When an unmarried, cohabiting couple with children is saved, what should they do about marriage?

When an unmarried, cohabiting couple with children is saved, what should they do about marriage?

The presence of children complicates this situation. A physical relationship apart from the life-long commitment of a legal marriage is sin. For the couple’s testimony and spiritual progress, they must end their physical relationship. Two other factors influence the issue of whether or not they continue to live separately, but under the same roof: the gospel’s testimony may suffer damage if the community perceives that it "breaks up families"; the children may suffer emotional distress through the sudden absence of one of the parents.

Although the presence of children increases the pressure on the couple to choose marriage, they, too, should evaluate whether their past relationship is a sufficient foundation for marriage. If their relationship in the past has been psychologically damaging to the children or has involved physical abuse, is there now solid reason to believe that making their relationship permanent will not compound the damage the children or partner have suffered?

If the couple decides to marry, the best advice is to marry quickly and normalize home life as soon as possible. They will need continued scriptural and emotional support.

D. Oliver