“You don’t buy shoes before you try them on, do you?”
Well, actually, I typically do. I know my size. I know what I like. If it fits those qualifications, I need shoes, and I have the money for them, then I buy the shoe. But I get your point. Shouldn’t you give your “marriage” a trial-run before you tie the knot? You don’t want to just flippantly enter into marriage, and that’s good, so it’s logical to see how well you are able to do life together before committing to forever.
I’ve read from a few places that statistically it is no longer true that if you live together before marriage it will end in divorce. I don’t know. You can usually make 100% of statistics say what you want them to say. What I do know is that apart from repentance and a worldview change I do not hold out much hope for a couple that decides to live together before marriage.
I say that I do not hold out much hope for such a couple because it is obvious that the guiding factor in their relationship is not God’s Word and wisdom but their own words and wisdom. If you do not listen to God’s Word before your marriage you probably won’t listen to it after your marriage. That means that Mr. Wonderful won’t have the bearings to sacrifice for Ms. America when she becomes his Mrs. America. If Ms. America doesn’t submit to a higher authority now what makes Mr. Wonderful think that he’ll be awesome enough to draw out her “submitting as unto the Lord”?
But where does it say in the Bible that couples cannot live together?
Okay, I confess. It does not say in the Bible, "thou shall not live together”. Partially, because such an activity would have ended with an angry father “dealing with” such a brazen suitor to his daughter. That is one reason you do not see it in the Bible. It simply was not an option in that culture. But it is in our culture.
So you are correct that no verse in the Bible explicitly forbids you from living together. However, Scripture very clearly teaches that any sex outside of marriage is sin. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” No sex before marriage.
“But we aren’t having sex”, you say. First of all I celebrate that. Congratulations. Secondly, why in the world would you want to tempt yourself like that? You’re not a eunuch right? You find this girl sexually attractive don’t you? What in the world makes you think you can pray yourself out of sinning in this way when it clearly says to flee sexual temptation?
Furthermore, what did you say your reason for living together was? “To try it out and see if we are compatible”. And how exactly do you plan on “trying out marriage” without also “trying out” sex? You can’t try out marriage without being married anymore than you can try out being a dad without being a dad. You’re never going to be fully prepared for marriage. Living together sure as anything won’t prepare you because it’s giving you some of the benefits of marriage without the commitment of marriage.
Lastly, the Bible also says not to give an appearance of evil. Anybody with a brain is going to assume that if you are living together that you aren’t just staying up at night playing Super Mario Bros. They are going to assume that you are having sex. “That’s their problem” you say? No, it’s not. That’s your problem. If you are making “weaker” brothers and sisters stumble that’s a you problem not a them problem.
If you are sexually attracted to this person there is no biblical way that you can live together without sinning. You are either giving an appearance of evil. You are testing the Lord and not fleeing sexual immorality. Or you are just flat out engaging in sexual immorality.
I’m not encouraging you to merely “stop living together”. Though that is good counsel and you do need to stop living together, I’m actually hoping for something deeper. Your worldview needs to change. That’s why you decided it’d be okay to shack up in the first place. That’s why when you weighed all the pro’s and con’s you only counted, “God says it’s wrong” as one point on the con side. And that’s why you were able to even justify that one away.
You need to know that God makes the rules for marriage. He created marriage, love, and relationships. That means He gets to define them. Not me. Not you. We naturally want to rebel from that. We want to define these things. We want to tell God what love really is. Such subtle, yet brazen, rebellion leaves our relationships in shambles and our souls depleted. Thankfully, God not only tells us what love is—He shows us. He shows us by doing the hard thing of sacrificing even His own life for our benefit. That’s love.
Turn away from pretending that you get to define marriage and believe that God already has. Trust him to provide a solid and biblical marriage for you. Believe Him enough that you’ll “buy the shoes” without trying them on because you trust the One that made them. You don’t need to “try out” marriage you just need to know and trust the One that created it. Specifically, that He is powerful enough to direct your steps.