Can / should a Christian marry a person who is not a virgin?
Is it okay for a Christian who is a virgin to marry someone who is not a virgin? In order to answer this question, we must first understand God’s design for marriage. According to the Bible, a godly marriage is characterized by a relationship between one man and one woman in which there is no sexual immorality. In Genesis 2:24 God declares, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." God intends for sex to be within marriage and for men and women to remain virgins until they get married. However, because we live in a fallen world and our human natures are sinful, many people have sex outside of marriage before they become a follower of Christ or meet their future spouse. Sometimes Christians fall into sexual sin as well and lose their virginity prior to marriage. Although God cleanses us from our sins when we repent, it is still hard for us to forgive both others and ourselves for our past sins. A lack of forgiveness can have a negative impact on a marriage.
The apostle Paul encourages us to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). This means that we should not marry unbelievers because they do not share our same values and cannot understand our relationship with God. While the Bible does say we should marry another believer, it does not specifically advise us against marrying a believer who is not a virgin. This is because we are all born into sin; therefore, we have all sinned and are all in need of forgiveness.
Nonetheless, when considering marrying someone, especially someone with sexual immorality in their past, it is important to follow these guidelines.
First, it is important that we understand that salvation is the product of grace. In Ephesians 2:8–9 Paul states, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. " We are all sinners and in need of forgiveness. When we repent of our sins God forgives us and makes us a new creation. Jesus tells us that we should forgive others because we have been forgiven. Our own experience with forgiveness helps us to see others from God’s perspective and be willing to forget their past mistakes because God has separated us from our past sins. We need to forgive our spouses for their sexual past.
Second, we must pray about the decision and ask God for wisdom. God promises to give wisdom to those who ask for it (James 1:5). Taking a premarital class through a church or talking with a pastor are great ways to seek wisdom concerning marriage.
Third, when you look for a spouse you should look for someone who exemplifies the character of God and who helps you to become a better person and grow in your relationship with God. In a healthy marriage, both a husband and wife, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:21, NIV). Both spouses have a responsibility to love and respect one another.
Finally, you must communicate about and work through the past with your future spouse. Discussing the impact the past will have on your marriage and learning how to support and forgive one another will help you to have a healthy relationship moving forward.
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