Are opposite-sex roommates or housemates biblically allowable? Financial and social struggles lead many singles to consider rooming with friends of both genders, but Christians often wonder whether this is wise.
For the purposes of this article, we will refer to “roommates” as those who share the same living space but who maintain a strictly platonic relationship with no romantic or sexual overtones. Sexually involved roommates are clearly in violation of God’s commands (1 Corinthians 6:18). But if a guy and a girl enjoy each other’s company, have healthy sexual boundaries, and would both benefit from sharing a house or apartment, is there a clear biblical commandment against being roommates?
Living arrangements were different when the Bible was penned, so no clear-cut command exists to address having an opposite-sex roommate. However, that does not mean that there are no biblical principles we can apply. When we know God and seek to please Him, we want to know more than the bare minimum. We want to hear His every whisper and seek to obey it.
In considering the issue of opposite-gender roommates, we should examine the following passages:
1. Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (NASB). To “make provision” means we put ourselves into situations that our weak flesh may not be strong enough to combat. A 14-year-old boy and girl lying alone in the dark “watching a movie” are making provision for the flesh. They have put themselves in a compromising position where emotions and availability can combine for sinful effect. So when two people of the opposite gender who already enjoy each other and get along well move in together and play house as though they were married, they may be creating a situation neither expected. A girl walking through the house with only a towel wrapped around her may create unwanted desires in her roommate. A friendly comforting hug from the guy when she is upset can easily turn into more in the right atmosphere. A question that all opposite-sex roommates must answer honestly is this: might we be making provision for the flesh in placing ourselves in such an intimate living situation?
2. First Corinthians 10:31–33 says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved” (NASB, emphasis added). This is the kind of verse that separates carnal, baby Christians from those who truly desire to honor God. This verse frees us to limit ourselves, not by a list of Do’s and Don’ts, but by the law of liberty (James 2:12).
Recommended Resource: Why True Love Waits by Josh McDowell