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  • Writer's pictureBeverly H.

Are Separated Christians Expected to Abstain from Sex While Dating?

So you’re moved out and waiting on the legal stuff to catch up to your new life. Ready to move on? Need to scratch the itch? Just looking for some “fun?”

Separated has become a normalized demographic. It’s a complicated, and sometimes necessary, life phase. Whether or not you should be getting divorced is irrelevant to the question at hand. The Bible is super simple. When it comes to abstinence, you’re either married or you’re not.

Right Now Sucks

I’m sorry that you’re stuck in the purgatory of biblical relationship statuses. It may seem frustrating, unfair, childish, legalistic, or pointless. Because you are married, dating and sex with others are unfaithful to your spouse according to the Bible. The Bible bluntly points out self-destructiveness in Proverbs 6:22, "He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.” Maybe the marriage is already destroyed. Maybe you couldn’t care less about honoring that miserable or crazy ex, but God is asking this of you.

Disagree, yell, justify, tell me how much I don’t understand your situation... That doesn’t change God, his Word, or Truth. Tell God if this makes you angry. Tell Him if it feels unfair. Ask Him to change your situation. Beg Him to free you from the in-between.

Sometimes They’re Married

Friends (and sometimes strangers) share what's going on in their lives with me. Dating commonly comes up. I've lost count of how many times people have shared about dating a married person but interrupt themselves to say, “well, he/she is separated.” Then they barrel on with their story as fast as possible. Christian or not, people feel the need to justify dating someone else’s spouse because they know it's wrong.

Leviticus 20:10 is clear that both the married person and the one they’re with sin when choosing this relationship (fortunately, Jesus made it so we don’t have to do the “put to death” part anymore). We aren’t really fooling ourselves. We know dating someone else’s husband or wife is wrong. We just want so very badly for it to be the right situation.

Then What Can God Do For Me?

I can’t think of an example in the Bible when God changed what’s right and wrong because someone said, “You don’t understand…[fill in the blank with your situation].” He’s also not known for finishing commands and suggestions with “...except for Bob. This isn’t a sin if he does it.” It doesn’t matter how long you were married or why your marriage ended. The Bible makes this one black and white. Don't sleep with other people if you're still married. Booo, right?

Trust God by following his will. Whether you’re married or they’re married, God hasn’t abandoned you or His plan for your life. Wherever he's leading you, whatever is your next season, his design is for your protection. He' knows best.

He has shown it repeatedly in the Bible. Consider Bathsheeba’s life after David raped her and murdered her husband. And Daniel after he was ripped from his family to be a Kool-Aid drinking show pony in Babylon. And Joseph, whose fiancé (Mary) was already knocked up by the Holy Spirit.

God worked in ALL of these people in unimaginable ways. He did things bigger than the individual could have foreseen at the time. Jesus saw value and potential in the woman at the well who already had five husbands and was "living in sin" with the next guy. There’s no way they could see His forest from the trees, but these real examples pursued God's will despite it all.

God won’t mislead you or do you wrong because you honor him with obedience.

He will lead you and your spouse somewhere coming out of this season, whether separate or together. His will is to work goodness from every situation. Follow him to that.

Followup Note:

  • Is sex with your spouse okay during separation? Yes. This seems like something you should talk about with your Christian counselor to make sure it’s restorative to your situation instead of damaging.

  • I highly recommend Discerning the Voice of God to anyone, but it may be extra helpful for you during this season. I’m now in my second trip through a fabulous study on how to understand God’s will for your life.

  • If you’ve already been having premarital sex, check out this post- I Messed Up- So Now What?

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