Cohabitation

Journal topic today in class was Valentine’s inspired: Should couples live together before marriage?  Many students gave responses like “yes, because you have to know what you’re getting into,” etc.  Some students indicated that doing so robs marriage of its specialness.

I tried to help students understand that living together is, in many ways, the opposite of marriage.  Living together is a perpetual audition.  They are both saying, “let’s give this a try and see if it works out”–knowing at any time that they can leave.  As a result, living together typically lacks the security of marriage, and hence, one of its prime benefits.  When I was young, I was very insecure, and am, in fact, still rooting out areas of insecurity in my own heart with the Lord’s help.  But something changed dramatically when I got married.  I realized my wife was not going to reject me when she learned who I really was.  She had promised to stay with me till death do us part, and I could see that she intended to keep her promise.  Her love and acceptance of me became a rock of security that allowed me to grow and become more of what God made me to be.  Honestly, I first felt this from her, and then only later have I felt that from the Lord, which is where it should have started.  It was her commitment to me that provided a place of safety in which I revealed more and more of myself without fear.  Merely living together, as a perpetual audition, lacks this security because the entire premise of the relationship is ‘I can get out easily if necessary.’  Of course, many marriages lack this as well, considering a marriage is always between two wounded people who are trying to recover from their pasts.

Ladies, do you dream about the day your boyfriend turns to you and says, “hey, let’s move in”?  No!  You dream about the ring and the romance and the wedding! Don’t give up your dream!  Make him work for you!  You are worth it!  If he won’t work to win your hand in marriage now, he definitely won’t work for you later when your relationship is having trouble and he needs to step up and make hard choices.  Trust me, that day will come.  It comes to everyone.

We also discussed why couples who lived together before marriage have higher divorce rates than those who don’t.  I’m not sure of all the reasons, but I think I know two of them.  1) Once you live together, a ceremony and a piece of paper doesn’t change your life that much.  You return from the ceremony to the same life, the same house, the same sheets and towels, the same chores and habits.  Nothing is new.  Is this going to really transform a relationship from a perpetual audition to one of firm commitment and safety?  2) the people who live with delayed gratification, who don’t give in to the temptation to move in–by doing so they develop better character.  That character serves them well when troubles come and they have to work to save their marriage.

Any other thoughts?  Please comment!

To other readers (not high school students): please understand that I am trying to help high school juniors and seniors think about their choices.  If you are living with someone outside of marriage, please know that I don’t judge you.  While I do believe that God has a better way for you, he loves you very much and that’s between the two of you.

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5 Comments

  1. this makes me miss the times i was in your class. haha. aiy. good points.

    Reply
  2. oops i forgot i already had an account on here!! hahah. but yeah, you basically have the same opinions i do, but obviously, I am unable to word it as eloquently. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Calvin Lee

     /  February 14, 2008

    i actually liked today’s journal topic. i just kinda dont like how you, me, jared, and the majority of the class share the same views, it gets bland and no arguments really came about.

    oh and did you hear? romneys endorsing mccain! jared was in awe haha.

    Reply
  4. yehzhaofeng

     /  February 15, 2008

    “Every sin that a man does is outside the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, esp. verse 18 and “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God … For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

    Reply
  5. Yes, Calvin, some classes are a bit like that. For some reason 3rd period has been a bit quiet, despite the fact that there are several students who are not shy.

    I don’t think it’s that everyone agrees, as much as it is that some are a bit timid to debate. I know that sometimes I can be a bit overwhelming to students who are not used to it. I’ve been trying to do better at often just trying to facilitate student debate rather than getting involved. It’s a hard line, and every class is different.

    Reply

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