Asked by Mike
Answer Alex Marche,
Mike asks: I have been dating a girl, a Christian, since childhood.
She had a sexual relationship with an ex-boyfriend who is a believer. I don’t understand how believers can be so weird? I wouldn’t have been bothered by it if she wasn’t a believer when she had sexual intercourse. When a girl didn’t know God and sinned about it, that’s one thing, but when she knows God and crosses that line, that’s another. There is a fear that if she has already crossed the line of illicit sexual contact once, cheating spouse could happen again in marriage. Any advice on what to do? Thank you
Of course, we have different attitudes towards different sins. Although the sin is a sin. One sin we look at very critically and another very loyally.
As it is written,
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
19 But we know that the law, if it says anything, speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth is shut, and the whole world becomes guilty before God, 20 For no flesh shall be justified before him by the works of the law: for by the law sin is known. 21 But now, independently of the law, the righteousness of God has appeared, as the law and the prophets testify, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ in all and on all who believe, for there is no difference, 23 because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 receiving justification freely, by his grace, through the redemption in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God offered as a propitiation sacrifice in his blood through faith, to show his righteousness in forgiving the sins committed before, (Romans 3:19-25)
As a practical matter, we live in a sinful depraved world. Sexual desire is stimulated and exploited openly: advertising, media, internet, society (social acceptance), etc.
If we were talking about a chaste society, where one girl fell into this kind of sin against everyone else, yes, that would be surprising. But as it is, unfortunately, it is commonplace. It’s just that everyone’s sins are different. Everyone makes mistakes.
Just how do we react to our mistakes: do we recognize them as mistakes, do we repent of them, what decisions do we make, what actions do we plan for the future.
What should we do to avoid fornication for young people?
11 And he said to them, "Not everyone can bear this word, but to whom it is given, 12 For there are some who have been born like this out of their mother's womb, and there are some who have been baptized by men, and there are some who have made themselves baptized for the Kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to receive, let him receive. (Matt.19:11,12)
Abstinence is abstinence. But there is physiology, not everyone can accommodate abstinence alone. So what is the alternative? Of course it is marriage!
2 But, to avoid fornication, each one have his wife, and each one have her husband. 3 The husband shall show his wife due favor; likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife has no authority over her body, but the husband; neither does the husband have authority over his body, but the wife. 5 Don't go away from one another, except by agreement, for a season, to exercise in fasting and prayer; and then be together again, lest Satan tempt you through your abstinence. 6 Now I say this as a permission and not as a command. (1 Corinthians 7:2-6) 35 I say these things for your own benefit, not so that you may be held in bondage, but so that you may serve the Lord with consistency and without fail. 36 But if any man thinks it wrong for his maiden, that she should remain thus in her maturity, let him do as he wills; he will not sin; let such marry. (1 Corinthians 7:35,36)
Young believers, in order to avoid sin, must marry and be married. In a corrupt world, one must direct one’s desires in a constructive direction. Because a Christian upbringing is not a guarantee of absolute righteousness, it is only certain models of Christian culture and Christian behavior.
You write: “There is a fear that if she has crossed the line into illicit sexual relations once before, it could happen again in marriage.” Naturally, it could happen again. Just as it can happen to those who have not had an intimate relationship before marriage. Chastity before marriage is a good thing, but it does not objectively guarantee anything. It is only a starting point. If there is a good and harmonious relationship in marriage, and with God’s blessing, everything will be fine.
And here is also a question of trust. The girl told you about her mistake. She confessed it before God. She trusted you. That is worth a lot. She might not have told you… In a family, trust is very important. It’s important to be honest with each other. If a relationship gets cold, talk it out, fix it. If something is wrong, don’t keep quiet, don’t hide it, but address it and fix it. Do not speculate, do not wait for your husband or wife to figure it out by vague hints. Don’t discuss “family problems” behind the scenes with your friends, because they can tell you all sorts of things…
Under ideal conditions, a boy and a girl, a virgin raised in the same culture and lifestyle, get married, have their own “territory” where their parents don’t interfere, they can provide for themselves, understand what and how to do, how to live together with the Lord without making mistakes… But in reality, unfortunately, it is not like that. Mistakes of all kinds will happen, and they need to be accepted and corrected. Conflicts will occur, and we need to negotiate, not just give ultimatums. And so on and so forth.
If you want advice on whether to continue a relationship with a non-virgin and whether to marry her, I’m not going to give that advice. Because there are many other factors for marital happiness and for living with God. And here you can look at the totality. Objectively, you yourself understand that a girl’s mistake is not “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit,” and in the eyes of God she can be forgiven when she repents of her sin.
If you want to marry only a virgin, that is your right. But imagine another girl says she is a virgin, but in fact she is not. But you would find out after the marriage. Or you don’t find out at all. Sorry for the intimate details, but the hymen is not always torn from the first time, and there are different physiological options…
Look at the other situation as well. Not all Churches solemnize and pronounce God’s blessing if a couple has had premarital sex. But that does not mean that only virgins are married. Everyone comes to God with their sins and God forgives everyone. If God reminded us of our mistakes every day and penciled them in, what kind of forgiveness would that be? You did not have an intimate relationship with this girl and therefore can be blessed in the Church.
I understand that there is a lot of uncertainty. It is irresponsible to give “yes or no” advice in absentia without knowing the guy and the girl. So my recommendation and advice would be as follows:
1) Pray to the Lord and seek a hint from the Almighty as to with whom to make a marriage covenant.
Perhaps fasting and prayer. Include an arrangement with the girl to pray for a relationship from God.
2) Ask for a recommendation from experienced wise believers who know you both.
Naturally, don’t talk about the girl’s sin that she has repented of. Sometimes you can tell from the outside, by the charater, by the behavior, how well the couple is doing. Wise counselors are not a panacea, but a plus. But it is wise counselors who have built their own family life, who may have helped others to build strong families.
3) Premarital counseling.
Often in the church this is practiced when a minister gathers couples who are planning their relationships and conducts classes. The classes ask questions that young people don’t always think about on their own. This is good practice. About work, about material provision, about budgeting and managing the family budget, about children, about parenting, about roles, about responsibilities… It’s not a panacea either, but it’s a plus.
God bless you in your search for answers.