Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Living Together First Can Spoil Marriage, Study Finds

Living Together First Can Spoil Marriage, Study Finds - FOXNews.com

Let us first consider some of the statistics contained in this article:

The study questioned about 1000 couples between the ages of 18 and 34 who had been married for no more than ten years. Of these:

  • 40% [Yes, only 40%!] did not live together (cohabit) prior to their marriage.
  • 16% only lived together after they were engaged.
  • 43% were cohabiting before engagement.
No word on the other 1%.

Percentages of these groups which had ever "suggested divorce":
  • 10% among those who did not cohabit prior to marriage.
  • 12% among those who only lived together after they were engaged.
  • 19% among those who cohabited before engagement.
Back to more of those statistics in a moment. There are a few key Bible principles worth noting here.
  • ALL sexual activity outside of the marriage relationship is sin. Period. The Bible speaks strongly about adultery, fornication, homosexuality/sodomy, incest, etc., referring to them in strong terms and promising inescapable judgment (see, for examples, Ex. 20:14; Heb. 13:4; Prov. 6:26-29, 32-33; Rom. 1:24-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Matt. 15:19-20; and many others)
  • ALL lust outside the marriage relationship is sin. Period. I believe this is a sub-part of the 10th Commandment (Ex. 20:17, Thou shalt not covet...thy neighbor's wife...; see also Rom. 7:7), but there are plenty of other affirmations that lust is sin in such passages as Matt. 5:27-28; Rom. 1:27 (a reference to homosexual lust); James 1:15; 1 John 2:16-17; and many others.
  • Marriage is good! In addition to the blessings of companionship and family that it brings, it is what God designed for procreation and the satisfaction of physical desires. God provided Adam with Eve at the very beginning (Gen. 2:18-24), and it has been part of His plan ever since.
It should not surprise us that when two people violate God's commands and embark upon their own path of desire, that they are less likely to have a successful marriage.

I also wanted to make note of the three most common reasons given by cohabiting couples for choosing to cohabit, beginning with the one most given:
  • Spending more time together
  • Made sense financially
  • Wanted to "test out the relationship" before marriage
The first reason is, in a word, weak. My wife and I spent lots of time together before marriage without moving in with each other; it is simply a matter of time priorities. Furthermore, with e-mail, cell phones, and other technologies (that I wish we had about seventeen years ago), that special someone is rarely more than a moment away.

The second reason promotes pragmatism over principle. Not good.

The third reason is particularly weak, and sad. Marriage is a commitment, a vow—the most sacred vow a man and a woman can ever make. It is not to be entered into lightly. To commence immorality on the pretense of "testing it out" is a grand mistake. And really, I think that is what is really meant by "testing it out." If you want to know your beloved's feelings on what to do with the towels once they have been used, or whether the toilet paper should go over the top, or how often the dishes should be done, or what time they go to bed, just ask them. Or observe them, as the case might be.

Marriage is sacred, and must be treated as such.

Kudos to Tommy B. for bringing this article to my attention.

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