I’m Christian, so is my girlfriend. We’re both 22 years old now. We have committed ourselves to each other, with concrete plans for marriage already. We have engaged in (immorality), but after some discussion, and repentance to God, we decided to stop this sinful act, and wait till after our marriage. A few questions: 1. Are we considered married in God’s eyes, if we have registered our marriage (as in recognized by the law of the country), but a church wedding is not completed yet? 2. We’re in a situation whereby registering our marriage and conducting a church wedding are both not financially feasible (I’m in Uni, she’s just started working), can we in some other way dedicate ourselves to a marriage institution? I’ve read numerous questions and answers (with respect to the Bible) that relate to this issue, and many counselors seem to suggest that verses in the bible apparently wants us to get married, where we can solve the issue of (intimacy), and not committing the sin of (immorality). So, could I actually get down on knees with my girlfriend (or as I would rather refer to her as my fiancee) and ask that God recognizes that we would like to enter into an institution of marriage in His name, and that from then forth, we’re considered married to Him? Your reply to these would be much appreciated. Thanks.
To my knowledge, a marriage is not recognized by our government if it is done by just anyone. The person must be an ordained minister, a mayor of a city, a ship’s captain, a judge, etc., to legally perform a marriage ceremony. In all cases, it is someone that is a leader and public figure of sorts that they can supposedly trust to follow the laws of the land, and not marry people contrary to the law(s) regarding such a union. Thus, for you and your fiancé to just repeat vows to yourself in private would violate that law. You would also not have witnesses to your marriage union, as the law requires.
As to whether or not to have a church wedding, I would encourage you to carefully study the Bible Courses that we have on the subject of marriage. The first one can be found at “http://www.pathwaynet.com/libertyb/biblecrs/marriage/mariage1.htm”. Those booklets will help you see where you should have your wedding. You live together a long time, Lordwilling, but you only have a marriage ceremony one time, so do it right.
Before rushing into marriage, remember that God holds us accountable to obey the laws of our land, unless they contradict His Law. I Peter 2:11-15 says, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
If you profess to be a Christian, but yet do not obey the laws of our land to be legally married, then you are going to be a bad testimony before the world, and a bad example to other Christians. I Thessalonians 5:21-24 says, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” A wedding can be kept simple, and the cost held down to a minimum, if that is required. God will provide for what is needed, when you do things His way. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”