Is it a sin to marry without the approval of the parents?

Last updated on December 8, 2022

Is it a sin to marry without the approval of the parents?

The Bible teaches to honor your parents (Exodus 20:12). This means that when you are still a child and under the authority of your parents, you should obey them (Ephesians 6:1-3). But the relationship to your parents changes when you grow up and come of age. Although you should never stop to show respect to your parents, you are now able to make your own decisions. The Bible refers to this process in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” In this verse the man forms a new unit with his wife and so there grows a certain distance between him and his parents. Adult children are not their parents’ property and are therefore free to make their own decisions, also when it comes to marriage.

Questions before deciding to go against parents

However, there are several questions one should ask before deciding to go against one’s parents’ wishes. Your father and mother know you very well and often know what is best for you. In many places in the book of Proverbs, children are encouraged to heed their parents’ instruction (Proverbs 1:8; 6:22; 23:22). So it might be wise to listen to their words! What is the reason that they are opposed to your choice? Are their reasons purely selfish, or do they see a danger in your future husband or wife? Are your parents or your fiancé(e)’s parents Christians? Is your future husband or wife a Christian? If your parents are opposed to your choice because your fiancé(e) is not a Christian, then it is time to listen very closely to what they have to say. The Bible does not approve of marriage to an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 7:39). But if your parents are opposed because you plan to marry a Christian and they themselves are not believers, then the matter is very different.

Age, position and culture

It also makes a difference how old you are and what kind of position you have in society. If you are an adult and have already built up an independent existence apart from your parents, it is more natural to take independent steps when it comes to marriage. But if you are still very young and living with your parents, it makes much more sense to listen to your parents. It also depends on the culture; at what age are young people considered adults in your culture? What does ‘honoring your father and mother’ involve in your culture?

Bring this matter before God in prayer and He will surely guide you onto the right path.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

(Proverbs 3:5-6)

Marriage is a serious matter and it is very good to ask questions like these and bring them before God before tying the knot!

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