Why is marriage the antidote to having sex in God’s eyes? If someone is in a committed, monogamous and loving relationship why do they need to be married?

I get this question whenever this topic comes up, including my children. Why is marriage the antidote to having sex in God’s eyes? If someone is in a committed, monogamous and loving relationship why do they need to be married?

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Thank you Abby –– great to have you engaging and posting.

I think that is a question many people have, and it is one I have certainly wrestled with myself over the years. It can feel somewhat counter-intuitive, even arbitrary, for God to insist on marriage for sexual activity.

But there is a significant rationale in the Bible for why this is so. When we see what sex is designed for – what it is designed to do – I think it makes sense of why the marriage covenant is necessary pre-requisite. Sex (in the Bible) is intended to be a means by which someone gives themselves fully, exclusively, and permanently to another person (I’m borrowing some of this language from Tim Keller’s book on marriage). ‘Fully’ means sex can’t be separated from the others ways in which we gives ourselves to someone – it is meant to involve the whole person, not an aspect of them. ‘Exclusively’ means this union is not designed to be spread across multiple partners. It is one whole person giving all that they are to one other person. ‘Permanently’ means this union is not designed to be broken without profound pain. All this means we need to know we really are in a situation where it is wise to give ourselves in this way to someone else. Marriage is designed to be a way of a man and a woman making a public commitment to one another such that this union is then fitting and safe. I guess I’d ask why two people in a committed, monogamous, loving relationship are hesitant to make that public by getting married.

This is a huge topic, of course. I cover it a little more in my book. But I hope that’s a bit of a help.
Thanks again for asking a great question!

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