In our fortnightly column ‘Great Sexpectations’ we answer your questions on sex, faith and intimacy. Drop us an email on and ask us anything. Here, Marcia Dixon helps a pregnant reader who wants to know if she should get married before the baby is born.

Dear Woman Alive


Source: Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

I’ve been engaged to my childhood sweetheart for about five years, and we plan on getting married in the summer next year. The issue is, we just found out that I’m pregnant and he’s worried about how that will look with him being a pastor in our church. It obviously wasn’t planned but we do want children, so we are really happy about it, it’s just the circumstances. I don’t mind continuing as planned but he thinks it might cause trouble at church. Should we bring our wedding forward so that I’m married by the time the baby is born? It just seems old fashioned to try and hide it when we are both fine with the decision to sleep together but I don’t really know what to do!


Dear Reader,

Firstly, I must congratulate you on finding someone whom you love and want to spend your life with. Secondly, I’d like to add that children are a blessing – no matter how they arrive in this world.

In saying the above, it’s important to add, the Bible makes it clear that for Christians, sex is for marriage and, anything outside of that is sin (Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled.’ Hebrews 13:4). This scripture applies to both lay members and leaders within a congregation.

All Christians are expected to demonstrate exemplary behaviour and abide by scriptural teaching

All Christians are expected to demonstrate exemplary behaviour and abide by scriptural teaching, but the responsibility of doing so weighs more heavily on leaders as they have the responsibility to lead, teach and disciple church members. Leaders are visible. People take note of what they do so it’s no surprise your fiancé is concerned about the trouble your pregnancy might cause at church. It will highlight he’s not been abiding by biblical teaching where his sexual conduct is concerned. And you also. However, we serve a God who is merciful and gracious, we all make mistakes and forgiveness is available to those who ask for it.

In moving forward, it will be necessary for both of you to meet with your senior pastor and inform him about your impending pregnancy. It’s only right as you are both church members, and your fiancé is part of the leadership team. You must also inform your family if you haven’t done so already.

If your church adheres to Bible teaching concerning sex and marriage, do expect some form of disciplinary action to be taken

If your church adheres to Bible teaching concerning sex and marriage, do expect some form of disciplinary action to be taken: for instance, your fiancé, may be asked to temporarily step down from his pastoral position. You may be asked to do the same if you also hold a position of responsibility in the church. It’s also possible that the leadership team might also hold a members’ meeting to let the congregation know that you and your fiancé will be parents. You might even be expected to apologise to the congregation.

Be mindful that some members might be disappointed and saddened by the news of your pregnancy. Only because there is an expectation, one which is in alignment with scripture, that Christian couples will abstain from sex until marriage and would have expected you and your partner – especially as he was a pastor – to have done so. However, once everything is out the open, your church family are likely to give you the support an expectant mother needs.

I think it would be wise, that you and your fiancé make a commitment to abstain from sex and get married before the birth of your child. You were planning to marry anyway. Nothing wrong with bringing the date forward.

It will demonstrate to your church, that in spite of what’s happened, you are both committed in moving forward with your relationship in a way that is pleasing to God, honours your faith, upholds your Christian witness and enables your congregation to give their full support to your union and the impending birth of your child.

I wish you and your fiancé well, as you negotiate this difficult period of your relationship. However, with God’s help you will come out of it shining.


If any of these issues have affected you, you can call  Premier Lifeline for support. Premier Lifeline is a national, confidential helpline offering a listening ear, emotional and spiritual support from a Christian perspective. If you would like someone to talk with and pray for you, call Premier Lifeline on 0300 111 0101.

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