Question:

Hello brother,

I have been single for many years, and I have now found someone in the church I’m wanting to marry. But in my past, I was not very faithful to God in my daily living. In my past, I slept with someone who may have been married herself. I’m not totally for sure if she was or not, but either way, my actions were wrong. When I think about what I have done, I wonder if I have the right to marry since I may have committed the act of adultery. It has been many years since that event, but I’m curious if it will destroy my chances of marrying this woman whom I have found. Scripturally, can I marry this girl without jeopardizing my soul and her soul?

Scripture and personal advice would be helpful.

Answer:

What prevents a person from getting married is the fact that they are already in a marriage covenant with another person. Having sex does not create a marriage covenant. It requires a formal vow (Malachi 2:14).

Assuming the person you had sex with was marriage, then her husband might choose to end his marriage with her and he has the option to marry someone else (Matthew 19:9). However, God would continue to hold her to her covenant because she broke it. She cannot marry another man until her first covenant comes to an end (Romans 7:2-3). If she does marry someone else, the relationship is adulterous because she is trying to live under multiple exclusive covenants. The man she marries would also be committing adultery because he is helping her live under multiple exclusive covenants.

The solution to adultery is to end the sinful relationship, which you have done. Since you are not under a marriage covenant, you can marry anyone who has the right to get married.

However, before you get married, you do need to talk with your intended about the fact that you are not a virgin. I strongly recommend that you do not give details, such as with whom or how many times or how many people. While your intended will likely ask, the problem is that she will constantly wonder how she compares to your prior sex partners. What must be emphasized is that you realized you were in sin and stopped. You left the sin and the one with whom you sinned to lead a godly life.

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