Is Living Together Outside of Marriage Wrong?

Two related questions

1. What do the Scriptures say about a believer living with someone of the opposite sex when they are just friends?

2. What do the Scriptures say about a believer living with someone of the opposite sex if they are boyfriend and girlfirend? What about if they feel it is necessary for financial reasons?

1. What do the Scriptures say about a believer living with someone of the opposite sex when they are just friends?

Although, the Bible does not specifically state it is wrong for an adult man and adult woman who are unrelated to live together, it condemns sexual intimacy before marriage and it reveals that God has only one plan for a man and woman living together – marriage.

It is in Gen.2:24. It says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.”

The man left the “home” of his father and mother and created a “home” for him and his wife even if that meant living in the same house as his parents. Husbands and wives are to live together. This verse also means that families living together are part of God’s plan.

When God gave that command in Gen.2, it was for all people at all times. When he gave it, there was no culture, no society, only Adam and Eve. They were to hand this command down to their children who would hand it down to their children and so on throughout human history. It is not a cultural issue; it is God’s revealed will at the very beginning before any culture existed.

This reveals God’s will that a man and woman would live together as husband and wife. God gives no indication that an adult man and an adult woman (who are not related) should live together under any other circumstances. Implied in that command is the idea that marriage is the only reason a man and woman should live together.

This is how the Jews throughout history and in the time of Christ understood it. The Jews were following God’s command in Gen.2. They only allowed a man and woman to live together as husband and wife. Jesus never changed this. The early church followed this as well.

“Does the Bible say it is wrong for unmarried, unrelated men and women to live together?” is not the right question. The right question to ask is “What is God’s will concerning an adult male and an adult female living together?”

According to Gen.2:24, His revealed will is that only husbands and wives (or family members) should live together.

Why does God say this?

The answer is because living together is an intimate and bonding experience. Living together in the same home where men and women share the same kitchen, bathroom, etc., where they see each other early in the morning and late at night develops intimacy and bonding.

God allows that kind of intimacy only among family members. Why? Because between members of the opposite sex, it can lead to sexual intimacy.

It is very easy to start out as “just friends,” but when sharing an intimate home relationship week after week, talking and relating, seeing each other first thing in the morning and late at night, there is no barrier to that kind of intimacy leading to sexual intimacy.

God’s normal barrier to controlling sexual intimacy between members of the opposite sex is physical separateness, men and women living apart from each other.

When men and women live together intimacy naturally develops. Men can become sexually attracted to women even if they are “just friends.” They are visually stimulated and can be sexually tempted apart from any kind of relationship they have with a woman. Woman often do not realize this, but it is true. Women can become sexually attracted to men who are around them and listen to them especially when they feel vulnerable.

Late at night or other times when their defenses are down, there is no barrier for sexual temptation.

Paul says in Rom.13:14 “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

We are not to make provision for the flesh. That means we are not to put ourselves into a situation where our flesh will have an opportunity to fulfill its lustful desires. Living together makes provision for the flesh because it removes the barrier for temptation that God has set up which is members of the opposite sex living apart from each other until marriage.

God knows this because he created us this way so God sets up one pattern – men and women live together when they are family.
Along with this I would say, it presents a bad testimony to those who do not know Christ around you.

Matt.5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Why? It is for the same reason above. Many of those who do not know Christ know that adult males and females should not live together unless they are related or married. This may not be true of young people, but it is true of many parents.

A lot of young people (even Christians) today think it is okay for a man and woman to live together. Many young people did in the 60’s and 70’s when I was a youth. But many of those same individuals eventually got married and had children and realized that they did not want their daughters and sons living with those of the opposite sex for any reason. Why? Because of Gen.2:24. I am not just talking about believers. I am also talking about unbelievers.

Look around, the parents, believing and unbelieving, generally don’t want young people living together. Some may not care, but many many do.

It is easy for young people to think many things are okay. After they grow older, get married, and have children, they realize that it isn’t the right thing to do. Why? It is because of Gen.2:24.

If Christians do that, we create a bad testimony to them of not following God’s revealed will. As Christians, we should follow whatever glorifies God.

1 Cor.10:31 says “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

2. What do the Scriptures say about a believer living with someone of the opposite sex if they are boyfriend and girlfriend? What about if they feel it is a necessity for financial reasons?

Circumstance never never determines what is right and what is wrong. God does. As I stated above, as Christians we should follow whatever glorifies God.

1 Cor.10:31 says “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

What glorifies God is stated above.

Christians need to trust the Lord to meet their financial needs. If they honor him and live apart because it is his will, God will bless them. He promised he would meet our needs when Paul wrote Phil.4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Trusting the Lord and following his will is what we are all about as Christians. Christians should never allow financial problems to determine their morality.

As stated above, they are also violating Rom.13:14 which says, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

This verse means we are not to “make provision for the flesh,” that is put ourselves into a situation where we know that we will fall into sin. Living together provides a powerful opportunity for sexual lust.

Even though they may innocently say that circumstances are “forcing” them to live together, they will soon be sleeping together in the same bed. Then sex will follow. Men and women cannot live together when they are romantically involved and not eventually succumb to sexual temptation. It is too powerful. Since living together for a couple makes provision for the flesh, it is condemned by God and is sin.

God does not desire those who are not married to enjoy the benefits of marriage without the commitment to each other that marriage brings.

According to Gen.2:24, God has ordained that a man and woman should live together only within the purity of marriage! This is what we as Christians should follow if we desire to do his will!