cohabitation and why I’m not a fan of it

Someone asked me not too long ago if I wrote about cohabitation in my soon-to-be published book on single-ness. I did.

Spoiler alert: I’m not a fan.

And I’m not just against it for 20-something graduate students. I’m against it for fifty-year-olds and grandparents too.

I used to think people moved in together because of sex, but that can’t be it. There have to be other reasons that people are suddenly good with sharing households but not last names.

Maybe it’s because people don’t even know the good stuff when they see it. Living together outside of marriage is like ordering a Big Mac, but then deciding you want it without the special sauce, cheese, and pickles. Hello! Those are the very things that make a Big Mac a Big Mac.

Maybe it’s because people are lazy. Learning to respect your husband and love your wife–no matter what–demands willpower and discipline. Promising before your heavenly Father to devote yourself fully to another person is hard work.

Maybe it’s because people are greedy. Living together outside of marriage isn’t just for struggling artists anymore. Now our parents and grandparents are doing it too. If they get married, they lose insurance or benefits. It’s not  about love. It’s about money.

Maybe it’s because they actually don’t want their relationship to thrive. Research tells us that couples who live together outside of marriage more than double their chances of getting a divorce. That means fifty to eighty percent of cohabitating couples who get married end up divorcing. So I have to wonder if, knowing the stats, these couples actually want their relationship to work out in the first place.

Maybe it’s because the Church is often scared to speak. When was the last time we, as Christians, had the courage to say, “I care about you, Jack and Jill. I want the two of you to live a long, blessed life together. And that’s why I don’t want you to be on the receiving end of God’s anger by living together outside of marriage, no matter what the reason is”?

I’m chief of sinners. I’ve never expressed that kind of concern to a couple living together outside of the order God intended for them. But this is the year I pray God gives me the strength to.  Because these people matter. And their salvation matters.

pencils

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So, let’s be bold. This year, as Christians, let’s talk about the joys of marriage. No more saying to singles,  “Well, enjoy your time as a single, because once you get married, it’s all over!” Instead, let’s be purposeful in reminding one another that, with prayer and forgiveness and God’s blessing, marriage is the most fulfilling relationship a person can ever know.

Tell people! Rejoice in your husband or wife! High five your spouse!

Because marriage really is one of God’s kindest and most contenting gifts.

Let’s speak up when people say, “Oh, everybody’s doing it.” There’s 313 million people in America. 7.5 million are living together. I’m not great at math, but I’m pretty sure we can infer from those facts that everybody’s NOT doing it.

Let’s encourage our pastors. Ask him to teach you and your congregation about why living together outside of marriage is so dangerous to the couple, how it breaks families and congregations and friends apart, how it incurs the very wrath of God on that couple (see Romans 1:18ff).  Ask him to preach to the married and the single. Encourage him to work through John 4 with you.

{Because if ever there was proof that the Lord pays attention to the living habits of His people, Jesus’s words, “For you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband” is it.}

Let’s pray. The Lord is merciful, and He promises to hear and answer the pray of each one of us sinners–whether we are sinning sexually, financially, theologically, verbally. His heart is moved by the prayers of the faithful. His forgiveness is endless.  His Gospel soothes consciences. His love envelopes.

Let’s let these men and women know they matter to the Church. They matter to us. They matter to Christ.

Society labels it cohabitation. The Church knows it’s sin.

Let’s pray that it’s an opportunity for repentance, for forgiveness, for God’s grace to abound.

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4 thoughts on “cohabitation and why I’m not a fan of it

  1. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after going through many
    of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking
    it and checking back often!

  2. Maybe its because our egos demand a big production of a wedding that costs tens of thousands of dollars and we foolishly think that we’ll be able to afford later what we can’t afford today.

  3. “I don’t want you to be on the recieving end of God’s anger????????” Yeah, that will work just dandy! WTHeck? How about we approach them with the benefits of marriage. The courage it will take and the how it’s not going to be easy like any relationship. Name one relationship you’ve ever had that went perfectly! The benefits outweigh the means. It’s like any other apologetic; Give them Christ. Give them God’s word. Not the punishment for the crime, not the threat. Tell them it’s like any other sin that Christ has died and risen personally for them for! Why did Luther write the explaination of the sixth commandment and why does Jesus himself point out that it’s not JUST THE DEED! We have all commited adultery. We do it everyday! We are forgiven and that is the difference. Give them that forgiveness, not a threat. Give them the hope of CHRIST! If you’re a pastor then marry them on the spot! Why wait another moment. Let them confess their sin like any other and absolve them and then make it right, right there before God and rejoice! It’s not about the party, people. Let us rejoice in those vocations that He has blessed us with; spouse, it may be one of the best He may or may not give to you.

  4. Thanks for the excellent admonition. You know, keeping the marriage bed pure (Heb. 13) isn’t just talking about intercourse. It’s talking about the whole thing from desiring, meeting, dating, marriage, and praying for God’s wisdom in keeping those vows. What a comfort for us who are single or married to know our times are in the Lord’s hands. (Ps. 31:15) He gifts us with the vocations of singleness or marriage through the people, events, and circumstances of our lives. Looking very much forward to your book.

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