Is a shotgun wedding or a wedding involving a lie valid?


God bless brother. I have questions about marriage.

If someone lies in order to get married does God acknowledges that marriage? A young man married a woman after three weeks of knowing each other. He has a severe ambivalent attachment disorder. She lied to him about her child from a previous relationship of being a product of rape. He didn't find out about such a lie until years after their marriage from other sources. If he would have known about the child not being a product of rape he would have not married her since his belief was that he didn't want to be in a relationship where he would be in the middle of such circumstances.

If what brings you together before God are the vows then first how can God acknowledge a marriage due to a lie if God is truth?

If vows bring you together and you consummate it by becoming one flesh before signing a legal document why is it considered fornication? Wouldn't the emphasis on marriage be based on the document rather than on the vows? In other words, they came together before God and God knows their hearts so why is it fornication? And, yes, they would eventually get married legally.

Lastly, what about so-called shotgun marriages, where they have to get married because she ended up pregnant? There was no intention of getting married but now they are forced to marry.

Thank you, brother, for your time as I know this topic can be complicated at times.


When Lies Are Told Before the Wedding

When Israel entered the promised land and began conquering it, the people from Gibeon sent men dressed as if coming from a distant country to make a treaty with Israel (Joshua 9:3-13). Despite being suspicious, the Israelites did not investigate their story and made the treaty (Joshua 9:14-15). Three days later, they found out they had been lied to (Joshua 9:16-17). Despite the embarrassment, the Israelites kept their vows. "But all the leaders said to the whole congregation, 'We have sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel, and now we cannot touch them. This we will do to them, even let them live, so that wrath will not be upon us for the oath which we swore to them'" (Joshua 9:19-20).

What Gibeon had done was a sin, but one sin is not fixed by another sin. A lie is not corrected by breaking a vow, which would become another form of lying. In the events, Israel carried a portion of responsibility because they rushed into the treaty. "So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the LORD" (Joshua 9:14).

In your example, what the woman did was wrong in misrepresenting her situation, but the man rushed into the marriage. There was no lie in the actual marriage vows. While he feared getting in the middle of potential custody problems, his fears did not happen since he didn't even find out that she lied until years later. Like Israel and Gibeon, what was done was wrong but it isn't corrected by breaking their marriage vows.

When the Order of Events Are Changed

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

At the very beginning, marriage was established and it was presented in three steps:

  1. A separation from the family you grew up in
  2. A joining in a wedding ceremony
  3. The creation of a new family by the two becoming one

Your question claims to spread out the act of entering into a covenant by having vows said separate from any record that the vows exist. This is not how the Bible presents covenants. See

Since the act of sex took place before the covenant was entered, the couple sinned by committing fornication, which by definition means having sex when you are not married.

When Weddings Are Forced Because of Fornication

"If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days" (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).

Under the law of Moses, an unmarried couple caught having sex were forced to get married. The man also had to pay a fine equivalent to roughly 4 months of unskilled labor to his father-in-law and he could not divorce his wife. To prevent this law from being abused by rapists, the father of the woman could decide to prevent the wedding, but the fine remained. "If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins" (Exodus 22:16-17).

We don't live under the law of Moses, but this demonstrates that the concept of a shotgun wedding is not morally wrong. People are responsible for their actions and those actions have consequences.


Thank you for your response brother.

I have this point of view of marriage, and I can be wrong. I understand that marriage is defined when two people make vows to be fully committed to one another, understanding that marriage is beyond or more than just sex and it's til death do they part. I believe that it's a vow not made with lies or coercion. I cannot see God acknowledging such a marriage when God is truth and truth cannot be combined with a lie. If one is not being true then how can it be right before God? God puts them together based on truth. I also believe that a wedding ceremony is not part of a marriage as Adam and Eve had no wedding, and God still considered them married. Now due to the culture and law of the land, they happen, but my point is that God knows the intention of our hearts, and getting legally married is a secondary act.


What I noticed is that you ignored the evidence that I presented, making no effort to deal with the points contrary to your beliefs. Instead, you insist that your conclusion has to be correct.

  • You have no proof for your definition of marriage. An assertion doesn't make a case.
  • You did not prove that lies were made in the covenant vows. Instead, you are arguing that lies told prior to the covenant invalidate the covenant itself.
  • You claim that Adam and Eve did not have a wedding ceremony based on what is not recorded in the Bible.
  • You claim that intentions can override obedience. See Is living with your fiancee all right if you seriously intend to get married?
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