I am a staff writer for the website GotQuestions.org, and several weeks ago I received a question that I wanted to share as well as the answer that I provided. The question has to do with “marriage for convenience sake” and I believe it is VERY IMPORTANT for believers to know how God views marriage. May God bless you as you continue to provide hope to those you are a witness to!
Question: My fiance and I have a really hard question that not even the pastor can answer. We want to get married even planned on it in September. The only problem is he is on disability for hydrocephalus (water on the brain w/ a shunt). If we get married we will lose almost half of his disability which is our major source of income. I work but only part time. We wont have enough money to pay bills if we lose that. The bible commands marriage. Is it possible to do a commitment ceremony. Same vows. In our church just no “legal” complications? We already checked and if we are just boyfriend/gf his check isn’t affected. It weighs heavily on us. We want to do what is right. So what constitutes marriage in the bible? In older days there was no paperwork. People married in a church so I am hoping someone has the answer or can direct me to the proper bible verse.
Answer: Thank you for writing to us. My friend, as a pastor I have to tell you that God’s Word is very clear on this issue. We are not to treat marriage as an opportunity to make or lose money, nor should that ever be a justification as to why we get married. From the very beginning, God has held the act of marriage sacred (see Genesis 2:22-24, Matthew 19:4-6, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16 and Ephesians 5), and this means that using a financial excuse to live in sin but not get married must not be something we do. I can understand as a human the desire to want to do (and I will admit that your reasoning may appear logical), but the Word of God is clear on this.
I know you know this, but I wanted to do this response justice and ensure it was said.
Marriage in the bible is the joining of one woman and one man forever; under the constraints of Godly discipline, love, and respect for one another with Him at the center. What you are proposing is basically to have “common law marriage” with a commitment ceremony at the church but not tell the state you live in. The Bible states that Christians are to “provide things honest in the sight of all men” (2 Corinthians 8:21; Romans 12:17), it is important that their marriage do the same. Common-law marriage has a connotation in most people’s eyes as being less-than-honorable (under normal circumstances…not being in a prison camp, etc.). It should be a Christian’s desire to live above reproach so that Christ can be honored in all that he/she does (1 Corinthians 10:31). For this reason, common-law marriage falls short of honoring Christ; and a public, church ceremony with a good testimony for Christ and a good presentation of the gospel is to be preferred.
This means that we are to follow God’s leading in joining together fully; without putting on a provision of this or that. I would strongly suggest you both examine the concept of being married but not telling the state about it and honestly ask yourselves if this is something that God would honor? Truly, this is where the rubber meets the road and you must have a peace about this between you both and the Lord. I think as explained above you will note that God never asks us to be deceitful or lead others to think differently in or because of our testimony.
God bless you.