Living Together Without Marriage

Eternal Marriage Student Manual, (2003), 152–53

Living together without marriage destroys something inside all who participate.

—Elder Boyd K. Packer

Related Scripture

Proverbs 6:27–33

“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

“Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? …

“But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.

“A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.”

Selected Teachings

President Spencer W. Kimball

“Not all sins of this permissive world are with the youth. I was shocked recently when I read a magazine article. The man spoke of marriage as a legalistic, paper-signing institution, and said: ‘It should be abolished. Without the social pressures in the state, it could be utopia.’ He asked the woman. She said: ‘Marriage should be done away with. I already know people who are living quietly together without marriage, but I haven’t yet seen the effect of this on children as they grow up in such a society.’

“These are not the only ones who are advocating living together without marriage. We call this to the attention of our people with all the strength we possess.

“We say again: We members of the Church marry. All normal people should marry. (There could be a few exceptions.) All normal married couples should become parents” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, 9; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, 8).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“God-sanctioned marriage between a man and a woman has been the basis of civilization for thousands of years. There is no justification to redefine what marriage is. Such is not our right, and those who try will find themselves answerable to God” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1999, 70; or Ensign, Nov. 1999, 54).

Elder Boyd K. Packer

“There is a practice, now quite prevalent, for unmarried couples to live together, a counterfeit of marriage. They suppose that they shall have all that marriage can offer without the obligations connected with it. They are wrong!

“However much they hope to find in a relationship of that kind, they will lose more. Living together without marriage destroys something inside all who participate. Virtue, self-esteem, and refinement of character wither away.

“Claiming that it will not happen does not prevent the loss; and these virtues, once lost, are not easily reclaimed.

“To suppose that one day they may nonchalantly change their habits and immediately claim all that might have been theirs had they not made a mockery of marriage is to suppose something that will not be.

“One day, when they come to themselves, they will reap disappointment.

“One cannot degrade marriage without tarnishing other words as well, such words as boy, girl, manhood, womanhood, husband, wife, father, mother, baby, children, family, home.

“Such words as unselfishness and sacrifice will then be tossed aside. Then self-respect will fade and love itself will not want to stay.

“If you have been tempted to enter such a relationship or if you now live with another without marriage, leave! Withdraw from it! Run away from it! Do not continue with it! Or, if you can, make a marriage out of it” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1981, 14–15; or Ensign, May 1981, 13).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Marriage “is a union of such completeness that we use the word seal to convey its eternal promise. The Prophet Joseph Smith once said we perhaps could render such a sacred bond as being ‘welded’ [see D&C 128:18] one to another.

“But such a total union, such an unyielding commitment between a man and a woman, can only come with the proximity and permanence afforded in a marriage covenant, with solemn promises and the pledge of all they possess—their very hearts and minds, all their days and all their dreams.

“Can you see the moral schizophrenia that comes from pretending you are one, pretending you have made solemn promises before God, sharing the physical symbols and the physical intimacy of your counterfeit union but then fleeing, retreating, severing all such other aspects of what was meant to be a total obligation?

In matters of human intimacy, you must wait! You must wait until you can give everything, and you cannot give everything until you are legally and lawfully married. To give illicitly that which is not yours to give (remember, ‘you are not your own’) and to give only part of that which cannot be followed with the gift of your whole self is emotional Russian roulette. If you persist in pursuing physical satisfaction without the sanction of heaven, you run the terrible risk of such spiritual, psychic damage that you may undermine both your longing for physical intimacy and your ability to give wholehearted devotion to a later, truer love” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 100; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 76–77).