Living together unmarried has become increasingly common in modern society, with many couples choosing cohabitation as a precursor to or alternative to marriage. However, as believers in God, it is crucial to examine this practice through the lens of biblical teachings.

The Bible serves as the ultimate authority for Christians, providing guidance and principles for various aspects of life, including relationships and marriage. Understanding what the Bible says about living together unmarried is essential for aligning our lives with God’s will and experiencing the blessings He intends for us.


Understanding what the Bible says about living together unmarried goes beyond mere adherence to a set of rules or regulations. It provides us with a framework for cultivating healthy, God-honoring relationships and enables us to navigate the complexities of modern society with wisdom and discernment.

Whether you are considering cohabitation, currently living together unmarried, or seeking to understand this topic better, this exploration will offer insights that can inform your decision-making and help you align your life with biblical principles.


Join us as we embark on a journey through the pages of Scripture to discover what the Bible says about living together unmarried and uncover the timeless wisdom it holds for our relationships and lives.

What Does The Bible Say About Living Together Unmarried?

The Bible addresses the issue of living together unmarried, often referred to as cohabitation or premarital cohabitation. According to biblical teachings, sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage between a man and a woman. The Bible clearly states that sexual immorality is sinful and goes against God’s plan for human relationships.


The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” This verse emphasizes the importance of abstaining from any sexual activity outside the boundaries of marriage.

Furthermore, the Bible encourages believers to honor and respect the institution of marriage. Hebrews 13:4 states, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” This verse highlights the sanctity of marriage and the importance of maintaining sexual purity within that context.


While the Bible does not explicitly mention cohabitation, the principles it establishes regarding sexual purity and the sanctity of marriage suggest that living together unmarried is not in alignment with God’s design for relationships. Christians are called to follow biblical teachings and strive to live lives that honor God, which includes respecting the boundaries of sexual intimacy set within the context of marriage.

A brief explanation of the topic

The topic of living together unmarried is one that has gained significant attention in contemporary society. Cohabitation, or living together as a couple without being married, has become increasingly common. However, it is crucial to examine this practice in light of biblical perspectives. The Bible serves as a guide for believers, providing principles and teachings that shape their understanding of various aspects of life, including relationships and marriage.

Importance of understanding biblical perspectives on cohabitation

Understanding the biblical perspectives on cohabitation is essential for several reasons. For individuals who identify as Christians, the Bible holds significant authority in guiding their beliefs and actions. Therefore, it is important to examine what the Bible says about living together unmarried to align one’s life choices with biblical teachings.

Gaining insight into the biblical perspectives on cohabitation helps believers navigate the complexities of relationships and make informed decisions. The Bible offers wisdom, guidance, and moral principles that can contribute to healthier and more fulfilling relationships. By understanding these perspectives, individuals can make choices that promote love, commitment, and spiritual growth.

Overview of the main points to be discussed

In this exploration of what the Bible says about living together unmarried, several main points will be addressed. Firstly, the biblical view on marriage will be discussed, including its definition, God’s intention for it, and the significance of the marriage covenant. This lays the foundation for understanding the biblical perspective on cohabitation.

Next, the concept of sexual immorality will be examined in light of scriptural references. The Bible condemns sexual immorality, and it is important to understand its definition and consequences. This understanding helps shape the biblical view of cohabitation and its potential challenges. Following that, God’s design for relationships will be explored. This includes discussing the importance of purity and holiness in relationships and understanding the biblical concept of sexual intimacy within marriage. By examining these principles, we can gain insight into why the Bible discourages cohabitation outside the bounds of marriage.

The discussion will then focus specifically on living together unmarried in light of biblical teachings. This section will delve into the cultural context of cohabitation in biblical times, examining relevant passages and their implications. It aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the biblical stance on cohabitation.

Practical considerations will also be addressed, taking into account societal norms and pressures surrounding cohabitation. Alternative approaches to cohabitation for unmarried couples will be discussed, offering guidance and options for those considering this practice.

Lastly, the importance of repentance and grace will be emphasized. Recognizing the need for repentance and forgiveness for past choices, and understanding God’s grace and forgiveness, enables individuals to move forward in alignment with God’s principles and experience restoration.

By exploring these main points, we hope to gain a thorough understanding of what the Bible says about living together unmarried and its implications for individuals seeking to align their lives with biblical teachings.

Biblical View on Marriage

Definition of marriage according to the Bible

In understanding the biblical view on marriage, it is essential to consider its definition. According to the Bible, marriage is a sacred covenant between one man and one woman. Genesis 2:24, states, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This verse highlights the establishment of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, leaving behind their families to form a new and intimate partnership.

Throughout the Bible, marriage is portrayed as a union that reflects the relationship between Christ and the Church, emphasizing the spiritual and emotional connection between husband and wife. This definition underscores the unique and exclusive nature of marriage as an institution established by God.

God’s intention for marriage as a lifelong commitment

God’s intention for marriage, as revealed in the Bible, is that it be a lifelong commitment. Jesus affirms this in Matthew 19:6, stating, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” This verse emphasizes the permanence and indissolubility of the marital bond.

God’s desire for lifelong commitment in marriage is rooted in His perfect design and love for His creation. It fosters stability, trust, and a deep sense of security within the marital relationship. It also serves as a reflection of God’s faithfulness and commitment to His people, highlighting the covenantal nature of marriage.

The significance of the marriage covenant

The concept of the marriage covenant holds great significance in the biblical view of marriage. A covenant is a solemn agreement, a binding promise, and in the case of marriage, it is a covenant made before God. The marriage covenant involves a commitment to love, honor, and cherish one another, and to fulfill the responsibilities and duties that come with the marital relationship.

The marriage covenant establishes a framework for mutual love, selflessness, and sacrificial service within the union. It provides a solid foundation for the couple to navigate the joys and challenges of life together. The covenantal nature of marriage also underscores the sacredness and seriousness of the commitment, calling for fidelity, loyalty, and the pursuit of God’s purposes as a couple.

Moreover, the marriage covenant is not merely a human agreement but involves God as an active participant. He is the one who joins the couple together, and He is invested in their union. This understanding emphasizes the divine dimension of marriage, highlighting the need to honor and uphold the covenant with reverence and obedience to God’s design.

The Sin of Sexual Immorality

Scriptural references condemning sexual immorality

The Bible contains numerous passages that condemn sexual immorality, affirming the importance of sexual purity and fidelity within the context of marriage. Some key scriptural references include:

1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” This verse underscores the seriousness of sexual immorality and encourages believers to actively avoid it.

Galatians 5:19-21: This passage lists sexual immorality among the works of the flesh, emphasizing that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:3: “But among you, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” This verse urges believers to maintain a standard of holiness, avoiding even the slightest hint of sexual immorality.

Definition and examples of sexual immorality

Sexual immorality, as defined in the Bible, encompasses any sexual activity outside the boundaries of marriage. It includes acts such as premarital sex, adultery, prostitution, incest, pornography, and homosexual behavior. These behaviors deviate from God’s intended design for sexual intimacy, which is to be exclusively shared within the covenant of marriage.

Examples of sexual immorality can be found throughout biblical narratives, highlighting the negative consequences of such actions. The story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) illustrates the consequences of adultery, while the account of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19) condemns the sinful behavior of homosexuality.

The consequences of engaging in sexual immorality:

Engaging in sexual immorality has significant consequences, both on an individual and societal level. These consequences include:

Spiritual consequences: Sexual immorality damages one’s relationship with God. It violates His commands and grieves the Holy Spirit, hindering spiritual growth and intimacy with God. It can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and a sense of separation from God’s presence.

Emotional consequences: Sexual immorality can result in emotional turmoil and relational brokenness. It can lead to feelings of regret, betrayal, and a loss of trust within relationships. It often undermines the foundations of intimacy, trust, and commitment, causing pain and relational distress.

Physical consequences: Engaging in sexual immorality carries various physical risks, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies. These consequences can have long-lasting impacts on individuals and may also affect future relationships.

Social consequences: Sexual immorality can have broader societal implications. It contributes to the erosion of moral values, distorts healthy relationship dynamics, and can lead to the objectification and exploitation of others. It undermines the stability of families and communities, impacting the well-being of individuals and society as a whole.

It is important to note that while the Bible condemns sexual immorality, it also offers the hope of forgiveness, redemption, and restoration through Jesus Christ. Repentance, seeking forgiveness, and embracing God’s grace are key steps toward healing and restoration from the consequences of sexual immorality.

God’s Design for Relationships

The importance of purity and holiness in relationships

According to the Bible, purity, and holiness are foundational principles in relationships. Purity refers to the state of being free from moral contamination, especially in the realm of sexual conduct. Holiness, on the other hand, encompasses living a life set apart for God and in accordance with His commands.

Maintaining purity and holiness in relationships is crucial because it aligns with God’s character and reflects His desires for His people. It involves respecting the boundaries that God has established and upholding the sanctity of the marital union. By pursuing purity and holiness, individuals honor God and demonstrate their commitment to living in obedience to Him.

The biblical concept of sexual intimacy within marriage

The Bible presents a positive view of sexual intimacy within the context of marriage. It portrays sexual intimacy as a gift from God, designed to be experienced and enjoyed exclusively within the boundaries of marriage. The Song of Solomon, for instance, celebrates the beauty and passion of marital love.

The biblical concept of sexual intimacy within marriage emphasizes several key aspects. First, it highlights the importance of mutual consent and respect between spouses. Both partners are to willingly and selflessly engage in the expression of their love for one another. Second, it emphasizes the unity and oneness that sexual intimacy fosters within the marital relationship. It is a powerful and intimate bond that strengthens the emotional, spiritual, and physical connection between husband and wife.

Moreover, sexual intimacy within marriage is not only about physical pleasure but also about the deepening of emotional intimacy and the fulfillment of God’s purposes for marriage. It serves as a means for procreation, the nurturing of the marital bond, and the expression of selfless love and commitment.

The benefits of following God’s design for relationships

Following God’s design for relationships, including the pursuit of purity, holiness, and honoring the boundaries of sexual intimacy within marriage, yields numerous benefits.

Emotional fulfillment: By adhering to God’s design, individuals experience deeper emotional intimacy and trust within the marital relationship. They can freely express and receive love, knowing that they are in a committed, secure, and mutually respectful union.

Protection from harm: God’s design protects individuals from the potential harm associated with sexual promiscuity, such as the spread of diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and emotional scars. It promotes physical and emotional well-being.

Strengthening of the marital bond: Following God’s design fosters a strong foundation of commitment, trust, and unity within the marital relationship. It allows couples to weather the challenges of life together and build a lasting and fulfilling partnership.

Reflecting God’s character: By embracing God’s design, individuals reflect His character and faithfulness. They bear witness to the world of God’s love, commitment, and the sanctity of the marital covenant.

Spiritual growth: Following God’s design in relationships fosters spiritual growth and maturity. It challenges individuals to align their lives with biblical principles, seek God’s wisdom, and rely on His grace for strength and guidance.

Living Together Unmarried in Light of Biblical Teachings

Understanding the cultural context of cohabitation in biblical times

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the biblical teachings on living together unmarried, it is important to consider the cultural context of cohabitation during biblical times. In ancient cultures, including those in biblical times, communal living arrangements were common. Families often lived in multi-generational households, and the concept of cohabitation as it exists today did not necessarily align with the cultural norms of that time.

Additionally, the societal and cultural practices related to marriage were distinct from contemporary practices. Marriage was often seen as a formal and public declaration of commitment, involving various rites and ceremonies. In this context, the idea of cohabitation outside of marriage carried different connotations and implications than it does in modern society.

Examination of biblical passages related to cohabitation

The Bible contains several passages that provide insights into the topic of living together unmarried. While the term “cohabitation” may not be explicitly used, certain principles and teachings can be applied to this topic.

1 Corinthians 7:1-2: This passage addresses the issue of sexual immorality and encourages each man to have his wife and each woman to have her husband. The emphasis on the institution of marriage implies a distinction between the commitment of marriage and casual cohabitation.

Hebrews 13:4: This verse affirms the importance of marriage and emphasizes that the marriage bed should be kept pure. The implication is that sexual relations should be reserved for the marriage relationship, suggesting that cohabitation outside of marriage is not in alignment with biblical teachings.

Ephesians 5:31: In this passage, the apostle Paul quotes from Genesis, saying, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This verse reinforces the biblical view of marriage as a commitment that involves leaving one’s family and cleaving to one’s spouse, indicating a higher level of commitment and unity than cohabitation provides.

Analysis of the implications and teachings of these passages

The biblical passages related to marriage and sexual purity provide implications and teachings that can be applied to the topic of living together unmarried:

The sanctity of marriage: The emphasis on the institution of marriage in the Bible suggests that cohabitation, which lacks the formal commitment of marriage, may not align with God’s design and intention for relationships.

Sexual purity and fidelity: The biblical teachings on sexual purity and the importance of reserving sexual intimacy for the marriage relationship imply that engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage, as is often the case in cohabitation, is not in accordance with God’s will.

The significance of commitment and unity: The passages that highlight the leaving and cleaving aspects of marriage underscore the importance of commitment and unity within the marital relationship. Cohabitation, which does not carry the same level of public commitment and formalization as marriage, may lack the depth of commitment and unity that the Bible encourages.

It is important to note that while the Bible presents teachings on marriage and sexual purity, it also acknowledges the reality of human brokenness and provides a message of grace, forgiveness, and redemption. Individuals who have engaged in cohabitation outside of marriage can seek repentance, forgiveness, and restoration through Christ, allowing for a renewed commitment to biblical principles and aligning their lives with God’s design for relationships.

Practical Considerations

Addressing societal norms and pressures regarding cohabitation

In today’s society, cohabitation has become increasingly prevalent and accepted as a norm. Many couples choose to live together without getting married due to various reasons such as financial considerations, convenience, or a desire to test the compatibility of their relationship before committing to marriage. However, it is important to critically examine societal norms and pressures in light of biblical teachings and personal convictions.

Addressing societal norms and pressures regarding cohabitation requires a willingness to evaluate the cultural narratives and expectations that influence our decisions. It is essential to discern whether societal norms align with biblical principles and to consider the long-term implications of cohabitation on one’s relationships, personal well-being, and spiritual journey.

Alternative approaches to cohabitation for unmarried couples

For unmarried couples who desire to honor biblical teachings and maintain sexual purity while living together, alternative approaches can be considered:

Commitment to celibacy: Couples can choose to live together while making a commitment to celibacy until marriage. This approach requires self-discipline, clear communication, and a shared commitment to uphold biblical standards of sexual purity.

Living separately with boundaries: Couples can opt to live in separate residences while maintaining clear boundaries and accountability in their relationship. This approach allows for continued emotional support and companionship while respecting the biblical call to sexual purity.

Preparing for marriage: Rather than moving in together, couples can focus on intentionally preparing for marriage. This can involve premarital counseling, seeking spiritual guidance, and investing in building a solid foundation for their future marriage.

Guidance for individuals considering cohabitation

For individuals considering cohabitation, it is essential to seek guidance and wisdom from various sources, including God’s Word, trusted mentors, and the Christian community. Here are some points to consider:

Prayerful discernment: Seek God’s guidance through prayer and ask for wisdom in making decisions regarding cohabitation. Take time to reflect on biblical teachings and seek the leading of the Holy Spirit in aligning personal choices with God’s will.

Honest communication: Engage in open and honest conversations with your partner about your convictions, values, and long-term goals. Discuss the potential challenges and consequences of cohabitation, and explore alternative approaches that honor your shared commitment to God and each other.

Seek counsel: Consult with wise and trusted mentors or Christian leaders who can provide guidance and help navigate the complexities of the decision. Their insights, experience, and biblical wisdom can offer valuable perspectives and discernment.

Consider long-term implications: Think critically about the potential long-term effects of cohabitation on your relationship, emotional well-being, and spiritual growth. Evaluate whether cohabitation aligns with your convictions, values, and commitment to biblical principles.

Embrace God’s grace and forgiveness: If you have already engaged in cohabitation, remember that God’s grace is available to all who seek forgiveness and restoration. Confess any wrongdoing, seek reconciliation with God and others, and commit to aligning your life with God’s design for relationships moving forward.

In navigating practical considerations regarding cohabitation, it is crucial to approach the decision-making process with humility, prayer, and a commitment to seek God’s will. By seeking biblical guidance, engaging in honest communication, and pursuing alternative approaches that uphold God’s design for relationships, individuals can make choices that honor God and contribute to their personal growth and well-being.

The Importance of Repentance and Grace

Recognizing the need for repentance and forgiveness

In the context of living together unmarried, it is important to recognize the need for repentance and forgiveness. Repentance involves acknowledging and turning away from sinful choices, including the decision to engage in cohabitation outside of marriage. It is a heartfelt recognition of the wrongdoing and a sincere desire to change.

Recognizing the need for repentance involves acknowledging that living together unmarried goes against God’s design for relationships and sexual purity. It requires humility to admit our mistakes and the willingness to take responsibility for our actions. Repentance is a necessary step towards restoration and reconciliation with God.

Emphasizing God’s grace and forgiveness for past choices

Central to the Christian faith is the understanding that God’s grace and forgiveness are available to all who repent and seek His forgiveness. No matter what choices we have made in the past, including cohabitation outside of marriage, God’s grace is abundant and His forgiveness is accessible.

The Bible assures us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This verse highlights the faithfulness of God to forgive and cleanse us when we humbly confess our sins and seek His forgiveness.

God’s grace is not based on our merit or ability to make things right, but rather on His love and mercy. It is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross that we can experience the fullness of God’s forgiveness and restoration. Emphasizing God’s grace reminds us that we are not defined by our past choices but by His unmerited favor and the transformative power of His love.

Moving forward in alignment with God’s principles

Having recognized the need for repentance and embraced God’s grace and forgiveness, it is important to move forward in alignment with God’s principles. This involves:

Committing to God’s Word: Studying and meditating on the Scriptures to understand God’s principles for relationships and sexual purity. Allowing His Word to shape our beliefs, attitudes, and actions.

Seeking accountability and support: Surrounding ourselves with a community of believers who can provide guidance, support, and accountability. Having trusted individuals who can walk alongside us and encourage us to live in accordance with God’s principles.

Pursuing purity: Making a deliberate commitment to pursue purity in our relationships, thoughts, and actions. This includes refraining from sexual activity outside of marriage, honoring the boundaries set by God, and seeking to live in a way that reflects His holiness.

Cultivating a relationship with God: Fostering a deep and intimate relationship with God through prayer, worship, and seeking His presence. Allowing Him to transform our hearts and empower us to live according to His will.

Extending grace to others: Recognizing that we are all in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. Extending that same grace and forgiveness to others, including those who may have made similar choices or hold different beliefs.

Moving forward in alignment with God’s principles requires perseverance, humility, and daily surrender to His guidance. It is a journey of growth and transformation, allowing God to shape our lives and relationships according to His perfect plan.


As we conclude this discussion, it is essential to emphasize the importance of seeking wisdom and guidance from God’s Word. The Bible serves as our ultimate source of truth and provides the foundation for understanding God’s design for relationships and living according to His principles. It is through studying and meditating on His Word that we can gain clarity and discernment in navigating complex issues such as cohabitation. God’s Word is living and active, capable of speaking directly to our hearts and guiding us in making choices that align with His will. It is a source of wisdom, comfort, and instruction that can help us make informed decisions regarding our relationships and our commitment to sexual purity.

Final thoughts on living together unmarried in light of biblical teachings:
Living together unmarried, though widely accepted in contemporary society, raises important considerations from a biblical standpoint. The teachings of the Bible affirm the sanctity of marriage, the importance of sexual purity, and the significance of commitment and unity within relationships. While the cultural context of biblical times may differ from today’s, the principles derived from the Scriptures provide timeless guidance for believers.

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