Sex Is Marriage (Or Ought to Be)

Dear Renea,

My husband and I divorced two years ago, this was the second marriage for us both. We realized it was a mistake and are now living together. Are we living in sin since we have not remarried?

Tricky question, but I think the more important question is why haven’t you remarried; why are you putting it off? Are you scared that getting married again will mess everything up again? Are you using this period of living together as like a trial run? Because really, what’s the difference between being married and living together? There are differences, but not when it comes to the difficulties of, well, living together — married or not. The same difficulties that split up married couples split up couples who are living together: financial struggles, having to be accountable to someone, having to share space physically and emotionally, having to give up our selfish habits, being hurt by the one who is closest and having to forgive… And when couples who live together split up, it is often just as painful and messy as a divorce.

So I don’t think you are protecting yourselves (or your children, if you have them) by using living together as a trial period… if that’s what you’re doing. Have you and your ex talked about getting married again? Is he open to it, or is he just trying to have his cake and eat it too? (That’s another problem with just living together: men, and sometimes women, who don’t want to take the full responsibilities that come with marriage think they can get all the benefits of living together without being too obligated or too tied down.) If your ex-husband is open to getting married again, I think the two of you need to pursue that through counseling to work out whatever issues caused you to divorce in the first place. I also recommend Dr Eggerichs’s highly helpful marriage book, Love & Respect. If he isn’t open to remarrying you, then you really need to consider why that is.

Here's hoping they reconcile their marriage.

I don’t know the specifics of your situation, so I can’t give much more advice than that. It is good that you and your husband seem to be reconciling. Your odds will go up significantly with support from biblical counseling and a biblical, loving community of fellow Christians.

From my heart,

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