Is it a Sin to Live Together before Marriage?

Is it a Sin to Live Together before Marriage? (Catholic View)

In this modern era, people are normalizing acts that are considered sins. One of these is living together outside marriage. It is prevalent in today’s society that some neglect the importance of the Sacrament of the Holy Matrimony. Couples are living together before or without marrying. They seem to choose not to enter the covenant because of practicality. In this blog post, we will discuss how is it a mortal sin to live together before marriage.


To start off, we begin with what the Church has to say. According to the Catechism,

CCC 2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.

Living together before marriage is fornication or cohabitation. It is having a sexual relationship without being married.

CCC 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.

Trial marriage has been a trend nowadays. Couples test a relationship first by living together and if it works, they would marry.

The Catechism is clear about this. This is wrong.

Biblical Reference

What does the bible say about living together before marriage?

Here are some of the bible verses that talk about fornication.

“For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, unchastity, theft, false witness, blasphemy. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

Matthew 15:19-20

“But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Revelation 21:8

Clearly, the bible prohibits fornication.

Living Together before Marriage is a Sin

With all the information above, let’s answer the question.

Is living together before marriage a sin?

Yes, living together before marriage is a sin. The couples who are practicing this are committing fornication. The Church considers this an offense against chastity.

Mortal Sin

Now that we know that living together before marriage can be a sin, let’s proceed to discuss what category it would fall into.

Is fornication a mortal or venial sin?

Just a recap, the Catholic Church categorizes sin depending on gravity.

It could be mortal or venial.

These are the conditions for a sin to be mortal.

  • It must involve grave matter
  • Committed with full knowledge
  • Committed with deliberate consent

Let’s use fornication as an example.

If one had sex before marriage, aware that it is a sin but still committed it, then there is a mortal sin.

To elaborate.

First, fornication or pre-marital sex is a grave matter. It is against chastity.

Next, that person committed it in full knowledge. Meaning there was an awareness that it is a sin.

Lastly, committed it with full consent. Despite the fact that there was a knowledge that it was sinful, it was still intentionally committed.

Note that all conditions must exist. If it lacks one of these, it will then fall as venial.

Note that mortal sin must be confessed. And that confessing venial sin is advisable.


Will God forgive living together before marriage?

Absolutely. Just like other sins, God through His Church can forgive cohabitation through confession.

How to confess fornication?

To confess, you just have to tell the priest that you lived or are living with somebody before marriage. And that you committed pre-marital sex.

You can also mention to him the times or how long have you been practicing this sin.

The priest will then give you counsel, ask you for penance and finally absolve you.

To know more about confessing lustful sins, here’s a guide.

If it is your first time in confession, you can check this Confession Guide.


Lustful sins such as adultery, pornography, masturbation, deliberate sexual thoughts, and fornication to name a few, are becoming common these days. Many people are falling into these sins on a daily basis.

As Catholics, we are called to be chaste. To fight the temptation of the flesh and live a life of purity. Although it is quite hard to practice it these days, we can certainly do it through the help of Sacraments and prayers.

That we may pray with love and trust in moments of temptation, Loving Mother, pray for us.

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