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Living with your Girlfriend
I love my girlfriend very much. Though we are too young to get married, we both want to live together. We know that sex before marriage is wrong so we don't do it, but is living with her still a sin if we don't have sex?
I am thankful that you are asking this important question before rather than after you and your girlfriend take action in this matter. I also hope that you take the time to speak with your pastor as well as your parents about this -- and that they are able and willing to give you kind and wise counsel. I am especially happy to hear that you love your girlfriend very much. If that is true, then what I say will hopefully make a lot of sense to you.
You ask if it is wrong or sinful to live with your girlfriend if the two of you refrain from sexual activity. If you are able to resist the temptation to sin sexually (including lustful thoughts, talk, and any kind of physical sexual intimacy) then you would not be guilty of adultery or sexual immorality. However, you may very well be guilty of other things that you should think about very seriously. For example:
- You would be putting each other into a situation where fierce temptations will come to you. It is not wise or loving to pray "Lead us not into temptation" and then lead each other into situations where temptations are inevitable.
- You may be ruining your reputations and losing the respect of others. Normally, other people will simply assume that you are pretending to be husband and wife in the same home and having sex. I don't think we can blame them for thinking this; it's the normal conclusion people in our society and culture would reach. So they will assume you are not living godly lives or pleasing your Savior Jesus Christ -- and your reputations will suffer. If you really love each other, you should try to protect and build up each other's reputation.
- If other Christians see you, they may be led to stumble spiritually, and you would be guilty of what is often called "causing offense" spiritually. You would be leading others, especially those weak in the Christian faith, to get the wrong idea about what is right and wrong, wise and foolish among Christians. If you "love your neighbor as yourself," you will not risk this.
- You might well be doing damage to your relationships with your parents and other family members whose reputations, desires, and wishes for you will not include this.
- You will also run the huge risk of not allowing your boyfriend-girlfriend relationship to grow and mature at a slow and steady pace, which is so valuable. Cultivate your relationship without living together and then, if your relationship grows and matures, living together after marriage will make perfect sense and bring both of you a lot more joy for a much longer time.
May God give you wisdom and strength as you discuss these and other things with people who know you more than I do -- like your parents and pastor.