Post # 62
You raise an excellent point when you bring up the issue of the four months. I have no idea why this pastor seemed to have made no issue of the couple living together PRIOR to that time, when he has been counseling with them for quite some time now. That makes no sense to me why he would be OK with them living together UNTIL the four month mark. The only thing I can think of is that he was allowing them some time to come up with a viable alternative living solution for one of the individuals. If it was anything other than that, I have no idea what his motivation could be for setting that as an arbitrary time frame.
My DH does not require couples who are already living together to move apart before he will marry them; however, he does require them to agree to abstain from sexual intimacy from the point at which they come to him for pre-marriage counseling until after the couple is married. However, he does believe that it is best for the couple to not continue to live together. First there is the issue of the “appearance of evil” that the Bible tells us to avoid, and second, there is the issue of the additional temptation that exists for couples who have committed to abstaining when they remain in an environment where they have so much alone time and where they previously have been involved in a sexually intimate relationship.
ETA from DH, who asked me to further elaborate:
The purpose of asking a couple to be abstinent during the time leading up to their wedding, even if they have already had a sexual relationship, is that the couple is saying that they want to have a Christian marriage, which indicates that they desire God to be in charge of their relationship and to honor Him with and obey Him in their choices. A truly Christian marriage seeks to honor God in every way.
Since God has made it clear that we are to have a sexual relationship only in the context of marriage, then practicing abstinence until a couple is married is a tangible way for the couple to demonstrate their commitment to doing things God’s way, just as the wedding ceremony is the tangible way to demonstrate the commitments they are making to each other.
Post # 63
I understand all of that. But the OP said she and her Fiance offered to live in separate rooms and abstain from having sex. They agreed to that. I don’t think in this day and age that couples living together is in any way an “appearance of evil.” They are engaged. They are betrothed to be married. They are Christians.
They are being treated with disrespect from what I can tell from her post.
However, it’s possible the pastor has something in mind of which they’re (or we’re) not aware. But all we can go by is her obvious anguish at having to deal with this harsh decision. I can see if he “recommended” living apart and gave them the choice. But he is refusing to marry them if they don’t follow this rule, that he made up. That is not compassionate as far as I can tell.
I’m glad your DH is not that kind of pastor. I’m glad he is kind and flexible and deals with human beings with responsibility and compassion. I only wish the OP was fortunate enough to find the kind of pastor your DH is to marry her and her Fiance.
Thanks for explaining. Much appreciated.
Post # 64
I think you should get a new officiant. As others have said, I don’t see what difference it makes whether you live in the same house and abstain or whether you live in different houses and abstain. And the fact that he put a specific timeline on it makes it all the more ridiculous. I mean what does he think, if you live together until three months before your wedding God will not bless your marriage, but as long as you’re out a month before that He will be happy? Please. I think it’s important to remember that ministers, priests, pastors, etc. are still men (and women) who can only interpret the word and will of God. That’s why they can say all different things about this subject and countless others.
We met with our minister this past weekend–she knows we’re living together, I’m sure she assumes we’ve had sex (we’ve been together eight years), but she did not say one word about it. My dad is also a minister and he doesn’t even believe in abstinence being required before marriage. Obviously ordained people have just as many varied opinions as others because they’re interpreters, they are not the be all end all of religion, only God is. Personally I don’t think your pastor is acting very Christian by basically threatening you into doing what he says when it doesn’t even make sense and isn’t really backed up by scripture. I say you just go to him and say, “Thank you for your time and honesty, we will be seeking out another pastor to marry us,” and be done with it.
Post # 65
thank you so much to all of you and your prayers!! I really respect and appreciate all of the different views and advice expressed in this topic. It has really helped me to think this through and talk with Fiance about this. In the end I moved back in with Fiance. I’m sorry to those who feel like this is the wrong decision and that we are not following our pastor, however Fiance and I have prayed about it and gone to God with it and have decided that God doesn’t want us unhappy and that we will be abstaining from home. FI’s cousin in becoming an officient on June 22 and we are going to have her marry us. I think what really turned me off with our current pastor was he said if we didn’t follow through with what he asked he would go to every area church and tell them not to marry us. I don’t feel that that is someone who is loving and guiding, nor someone that I want to be our guide in our spiritual walk. I am not trying to go against God’s word and I understand that God is not ok with premarital sex, so we will be abstaining. I understand that you are to turn away from evil and temptation and as a Christian not to have the appearance of living in sin, however I do not feel that we are making the wrong decision. With Fiance working road construction we barely see each other as it is and that was a big reason we decided that this isn’t working for us. I understand many of you will say we chose what we want…and yes we did, but Fiance and I are praying together more than ever and if anything it has brought us closer to God.
Once again, thank you for all of your kind words, advice, and prayers. I feel really loved on this board and there are some amazing people on here.
Post # 66
You did the right thing. You prayed about it and God told you what you need to do. I have to say your former pastor sounds like a jerk, not very Christian at all. I am so happy for you. Keep us posted. I am so thankful my Priest is so wonderful and understanding. God Bless.
Post # 67
((HUGS)) !! Thanks for the update. I’m so proud of you and your Fiance for making a decision that is best
for yourselves and your relationship.
And I PROMISE that God is with you, loves you, supports you, and will always be there for you, regardless of what anyone else says.
You’re awesome! I believe your relationship will be stronger for this. And agreeing to abstain will make your precious wedding day and night even more special, magical and filled with love and bliss.
I will never believe that God chooses to only speak with one human being over another, regardless of their “title” in life. That pastor is no closer to God than you and your Fiance are! I can’t tell you how happy this makes me, so glad to hear it!
Post # 68
I know this was a really tough decision, but I think you made a great choice. I’m sorry you had to go through this–no one should have to deal with unecessary drama on top of all the stress of planning a wedding! Your statements that he was going to “go to every area church and tell them not to marry” you only confirm my feelings. That is so vindictive and not a Christian thing to do at all. I think your first pastor has behaved pretty poorly, and it will be really nice and meaningful to have your cousin officiate anyway!
Post # 69
Thank you so much for taking the time to update us with the results of your decision.
As you may expect, I am unable to celebrate your choice as some others are doing, because I do believe that your pastor had the spiritual authority to require what he asked of you and your Fiance, and because I believe God would absolutely have honored you for choosing the difficult path to submit to the authority under which you were placed. God’s Word is filled with Scripture about the importance of our being willing to submit to those placed in authority over us (as long as those authorities do not tell us to do something that contradicts Scripture.)
I know that you and your Fiance decided to do what you feel is best for you, and you certainly have the right to make that choice. I want to note that my goal in coming back onto the thread to respond to your update is not to attempt to make you feel bad about the choice that you have already made. Rather, I would just like to encourage you as you make decisions in the future to be very careful about EVER making ANY decision based solely on what you want or what makes you or someone you love happy. More often than not, God’s will and God’s plan involve not the easy or the comfortable choice. Ultimately, his plans for us are indeed for our good, His glory and the good of others, but they often involve us having to take very difficult, uncomfortable, and inconvenient stands for Him in a world that perceives us as being completely off base. I would encourage you to always choose to put the principles found in Scripture above your own feelings and desires. Otherwise, it is very easy for us, as flawed humans, to be deceived in our emotions and thinking and to choose the path of least resistance.
Thanks for listening, even though you may not agree.
Post # 70
i get what your saying :)..i think at the end of the day everyone has different views and opinions and we all need to just respect that