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Question

Does sex constitute marriage to God? If two people have sex without having a wedding, are they married in the eyes of God?

Answer

Thank you so much for your question. It does not seem that the Bible teaches that sex constitutes marriage to God. We will explore this in the text below. 

Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” (1 Corinthians 6:16) 

This is immediately followed by Paul teaching on marriage. The whole of chapter 7 is discussing husbands and wives. This is a distinct different between a man with a prostitute. The man and the prostitute carry out an act that is intended for marriage. Thus they 'become one body'. But it goes on to say two should become one flesh only in the context of marriage and that anything outside of that is sexually immoral (verse 18). But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:2). This is showing a distinction between sexual activity and marriage. 

We could also reference Genesis 2:24: Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

This describes some of the rules that define marriage. Sex itself is not the only factor to marriage. It is about forming a new family as they leave their father and mother to form a new household. 

Consider: If any man takes a wife and goes in to her (Deuteronomy 22:13) This shows a distinction from taking a wife and sexual intercourse. 

Consider And the father of the young woman shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man to marry' (Deuteronomy 22:16)
This shows the father's role in giving a daughter to be married. A tradition that still takes place all over the world as one family is formed out of another. 

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:3).

Sex confirms the marriage vows that have taken place, not that the initial act of sex confirms marriage. 

In summary, although some verses of the Bible tell us about two people becoming one flesh, this is within the context that marriage is a lifelong union between man and wife. Anything outside of marriage is sinful; it is against God's law and purpose for our lives. Having sex does not mean that two people are married, but rather sex is confirmation that two people are married after wedding vows have taken place. 

I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com

In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey: www.lookingforgod.com/churchfinder

Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world. www.lookingforgod.com/your-questions

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answers affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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