Is it ok to get a marriage license at a later date?


Hello Pastor Chris,

My fiancé and I were wanting to get married now and get a marriage
license at a later date. We want to honor God in Holy matrimony but we
are not sure if He would bless our marriage if we did it this way.
Please let us know what the Bible says.
Thank you and God bless!




There is a secular aspect to marriage and a spiritual aspect to marriage. The secular aspect of marriage has to do with the laws of the state. In Texas, counties issue marriage licenses which make it legal for a minister to officiate a wedding. In other words, the state accepts what a minister does as legally binding for secular purposes. In the eyes of the law, therefore, a marriage license is a type of contract. This is one place where church and state cooperate.

Concerning religious obligations and secular obligations, Jesus said: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21, NIV). Jesus was talking about paying taxes in this verse, but the principle holds true for other applications. A follower of Christ is expected to obey the secular laws of the land (Romans 13:1-2). The exception to this principle is when a secular law comes in conflict with God’s law. In that instance a believer obeys God rather than man (Daniel 3:13-18; Acts 4:18-20).

The spiritual aspect of marriage has to do with two key things: 1. the fact that God Himself brought Adam and Eve together (Genesis 2:18-25); and, 2. the fact that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Spiritually speaking, in a Christian wedding we are remembering that marriage is given to us by God and that marriage is to be lived out in the same way as Christ loves the church, with sacrificial love.

You write: “We want to honor God in holy matrimony.” You will do that in the best way by getting a marriage license to show that you are obedient to the laws of the state (as God expects you to do); and, by having a Christian wedding ceremony that points those in attendance to the God who established marriage and the home. This will show others that you are followers of Christ and will encourage them to follow Him, too.

Pastor Chris

Can you get married without a marriage license?

Pastor Chris,


Can a man and a women be married in the eyes of god without a marriage license?


~ Tracy






Yes, if you live on a deserted island!


The Bible exhorts Christians to be subject to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7). Jesus said, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Luke 20:25). The government requires a marriage license for a man and a woman to be wed. If a man and a woman choose to live together the government still gets involved by declaring that they are married by common law even though they did not have a ceremony or a certificate. You cannot escape the government or God on this issue. “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1, NIV).


I believe that a marriage ceremony and a license are good things. They are public matters. Jesus Himself attended a wedding, thus endorsing the marriage ceremony. A marriage ceremony complete with a license shows respect for God, for government, and for society. Christian marriage seeks the blessing of all three on their union. Why would a couple not desire this?


Frankly, a license for marriage helps to maintain an orderly society. When people do whatever they think is right in their own eyes bad things happen (Judges 17:6; Isaiah 5:21). Our culture has a hard time with commitment. A marriage ceremony and a marriage license elevate the importance of commitment to the family. Without stable families led by a man and wife that are committed to each other, society crumbles.


For a more detailed examination of your question see Seven Reasons Why God Created Marriage by James Ford, Jr. and Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in a Postmodern Society by Glenn T. Stanton.


~ Pastor Chris