The research commences by explaining the relevance and importance of marriage in the post-modern world although the post-modern era is known for disregarding pre-modern norms and customs. Marriage as traditionally known in the church is no exception. Communities no longer share the church’s strict rules when it comes to relationships. Church teaching about sex seems contradictory; on the one hand it regards sex as sinful, while on the other hand it preaches that it should be saved for the person you love (Berry 2005:15). Modern society’s expectations are very different from Biblical times. Unlike Biblical times where adolescents got married between the age of fourteen and eighteen, modern day couples rarely get married before they reach their mid-twenties. The implication of this is that the youth should live in abstinence for a decade or more although they are physically mature. The question is whether it is realistic of society to expect long-term couples not to have a sexual relationship. Modern society questions the fact that traditional marriage should be seen as the only moral and lawful option where a permanent love relationship between two people may exist. Throughout history sex was usually portrayed as something wrong, shameful, even sometimes as sin. “After sexual intercourse both man and woman had to bath, and they remained unclean until evening” (Lev. 15:18). The negative view on sexual intimacy continued in the early church, where they taught that sex is meant for procreation and not for enjoyment. Sex was always treated as something that should not be talked about, especially not in church. Although most of these views have been overcome in the last few decades the church is faced with new challenges in the present milieu such as sex before marriage, cohabitation and homosexuality. According to Van Eck (2007a:81) marriage as institution in modern society is in crisis. Additionally the guidance that the church provides on this matter might be in worse crisis, particularly the Church’s silence and lack of guidance regarding cohabiting relationships and pre-marital sex. The revolution of marriage is investigated to understand its development over the last two thousand years. Biblical text is studied in search of guidelines for young adults on the matters of sexuality and marriage. A look into modern day ethics will give us an idea of the challenges the Church face on this subject. The universal importance of marriage, the diversity and complexity of social and cultural circumstances, the needs within society and the church, and the quest for Scriptural moral guidance necessitates this research. This study seeks to investigate whether modern-day non-marital sexual relationships should be accepted in the Church and to suggest guidelines for young adults on the matters of sex and marriage in order to make Christian based meaningful life choices. The purpose of this study is to find Biblical guidelines in an attempt to find a link between spirituality and sexuality. Copyright
Dissertation (MA(Theol))--University of Pretoria, 2011.