and a woman:

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

All other sexual relations between a man and woman outside of marriage are either whoremongering or adultery.

The second part about of God’s unchanging moral law in Exodus 22:16-17 is found in this next phrase:

“If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him”

In Numbers 30:3-16 we see that the only way a woman had the power to make vows of her own (which would include marriage) that could not be overridden by her father or her husband were if she was a widow or divorced:

“But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.” – Numbers 30:9 (KJV)

A father’s authority over his daughter is further reinforced by the general principle of the headship of man over woman (not just a husband’s headship over his wife):

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” – I Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)

This passage above was not talking about  marriage but rather that general authority of men over women and why women should wear head coverings in worship as a sign of women being under men. The marital status of the woman was irrelevant.

Under God’s moral law, a father transfers his ownership and authority over his daughter to her husband in marriage.  If the woman’s husband dies or he sends her away in divorce then the chain of authority is broken and she is free to marry whom she will.

What is no longer required is that a man be forced to marry a virgin he has sex with. This was a civil punishment as part of the law given to Israel a theocracy and the New Testament tells us that God’s Old covenant law with Israel a theocracy has been replaced by the new covenant that God has made with the Church(Hebrews 8:13)

This leads us to the second Biblical method of a man and woman entering into marriage.

Marriage Method #2 – A widow or divorced woman could consent to or seek marriage on her own

“And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.” – Ruth 3:9 (KJV)

We see this situation occurring with Ruth who approached Boaz to see if he wished to marry her in Ruth 3:9.  Since Ruth was a widow she had to the power to enter into marriage without seeking the consent of her father.

In the story of Ruth we see Levirate marriage being played out.  Deuteronomy 25:5-10 describes the process of Levirate marriage where a brother or near kinsman was required to marry the wife of the dead relative to raise up an heir for his dead relative’s estate.  Ruth had every right as the widow of a relative of Boaz to propose marriage to Boaz.

The only consent she needed was Boaz and then he confirmed with a nearer relative that he could in fact marry her.

Marriage Method #3 – A man rapes a woman and her father forces him to marry her

“28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.” – Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (KJV)

This is a very controversial passage of the Scriptures that atheists and others who hate the Bible, hate the Jews and hate the Christian faith love to use to try say the Bible promotes immoral activity.  The argument basically goes “How could a loving God force a woman to marry her rapist?”

The problem is those who want to accuse the God of the Bible of issuing immoral commands are not looking at this from the perspective of the culture in which the command was given.  In the time period this was given a woman’s virginity was her most prized position.  Once that was taken she would have had a very difficult time getting married.  In a Biblical world view the greatest crime the rapist committed was not in forcing himself upon her against her will – but rather in taking her most prized possession. In a way rape was form of theft.

Remember this same woman who had been raped could have been forced to marry this SAME man before he raped her by her father.  Then she would have been compelled to have sex with whether she wanted to or not.

Some say there is no mention of the father’s consenting to marriage and that it must automatically happen.  But we must remember that no passage of Scripture stands on its own.  This passage does in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 must be understood in light of Exodus 22:16-17 which clearly shows a father must always consent to any marriage his daughter enters into (unless she is a widow or divorced).

So a father forcing the man to marry his daughter whom the man raped was a punishment against him and restitution for his daughter.  The man had to care for her the rest of her life and he could not divorce her for ANY reason.

Now this does not mean a father HAD to have his daughter marry her rapist – it was his discretion.

The real problem people have with this passage is NOT that a woman might have to potentially marry her rapist.  The real problem people have is the fact that God gives such power of a father over his daughter that he could force her to marry her rapist.

But again considering the culture of the time a father could be looking out for his daughter’s best interests.  In their culture the worst thing that could happen to a woman was not being raped, but instead not being able to get married.  If we understand this then we understand this is not something immoral that God is commanding.

Marriage Method #4 – Men could take women as captives of war and force them to be their wife

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.” – Deuteronomy 21:10-14 (KJV)

This is another favorite passage of atheists and people who hate the Bible. God allows men to take women as captives of war and force them to be their wife.

A few things to mention about this.  It was actually a mercy that these men would take back some of these women as wives considering all the men and their families had been wiped out in war. They had nothing and they would probably have died on their own.

Can we guess again what the atheist’s biggest problem was? It was men forcing women to be their wives against their consent.  But God does not give people (including women) the same rights we do in our modern civilization.  And God is ALWAYS right.

Does this mean we have to take captives when we go to war and force them to be our wives? Of course not. This passage allows the taking of captive wives – it does not mandate it.

5 principles we learn from Biblical methods of entering into marriage

  1. A man may not marry a woman without seeking her father’s consent if he is still alive unless the woman is a widow or divorced.
  2. A woman may not consent to marriage without her father’s approval unless her father is dead, she is a widow or she is divorced.
  3. Based upon the 2 previously proven principles of God’s moral law sex by itself DOES NOT constitute marriage. So it is possible to have premarital sex which is a clear violation of Hebrews 13:4 where God says the only sexual relations he honors is between a man and woman in marriage.
  4. A father may force his daughter to marry a man without her consent based on his headship over her.
  5. Men may force women to marry them when they are captured during war. Again this is not something we are required to do by the Scriptures – it is only an allowance to do so.

What we don’t see in the Bible about entering into marriage is also very important

Some very important things we don’t see are any requirements to have clergy or judges conduct marriage ceremonies, requirements for marriages to occur before witnesses, or for couples to seek the approval of the government or a church.

Contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church and laws of the United States or most western countries neither the church nor the government have any authority over marriage God created the intuition of marriage long before the formation of governments or the church.

The authority to enter into marriage has always fallen under the authority of the family – and specifically that of the father, then the husband and only a woman if she is divorced or widowed and not a captive of war.

So is pre-wedding sex a violation of the Scriptures?

We have shown here conclusively from the Scriptures that premarital sex is a violation of God’s moral law. But what about “pre-wedding sex”?

Most of the time people enter in marriage at their wedding so we often confuse the too.  But a couple’s covenant of marriage and a couple’s wedding may be two separate events.  In fact a couple may enter into a marriage covenant without a state marriage license and without a wedding and the marriage may be considered binding and valid before God.

The only way such a “spiritual marriage” would not be valid is if the woman was not windowed or divorced and her father was still alive with her being under his authority.

So what this means is it would be perfectly Biblical if a man sought and received the consent of a woman’s father for marriage if the couple felt they could not wait for the wedding for them to enter into a covenant of marriage before God privately and then have sex BEFORE THE WEDDING.

Once the father has agreed to his daughter marrying a man the wedding date is only a formality.  At the moment of betrothal the woman is free to enter in a marriage covenant with her husband in private – just between them and God and then they may freely have sex.  The wedding at this point is only a formality to show the world their commitment to one another.  But the couple could choose not even to have a formal wedding.

Are there dangers in pre-wedding sex even if it is not unbiblical?

Yes but only if the man and woman do not see their vows made in private as just as binding as those that would be taken before witnesses.   But if a man and woman don’t see their marriage vows made in private as binding what makes us think they would take their vows made in public any more serious?

Conclusion

Premarital sex even amongst Christians today is at an all-time epidemic level. I believe we should look for all ways possible to take away temptations to premarital sex.  Previously I have talked about Biblical courtship and couples not allowing themselves to be alone together before marriage as a major method of preventing premarital sex.

But because our culture balks at courtship and limitations of being alone together I think that this option of “pre-wedding sex” which is made right before God by a couple entering into their covenant of marriage privately after they are engaged is a valid option that Christian couples should consider to avoid the sin of premarital sex.

Why should a couple put themselves under this pressure once they are engaged? A wedding is simply a date and a celebration of marriage.  It is not something that should hang over a couple’s head and possibly tempt them to sin because they think they have to wait to exchange vows until that day.

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78 thoughts on “Does the Bible condemn premarital sex and pre-wedding sex?

  1. AnnaMS,

    No I would not want to marry a woman who was displaying a bad attitude about marrying me and her father was forcing her. But that is just it. A noble woman, a righteous woman would not display that displeasure but would do what was right in the sight of her father and her families eyes. The man she was marry would feel not a hint of disgust or disgruntlement because of her gratitude for despite the fact of her not having any attraction for him was marrying him to honor God.

    And that is just it – the Bible NEVER says Ruth was in love with Boaz before she married him. I am sure over time she probably grew to love him. But in Ruth’s case duty came first, romantic love if it came, came after marriage. It tells us clearly why she married him – because Naomi told her too because he could save her family.

    The reason women sexually deny their husbands is not for lack of romantic love or chemistry, it is for lack of duty and commitment.

  2. Alex,

    I agree that men often married men women their parents chose. But men had the right to refuse – women did not. In the story of Samson we see him refusing to listen to his parents suggestion of him marrying a woman from Israel and he instead chose Delilah(a bad choice on his part).

  3. BGR, It seems fairly pointless to talk about this concept as it related to the Israelites d/t the little we know about the particulars of individual arranged marriages. It could be that none of the women were forced into marriages they really didn’t want to be. It could be that all of them were and put on a great faked performance. We won’t know this side of Heaven. I was trying to put your ideas into our current culture and didn’t really see it working out too well. The number of instances where a man wants to marry a woman who doesn’t want to marry him AND her family is in complete poverty AND the man is willing and able to get the entire family out of poverty rather than just the woman are extremely small.

    I will say however that just because someone is forced to do something doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to refuse. For instance, most people would agree that women have the right to refuse sex with a man they’re not married to. But in instances of rape, it isn’t really about whether they can refuse, it’s whether or not their refusal will make any difference. I don’t think arranged marriages are synonymous with rape, but I cannot think of a single instance in the Bible where a woman was forced into a marriage she clearly didn’t want to be in (and even if I am forgetting an instance, it would be the exception like Hosea and Gomer). A lot of women back then may have been willing to marry a complete stranger as being married and having children was their life goal. This was seen in the example of Isaac and Rebekah.

    You say sexual denial is from lack of duty and commitment and not from lack of sexual desire but the two are not mutually exclusive. Obviously if a spouse is denying the other, they are not fulfilling their commitment and duty. But I think it is pointless to argue that people are not more willing to have sex with someone they are sexually attracted to than they are someone they are not (all else being equal). This should be obvious to all people, but really especially men.

    If a man really thinks that a woman can not want to marry him, hide that really well so that he never has a clue, and proceed to have hot passionate sex with him like nothing was wrong; all while being aware that he wouldn’t marry a woman who was 50 pounds heavier d/t attraction issues, he might just be deluding himself. And don’t say that women have been doing that for all of history, because we do not know that that is true. The only time I can recall a woman’s sexual desire being mentioned in the Bible is in SOS and the woman there was clearly not being forced into that marriage against her will. So not applicable to this discussion. Some might argue that Leah was acting out of sexual attraction for Jacob, but 1: I’m guessing she was more than glad to marry him as her ability to snag a husband was probably constantly in doubt in her mind prior to her marriage, and 2: I think she was either equally if not more concerned with conceiving children rather than enjoying sex.

  4. AnnaMS,

    It is a well established fact of history and I don’t need to quote 100 historians to prove it that forced marriage especially for women was a very common practice throughout history. It is also well established in Scripture that a man’s children were considered his property and that is why he was even allowed to sell his children as servants where the male Israelite child would was required to be released after six years of service unless he wished to stay but the daughter sold as servant stayed with her master for life. The master could later choose to marry her or could give her to one of his sons in marriage.

    Just because there is no example in Scripture of a woman refusing her father’s wishes either in being sold as a female servant or in being forced to marry a man she was not attracted to does not mean it did not happen and probably very often it did. In fact while it was probably very common for a woman to be forced to marry a man she was not attracted to it was probably very uncommon for a woman to refuse her father’s wishes as to do so would bring great dishonor on him and her entire family.

    I am sure there were many instances where women did not hide their distain well for the man they married and he would have to put up with less that passionate sex on her part. But you raise a good point that is often missed. In Biblical times and throughout most of human history until the last couple of centuries women married so that they could have children and then provision and protection for those children. Women in our society have replaced this “prime directive” that women had throughout history with a new directive that perverts God’s design for marriage. Now most women’s prime directive in marriage today is finding a man that will worship them, make them laugh and tell them they are the most beautiful, magnificent and “the most wonderful woman in the world”. Their first concern in marriage is to find a man that will be their friend and buddy and him being a good potential father and provider are a distant second as well as even having children is smaller concern. Sure most women want kids – but they just want one or two to “complete the family portrait”.

    I realize you may think that is a more pessimistic view of women in American and western culture but you have only to look at marriage rates, divorce rates and birth rates of women who are raised in western cultures to verify what I am saying.

    You and I have had this discussion in many different forms but it really boils down to a respectful disagreement that you and I have. You think attraction between a man and woman and emotional connection before marriage is a integral for a successful marriage while I believe attraction and emotional connection before marriage are not required and in some cases can actually cause couple’s to come together for the wrong reasons that are seen only later in life.

    Most people in western culture share your view that attraction and emotional connection are integral for marriage to occur and that women should have full choice in the matter of whom they will marry. But let’s look at what has happened in the last 150 years since women started having a choice in whom they married and that they could marry based on their feelings rather than their duty. Has this faired well for the institution of marriage? The answer is plain for us to see in the 50 percent divorce rates(where 70 percent are filed by women) and the fact that couples would rather just live together now rather than marry. Biblically speaking duty and commitment ALWAYS trump feelings – this is something that our society has thrown aside.

    Please don’t think I am offended at you – this is just something we will have to agree to disagree on because it is a major conviction that I have and you have your own conviction as well. We just are on opposite sides of the fence on this issue. I do though enjoy our spirited debates and you definitely help me to sharpen my positions and see things from other perspectives.

  5. BGR – just read this …
    ——————————————————————————————————————————-
    https://youguystalkedmeintothis.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/look-away-im-hideous-part-5/

    “In my early teens, I once tore a hair color ad from the back of a magazine. It was a highly retouched photo that looked more like a pastel rendering. The model was an absolutely adorable blonde girl-next-door with a kind of page-boy thing going on with the hair. She was my heart’s desire. The bar was set pretty high by my fantasy girlfriend. My first acknowledged girlfriend (as in not a crush object admired from afar) was indeed a blonde with similar hair…and braces, and zits, and small breasts and wore hardly any makeup and was short. What was I thinking? I was thinking she had a sweet personality, was fun to be with, didn’t intimidate me and thought I was all that and a bag of chips. She was my first. We were never intimate in any way. I was much too introverted and shy for that. It only lasted the school year since neither of us drove and she lived about 15 miles away. Being the sentimental pack rat I am, 12 years later and 5 years into my then marriage, I still had a little green metal tackle box containing all the notes she had written me and a school photo of her. I never really dug them out and read over them, but I couldn’t seem to part with them.”
    ——————————————————————————————————————————-

    relates to a lot of what you’ve written.

  6. and one more that goes with what you’ve written:

    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    https://youguystalkedmeintothis.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/look-away-im-hideous-part-6/

    “What I am about to say will sound like he is objectifying your body, but this is how it works for me and I suspect them too. I base my opinion on studies of how pornography for men is displayed and viewed. He looks at the “parts”: face first (believe it or not), then hair, eyes, lips, limbs, hands, feet and the beautiful rounded, mounded female specific parts and then joins all of those visual elements into a congruent whole image in his mind’s eye which he “sees” as YOU. His visually favored parts of you will be what dominates his image of you. Because they are his favored parts, he will see them with a forgiving eye that you may not. I suspect it is somewhat the way in which a woman sees her home. She goes room to room assessing what she likes about the house and forms a complete congruent image of the house in her mind. It may not be a perfect house, but it is her home that calls forth many memories and emotions unique to it. We men are not so different in that regard. In the end, the whole formed from the collected images represents something greater than the sum of the parts. We too see what we want to see. Our eyes paint our own special picture of you.”
    ———————————————————————————————————————————-

  7. I think that no-fault divorce and not female choice in a spouse is the reason the divorce rate is as high as it is. And yes, a lot of women make catastrophically poor choices in spouses (although since it takes two to make a marriage, it would seem that the man was making an equal catastrophic choice???). But at some point you have to let people learn from their mistakes. My parents warned one of my sisters against marrying a man, she chose to marry him anyway, and they got divorced less than 2 years later. They could have spent a ton of time and emotional energy trying to force her not to marry him, but all they would have to show for it is an extremely ruined relationship between the two of them, and she would still have probably married the man. Now yeah, she’s divorced from him and married to someone else who isnt’ a Christian (although neither is she so it doesn’t have the lack of appeal that it does to you and me), but their relationship is intact and she married a man of much higher character than she had previously.

    I don’t think that attraction and emotional connection are essential in a marriage, but I think where they are possible, they are definitely a bonus. If my family were in poverty and I could save all of them by marrying the man I ended up not choosing, in favor of Tobias (he was a good deal wealthier but lacked the depth of Spiritual maturity that Tobias has), I would have. But like I said previously, that is not a very common scenario right now and so I don’t think that people need to approach marriage like a financial contract.

    Coming at this from a purely selfish perspective (which is never a good reason to make decisions, but humor me here), wouldn’t you as a man far prefer to be with a woman who chose you, loves you, and is committed to you rather than a woman who was forced into it, didn’t particularly love you, and acted solely out of a sense of duty? Even if she was faking it really well, at some point it is going to show through. Men and women were not designed as robots. If we are heartbroken, it will show. If we have absolutely no desire to have sex with someone at any baseline level, it will show. Duty sex is kinda a fact of life and I think every couple who doesn’t sexually deny engages in it at some point. But a life of never getting beyond duty sex would seem to be pretty disappointing in that way. I wonder what the actual sex lives of the couples in the Bible were like. Dragonfly discussed a ways back on her blog (either in a comment or on a post) the importance of ensuring that people married someone who was really attracted to them in order to do the most to ensure a vibrant sex life rather than the common tale of sexual denial. While I think she actually prioritizes attraction more than I do (although it could be that we have different opinions on what all makes up attraction in a man), I do think her overall point is valid.

    Also, I think for women who were raised in that culture, they never really considered what choosing a spouse would look like, and I’m not honestly sure how much time they would spend around guys in order to be able to develop an attraction that went beyond a simple crush. So while they may have technically been forced into it in the sense that they couldn’t say ‘no’, I wonder how disappointed that many of them were. Outside of issues where a woman was married to a man far her senior who already had a ton of wives and children and she was clearly a trophy and a conquest, she might have honestly been glad to be married to someone. There are very few men I have met that I would have just been glad to have been married to. And my main goal in life for as long as I can think of (outside of glorifying Jesus although I think these are linked) has been to be a wife and mother.

    In some ways, it is harder for men. They can’t just snap their fingers and point and voila! a hottie lands in their harem. But that doesn’t mean times are worse.

  8. @BGR,

    I don’t think that Anna is devaluing the importance of duty and commitment in marriage. If I understand her correctly, I believe that she’s saying that families today don’t have the same interests when it comes to their children’s marriages that they had even 150 years ago. Marriage is no longer a financial or social arrangement between families. Now parents who offer their children advice in choosing their spouses don’t often look as closely at how the marriage would benefit them. They look at how good a spouse the prospective bride or groom would be. This type of evaluation would have less to do with wealth and more to do with character.

    Onto another point–I may be misunderstanding you here. But it does seem as though you want it both ways when it comes to sex. You don’t just want a woman who will have sex with you regardless of whether or not she’s in the mood. You want sexual passion and enthusiasm, and you want to be able to believe that your wife is enjoying it. You’re both asking her to have sex in spite of her feelings and to want it. Yes, a woman could work really hard just to take it, but I think that her efforts could be better spent towards actually cultivating those feelings so that they’re real. (We’ve talked about this before, so I know that we have some agreement here.) Feelings aren’t necessary for duty, but they are necessary for passion.

  9. And basically that’s why I think that it’s good for women to know before marriage that they’re capable of cultivating an attraction to their husbands. If there’s physical attraction right from the start, that’s the easiest course, but she can guess based on how much she respects him and likes his character if she can form emotional intimacy and general attraction later.

  10. Alex and Anna,

    Here is the first part of the statement you ladies are agreeing on followed by my response:

    “I don’t think that Anna is devaluing the importance of duty and commitment in marriage. If I understand her correctly, I believe that she’s saying that families today don’t have the same interests when it comes to their children’s marriages that they had even 150 years ago. Marriage is no longer a financial or social arrangement between families. Now parents who offer their children advice in choosing their spouses don’t often look as closely at how the marriage would benefit them. They look at how good a spouse the prospective bride or groom would be. This type of evaluation would have less to do with wealth and more to do with character.”

    While I agree in many circles what you are saying is true – there are still some circles where social and financial implications still do matter. Christian parents may want their children to marry someone of the same Christian denomination. I would also point out that some parents want their children to marry someone of the same ethnic background (Italian, Russian, Arabic…ect).

    On the financial side when people come from very wealthy families they may want their children to marry people who are of the same financial status.

    And while it may sound more noble that today that some parents care little to nothing about financial considerations this is not a Biblically based model. We are supposed to care that our daughter’s will be provide for by their husbands. Our culture has taken on the “unisex” approach to selecting spouses and we don’t look for characteristics that may be strengths or potentials for problems depending on gender.

    For instance the characteristics of being “strong willed and independent” may make for a great husband but these same characteristics in a woman may be cause for alarm as they could be an impediment to her being in subjection to her husband in their marriage unless she is aware of the danger and keeps herself close with Lord.

    The characteristics of being submissive and cooperative and not wanting to lead rather to follow may make great traits for a great wife but these same traits in a man may be cause for alarm as they could be an impediment to him leading his wife and being able to make tough decisions or confront his wife she is in sin.

    So bringing this back to financial situations. A perspective suitor for a man’s daughter may be a very kind and loving person. He may be a Christian man of good morals as far as one could tell. But if he has no way to support a family that must weigh heavily on a Christian father’s decision to bless such a marriage.

  11. Alex and Anna,

    Here is the second part of the statement you ladies are agreeing on followed by my response:

    “Onto another point–I may be misunderstanding you here. But it does seem as though you want it both ways when it comes to sex. You don’t just want a woman who will have sex with you regardless of whether or not she’s in the mood. You want sexual passion and enthusiasm, and you want to be able to believe that your wife is enjoying it. You’re both asking her to have sex in spite of her feelings and to want it. Yes, a woman could work really hard just to take it, but I think that her efforts could be better spent towards actually cultivating those feelings so that they’re real. (We’ve talked about this before, so I know that we have some agreement here.) Feelings aren’t necessary for duty, but they are necessary for passion.”

    Yes I believe God wants it “both ways” with women in relation to their attitudes toward sex and attraction to their husbands.

    I have explained this concept in two posts. Here are my two statements from these posts:

    “As a husband you can attempt to cultivate desire for sex in your wife by doing what God has commanded you to do outside the bedroom – and that is to know your wife(I Peter 3:7). That means talking to her and hearing about her day and her concerns. It might also mean giving her a foot massage or a back massage after a rough day. Every woman is different and as husbands we need to get to know what makes our wife’s tick and not just for sexual purposes but to know her as God would have us to know her.
    But a husband is NOT 100% responsible for cultivating all of his wife’s sexual desire. A woman bears some responsibility for cultivating her own sexual desire.”

    https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2015/10/18/how-a-husband-can-enjoy-sex-that-is-grudgingly-given-by-his-wife/

    “But I think that we need to do our best to cultivate an attraction toward our spouse – the person we have made a life long commitment to before God. We need to ask God for help in this area. Maybe we will never be fully attracted to them but God can help us fake it when we need to.”

    https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2016/03/01/i-was-never-attracted-to-my-husband-does-god-want-me-to-fake-it/

    The key phrases when it comes to women and their sex life with their husbands are “fake it” and “cultivate it”. It could be boiled down to one phrase – a woman is to fake it and put on the best show she humanely can in regard to sexual intimacy and attraction toward her husband while she simultaneously asks God to genuinely cultivate a sexual desire and attraction in her toward her husband.

    In the same way we as men must sometimes “fake it” when it comes to talking with our wives when we sometimes could care less about things she wants to talk about. But overtime we need to cultivate a genuine desire to do this because we see the joy that it brings to our wives.

    As I said in my previous statement above – I don’t put all this on the woman, the man bears some responsibility to for helping to cultivate desire and attraction in his wife – but it is not all his responsibility.

    But I think whether it comes down to a husband or a wife both spouses need to be able to look past the unattractive traits to see cultivate an attraction for that person to whom they have made a covenant of marriage with.

  12. I agree that financial evaluations are still part of evaluating potential spouses today, but I think that it’s less likely that a parent will from on their daughter choosing a husband who is, say, “only” middle class and capable of supporting a fairly comfortable lifestyle because they’re holding out hopes that she’ll snag a millionaire.

    I also agree with most of what you mean about mutual cultivation of desire and about occasionally having to take interest in something because you care about your spouse. But I do think that the argument that husbands and wives should sometimes fake enjoyment does acknowledge that you value feelings as well as duty to an extent. If you just cared about your wife doing her duty, would you really care if she acted like she was enjoying it or not as long as she did her job, so to speak?

  13. Oh, and I forgot to add that it’s even rarer nowadays for a man to be expected to support his wife’s family financially. Maybe he’d help them out occasionally, but most rich men would view their wives as gold diggers if they expected these men to rescue their families from poverty.

  14. BGR, some parents do want their children to marry someone who is of a financial status or of the same ethnicity. But a ‘want’ is not the same thing as a ‘necessity’. Most marriages are not formed out of financial NECESSITY anymore. Sure some parents may want their son/daughter to marry a wealthy person, but that is hardly the same thing as making the difference between living in destitution and being provided for like it was back in Israelite culture.

    I believe that my dad would have liked it if Tobias had more money at the time we married, but I think he appreciated that Tobias had a plan in mind and was working on it. He was also very appreciative of Tobias’ spiritual depth that I have yet to see in any man that I have met. So had I married someone wealthier, out of the people I have met so far, I absolutely would have been marrying a worse person. This isn’t just about me. As much as I want for my children to be provided for, I also want them to be raised by an excellent man and not an average man who can pull a big paycheck.

    Finally, you say multiple times that attraction isn’t a ‘must’ for marriage and is in fact sometimes not even a good thing. And I would agree that attraction is not a ‘must’ but I would argue that it is definitely a good thing and would in fact argue that your life reflects that. Have you not blogged previously about how you did not date women who were overweight to the extent that it was affecting their beauty?

    Do you really think that women are so simple that a foot massage and conversation are going to make a difference if she is forced to marry a man she doesn’t want to over a man she does? I absolutely agree that a woman should take responsibility to cultivate sexual desire for her husband and I think a huge part of that is choosing someone that she either is or can become attracted to (although I would warn men against marrying a woman who isn’t attracted to him by the time the wedding rolls around as that situation might not end well).

  15. Marissa,

    Your Question:

    “So do you have to be married in court or on paper for it to be an actual marriage.”

    No you do not have to be married in a court or on paper for it to be a considered a marriage in God’s eyes. That is only required for it to be considered a marriage in man’s eyes. That is one of the central points of this article.

  16. My wife and I have been separated for over five months now. She is in Colombia and I am still in Mexico, where she lived with me before moving back to Colombia. We still stay in contact. She usually calls me about twice a week.

    One of the reasons that she told me that she didn’t want to have sex with me anymore is because she was never in love with me romantically. She told me that she married me because people pressured her to do so. She was the associate pastor at the small Pentecostal church that she attended in Colombia, having been a Christian for over 25 years. So she was no baby Christian when we got married.

    After praying about this a lot, I believe that the Lord is telling me that what is keeping her from really loving me is her rebellion, selfishness, and worldly attitutudes. Once she repents and is not driven by these things, she will be able to love me.

    Romantic love can turn to hate. Therefore, not only is it not a requirement in the Bible as a guide to marrying someone, it is a very dangerous requirement. If a woman does not love the husband who treats her right with a special agape love for him, she is not really walking close to the Lord, no matter how much she prays, reads the Bible, and praises and worships the Lord.

    In one of the prisons today where I minister, if front of everybody I told a prisoner who was a Baptist pastor that although I am a Pentecostal, I am learning things from the Baptists. In my experience of over 41 years in the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, I have noticed that those in this movement are more prone to be led by their feelings, thinking that it is the Holy Spirit, than Baptists who believe we should be led primarily by the written in the Word of God.

  17. Missionary to Mexico,

    “Romantic love can turn to hate. Therefore, not only is it not a requirement in the Bible as a guide to marrying someone, it is a very dangerous requirement. If a woman does not love the husband who treats her right with a special agape love for him, she is not really walking close to the Lord, no matter how much she prays, reads the Bible, and praises and worships the Lord.

    In one of the prisons today where I minister, if front of everybody I told a prisoner who was a Baptist pastor that although I am a Pentecostal, I am learning things from the Baptists. In my experience of over 41 years in the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, I have noticed that those in this movement are more prone to be led by their feelings, thinking that it is the Holy Spirit, than Baptists who believe we should be led primarily by the written in the Word of God.”

    What you really are talking about is Romanticism. A lot of people if they are educated about art think of “romanticism” in terms of an 18th century art period. But it was far more than that. Romanticism paved the way to beginnings of feminism in the mid 1800’s and later the Pentecostal movement in the early 1900’s. Romanticism has at it’s heart “feelings” as the basis of right and wrong and this is what feminism and the Pentecostal movement where very much built on.

    I am sad though to report that even many Baptist churches over recent decades have left the Word of God and begun to base their doctrines and preaching on feelings and the culture of the day as well. Romanticism much like it’s evil spawn Feminism has spread it’s evil tentacles into every Christian denomination.

    I cannot speak for other denominations but I can say that as far as Baptist churches go there still is a faithful remnant that hold strictly to the teachings of the Word of God and where you find little to no romanticism.

    But I believe that we as Bible believing Christians must not loose hope or abandon either of God’s two great institutions of marriage and the church. We must reclaim these great institutions and restore them to their former greatness in the way God intended them to be.

  18. “I was trying to put your ideas into our current culture and didn’t really see it working out too well.”

    This seems to be the pivot point of the recent conversation. A struggle between two perspectives; one which sees the culture as governing how marriage should be done and one which looks to God’s will for how they should be done and does that.

    As Christians we should take our principles and practices from God, not the culture. We are supposed to be in the world but not of it and through our influence transform the culture.

    I know personally there were passages about marriage that seemed wrong or unfair to my former culture perspective but as I learned more about the disaster that is modern marriage and how those problems tied back to violations of the plan in those same passages it all began to make sense.

  19. Dr. Kim wrote:
    “In Numbers 30:3-16 we see that the only way a woman had the power to make vows of her own (which would include marriage) that could not be overridden by her father or her husband were if she was a widow or divorced:

    “‘But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.’ – Numbers 30:9 (KJV)

    “A father’s authority over his daughter is further reinforced by the general principle of the headship of man over woman (not just a husband’s headship over his wife):…”

    What of a woman whose father is dead, or has abandoned her, or who has disappeared, such as a sailor either before long distance communication, or whose ship is unaccounted for? If a father is in the military or prison far away, does she have to wait for his (hoped for) return?

  20. What constitutes “sex?” P-I-V sexual intercourse only, or does it also take in sexually exciting activities short of intercourse?

  21. Tyler Bryant, April 4, 2016:
    “The Your ‘Marriage Method 3’ doesn’t refer to rape, but rather voluntary sexual intercourse outside of marriage between the two, as revealed by the absence of the word forced, which is used in the previous passages to indicate rape, for the punishment was madatoraly death, so a woman couldn’t marry her rapist.”
    The only sins against other persons for which the death penalty was mandatory was murder, for no indemnity could be paid to the injured party. Other sins could be expiated by the payment of an indemnity, and commonly were, for a dead offender doesn’t do the injured party any good. Those unable to pay the damages decreed by the judges were sold into slavery, along with their families, for up to seven years.
    A man whose wife had committed adultery could demand that she be put to death, but he could be merciful, as Joseph was wont to be toward Mary, and divorce her or inflict a lesser punishment. Or be totally forgiving.

  22. BGR wrote:
    “A man may not marry a woman without seeking her father’s consent if he is still alive unless the woman is a widow or divorced.”
    Is this not “A man may not marry a woman without her father’s consent if he is still alive…”? Merely seeking his consent is not what is required. Consent is what is required.
    Does not the father’s authority over the females of his household pass to the male head of household if the father is dead, has abandoned his family, or has disappeared? The Bible is generally very protective of females, both against others and against their own foolishness. Men, once grown, are pretty much on their own.

    “A woman may not consent to marriage without her father’s approval unless her father is dead, she is a widow or she is divorced.
    Based upon the 2 previously proven principles of God’s moral law sex by itself DOES NOT constitute marriage. So it is possible to have premarital sex which is a clear violation of Hebrews 13:4 where God says the only sexual relations he honors is between a man and woman in marriage.”
    As Jesus, our Savior AND our Lord, revoked Moses’ “sufferance” of the remarriage of divorced women, divorced women no longer have a right to marry another man for as long as her (actually still) husband is living. The specific laws given by the holy Spirit through Moses were given only to the people of Israel and not to the gentiles (non-Israelites)². The moral laws were already in effect from the sixth day of creation when Adam was formed from the dust. See Jesus’ reference to the original law of marriage, Matthew 19:8.
    1. Natural (P-I-V) sexual intercourse “seals” a marriage where the intent of the couple is to marry. No intercourse, no marriage. Jesus refers to two categories of men incapable of marriage: those born eunuchs, genitally defective and those made eunuchs by men: castrated. If a woman learns “on her wedding night” that her putative husband is an eunuch, or is permanently impotent, she is not married and should petition for an annulment. It is not uncommon for a man to have viewed pornography or to have masturbated until he is incapable of intercourse with a real live woman. If he has visited prostitutes, who will perform perverse sexual acts, habitually he may be impotent unless his wife will perform πορνεία, the behaviors characteristic of prostitutes, which no righteous woman will do unless she is abysmally ignorant of ακαθαρσία and ασέλγεια, “uncleanness” and “lasciviousness.” With schools and pastors not only failing to teach against such behaviors but as positive goods, “safe sex,” “it’s not really sex,” “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” it is all too common for women to be so sadly misinformed.
    2. An example of the law of mankind at large forbidding a woman to marry another for as long as her husband lives is Abraham’s fear that the abimelech, and then the pharaoh, would murder him so that Sarah would be available for marriage. Isaac had the same fear regarding Rebekah and the abimelech. Murder was a one-time sin lasting but a moment, which could be expiated by a sacrifice to the god and by marrying the widow, while adultery was a continuing sin and would invite retaliation by the offended husband.

    “A father may force his daughter to marry a man without her consent based on his headship over her.”
    A Christian father may guide or command his daughter to marry the man of his choosing, or forbid her to marry a man he disapproves, but he has no means of forcing or compelling her as the civil governments have interfered with families by force. Once of legal (by man’s law) age the daughter may do as she pleases.

    “Men may force women to marry them when they are captured during war. Again this is not something we are required to do by the Scriptures – it is only an allowance to do so.”
    And only if the civil governments support this principle. Christians are not given to the use of force in other than the defense or protection of the innocent, the weak (which sometimes includes the foolish) and the helpless. In a country where the government sold, or supported the sale of, people captured in war, a Christian could buy those he could afford, but Christian charity would require him to do so with a view to benefit the slave, not to unreasonably exploit him or her. A Christian man has no right to force any woman, whether wife, concubine, slave or other, to have sexual relations with him, even if the civil laws grant such right.
    The law of Moses permitted beating a disobedient slave because most Israelites, slaveowners and slaves alike, were unconverted and hardhearted. Beating, shackling, or deprivation of privileges was the only sort of means to get lazy, thieving, disobedient, insubordinate slaves to behave themselves in accord with their masters’ wishes if fair, kind treatment did not get the desired response.
    Even though Onesimus had run away from Philemon, and Philemon had a civil right to punish him, Paul asked Philemon to deal kindly with him and especially now that Onesimus was a Christian brother.

  23. Tyler Bryant wrote:
    “God never said the State and Government couldn’t have marriage laws, which means He expects those laws to be followed as long as they don’t violate His commands regarding such(Romans 13:1 and Acts 5:29).”
    A requirement for marriages to be published, typically by filing in a government marriage register, violates no law of God.
    Neither does a law forbidding natural and legal incest as long as it supports God’s will and does not go past His will. God permits first cousins to marry; man has no business forbidding them to marry. God forbade men to marry their fathers’ wives, whether divorced or widowed, even when the woman was not blood (genetically) closely related to the man. The civil power does right by supporting God’s will in that matter. It is God’s will that a man marry his deceased brother’s widow and beget children by her, bearing his brother’s name. This is irregardless of the surviving brother already having one or more wives or concubines. Man’s laws in the “Christian“ Western nations and others under their influence forbid this marriage ordained of God.
    It is God’s will that people marry early, when they enter puberty and their sexual urges “turn on.” One reason is given through Paul: “because of,” or “to avoid,” “fornication.” Another is to obtain for our Lord a “godly seed,” children, raised up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The earlier we get started on being “fruitful and multiplying,” the more children we can produce to honor our Lord and Master¹. If men married early, they likely would avoid much evil: masturbation and pre- and extramarital sexual behaviors, which easily become “addictive” habits difficult to break even after marriage. If women married early, there would be fewer out-of-wedlock conceptions and births producing bastards, who pack the prisons, itch to go off to war, commit common crimes. There would be fewer rapes, for married women are less exposed to being raped, especially Christian women who are mothers, keepers at home. The overwhelming majority of rapes are inflicted upon women and girls in the 12 to 25 year old group. If a woman has been raped, she was most likely raped at around 12. Women raped once commonly are raped repeatedly, as the circumstances leading to the first rape too often do not change. It messes with their minds, their souls, inciting the feeling that she is “dirty,” “ruined for life” and good only for more sexual abuse (despondency).
    1. The US Centers for Disease Control and the UN World Health Organization recommend women spacing childbearing at about 2½ years. This is roughly the spacing that results from “on-demand“ breastfeeding. Conception, nine months pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding for about 21 months, return of fertility, and the cycle repeats.

  24. There is no law on the books in any state in the United States that says that a married couple must have a marriage license issued by the state. Therefore, no laws are being violated if a married couple does not have one.

    Because of the new gay marriage laws, at least three Baptist pastors in Texas are no longer doing weddings as agents of the state. They are now issuing “marriage covenants” and the couple can get their state marriage licenses from the state later if they want to. In the early days of the U.S., marriages were only recorded in the family Bible. The idea of getting a state marriage license came later. So, there is no Biblical nor legal requirement for a couple to get a state marriage license. State marriage licenses are only good for identifying someone as being legally married. In Texas, if a couple could prove that they were living together and sharing household expenses together for at least six months and were still doing so, they were considered to be legally married, even though they did not have a state marriage license.

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