Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Couples Who Aren’t Married Living Together
There are many couples living together without the legal commitment of marriage in our society. What is surprising is the number of professing Christians who choose to live together without the benefit of marriage. Is it alright for unmarried couples to live together? Our society thinks it is, but is this topic covered in the Bible? Since more churches and families are increasingly faced with this question we will deal with this subject in this posting.
Let’s look at what the Old Testament has to say first and then we’ll look at what the New Testament has regarding is it alright for unmarried couples to live together. Genesis 2:18-25 describes marriage as a divine institution. God presented Adam with Eve and established the first marriage. Genesis 2:24 is the basis for all future marriages: “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.” God’s intention was that sexual relationships between a man and a woman should occur only after a legal covenant was established. The covenant was to provide security and a formal obligation that could not be easily abandoned.
The Scripture stands against the arguments, “Everyone is doing it. It’s the new way. It’s accepted in society.” That may all be true, but just because a path seems right doesn’t make it so. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 5 says, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven … a time to embrace and a time to refrain.” The right time for living together is after marriage — not the year before; not the month before; not the night before. There is a time to embrace, and a time to refrain.
You might be thinking that my mind is in the gutter because I’m making the assumption that if two people are living together that are having sex. Most of the time, couples are “kicking the tires” of their relationship by living together before getting married. They think if they can live together then they think that their marriage will last; and since they are trying things out they are having sex. That goes against the Bible in every aspect. Let’s look at some New Testament passages.
Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” The marriage bed can only be kept pure when the sexual relationship is kept within marriage. Anything else brings God’s judgment. Everyone thinks that they are above the norm and what is written down will not happen to them; that they can get away with it; that the rule doesn’t apply to them. For those people who are thinking that let’s look at Galatians 6:7-8; “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Although the original word in the Greek means “to sneer or to scorn,” the English word “mock” is instructive when it comes to living together; “To mock” means “to imitate, to pretend in order to deceive.” You can’t do that to God (He is all-knowing after all) without consequences, and you can’t do that with marriage. Living together is literally a mockery or imitation of marriage in that it does not require a public commitment or lifetime vow of faithfulness.
Different people live together for different reasons. If you a Christian; you are a child of God and thus held to a higher standard than the world. I laid out just a few Scripture passages on what the Bible says about unmarried people living together. While doing research on this, I came across the below statistics that I feel will be beneficial for you to read if you are living with someone who is not your spouse or if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend trying to talk you into moving in together.
Here are some statistics on living together before marriage from Michael McManus, the president of Marriage Savers.
• More than eight out of ten couples who live together will break up either before the wedding or afterwards in divorce.
• About 45 percent of those who begin cohabiting do not marry. Another 5-10 percent continue to live together and do not marry.
• Couples who do marry after living together are 50% more likely to divorce than those who did not.
• Only 12 percent of couples who have begun their relationship with cohabitation end up with a marriage lasting 10 years or more.
• A Penn State study reports that even a month’s cohabitation decreases the quality of the couple’s relationship.
Here are some more statistics relating to the children of cohabiting parents.
• Children of cohabiting parents are ten times more likely to be sexually abused by a stepparent than by a parent.
• Children of cohabiting parents are three times as likely to be expelled from school or to get pregnant as teenagers than children from an intact home with married parents.
• Children of cohabiting parents are five times more apt to live in poverty, and 22 times more likely to incarcerated.
I do hope that you find the above information useful. The goal of this blog is to equip God’s people to better know His word. Our society is attacking the Bible as not being relevant for today, but the opposite is true. What the Bible has to say can change our society for the better if they have “ears to hear” and “eyes to see.” Use this information as a tool to teach and not as a weapon if you know of a fellow Christian living with someone they are not married to. You are not the Holy Spirit, so allow God to work on them. We are called to love one another and hold each other accountable (with love).