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My girlfriend and I are noahide and we live together. We want to get married in December, but currently we refer to ourselves as boyfriend/girlfriend, not as married or engaged. By Jewish law, would we be considered married now or only when we are officially "married"? What about getting "officially" engaged, would that constitute marriage?

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  • Do you have a rabbi or spiritual advisor you have a relationship with? It would really be better to ask someone who knows you and your situation and is qualified to give actual psak.
    – Avraham
    Apr 9, 2023 at 21:42
  • i live in complete diaspora so i dont have contact with a rabbi. I think also my question is generalistic so it could apply to all cases
    – eeerrrttt
    Apr 9, 2023 at 21:44
  • not duplicate as both doesnt explain the "intent to marry" definition and i kept with my doubt
    – eeerrrttt
    Apr 9, 2023 at 22:58

2 Answers 2

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The Divine Code stipulates that in your situation, you would be considered as married if the public is aware of your relationship and your living together.

If a woman specifies herself for one man's cohabitation, but she is not considered fully married regarding the secular government's laws and assigned rights (i.e., they are only "living together"), then she is still considered a concubine in the perspective of Torah Law. This practice is permitted for Gentiles, and the woman is considered fully married if their shared-home relationship is publicly known. If another Gentile man cohabits with her, both are liable for adultery." (pg 436)

by non-jews, the initial sexual union (with intent to be in marriage) is in and of itself the "marriage ceremony." https://www.sefaria.org/Mishneh_Torah%2C_Marriage.1.1?ven=Mishneh_Torah,_trans._by_Eliyahu_Touger._Jerusalem,_Moznaim_Pub._c1986-c2007&lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

Nevertheless, a public wedding ceremony is still appropriate.

I recommend you buy the Divine Code https://asknoah.org/books/the-divine-code

You can read more about this issue and most questions you would have about Noahide practice.

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  • For my case, it makes me married or not?
    – eeerrrttt
    Apr 9, 2023 at 22:06
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    @eeerrrttt I just made an edit to the post that should help.
    – BID
    Apr 9, 2023 at 22:10
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    I do recommend, Rabbi Moshe Weiner is really a gadol, and he does a very good job "filling in the blanks" for people trying to understand the Noahide covenant as an actual practice. He gives a lot of sources, but he is also certainly doing a lot of his own psak-ing. The other really extensive look at the noahide laws that I've looked at, The Noahide Laws by Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim, I have found to be less focused and useful, and it demonstrates less expertise that Rabbi Moshe Wiener's book, but both are worth a review in my opinion if you're interested in learning about the Noahide covenant.
    – BID
    Apr 9, 2023 at 22:24
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    @eeerrrttt Then it seems to me you are married according to the opinion of the Divine Code.
    – BID
    Apr 9, 2023 at 22:58
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    @eeerrrttt "The Noahide Laws" reference published by Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim and their Noahide Law course teach that "We should note that an unrelated man and woman who live together without being married may acquire the de facto status of marriage or betrothal.20 For this reason, it is not advisable that Noahide men and women share living spaces together prior to marriage." so basically the same idea.
    – BID
    Apr 9, 2023 at 23:49
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As far as I know Noachide law is very vague and under-developed in comparison with Jewish Halakhah. At least the opinion of the Rambam is that for a non-Jew marriage consists of (1) living together and (2) the community knowing that so-and-so is the "wife" of so-and-so. See Melachim 9:8 and Ishut 1:1. No specific ceremony is required. The big question is what "wife" means in this context, because Rambam doesn't seem to contemplate a situation where people live together but are not married. So if the society has a concept of marriage, and everyone knows that Alice is Bob's girl, but also knows that Alice and Bob aren't "married," that seems to be an ambiguous case, at least inside the Rambam.

In terms of engagement, just to give you the Jewish perspective what we call engagement today does not legally constitute marriage. In biblical and talmudic times there was a more formal "engagement" called kiddushin which, for some purposes, made the couple husband and wife (e.g., they would need an official divorce to separate). Today, however, engagement is really just a non-binding promise to get married. If the live-in boyfriend-girlfriend relationship is not marriage, I don't see how a contemporary engagement would be any different.

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  • that is exactly my opinion... this leaves to many more questions and important ones, because i dont know if im married LOL. that is not possible that no one has elucidated this case
    – eeerrrttt
    Apr 9, 2023 at 22:03
  • want more opinions here that could help
    – eeerrrttt
    Apr 9, 2023 at 22:13

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