You have all been so very helpfull in the past with similar issues; I thought I would ask your advice on a "new" one.
A girl falls into her swimming pool and drowns. Her father sees her lifeless body floating in the pool and races out to save her. He calls for help, and begins CPR. Her heart begins to beat again, her lungs begin to work... but she remains in a coma for 6 months. Eventually, she regains consciousness, but requires life long medical care. Because of her condition, she is granted 100% disability, and at age 18 qualifies for assistance under SSI.
She meets a man with whom she wants to share her life. They want to marry and have a family. But, if she marries, the SSI will be discontinued, and there is no way both of them together could ever cover the cost of her ongoing medical care. They begin to live together. They have children together.
One day a person from a local church hangs and invitation to Vacation Bible School on their door. The children attend. They get saved. The father attends, and is saved. The mother attends, and accepts Christ as Savior. The membership welcomes them and loves them with sacrificial love. They attend more regularly than some long-time members. They grow in the Lord. They bear Spiritual fruit.
They *want* to be married. They are committed to each other, with no thought of ever disolving their family. In some states, their situation would be considered a common law marriage. There is some confusion as to if that is the case in the state in which they live. But if they do file for a marriage licence and go through with a civil marriage, they will be loose the ability to continue her the long term medical care she needs.
One of the suggestions to resolve their conundrum has been to hold a marriage ceremony for the couple in the church, officiated by the pastor, but to *not* apply for a marriage license.
If these people came to you for advice, what would you suggest?
This is an actual situation I am aware of this week. Your advice is welcomed.