If possible, a couple should consummate the marriage sexually, fulfilling the physical aspect of the “one flesh” principle. But if they don't, is such a couple still considered married in God’s eyes? God knows our hearts (1 John 3:20). God knows the difference between a true marriage covenant and an attempt to justify sexual immorality. So what if the couple never consummate their marriage? Are they truly married? I ask because I know a man who wants to end his marriage because of the lack of the sexual dimension.

Let's think logically about the matter:

  • If a couple were not married until they became one flesh, then they would be engaging in sexual activity without being married! They would be engaging in sexual immorality in order to become married!
  • What will a man do if his wife becomes seriously ill? What if she were in a wheelchair, paralyzed and unable to have sex? Any couple that stays married may be in such a situation; sooner or later one of them will have a serious illness or otherwise be unable to function.
  • Some marriages will never be "consummated" because of medical reasons. Couples may marry even though they know they will never enjoy sexual intercourse. I admire them!

Consummation, therefore, is the ideal from Genesis 2 through the pages of the Old and New Testaments and on into our own marriages. Traditional cultures may require consummation for legality. But I don’t see the Bible as teaching that lack of consummation defines marriage. It is a dramatic portray of and creation of physical and emotional unity.

However, this sounds like a serious problem, and clearly has implications for the survival of the marriage. A Christian marriage counselor could be of real help here.