Monday, January 28, 2019

To the Couple Considering Cohabitation...

In the last few decades a shift has been made in the way people in our country and society think about marriage and cohabitation. Cohabitation has become much more socially acceptable and this is evidenced by the fact that the Majority of Americans Now Believe in Cohabitation. Some studies estimate "that the percentage of people living together before tying the knot is now at an all-time high of over 70 percent."* Some believe "that the number of people who will eventually cohabit outside of marriage could reach 80 percent or more."* This is pretty remarkable considering just 20-30 years ago cohabitation was still considered relatively taboo. With so much societal support for cohabitation, what does one say to the couple considering moving in together. Here are a few thoughts from a pastor who wants the very best for you, your significant other, and your future family.

Thought #1
Your faith should affect your relationship.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then the relationship you share with Him should take precedence over every other relationship you have with other people. Your relationship with Christ should impact the way you love your family, the way you relate to co-workers, and even your decision-making process when considering cohabitation. God specifically designed our most intimate personal relationships to take place inside of a marriage relationship between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24). When we put our faith in Christ, we commit ourselves to following His designs and plans for our lives. To live outside of those designs and plans is to willfully sin against Him. When we live in sin we cannot be in perfect fellowship with Him, which ought to be our goal. As a Christian you cannot pick and choose what commands you will follow and which you want to discard. Cohabitation is a sin and goes against God's design for your intimate personal relationships. If you love the person you are considering cohabiting with, then allow your faith to impact your decision and follow God's plan.

If you aren't a follower of Christ, then you don't have a faith-based decision-making process. What I would encourage you to do is to hold off on making any kind of rash decision concerning cohabitation. Speak with a pastor or counselor who can give you some counsel from an outside perspective. I would also encourage you to check out this link to learn more about what it means to put your faith in Jesus Christ.

Thought #2
Cohabitation is a poor option for deciding on marital compatibility.

Several reports show "that those who start cohabiting before deciding to marry report lower average marital quality and are more likely to divorce."* Even though in the past people have believed that "'It is usually a good idea for a couple to live together before getting married in order to find out whether they really get along.' It is worth noting that there is virtually no evidence in support of this belief."* Deciding whether you and your significant other are compatible for marriage should not involve living out a marriage situation without the commitment of marriage. To determine whether your significant other is the one God has planed for you to marry requires more than simply sharing a place to live. You should first seek God's plan for your life. The best way to do this is through prayer. This involves asking God to show you the person you ought to have a relationship with and then being willing to accept what He shows you. This means listening and being patient for His plan to unfold for you. Secondly, you should be mindful that if your significant other is not a follower of Christ like you, then the two of you are incompatible from the start. You both are coming into the relationship from different spiritual perspectives (2 Corinthians 6:14). With different spiritual perspectives you are both literally headed in different spiritual directions, especially when this life is over. The foundation for a strong marital relationship is for both spouses to have a strong personal relationship with Christ.

Thought #3
Don't sell out your faith to pay your bills.

There are plenty of people who will give you one reason for their decision to live together as being it is cheaper to keep up one household than it is two. They very well could be "playing house" at two different houses so why not go ahead and consolidate the bills. Some would say there is logic in that thinking, but it isn't worth selling out your faith to simply save some money. If you are willing to live together and one of your reasons is so you don't have double the bills, then what you're saying is that your financial standing in this life is worth more to you than your spiritual standing with God. You can never save enough money to make it worth the spiritual damage you do to your relationship with God (Matthew 16:26).

A Final Thought...

I'm not naive enough to think that this short blog post fully examines all the nuances of cohabitation. What I do believe is this, from a spiritual perspective cohabitation is a bad idea. It will affect your relationship with God and desensitize you to His voice. For the Christian, it is a blatant slap in the face to the God who sacrificed His Son to give you forgiveness of your sins and eternal life. God has a design for your intimate personal relationships and cohabitation is not it. In my humble opinion, I've seen more damage done to relationships and to people's lives because of cohabitation than I have any positives from it. Before jumping into a cohabitation situation, really think about the unseen spiritual consequences of the decision you are looking to make. The immediate benefits of living together will never outweigh the eternal spiritual harm it causes.

Just a few thoughts from a pastor who wants the very best for you, your significant other, and your future family.

*The study quoted above can be found here:

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