Need Advice Regarding Marriage Situation


Hi All,

My fiance and I have been together for 5 years and have been living together as a ‘married couple’ for the past 2 years. We both had considered ourselves strong Christians who have grown up in the Catholic church.

In early March we became engaged to be married, which will not happen until next summer. Last week we met with our Parish Priest for a pre-marriage interview and he told us that because of our living situation that we should not be receiving Communion in mass.

This, of course, upset us both as living together was not a decision that we took lightly. My fiance is a student in her last year and we just did not have the time/money to plan a proper wedding so we decided to wait until she finished up.

I was wondering if anyone has some advice regarding the communion issue? Is this just one priest’s ‘opinion’?

God Bless,



If you are living together as a married couple (i.e. having sex) without being married, then you are sinning. And your priest is correct and you should abstain from communion until you have gone to confession and changed the situation.


Your Priest is correct, and every responsible Priest would teach the same. The Church teaches against pre-marital sexual relations.

to rectify…move, and no longer live together…go to confession, and you will be open and in the right state to receive communion.


Welcome to the board.

The prohabition against pre-marital sex is from Scripture and the law of the Church. It is a grave matter, and it sounds as if you have a good and holy priest who is concerned about your spiritual well being.

Confession and abstaining til marriage will not be easy, it will be soooooo worth it!!

Here is the Catechism

**2391 **Some today claim a “right to a trial marriage” where there is an intention of getting married later. However firm the purpose of those who engage in premature sexual relations may be, “the fact is that such liaisons can scarcely ensure mutual sincerity and fidelity in a relationship between a man and a woman, nor, especially, can they protect it from inconstancy of desires or whim.” Carnal union is morally legitimate only when a definitive community of life between a man and woman has been established. Human love does not tolerate “trial marriages.” It demands a total and definitive gift of persons to one another.


Although I agree with what everyone else here said, I lived with my husband too when we were engaged. I didn’t have a full mass wedding, but if I had wanted one, I am sure the priest would have granted one in my parish as long as I had gone to confession and taken steps to rectify my sinful wrongdoings. Can you ask the priest how you can do this? ( obviously you know not to engage in pre-marital sex, contraception, etc…) You might be able to have communion at your wedding even if you are still living together, as long as it is like brother and sister if it is really hard for you to move out from your living situation. A lot of Catholics like you have made the similar mistake, and it is a big secular thing that is happening. I actually feel sad that I did it, and gave the example of my living situation to other people. It is like it made it ok for others to follow in my example and that is really wrong.

See if you can change the example and put on a good example for someone else who may be watching you.

God Bless and congrats on the engagement.


Thank you all for your advice so far. Your comments are very much taken to heart and appreciated.

Although it would be very difficult to change our actual living situation, we are both open to abstaining until we are married. Would this, along with a confession, rectify our situation?




It could, but best be suited to be answered by your parish priest. I had a gf who was in a similiar circumstance, and they lived together, and she didn’t take communion until they married. (and she went to confession) Her reasoning was that she didn’t feel strong enough to say a good act of contrition because she was afraid they’d lapse back into the behavior. I think though a priest will better help you. Congrats–I hope your marriage is graciously blessed!:slight_smile:


I really commend you for trying to do the right thing! :thumbsup:

I would discuss this with your priest. The most important thing is to abstain and go to confession. Ideally you should change your living situation, but if it is extremely difficult, a priest will be able to help you determine whether or not living together until marriage as brother and sister is permissible. In most cases it is not, but as I do not know all the particulars in your situation, I would urge you to discuss it with a priest.


Although I can sympathize with you and your financée regarding money and time, there is no way of getting around the fact that having sexual relations, even between a financé and financée, is a serious (mortal) sin.

Now, even if you and your financée were not having sexual relations, the fact that you are living together and then receiving Holy Communion, creates scandal and shows bad example. These are also sins.

Further, and forgive me for getting so personal, but if you have been living together for 2 years, and having sexual relations, and do not yet have children, it might be a fair assumption that you are using some form of artificial birth control. Any form of artificial birth control other than Natural Family Planning is also a serious sin.

It would be a good idea to learn about Natural Family Planning before you marry if you do continue with your plans on marrying within the Catholic Church, which I do pray that you will do.

It’s not that your priest, or other posters to this thread, or the Church, want to be killjoys, but we’re just telling you what is the teaching of the Church, and if you both still wish to be practicing Catholics and wish to live as holy a life as you can, you must listen to what the Church says is a sin. If you don’t understand why something is a sin and need an answer that goes beyond “Because the Church (or the Catechism) says so,” then talk to your priest again. He has only your best interests at heart: the salvation of both your soul and that of your financée.

Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding and on being concerned about the whole situation you are now in.


Respectfully, would you want your future children to do things the way you are doing them? I just wanted to put in my two cents as a recent convert to Catholicism. I feel that God has been calling me to the church for quite some time. I am married to a lapsed Catholic.

One thing that I think kept me from joining earlier is my perception that American Catholics don’t really live by what the church teaches. I have always thought that the church teachings were wise, but seeing Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, etc. support abortion and still get communion, etc. made me wonder whether it would be wise for me to come to the Church. I am the type of person who has to commit pretty much all or nothing. I was looking for a church that shared my values, but while I knew the Church supported my values, I knew very few members who did.

A Catholic woman I worked with in 2001 was engaged to be married to her dentist boyfriend. In the teacher’s lounge she was telling all of us how she had an elaborate scheme to hide from the priest the fact that her fiance and her were living together. She falsely gave her address as at her parents, got caller ID and didn’t answer the priests calls, etc. All of this was so that she could be married in the Catholic church. My impression was “Why do you so badly want to be married in a church where you don’t believe in its teachings?”

I say this in a non-judgemental way–just to remind everyone that their actions do matter and that they never know how others are affected. Seven years later, I now know that I belong in the Catholic church. Imagine what a powerful witness this woman could have been if she had said “My priest won’t marry us if we live together, so I am moving out of my fiance’s house today.”


Respectfully, I am afraid that you really need to live in two separate places. I think you will both find that abstaining is going to be difficult enough. But to live under the same roof and abstain will be extraordinarily difficult.

But beyond that, an unmarried couple living together and receiving the Holy Eucharist is a scandal. Most people will presume that you are having sex, and that is where the scandal comes from.

Yes it may be difficult to change your living arrangements for a while, but it will be well worth.

Here are a couple of thoughts that you can use to help determine the correct decision. “What effect will this have on the eternal soul of someone I care for? Will I put someone else’s immortal soul in jeopardy? Will I put my own soul in jeopardy?”

As part of your marriage prep, I would encourage you to take a look at the Christophe West book, “The Good News About Sex and Marriage”. Get it here.


I’m sorry, but you may “consider” yourselves to be strong Christians but you are NOT living as Christians. You are living as pagans.

Christ and his Church clearly teach that premarital sex (fornication), cohabitation, and contraception all violate the Sixth Commandment. Additionally, cohabitation is an offense against the Sacrament of Marriage.

Hard for me to see how you could hav missed this fact.

Good for your priest. You should not be living together.

This is just an excuse. If you don’t have the money for a big wedding, have a small wedding.

Yes. Stop living together and stop having sex. Then you can go to Confession and return to the Sacraments.

No. It’s God’s Law.


I have a question.

Let’s say the OP and his fiance’ were married 5 years ago in a civil or non-Catholic ceremony. They have two children. They now desire to have a Catholic wedding. What “hoops” would they need to jump through? Would they be expected to move into separate living quarters until their wedding?


Five years ago…they didn’t want a Catholic ceremony…right? This could be rectified the moment that they decided to return to the Church…They could return to the sacraments by having their union convalidated, which takes about five minutes.


They would not have a “Catholic wedding”. They would convalidate their marriage. This means they would give consent following the Catholic form before a priest and two witnesses.

There are no hoops to jump through. The Catholic Church and its Sacraments are not a circus, and people are not circus animals.

Preparation for **ALL **the Sacraments requires instruction (by a priest or his designee), prayer (in the form of days of reflection, retreats, meeting with the priest, etc), proximate preparation (such as Reconciliation, pre-Sacrament paperwork and investigation), and the actual administering of the Sacrament.

Continence and separate sleeping arrangements, yes. Physical separation depends on wheter convalidation is going to take place soon and children are involved.



It is so good that you are looking for the truth. I hope you will learn to embrace chastity now and throughout your marriage. (and FYI chastity in marriage does not me abstinence).

I feel you were poorly taught about the Church’s teaching on sex and marriage and are looking for answers. So I would strongly recommend you pick up a copy of “The Good News about Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West right away and after you read that please read “Theology of the Body for Beginners” by Christopher West.

These will be so beneficial in you and your fiancé’s understanding of the church’s teaching… not just what it teaches, but the why behind it. It will help you learn why premarital sex and all forms of contraception are gravely sinful and it will teach you the beauty and joy that can come from living out your sexuality according to God’s plan. I think it is absolutely necessary for you and your fiancé to read this book right away… it is information that you need to know and it will greatly help you understand God’s design for marriage before you enter into it.

God bless! :slight_smile:

EDIT: also these books are short, you can read them very quickly in a day or two.


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