Marriage & Sexuality

Dear Dr. Bill,

I was recently ordained as a pastor and I’ve been asked to perform the wedding of a young couple in their mid-20s.  If I do, it will be my first, and I’ve asked to meet with them for some premarital counseling.  The woman grew up in church but I don’t think she attends regularly and I don’t know anything about her fiancées spiritual background.  What I do know is that they are currently living together.

I know what the Bible says about avoiding sexual immorality and being unequally yoked.  But I want to communicate the truth in love.  Do you have any suggestions?


Dear Mike,

I appreciate your heart and your commitment to sharing God’s intent for marriage and sexuality with this couple.

My suggestion would be to meet with them before agreeing to perform the ceremony.  If you believe that the young woman has made a commitment to Christ but that her fiancée has not, offer to meet with them to teach about God’s design for marriage, but tell them you will not be able to officiate at their wedding.

Explain that the bible is very clear that Christians are not to marry outside the faith, and that unless the woman’s fiancée is willing to make a commitment to Christ, you can’t bless their wedding.

You might also offer to meet with the young man individually for a few months, teaching him about the basics of the Christian faith.  You may even have an opportunity to lead him to Christ.

If both of them do profess to be Christians, it may be that they are simply biblically illiterate and need to be educated about God’s design for sexuality.  If they are willing to live separately for a time and pursue sexual purity, you could then agree to see them for premarital counseling and perform the wedding.

Thanks for writing, Mike.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

Click here for the audio version of this article.