Over the years the issue of when is the point of marriage has come our way more than once: Is one married at the point of sexual union? Usually such a concept has struck terror in the heart of the sexually immoral because of the implications. The Scripture mainly cited to spread such an idea is the following one:
Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. (1 Cor 6:16,17)
The following Scriptures will show that one is not married at the point of sexual union.
1. Joseph and Mary were married before they ever had sexual union. We know this because they never had sexual union, which was after Jesus was born, yet they were still married:
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Mat 1:18-25)
Joseph was already Mary's husband and he was wrongly contemplating divorcing Mary because she became pregnant, before they had sexual together.
2. David committed adultery with Bathsheba. If they were married at the point of sexual union, they couldn't have gotten married later, as they did, because they would have been married at that point. However, the truth is, David married Bathsheba after her husband died and it was only at that point (sometime after their adultery) that she became his wife:
When Uriah's wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD. (2 Sam 11:26,27)
Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and violated her. His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her. And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.” (Gen 34:1-4)
3. If sexual union was the point of marriage then there would never be a distinction between Solomon's wives and his concubines, since he had sexual union with both of them. In other words, the concubines would also be his wives:
He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods ... (1 Kings 11:3,4)
The same would hold true with all others who had both wives and concubines.
4. Hagar (Sarai's maidservant) became Abraham's wife before their sexual union and Ruth became the wife of Boaz before their sexual union. That is more proof that the point of marriage is NOT the point of sexual union. Here is the Biblical evidence:
Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. (Gen 16:1-4)
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. (Ruth 4:13)
5. Herod and Herodias had sexual union without a true marriage in God's eyes. Hence, they were in adultery. That is essentially why John the Baptist publicly rebuked them. She is always identified as the wife of Herod's brother because of her illegitimate remarriage, through a divorce, to Herod:
But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother's wife, and all the other evil things he had done (Luke 3:19)
For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had married. (Mark 6:17)
Even though they were married in the eyes of society, they were not married in God's eyes and were in adultery. If the point of sexual union would be the point of marriage in God's sight, then there would never be the sin of adultery (caused by sexual union) or the sin of fornication (caused by sexual union). Furthermore, a rape would constitute a marriage, if sexual union was the point of marriage, which is never the case:
But Jonadab son of Shimeah, David's brother, said, “My lord should not think that they killed all the princes; only Amnon is dead. This has been Absalom's expressed intention ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar. (2 Sam 13:32)
David sent word to Tamar at the palace: “Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him.” So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it. Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat. “Send everyone out of here,” Amnon said. So everyone left him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.” “Don't, my brother!” she said to him. “Don't force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don't do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her. (2 Sam 13:7-14)
● If one had to have sexual union to be married, then someone who couldn't physically have sexual union (such as old people or the handicapped) could never be married in God's eyes.
● There are three ways to commit adultery: a) actual sexual union with someone who is not your legitimate spouse, b) lusting in your heart after another and c) entering into a so-called marriage in the eyes of the world that is not recognized as such by God.
Any form of adultery (including pornography) will drag one to eternal fire, unless he repents (turns away from that sin) and gets forgiven. This holds true even for people who were previously saved, as King David was, before he committed adultery and died spiritually because of this sin (Ezek. 33:18; Rom. 8:13; Gal. 6:8,9; etc.). So, the point of sexual union is NOT the point of marriage, according to the Bible.