Is it OK for a believer and unbeliever to get married in tough situtations?
I never thought I would have the balls to disagree with Mr. Don A Carson, but I am very against this statement (although he leaves 1 or 2 exceptions): The whole article is at
(2) The right thing to do, in both cases, is usually (I can think of one or two difficult exceptions!) to finalize the other part (get married). It is not to try to undo what has already been done! One cannot “undo” this sustained sexual, common-law, union. Thus to demand that a couple tear themselves apart after they’ve been living together for, say, five years, with perhaps a child or two, simply won’t do. What needs to be urged upon them is that they get “married” legally — i.e., publicly, according to the cultural standards of the state.
When God transforms the heart of an unbeliever into a new believer in Christ, many things come along with that. New desires, new motives, and literally a new heart. In essence, that person is clearly a new creation and if the bible is true, they will only slightly resemble the old self. That being said, he/she is not the same person who was in the previous relationship even if they had been together for 7 years unmarried with 2 kids. I humbly submit that it is the biblical responsibility for the for the believer to exit the relationship and seek a Godly husband or wife. In reality it is only fair for both parties because a christian wife will desire a husband who will lovingly lead her in the Gospel, Pray for her children, serve her and lover her as Christ would. We all would agree that an unbelieving wife does not have the grace to do that. The same is true for a believing husband, he will desire a Godly wife who will compliment him in his pursuit of Christ, not fight for leadership and glory in the relationship, and humbly submit to his Godly leadership and authority. Similar to the unbelieving husband, the unbelieving wife does not obtain the grace to do this as well.
In my mind this becomes a Gospel issue. Is it hard to leave a relationship of 7 years in which there was deep sexual commitments involved? Yes. Is it hard to leave the mother or father of your children who is not your spouse? Yes. Is it hard to start dating again in search of the Godly spouse that God may have for you? Yes. But, none of that is as difficult as leaving eternity in heaven to incarnate on earth and start over as a baby. None of that is as difficult as living in an evil world, being tempted in every way and having no sin. None of that is as difficult as being beaten as Jesus was and carrying your own cross to be crucified for the sins of man. None of those things are as difficult as although being without sin, becoming sin; so that cheaters, murders, idolaters, etc can become the righteousness of God by bearing His wrath for us.
In the Gospel we see the great example of making hard decisions for glorious outcomes. It is a trust issue. Do we trust Christ enough to make the extremely difficult decision? As Pastors, do we really trust Christ enough to counsel our people in hard ways, leading them to make decisions that in light of our world seem crazy.
Make the Gospel decision.