I know you might be scratching your head right now asking “Isn’t premarital sex and pre-wedding sex the same thing?” But Biblically speaking the answer is no, they are not the same. These are two separate and distinct things.
This topic is crucial for young Christian couples who are dating or engaged to consider in this age where sex before marriage has become so common that a couple is considered weird if they do not have sex before marriage.
First you need to understand that sex does not automatically equal marriage . I address this in my article entitled “Does Sex Make People Married In God’s Eyes?”
Also in my article above as well as this article “Are Marriage Licenses Required in the Bible?” I discuss the fact that neither the church nor the state have authority over marriage even though both have tried over the centuries to usurp authority in this area that God has given strictly to the family to decide.
Most of the time people enter into marriage at their wedding so we often confuse the two. But a couple’s covenant of marriage and a couple’s wedding may be two separate events. In fact a couple may enter into a marriage covenant without a state marriage license and without a wedding and the marriage may be considered binding and valid before God.
The only way such a “spiritual marriage” would not be valid is if the woman was not windowed or divorced and her father was still alive with her being under his authority.
So what this means is it would be perfectly Biblical if a man sought and received the consent of a woman’s father for marriage if the couple felt they could not wait for the wedding for them to enter into a covenant of marriage before God privately and then have sex BEFORE THE WEDDING.
Once the father has agreed to his daughter marrying a man the wedding date is only a formality. At the moment of betrothal the woman is free to enter in a marriage covenant with her husband in private – just between them and God and then they may freely have sex. The wedding at this point is only a formality to show the world their commitment to one another. But the couple could choose not even to have a formal wedding.
Are there dangers in pre-wedding sex even if it is not unbiblical?
Yes but only if the man and woman do not see their vows made in private as just as binding as those that would be taken before witnesses. But if a man and woman don’t see their marriage vows made in private as binding what makes us think they would take their vows made in public any more serious?
Premarital sex even among Christians today is at an all-time epidemic level. I believe we should look for all ways possible to take away temptations to premarital sex. Previously I have talked about Biblical courtship and couples not allowing themselves to be alone together before marriage as a major method of preventing premarital sex.
But because our culture balks at courtship and limitations of being alone together I think that this option of “pre-wedding sex” which is made right before God by a couple entering into their covenant of marriage privately after they are engaged is a valid option that Christian couples should consider to avoid the sin of premarital sex.
Why should a couple put themselves under this pressure once they are engaged? A wedding is simply a date and a celebration of marriage. It is not something that should hang over a couple’s head and possibly tempt them to sin because they think they have to wait to exchange vows until that day.