Post # 1
I have a question and am looking for your opinions (please answer the poll and feel free to leave longer detailed comments as well!)
FI and I have a wedding scheduled in late August, but due to our job commitments and moving to a new city to live for these jobs, we have to move in together in late June. This means we’d be living together before marriage for a period of 6-7 weeks or so. My FMIL has been very adamantly against this and has been extremely judgmental to the point of using the Bible as a weapon and telling me she’ll judge us for our whole lives if we go through with this. This alone, had completely turned me off to the idea of a courthouse wedding before the big day.
However, the more I think about it, I am a Christian too, and the Bible is very adamant about the appearance of evil and living together before marriage. Although we plan to sleep in separate beds and all of that, I think the appearance of evil would still be there, and I don’t want to create that just to spite my MIL.
Additionally, FI is military, and it would be easier to go ahead and get all of the paperwork done and jump through all of the hoops BEFORE we move in together because after I start my new job, I wont have time to spend on this. Since we’ll be living in the house we plan to live in after marriage, the additional housing allowance would really take some pressure off in terms of paying the bills too. Finally, since we will be living 3+ hours away from our families, it would be good to be each other’s official “medical contacts” and to be recognized as his wife in terms of the military. (As some of you probably know, the military does not recognize fiancees at all as people really.)
My goal for myself was always to graduate from college before I get married, and I am graduating in May, so either way, this goal will be met. I am just looking for some opinions from other bees about your thoughts on this. I want our “big day” to be very special when we celebrate with all of our friends and family and I dont want this courthouse thing to change that. I dont think we could lie about the courthouse thing, so we’d announce it at our actual wedding and tell close friends and family beforehand so no one is blindsided, but I still want people to come to our wedding and celebrate with us! I think I’d plan on us not wearing our rings, not changing my name, and obviously not sleeping in the same bed until the day in August so that a lot of things will still be changing on that day, even if not the actual paperwork.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and to respond.
Post # 3
I think under the circumstances it makes a lot of sense for you to take care of the legal formalities ahead of time and celebrate the religious wedding as solemnizing your commitment before God and your family and friends. I especially like the fact that you are not trying to hide that you will have already gotten legally married. I’ve seen other posts here on the ‘Bee where brides want to get legally married beforehand but conceal the fact, and that approach seems deceitful to me, but I would support what you are describing 100%.
Post # 4
My best friend and her husband got married 2 years before they held their official wedding – for similar reasons, he is air force and was getting ready to go on a long deployment. They couldn’t afford/didn’t have time for the wedding they wanted, but he wanted to make sure she’d be taken care of if something were to happen. So they had a small, private ceremony with just a handful of people in the backyard at a Halloween party.
Two years later, they had a big “official” wedding with a beautiful ceremony, the white dress, bridal party, reception, etc. Nobody felt it wasn’t “real” – the second celebration was just as real for all of us as the first.
Post # 5
But if you only have a legal ceremony and not a religious one, you will still not be married in the eyes of the church, correct? You would still be “living in sin.” I think it does make sense logistically, though. For the record I’m not against living together before marriage (FI an I are having a catholic ceremony but already living together and sharing expenses), I just don’t see how a courthouse wedding “fixes” the issue because the religious and legal “marriAge” are two separate things entirely.
Post # 6
Ok, so you are planning to get married at the courthouse in June “due to circumstances”… makes sense.
Then have a Wedding & Celebration in August… with a Vow Renewal… also makes sense.
I too appreciate the fact that you are being above board with your friends and family…
AND it no one’s business if as married folks between June and August if you decide to sleep together or not (they will assume you are anyhow)
Therefore, you can be at peace in all matters… no appearance of “evil” … and Newlyweds for each other on the day of your actual Religious Wedding if you choose.
Hope this helps,
Post # 7
I agree with Holly pretty entirely.
If you’re having an ethical conundrum beyond your legality situation then speak with the priest. Having their clarification may help you out more than your MIL
Post # 8
I have friends (one of whom is in the military) who did almost exactly this. It makes total sense to me, and we still went and celebrated with them for a vow renewal ceremony and reception!
Additionally, we have some close friends who are Christians (as are we), who also struggled with the logistical need to move in together but the desire to wait to live together till they were husband and wife. They had a courthouse wedding on the day they moved in together, and they’re planning a reception to celebrate their marriage soon. I think that’s awesome, and we can’t wait to share in their joy with them!
Post # 9
@hollyberry4: I think the same thing. Do you actually think it’s wrong to live together before being legally married? Or are you worried about others?
What’s the difference between a legal and religious ceremony?
Post # 10
@Hope_To_Be_MrsLovebug: Your “actual” wedding is the day you actually get married. I don’t mean to be harsh, but you just can’t separate a wedding from the act of getting married – that’s what a wedding is.
Given your circumstances, I do see why you would want to get married earlier. If I were your friend, I’d understand and support you, but I’d also rather feel like I was attending a stage production as your actual wedding had already occurred. I’d still be happy for you and celebrate – but no, I wouldn’t feel like I was attending your wedding as you will have already had it.
Post # 11
“However, the more I think about it, I am a Christian too, and the Bible is very adamant about the appearance of evil and living together before marriage.”
Did you think that before your FMIL put that idea in your head?
It kind of sounds like your FMIL is the one deciding for you by being all judgy… if it is wrong in your heart then don’t live together. Do what you’re comfortable with not what someone else is pressuring you into. I would recommend talking to your pastor or priest for some advice.
I am still confused about the courthouse wedding/religious wedding being separate, does this make you feel better about it – if so, do it but I think your family might also be confused even if you are open about it. Are you even legally allowed to get married twice?
Your FMIL can mind her own business – its about you and FI and your life. I would say follow you heart and whatever you think is best – if its practical and will stress you less, live in the same house and sleep separate. If you are going to be eaten by guilt, don’t.
Post # 12
As a fellow Christian, I totally understand and applaud your desire to follow Scripture about this and to avoid the appearance of evil.
I think you and your FI and your families would be most happy in the short and long term if you and your FI did not marry or live together alone (even if it is out of convenience and does not involve intimacy) prior to your scheduled church wedding.
To accomplish this, you may need to think outside of the box. Here are some thoughts for you:
First, could one of you find somewhere else in your new city to live for those six or seven weeks? Here are some possible ideas. You could connect with a Bible-believing church in your new area and find out if there may be anyone who would be willing to have you or your FI as a short-term roommate or tenant for a very minimal amount of rent for those few weeks. I actually did this, but for a different reason, when the sister of a guy I really did not know from our very large group of young adults at a church I attended years ago moved into the area. She needed a place to stay for about a month until she and her brother could get an apartment together. (Apparently, she could not stay with her brother and his then-current roommates for some reason.) She lived in my spare bedroom and paid a small amount toward my rent for the month she resided with me.
If that isn’t possible, perhaps one of you could stay at one of those extended-stay types of hotel for the six or seven weeks. It certainly would cost you some money, but, perhaps even FMIL would be willing to cover the cost.
If none of those options will work, here’s a really outside-the-box idea. Is there anyone in either of your families — including your FMIL — who does not work outside the home and who would be willing and able to move in with you and your FI in your new house for those six or seven weeks prior to the wedding so that you would not be living alone together? Radical, crazy, and inconvenient? Yes. However, this could be a solution if everyone is willing to suffer through the inconvenience of it, if it would even be possible.
I encourage you not to compromise your convictions on this issue. Trust me on this: You can NEVER go wrong buy prioritizing God’s Word and obeying Him. Never. Ever. Ever.
Post # 13
People need to mind their own business. This is between you and your FI and God. I understand the appearance of evil aspect- but we are all sinners and we should not judge.
Post # 14
@hollyberry4: I don’t think that’s correct, unless they’re catholic, which it doesn’t sound like. For Protestants, the issue is to be legally married, which they’ll have done.
To the OP: I think, though (and I say this as a person who believes in “waiting” until marriage), that you should be able live together and sleep in separate beds for those 6-7 weeks. FI should spell out to FMIL that they will not be sharing a bed. (FI should be the one to do it, it is his mother). 90% of guests don’t need to know where you’re living so the “appearance of evil” thing might not be an issue.
Or you could follow some of @Brielle: ‘s excellent ideas.
Or: Is it too late to move the church wedding to June? You’ll probably lose some deposits and need to reprint some invitations, but that may turn out cheaper than separate accomodation for 6-7 weeks.
Post # 15
@Hope_To_Be_MrsLovebug: my best friend got married about a year before their “actual wedding”. They are both air force and did it for similar reasons. Her day was just as great and as special as any other wedding I have been to.
Post # 16
OP, I completely understand what you’re going through. My fiance and I had the same dilemma when we first got engaged because we have a date, we know we’ll be together. However, because of our religious views, we are fiercely opposed to premarital sex. We briefly (and I mean BRIEFLY) considered moving in together for a couple of months prior to the wedding to save money and ease our stress. We felt we could handle it because we have exhibited maturity and self-control throughout our relationship. However it is the very “appearance” of which the Bible speaks that made us realize that it really would not appropriate for us to live together even if we weren’t doing so “in sin.” (apologies for that turn-of-phrase; but you know what I mean)
As a PP mentioned, our actual actions are between us and God. That’s true. But part of being a Christian is giving a true and proper witness to observers through or actions as well as our words–setting an example, so to speak. Matthew 5:14 says we’re “the light of the world.” That is, people view us in order to learn more about the God we serve. This is a privilege that God would use us in this way, but can be a inconvenience for us as well. However, it’s an inconvenience that we signed up for when we gave our lives to Christ (Matthew 16:14 and 1 Corinthians 8:13). So if we were living together, wouldn’t everyone assume that we were having sex? Would they then conclude that if Overjoyed and her fiance, as devout Christians) are living–and presumably sleeping–together, then that must be acceptable? We couldn’t live with that.
It has been very difficult for us because we are forced to live in separate countries for the time being due to our respective jobs. But God has blessed our relationship in many ways throughout this period of physical separation and we could not bring ourselves to place our own convenience ahead of our duty to be a living witness to the true God and the requirements he has of His people.