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Question 93

Q: I’m dating and would like to marry a man whom I’ve known for many years.

We both have a lot of family issues; both of us have very dysfunctional families. He’s wonderful, but when he’s discouraged and depressed, he drinks. I’ve talked to him about this because I used to have an alcohol problem too.

Both of us are Christians, but what makes this difficult is that we have been sexually intimate, and so I feel an obligation to marry him. I know we’ve done wrong, and he agrees, but I can’t just walk away even though I see trouble ahead.

Asked by: Arlene

A: Arlene, thank you so much for writing to me. And I need to speak to you very plainly because I believe that my advice, though tough, will be good, and I trust it will be helpful.

I think you need to walk away from this relationship. This man, ultimately, will be bad news. He can be nice, but if he turns to drinking when things get difficult, believe me, if he’s drinking before you get married, he most assuredly is going to be drinking after you get married, and probably much more so.

Furthermore Arlene, you have to realize that when you are sleeping with a man to whom you are not married, you’re in no position to assess whether or not this is going to be a good relationship. I know that you feel an obligation to marry this man because of that intimacy, but you need to accept God’s forgiveness for your sin, and then you need to move on and commit yourself to a life of purity. The fact remains that even though you have been intimate, it doesn’t mean that you are obligated to marry.

You need to understand, Arlene, that you have a past and so does he. Until the both of you get it all cleaned up, until you separate, until you develop faith in one another, and purity, and holiness, and counseling, neither of you is ready for marriage. Bottom line: walk away, get your own act together. Go to your church, commit yourself to other believers, walk in purity and holiness and let God lead you. That is more important than marrying, and I believe that if you marry that man you’re going to regret it.

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