Am I Committing Fornication?

Q. Thank you for your wonderful site – what a blessing! The man I am dating is still legally married. His wife moved out some time ago, but she has cancer and cannot get health insurance on her own. They have agreed to remain married on paper for 2 more years, during which time she will be covered by his policy. We are contemplating marriage later down the road, and have agreed to be celibate until we are legally married. While we are not having sex, I wonder – am I committing fornication by having ANY physical contact with him?

A. The Greek word translated fornication in the New Testament means to engage in illicit sexual intercourse. So in the strictest sense of the word, by remaining celibate you are not guilty of fornication.

But this is a case where the man you’re dating is claiming to be married for the purpose of maintaining insurance for his wife but behaving like he’s single for the purpose of dating you.

While technically legal in the eyes of the world, it may not be consistent with Paul’s instruction for the church to avoid even the appearance of evil (1 Thes. 5:22). That would be a matter for the two of you and the Lord to determine.

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