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Break Off An Engagement

Is it biblical to break off an engagement if you have already committed to marriage and had marital relationship together. My fiance said we were already married in the eyes of the Lord - but now he has walked away.

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 ---Holly on 11/16/09
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Holly- I was in your shoes 3 years ago almost exactly (except we hadn't had relations). I was engaged to the man of my dreams, we had the whole wedding planned, and 3 months before it he got cold feet. I was beyond devastated. His reasoning was 'he wasn't sure if God wanted him to go through with it'

4 months later he came back to me seeking reconcilliation begging to be together. All I wanted was him and to make things right, and to realize the dream of our lives together, and to stop my pain.
---Amy on 12/3/09

Here I am 3 years later, and I regret marrying him. How could I go from, literrally the best guy I've ever dated head over heals for in love with, to regretting marrying him? He hurt me so deeply, and its been MUCH harder to get over than I thought. (and he's not a bad husband, either) I have trouble forgiving him. My dreams were shattered. Things just are not the same and will never be. I strongly urge you to consider to find a man that will love you and respect you enough not to break your heart like this, I wish I had waited and not married the one that did this to me.
---amy on 12/3/09

Strongaxe, thank you for explaining why you answered the way you did. In fact I already knew about the traditions at the time and why they did things a certain way. There was no doubt in my heart that marriage was a contract between the two persons and God. You did mention other contracts but avoided the marriage vow between man and God, when you said what you did, that it was a contract between the groom and the girls father. Leaving open the possibility of many things. Since you say now you never intended that, I will assume you didn't mean to demean the marriage vow. That's why I ask you to explain.
---MarkV. on 11/29/09


True, but first part criticized me for what you assumed I implied (no need for ceremony, putting doubt on others), and last part presumed what I would say (father could break contract).

All covenants with men are implicitly convenants with God. The ancient formula was to sacrifice an animal, walk between the burned pieces and say "May God to THIS to me - and more - if I break this covenant". Marriage (and other) covenants were significant events.

The Bible does not record any wedding ceremonies. Presumably, because details were unimportant. There are no "magic words" needing to be said to make two people married - they just made a covenant (for example, saying "I do" does this).
---StrongAxe on 11/28/09

Strongaxe, I did take issue with what you said. You said,
""(a contract between the groom and the bride's father) rather than a "religious sacrament" as such""
Did you not say that? For what reason did you say that for then? If you are not suggesting that it is not a contract between the married couple and God, then what did you mean? Did I read more to your message argument? Did you not say this after Alan told you how great marriage was?
---MarkV. on 11/28/09


Once again, you are putting words in my mouth that I did not say. I never said "there was no marriage ceremony". I only said the Bible never records any marriage ceremony - and despite all protestations aboutthis, nobody has yet been able to contradict this. The Bible doesn't mention Paul's father either, but that doesn't mean he didn't have one.

Many Christians take passages from the Bible, and then infer things from these that the Bible does not say at all. Many also take things that other people say, and then infer things that these people never say at all either. Both are wrong.

If you are going to take issue with what I say, please take issue with what I actually say, rather than what I don't.
---StrongAxe on 11/28/09

Strongaxe, when you said there was none in the Bible you are suggesting there is no need for one. In fact using Scripture to put doubt on others, by suggestion the Bible does mention any. If no wedding, suggesting they lived together but never married before God. That it was somehow a contract between a man and the wives father. And you mention,
"(a contract between the groom and the bride's father) rather than a "religious sacrament" as such"
that the union between man and wife is not a contract with God, but with some other guy. I suppose in your great wisdom, the wives father could break the contract whenever he wanted. So it really doesn't matter if you devorce, since it is not a contract with God.
---MarkV. on 11/27/09


I am not splitting hairs about what scripture says. I am splitting hairs about what scripture does NOT say, but others claim that it does. I never said that there were no wedding ceremonies - I just said that there are none actually recorded in the Bible. I never said that they didn't have them, just that the Bible never actually mentions them. If anyone can show me a verse where they ARE mentioned, I will be happy to admit that I was wrong, but so far, nobody has been able to do so.
---StrongAxe on 11/26/09

Strongaxe, if there was a Wedding feast, there had to be a wedding. Just because it doesn't say they had a ceremony in Scripture does not mean they didn't. By suggesting there was a feast, does not mean either that is all there was.
When you try to cut hair by picking on Scripture you put doubt on the Word of God. The questioning of when did they start is left open to us. Did we need to know what day exactly? Only those who pick on Scripture would think of questioning such things. Looking for loopholes. We know they had them, if they didn't, then how in the world would they show people they had come together as one? Would they leave their tent open so others could see them to show they were one?
---MarkV. on 11/26/09


Please demonstrate one single post here in which I have enticed ANYONE to commit fornication. I have not told anyone what they should or should not be doing - I was just pointing out the customs that were in place 2000 years ago.
---StrongAxe on 11/25/09

strong axe, ignorance and rebellion is not an excuse to those that say they know as you do. God punishes gainsayers and people that pervert holiness that he requires. Those that hurt the little ones, the babes in Christ, you entice them to commit fornication, because you want to cover something with fig leaves. What are you trying to cover up? Why are you trying to justify fornication. Are you willing to have the blood of others upon you for what you are teaching them. It is the same as murder in Gods eyes. Spiritual murder!
---exzucuh on 11/25/09


The presumption at that time (and, in fact, at most other times and in most other places) is that if a married woman has a child, the child is legally a child of her husband. Of course, the husband can contest this if he doesn't believe it (for example, by accusing his wife of adultery).

In Palestine 2000 years ago, the same also applied to an engaged couple - if the woman became pregnant, even before marriage, the child was considered a legitimate child of the man - and again, if he suspected that it wasn't actually his, he had the right to charge her with adultery.
---StrongAxe on 11/24/09

...if an engaged fiance was found to be pregnant (as, for example, Mary was), the child was legally assumed to be that of the fianc. Neither one of them was taken out and stoned for adultery. If it was not legal, they would have been.

they would not be stoned for adultery because they were unmarried although Mary could have been for fornication ...betrothed was not marriage or "legal" otherwise there would be no need for scripture to confirm Joseph took Mary as his wife

Joseph could have walked away having Mary stoned - Joseph chose not to do this after angel visited him confirming what Mary told him Matt 1:18-25
---Rhonda on 11/22/09


I didn't say that marriage was not an important and binding covenant between two people. All I said was that there weren't any examples of wedding ceremonies in the Bible. From all that I can see, there are many references to marriage covenants, legal contracts, dowries, reparations to the father in case his daughter is despoiled by rape, etc. - in other words, marriage was effectively a matter of civil contract law (a contract between the groom and the bride's father) rather than a "religious sacrament" as such. (This is not to denigrate the importance of the covenant, however. The Bible is full of other kinds of equally importand and binding covenants as well.)
---Strongaxe on 11/22/09

Sorry. YOU may have been committed to marriage, but he wasn't. He is "married in the eyes of the Lord" until he wants out...then he doesn't consider himself married at all (he's NOT, legally). So off he goes, without a pang of conscience,
It's not only guys who do this, either.

It's easy in the haze of love and hormones to swear "committment" to each other...easy to say a marriege certificate is just a piece of paper or marriage wasn't required in the Bible. (if not, what does "Do not commit adultery mean?) But this type of committment is ALMOST ALWAYS temporary.

A legal marriage promotes real committment (which is hard enough to maintain even then).Please don't let yourself get hurt this way again.
---Donna66 on 11/21/09

There are no actual stories with the examples of an wedding in the old testament and there is no law saying you have to have a wedding ceremony, But they had them just the same only some barbarians took wives without a ceremony. There is no law saying you have to be baptized but you do if you really want to be married to Jesus, he will not commit spiritual fornication with his bride. I am An American Indian, my tribe has been in America for ten thousand years, We have always had a marriage ceremony because we knew it was required and we had no bible to remind us, we knew what God required. How is it that savages, we are called, Can obey God without question, but civilized man must rebel against his ways.
---exzucuh on 11/21/09

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Can you show a single example of a wedding ceremony in the Bible? I have looked, but was never able to find any. There is the Wedding at Cana, but all that is mentioned is a feast (what we today call a reception), not a ceremony. The same is true of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Jesus also had several parables that involved weddings. Some of these mentioned feasts, but none of them mentioned any kind of ceremonies.
---StrongAxe on 11/20/09

Exz ... Always?
---alan8566_of_uk on 11/20/09


I.1) Either the father arranges the wedding as Samsons father did, or2) the father sends an agent in his place, as Abraham sent Eleazer, or 3) the young man comes by himself to the girls father to arrange the marriage between the two of them.

II.If the young man goes to the house of the girl, he initially must carry these three things:
a) A large sum of money (or many expensive items) to pay the price for the Bride
b) A betrothal contract with his promises to the Bride written on it
c) A skin of wine
---exzucuh on 11/20/09

2nd part of wedding

Note: In John 5:8: For there are three that bear witness in earth: the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. In prophetic typology, the wine represents the Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit), the water represents the Wordthe marriage contract or Covenant--the Torah given at Sinai--and the blood represents the price paid for our salvation.
---exzucuh on 11/20/09

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"The Marriage ceremony has always been required by God"


When was the first marriage ceremony mentioned in the Bibloe?
---alan8566_of_uk on 11/20/09


At that time, if an engaged fiance was found to be pregnant (as, for example, Mary was), the child was legally assumed to be that of the fianc. Neither one of them was taken out and stoned for adultery. If it was not legal, they would have been.
---StrongAxe on 11/20/09

In Jesus's day, it was lawul for an engaged couple to have relations.

This statement is not true. And you are trying to justify theses peoples fornication. If they have repented of their sin then I am sure God has forgiven them. but there is nothing that can make this man be bound to this engagement as far as God is concerned. The Marriage ceremony has always been required by God just as baptism is also required. The law was given to stop men from doing what ever is right in their own eyes. Those that make up their own Christianity, put themselves back under the curse because Grace is for those who obey the Gospel.
---exzucuh on 11/20/09

Thanks Rhonda....
You make a good stand. I do desire God above man. PERIOD. My heart still loves Mark and I do pray that relationship is restored. He is a man that loves the Lord and he did realize his sin. I believe that is in part a huge reason he walked away to get his own heart in proper alignment with God. We both had to get there. God is a jealous God and I to believe that we can have no Idol above him. I desire his truth as well. I agree also after all of our discussions that we are to submit. God tells us to submit to the authorities.Marriage is part of our government. We are not married until the document is signed. I was speaking "becoming one with" due to our sin. BUT FACT REMAINS.. IT WAS JUST SIN! Thank you.
---Holly on 11/20/09

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easiest way to understand that you were lied to is understanding fornication is spelled out as those who are having sexual relations without marriage

engagement is NOT marriage - it would be nice if everyone could commit fornication then say word engagement to believe they were magically "bonded" by God with a word

if engagement were "really marriage" then God would have no need to address divorce and Christ would not have shown example of marriage by attending one ...yes everyone makes mistakes and sins ...returning to this man is to ignore scripture satisfying belief in this man OVER Gods Holy Word

best to find a man who doesn't USE Gods Word against God if you are truly concerned in living for God
---Rhonda on 11/19/09


Please explain to me how I am "compromising" and "double-minded" and "making up Christianity as I go along" and "think I can wilfully sin every day"? What have I said to give you that impression?
---StrongAxe on 11/19/09

Exzucuh: You are right. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. That is why - when we sin - WE ARE TO REPENT AND TURN AWAY FROM THAT SIN - to stop sinning.... I don't mean to start a conflict here and Christians don't have to argue with one another. The act of fornication is SIN.. PERIOD. My only question was the fact that I feel a greater bond to the man which I was getting ready to marry than I might have had with him given the issue of such deep intimacy. I believed and still want to marry this man..... I only wonder if the Lord feels that we became one at that moment. I don't know. I'm not God. He tells us in Proverbs to not be joined to a prostitute for don't you know you become one with them.......
---Holly on 11/19/09

--StrongAxe on 11/19/09 compromising double minded Christians will never see the kingdom of God. People who make up Christianity as they go along will end up in hell right along with the devil that came up with the concept.
The wrath of God is upon the children of disobedience. You people who think you can willfully sin every day are living in a fable Jesus calls you workers of iniquity because you work for sin rather than work for righteousness. You are clouds with out rain, Trees with no fruit, twice dead plucked up by the roots. Jesus curses fig trees that have no fruit he curses them out of season because they should have fruit year round.
---exzucuh on 11/19/09

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Gen 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

Pretty sure theres a reason why God wanted to add the fact that he took her into his mother's tent (privacy maybe)

This is the first descriptive account that *I* know of in the Bible that shows the marriage of a man and woman by sexual contact. If there are earlier examples anyone could show me I would be most appreciative. Like maybe one with a pastor involved and the man and woman reciting vows, signing a marriage certificate, throwing the bouquet, cutting the cake, etc etc....
---JackB on 11/19/09


Jesus's comment had nothing to do with who the woman was lying with. He said that she was right in that she had no husband NOW, although she HAD had five (in the past). (Presumably, she had been married five times, and divorced five times, and was now living with a sixth man without being married).


In Jesus's day, it was lawul for an engaged couple to have relations. Any resulting child was deemed to be a legitimate child of the fiance (hence, Jesus was legally Joseph's son, even though Mary was pregnant before they were legally married).
---StrongAxe on 11/19/09

In response to the reply about getting my sins covered...... My fiance' and I confessed our sin - went to the Pastor for counsel and turned from the sin nature of our relationship. I do have an intimate relationship with the Lord. He has forgiven both of us for walking in the flesh and it is cast as far as the east is from the west..... Because of JESUS - I am justified - Because of God's grace and mercy ( PRAISE GOD) I'm also forgiven. I will not live in condemnation for that does not come from the Lord. Conviction of sin comes from my Father as well as discipline. I'm walking out discipline right now....................................
---Holly on 11/19/09

Mark and I both repented of our sin and turned away from the sin part of our relationship - confessed to our Pastor and were counseled through that area. God has forgiven us both. Condemnation is not of God. He does discipline us - allow us to reap consequence - but loves and forgives our sin when we are quick to repent. Thank you for your truth. But I am not living in sin. Do I sin - Yes - Do I fall short - Yes... Praise God for his mercies that are new each morning.
---HOlly on 11/19/09

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Making decisions are all about being Morally right. You are not Morally right because you and your girlfriend are fornicators no different from any other sinner, fornication is an abomination just like adultery and sodomy. The penalty is death. You should not even worry about the engagement you have already broken your covenant with God and he does not even recognize you as a christian. What you better worry about is getting yourself saved and born again so you can actually have a sin conscience. You need to marry Jesus before you can actually have a Christian marriage.
---exzucuh on 11/19/09

Thank you everyone! I do still feel committed to him in my heart. I'm praying God reveals his truth to Mark's heart. If Mark refuses to honor his promise to me.... Thats between Mark and the Lord.....

Thank you again!

---Holly on 11/19/09

Me personally I believe once a man lies with a woman they are bound together as husband and wife. Thats the way it was in the OT and God doesnt change.

Even Jesus backed this belief up in
John 4:15-19 telling a woman though she was "unmarried", she in reality had 5 husbands.

He knew that in his heart and walked away, so if he lies with another woman he is committing adultery. God should be on your side on this one.

All you can do is pray for him to return. Dont blame yourself at all.
---Jackb on 11/19/09

Cliff ... to that I would add ... "and they don't realise it themselves"
---alan8566_of_uk on 11/19/09

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Lots of men, including "Christian" men think this way, that you are already married in the eyes of the Lord. Did he just use you? If so, what a jerk! Focus on God for now, and he will lead you to the REAL one for you.
---amand6348 on 11/18/09

The reason we have engagements in the first place is to have graduated steps on the path to marriage, instead of jumping into a lifelong commitment all at once. Engagement represents a commitment, but not an irrevocable one such as marriage. It's an opportunity for both parties to make absolutely sure that they will be able to live up to their vows before taking them, and to be able to back out if they find that they can't.
---StrongAxe on 11/17/09

Holly, I raised 3 daughters and my advice to them was "remember, all men are liars"('till you find out otherwise)
---1st_cliff on 11/17/09

You all made valid points.
I know we were both wrong.
But I still believe he is the right one.
Only God and his perfect timing will tell.

I do trust that God has only GOOD PLANS for me as long as I place him first and love with him with my whole heart, soul and strength.

Thanks for your words,
---Holly on 11/17/09

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Thank you all for your response.
I just still have faith that he is the right one. I have caused him lack of faith in me because I struggled with submission areas, faith in moving from my family to be with him. Its not all his fault that he walked away. I'm just having a tough time walking in faith while I wait upon the Lord. I do trust that God has only GOOD PLANS for my life and has forgiven my sins. Thank you!
---Holly on 11/17/09

I have done it, Holly. First, I let her steer and pressure me into things. Then we did what is wrong, and the wrong spirit of this had us break down, after that. I knew I was not making sure with God about if He wanted us to marry, but she insisted we spend time with each other, then one thing led to another. And I simply did not get away . . . until a certain time, when I felt I was clear and it was my time to get out and not negotiate or discuss this. And now, with anyone influencing me, I'm kind of remembering I need to make sure with God, and never mind how anyone talks or seems convinced of what they say. And I still can fool *myself*, so this is how much we need to do everything with God.
---Bill_bila5659 on 11/16/09

Dear Holly,
my Condolences on Your loss.
trust God,He has Your best
interests and heart....
---kevin on 11/16/09

There is nothing in the Bible about engagements.

Bethrothals in Biblical times were practically iron-clad agreements to marry. And they were usually arranged by the parents of the parties, not the parties themselves.

The modern practice of engagement is an agreement between the couple themselves to this effect: "If all goes well, we will marry."

It sounds to me like your erstwhile fiance was just trying to take advantage of you.
---Cluny on 11/16/09

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Think about it like this: if he can't honor the very covenant he says is of God, how will he ever honor you as his wife? It is really convenient to use the name of God to have marital relations and then walk away from them as though God had nothing to do with it. God is a covenant God and does not change. It is better to let him go and believe God for a real God-honoring man who doesn't use God's name to make fornication okay than to live in a loveless relationship where the man is obligated to be with you because of his deceitful mouth.
---Linda on 11/16/09

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