The following are quotes and thoughts from various resources on the subject of Sex Before Marriage and Living Together. We pray they will minister to your situation.

Key for quote - business concept• God has designed sexual expression to be experienced within the context of a permanent love relationship. (See Genesis 2:24-25.) Christians who believe this should realize that sex will be fulfilling in a lasting way only in the context of marriage. If we pick a wildflower and take it from its natural environment, it wilts quickly. So, too, the satisfaction of sex is short-lived when it is torn from the setting for which God designed it. (Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt, The Myth of Romance)

• Sex symbolizes covenant fulfillment. If you have sex with someone you’re not married to, you tell a lie with your body. Your body testifies that a spiritual, supernatural and legal joining has taken place, when in fact it hasn’t. Not only that, your behavior also tells a lie about God and the nature of His covenant. You throw mud at the supernatural storyline that your body was created to honor. According to the Bible, the only sex that faithfully tells God’s covenant story is sex that takes place within a marriage covenant. Not “I’m-just having-a-fling” sex. Not co-habiting sex. Not “I’m engaged” sex. Not “I’m-so-in-love-it-doesn’t-matter” sex. According to the Bible, marital sex is the only sex that glorifies God. (Mary Kassian, from the article, “Necessities for God-Glorifying Sex”)

• Three times in the Song of Solomon, we are warned not to “Arouse or awaken love before its time. Solomon does it right by waiting in order to give himself fully to his bride. My challenge to you is to avoid any contact that would arouse or lead to arousal before it’s time. It will be worth the wait! (Dr Gary Smalley)

• When we awaken love before it’s time, love awakens as immature and ill-prepared to handle the ups and downs of life. Love can’t sustain itself. Think of an orchid, there is a way to flick the petals where they open pre-maturely, it’s beautiful but it also withers sooner than it would have if it had opened during a natural progression of time. Just as that orchid can’t be closed again, love can’t be put back to sleep once it’s aroused. God is crying out to His daughters in these passages (Song of Songs 2:7; Song of Songs 3:5; Song of Songs 8:4) that we need to wait for correct timing. Everything done in order and timing thrives. Love birthed in correct timing is lasting. (Pastor Susan, from article, Don’t Awaken Love Before It So Desires)

• God designed sex for oneness in marriage. …He designed it as a means of intimate communication between a man and a woman who have committed themselves to each other for life. In any other context, the purpose of sex gets twisted. (Sexual Intimacy in Marriage” by William Cutrer, MD and Sandra Glahn)

• We have to understand that in God’s sight, when a man and woman marry and join their bodies together, when a husband and wife make love, it is a living picture of the spiritual reality of marriage —two people melded into one. But this physical joining is only one part of the union. Marriage is the combining of a man and woman at every level —not just sexually but emotionally, spiritually, and in every other way. In God’s plan, sexual union was never meant to be separated from this total union. C. S. Lewis compares having sex outside of marriage to a person who enjoys the sensation of chewing and tasting food, but doesn’t want to swallow the food and digest it. This is a perversion of God’s intent. Food was meant to be chewed and also swallowed. In a similar way, the sex act was meant to be part of the whole-life union of marriage. When we attempt to experience sex apart from this union, we’re disrespecting and dishonoring marriage. (Joshua Harris, Sex is Not the Problem —Lust is)

• Once the [engagement] ring is on the finger [a false type of] rationalization begins: “We’re married in the eyes of God, and we’re committed to each other for life, so why wait?” Many young women [and men] who have abstained until they are engaged believe that being engaged is a license to go ahead. It is not. In spite of your rationalization, until the minister says, “I now pronounce you man and wife,” you are not joined. Marriage requires discipline —including sexual discipline —and if you cannot be disciplined during the engagement, you will have some problems down the road. (Kay Coles James, What I Wish I’d Known before I God Married)

• If unmarried, we are to remain sexually pure. That means more than abstaining from vaginal intercourse. It involves abstaining from fondling genitals, oral sex, and physical pleasuring that leads to orgasm. The biblical word is porneia, which is often translated “fornication,” but involves a wide range of sexual practices. It bears repeating that the question to ask is not “How far can I go?” but “What standard of purity honors God?” Such a standard is not what we will view on TV or at the movies or read in magazines or on blogs. Yet it is clearly what God desires and has determined as best for our well-being. (Sexual Intimacy in Marriage” by William Cutrer, MD and Sandra Glahn)

• When we turn to what the Bible has to say about sex outside of marriage, it’s not hard to sum up the message. Don’t do it. From the Ten Commandments in Exodus to the laws of Leviticus 18, to the instructions of Paul in 1 Corinthians 6-7 to the public embarrassment that attached to the Virgin Mary, the Bible is clear that God’s standard is that sex is to be reserved for marriage, and marriage alone. And unlike much that you’ll find on the shelves of your local Christian bookstore, the Bible doesn’t spend much time trying to justify that standard. You won’t find a verse that says “Thou shalt wait, because it’s better in marriage.” There is no chapter in Scripture that touts the protection from physical disease and emotional heartache that comes from monogamy, although both of those things are true.

Instead, the Bible says things like, You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God(Leviticus 18:4). Or, Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

The Bible teaches that we should reserve sexual intimacy for marriage for no other reason than that, if we are Christians, we belong to God. Sex outside of marriage is not only a sin against ourselves and our partner, but a fraudulent misrepresentation of God and a cruel distortion of the intimacy he created to be a picture of the eternal intimacy of the Trinity itself. (From the article, “Sex Is Not About Waiting” by Michael Lawrence)

• Matt. 5:28 commands men to not check out women. I used to think that guys were SUPPOSED to check out girls, it was natural for them. But Christ says it’s the same as committing adultery. So what does that have to do with us?If you knew you could save someone in your family from heartache and trouble, would you try as hard as you could to do so? Why wouldn’t you do the same for your spiritual brother? The guy you date, if he’s a Christian, is your brother in Christ. You can protect him by not purposefully dressing in a way that he’ll want to check you out. A daughter of the King doesn’t intentionally want guys to check her out but cares for her brother by dressing in a way that glorifies God.

You also protect your brother when you act in way that does not cause him to stumble sexually. He could be pressuring you to do certain things and you are going along with him, or you could be pressuring him. Either way you’re not protecting him and you’re not protecting his future wife. You don’t know for sure if you both are meant to be together, but you do know he has a future wife. So live in such a way that protects everyone. (Diane Montgomery, from article, “Sexual Purity Means Using Protection”)

• I know this is very counter-cultural, but remaining pure prior to marriage should be of utmost importance to Christian men and women —young or old. Sadly, it’s not. What is of the utmost importance to far too many is money and careers, having a house and car, achieving, attaining and acquiring things. So they sell out purity and righteousness for financial security and creature comforts. They date for four, five, six, seven years and end up having sex with the other person, defying the plan of God for marriage simply because they “can’t afford” to follow His way and get married. Really?  Good luck explaining your reasons to God.

My general rule of thumb on dating is this: If you can’t see yourself marrying in the next 18 months to two years, don’t date. Dating should not last more than a couple of years or you will, most assuredly, end up in sexual compromise. Couples who are virgins when they marry have a fraction of the divorce rate compared to those who were sexually active prior to marriage. (See the following article for studies that show this:  Premarital sex and divorce: Is there a link?) (Mark Gungor, from article, “Don’t Date Until You Marry)

In some of the bad marriages that I have seen, I ask the question, “Did you fall into premarital sex?” Usually, the answer is yes, and I tell them, “Your relationship probably wouldn’t have endured to the altar if you hadn’t had premarital sex. You just kept spraying lighter fluid on this thing.” But the real coals and embers weren’t there. (Pastor Tommy Nelson)

Live in such a way that’s above reproach so there’s not even a whiff of sexual immorality in your life. If that means a couple is never alone but God’s temple is honored (1 Corinthians 6:19), so be it! If that means always keeping a door open if you’re in each other’s rooms but the Gospel is not maligned because of that, so be it! If that means waiting to kiss or hold hands for months after dating but no one can accuse you of any immorality, but instead they want to know your Lord and Savior, then so be it! What it comes down to is, which do you love more: yourself or Christ? (Diane Montgomery, from article, “Sexual Purity Means Using Protection”)

• We have to understand that in God’s sight, when a man and woman marry and join their bodies together sexually, something spiritual occurs —they really do become “one.” When a husband and wife make love, it is a living picture of the spiritual reality of marriage —two people melded into one. But this physical joining is only one part of the union. Marriage is the combining of a man and woman at every level —not just sexually but emotionally, spiritually, and in every other way.

In God’s plan, sexual union was never meant to be separated from this total union. C. S. Lewis compares having sex outside of marriage to a person who enjoys the sensation of chewing and tasting food, but doesn’t want to swallow the food and digest it. This is a perversion of God’s intent. Food was meant to be chewed and also swallowed. In a similar way, the sex act was meant to be part of the whole-life union of marriage. When we attempt to experience sex apart from this union, we’re disrespecting and dishonoring marriage. (Joshua Harris, Sex is Not the Problem —Lust is)

Tom Elliff: Couples come to us sometimes and blush, “We want to get married.” “Well, are you sleeping around?” “Yes, that’s why we need to hurry up and get married.” I say, “Then that’s the last thing you need to do right now. The person that God has for you is going to make you more holy not less holy, more in love with Jesus not less in love with Jesus, a more effective worker, a better student, better with his parents and her parents not less. The very fact that you’re frustrated and violating every commandment of God means you ought not to get married. You ought to back up, grow up, deepen your relationship with God before you ever consider being married, because if you bring out the worst in each other when you’re dating, you’re really going to bring out the worst in each other when you marry.” Dennis Rainey: I couldn’t agree more. If there is compromise in courtship, where is the trust going to be there after the covenant is established? That covenant is not some magical binding relational agreement. It’s an accountability before God that you better be experiencing both before and after it’s established.

TOM: Sex before marriage is a revelation of your real value system. It says in spite of all that I say about how much I love you and how much I love God and how much I’m going to serve Him, the bottom line, the thing that motivates me more than anything else is this —I get what I want. Even if you have to be guilty before God, even if I have to defile the temple of God when the Scripture says “Whosoever defiles the temple of God, him shall God destroy.” I am willing for you to do that so I can have a few minutes of pleasure —a terrible revelation of a terrible value system. DENNIS: And one that you don’t want to begin a marriage with that being the basis. You want to begin a marriage with trust. Tom: It just says I can’t be trusted. Dennis: Yes, and you want to trust when that covenant is established. (Tom Elliff and Dennis Rainey, from the Family Life Today radio broadcast: Pre-Marriage Pre-Requisites)

For single women, it’s important to understand how God views sex so that it’s not misused. There is right worship and there is wrong worship. Wrong worship brought death to Aaron’s sons when they offered the wrong fire and incense before God. To look at this literally, you can say that sex outside of marriage brings about death to our spirits, as well as to our sense of well-being or esteem. In some cases, it brings death to our bodies through sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, and the fatal attractions that are a result of soul ties from the sexual union. (Michelle McKinney Hammond, The Power of Femininity)

• Some who want to know exactly “how far they can go” in dating ask this question in honest ignorance. But others, in asking this question, betray a desire to go as far as they can without “crossing the line.” Such a desire is legalistic and self-centered. The point is not to determine a legally defined “line,” but to promote the emotional and spiritual well-being of both partners in the relationship. (Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt, The Myth of Romance)

• When we date seriously, or are engaged, we are trying to build a relationship suited to lifelong commitment to each other. We have to expend a great deal of effort learning to communicate deeply with each other, build healthy spiritual habits, and serve others as a team. Lack of sexual self-control will inhibit development in all of these areas. This is one of the worst consequences of immoral sex: At the very time we most need personal and spiritual development, our loss of self-control blocks our progress. (Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt, The Myth of Romance)

• Research indicates that once an uncommitted couple gets involved in sexual intercourse, the relationship usually begins to end. They have reached the superficial end of the physical aspects of the relationship, and they have no particularly compelling reason to explore its depths. (Chip Ingram, Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships)

In the midst of premarital sex, the worst of couples feels like it’s a great relationship, and that’s one of the great problems with premarital sex. It’s not just that it is sin, but it creates a deception, and it retards the real development of the deeper things. The reason that a couple falls into premarital sex a lot of times is because of the pure novelty of eroticism. Premarital sex that occurs in spontaneity, in combustion, on an eroticism scale of 1 to 10, that’s about a 12. And you can’t maintain that in marriage. When you get married, it’s not going to be this explosive kind of thing that takes off. Oh, every once in a while things happen, but generally it’s going to be the expression of character, it’s going to come out of this fountain of character.

When you get into premarital sex, you go around the character. What happens, though, when you get into marriage, is that premarital stuff doesn’t happen like it used to. Now sex takes place at the end of the day when the man comes in, the woman is doing her deal, they put those kids down, they shower up, brush teeth, clean up, psych themselves up —”all right, it’s time for sex, here we go.” It’s an act of the will. You say, “You’re kidding.” Trust me. If that fountain is not there, of the fear of God, love, servant-hood, kindness, courtesy, helping each other, taking out the trash —if all of those expressions of piety, theology, and Christ-likeness aren’t there, sex isn’t going to happen. You’re going to go frigid. And that’s why couples that get into premarital sex create a deception, they retard the building of what it takes to really develop a relationship, and they build that thing, they cross that bridge on a bridge of balsa. It’s on Styrofoam. They get into marriage, the fountain of piety isn’t there, and now it just becomes frustration, manipulation, the attempt to kick in the eroticism, and it doesn’t work, and you end up just busting it up. (Pastor Tommy Nelson, from Family Life Today broadcast: Unity)

But what if we get married and find out we’re completely incompatible? Answer: You will find out you’re incompatible —in a hundred different ways. Every married couple does. But a successful marriage isn’t based so much on compatibility as on a commitment to work through the incompatibilities. You don’t need that level of commitment just to live together, so your relationship is missing a vital element right from the beginning. (From article titled, “We’re Moving in Together”)

• Seldom, if ever, do the circumstances of living together transform the two people of a marriage into an ever-loving, ever-agreeable, happy pair. A happy marriage involves a much greater challenge than simply finding a partner with whom you “live happily ever after.” It is more than some strange chemistry that draws and holds you together forever. Soon after the wedding day you realize that marriage is a test of your character. (Henry Brandt and Kerry Skinner from the book, Marriage God’s Way)

You may believe that living together is a good way to find out if you are compatible —a sort of “test drive” that will improve your chances for marital success. While this seems to make sense intuitively, actually the opposite is true. Research indicates that couples who cohabit before marriage have a 50% higher divorce rate than those who don’t. These couples also have higher rates of domestic violence and are more likely to be involved in sexual affairs. If a cohabiting couple gets pregnant, there is a high probability that the man will leave the relationship within two years, resulting in a single mom raising a fatherless child. The best way to test your compatibility for marriage is to abstain from sex, date for at least one year before engagement and participate in a structured, premarital counseling program, which includes psychological testing. (Bill Maier, Ph.D.)

• There’s no condom for the brain or the heart. So when you have sex before marriage you’re playing with fire that will most certainly burn you at some point in your life… especially in your marriage relationship. (Unknown)

When you’re intimate with someone other than your spouse, you’ll have those memories from “the other person” to come back to haunt you later. (And the enemy of our faith would like nothing better than to have weapons available to use to unsettle your thoughts toward your spouse at a later date.) What if the other person kisses better or does other intimate actions with you that you eventually remember enjoying better than the love-making you’re experiencing with your spouse? It’s better to have nothing in your memory bank with which to compare those intimate times than to have those thoughts trying to crowd into your mind as you’re being intimate with your spouse. (Cindy Wright)

• Unless she’s married she should give him no reason to presume she belongs to him. (Elisabeth Elliot)

• You aren’t to “know” of someone [sexually] outside of marriage. (Elisabeth Elliot)

But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is the proper among saints; and no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:3-4 NASB)

• Immoral sex is never safe sex. (Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt, The Myth of Romance)

• The consequences of pre-marriage sexual experiences carry over into marriage and you’ll have to deal with them. They don’t go away once you’re married. The past partners and experiences will come into your relationship with your husband. There’ll be insecurities on both sides: “Am I good enough? Is she comparing me to them?” The world tells you, “You need to see if you’re compatible sexually. They might be the one, so go ahead.” But God says, “Trust me, I have someone for you and when you marry that person you won’t regret saving yourself. If you don’t, when you finally marry, you’ll have wished with everything in you that you had waited and kept your marriage bed undefiled (Hebrews 13:4).” A wise person once told me, “You’ll never regret taking it slow in relationships, but you’ll always regret going too fast.” (Diane Montgomery, from article, “Sexual Purity Means Using Protection”)
We are to refuse to take, exploit, cheapen, defraud, or substitute sexual activity for genuine love and authentic intimacy. In order to understand this paradigm, we’ve got to remember that sex is not wrong and God is no prude. Sex is not a sin to be avoided but a gift to be cherished. You and I want genuine intimacy. We want to have relationships that matter. We long for someone to feel deeply loved because of us. We also want to be loved and cherished and cared for by someone else. [In Ephesians 5:3-4, the Apostle] Paul says certain things will squelch and destroy love and break relationships. These are crucial warnings. If we are going to love somebody, we will not take, exploit, or cheapen him or her. We will not engage in sexual activity to create pseudo-intimacy that’s false because we don’t really care and we’re not really committed. We won’t substitute sex for authentic intimacy. (Chip Ingram, Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships)

• MARRIAGE MYTH: Couples who live together before marriage, and are thus able to test how well suited they are for each other, have more satisfying and longer-lasting marriages than couples that don’t. Many studies have found that those who live together before marriage have less satisfying marriages and a considerably higher chance of eventually breaking up. One reason is that people who cohabit may be more skittish of commitment and more likely to call it quits when problems arise. In addition, the very act of living together may lead to attitudes that make happy marriages more difficult. The findings of one recent study, for example, suggest, “There may be less motivation for cohabiting partners to develop their conflict resolution and support skills.” (Smartmarriages® Subject: Top 10 Myths of Marriage- Popenoe/Piece of Paper schedule)

• MYTH #1: Living together is a good way to “test the water.” Many couples say that they want to live together to see if they are compatible, not realizing that cohabitation is more a preparation for divorce than a way to strengthen the likelihood of a successful marriage —the divorce rates of women who cohabit are nearly 80 percent higher than those who do not. In fact, studies indicate that cohabiting couples have lower marital quality and increased risk of divorce. Further, cohabiting relationships tend to be fragile and relatively short in duration; less than half of cohabiting relationships last five or more years. Typically, they last about 18 months. (Janice Shaw Crouse PhD, from the Crosswalk article, “The Myths and Reality of Living Together Without Marriage”)

• Contrary to what many people believe, “test driving” a relationship by living together before marriage also reduces the odds of success. The exact reasons are unclear. It may be that couples make riskier picks with a live-in partner than they would with a potential spouse. Or couples who defer marriage and opt to live together first may do so because they have trouble with commitment. After they move in together, some couples eventually walk down the aisle as a result of inertia, not love. Undoing the entanglements of a live-in relationship can be a hassle, especially if the couple has children, Scott Stanley (co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver) said. Sliding into marriage becomes “a transition without a decision,” Stanley said. “For a lot of young people, it’s not a real deliberative thing. They’re not really thinking, ‘Are you the one?’ ‘Am I the one?'” (Kyung M. Song from the Seattle Times article, “Marriage as Learned Behavior: Can Divorce be Foretold?”)

• The Houston Chronicle reported that couples who live together before marriage have an 80 percent greater chance of divorce after they are married than those who don’t cohabit first. A Washington State researcher discovered that women who cohabit with a man are twice as likely to experience domestic violence as are married women. The National Center for Mental Health revealed that the incidence of depression among cohabiting women is four times greater than that among married women, and two times greater than depression among unmarried women.

In a survey of more than 100 couples who lived together, 71 percent of the women said they would not live-in again. In practice, cohabiting couples who marry —many of whom already have children —are about 33 percent more likely to divorce than are couples who don’t live together before their nuptials Virgin brides, on the other hand, are less likely to divorce than are sexually experienced women who entered marriage. Evidence strongly suggests that, while test driving a car might be a good idea, “trying out” one’s future partner is not. (From the book “Sexual Intimacy in Marriage” by William Cutrer, MD and Sandra Glahn)

• Why does this issue of cohabitation always get so much attention? There are at least three reasons. First, it’s something that is connected to values for people, so debates about cohabitation are not just about cohabitation, they are also about religious beliefs and other values. Those are important issues, but my observations here are focused only on the science. Second, younger people tend to believe that cohabitation lowers their risks in marriage, so reports that it’s not associated with benefits, or even associated with risk, have gotten a lot of attention. People are interested in this.  Third, cohabitation is important societally because it’s increasingly the context for childbearing and rearing, and cohabiting relationships are much more fragile than marriages. That makes it an important subject in our national discourse. (Scott Stanley – Research Professor, University of Denver)

Researcher Scott Stanley’s case is this: Women living unmarried with guys and expecting a lasting, committed marriage down the line had better review their options. His research finds that men who cohabit with the women they eventually marry are less committed to the union than men who never lived with their spouses ahead of time. Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, says the evidence from his research is so strong that cohabiting women “should be very careful about how aligned they are with a particular man if he does not show any strong sense of marriage and a future together.” Men who either drift into marriage “through inertia” following a cohabiting arrangement or who are “dragged down the aisle” by women who finally put their feet down aren’t good marriage risks, he says. (Karen S. Peterson, in the USA TODAY article, “Cohabiting is Not the Same as Commitment”)

• Cohabitation: At least half of all newlyweds have lived together first, researchers say. And David Popenoe, a Rutgers University sociologist, estimates that two-thirds of people who marry have lived with somebody else first. Live-in unions are more fragile than marriages. About 41% of unmarried opposite-sex couples living together have children younger than 18 at home. But sociologists Pamela Smock and Wendy Manning have found that children born to couples who live together have about twice the risk of seeing their parents split than those with married biological parents. (The State of Our Unions – By Rick Hampson and Karen S. Peterson USA TODAY Feb 26, 2004)

David Popenoe, (a Rutgers sociology professor) says living together is often chosen by a child of divorce and reflects a lower commitment relationship than marriage. “People get in the habit of expecting relationships to be low-commitment ones that they can easily get out of,” Popenoe says. “Then they get into marriage and, if they have that attitude, it’s probably the biggest reason the divorce rate is so high. People lack the commitment to marriage that once existed.” (Cohabiting Is Not the Same as Commitment – by Karen S. Peterson, USA TODAY July 8, 2002)

“In focus groups, WOMEN perceive cohabitation as a step before marriage to that partner, whereas MEN are tending to see cohabitation as something to do before you make a commitment,” says Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, a social historian. …Scott Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver and author of The Power of Commitment, has found similar results. “Men who live with women they eventually marry aren’t as committed to the union as those who didn’t live with their mates before tying the knot”, he says. (Karen S. Peterson, from USA TODAY article: “Cohabitation is Replacing Dating”)

• Cohabiting not only leads to higher divorce rates, says research, but it’s highly unstable: half of all co-habitees’ relationships last less than a year and 90% end within five years, mostly because couples break up, according to a new study by New York’s Cornell University, published in the journal Demography in May. We know cohabiting couples are less assured than married couples, and tend to be more violent with reduced concern for fidelity. Cohabiting men and women also share a greater likelihood of depression than their married counterparts. (Jennifer Parks, from the Edmonton Sun article: “Perils of Living in Sin – Shacking up isn’t always a guarantee of marriage”)

• Myth: Cohabiting relationships are more egalitarian than marriage. It is common knowledge that women and children suffer more poverty after a cohabiting relationship breaks up, but it’s not so well understood that there is typically an economic imbalance in favor of the man within such relationships, too. While couples who live together say that they plan to share expenses equally, more often than not the women support the men. Studies show that women typically contribute more than 70 percent of the income in a cohabiting relationship. Likewise, the women tend to do more of the cleaning, cooking and laundry. If they are students, as is often the case, and facing economic or time constraints that require a reduction in class load, it is almost invariably the woman, not the man, who drops a class. (Janice Shaw Crouse PhD, from the Crosswalk article, “The Myths and Reality of Living Together Without Marriage”)

Cohabitation is just like marriage, but without “the piece of paper.” Cohabitation typically doesn’t bring the benefits (in physical health, wealth, and emotional well being) that marriage does. In terms of these benefits cohabitants in the United States more closely resemble singles than married couples. This is due, in part, to the fact that cohabitants tend not to be as committed as married couples, and they’re more oriented toward their own personal autonomy and less to the well being of their partner. (From: Smartmarriages® Subject: “TOP 10 MYTHS OF MARRIAGE- Popenoe/Piece of Paper schedule”)

• Living together without the benefit of marriage can be harmful for the children since the relationship is not a committed one and therefore lacks stability and is more prone to break-up. For the children of such unions when the couple breaks up there may as well be a divorce. The lack of official papers does nothing to make a split easier on the kids. (Rabbi Shea Hecht, Pondering the Divorce Rate,

• 80% of children in co-habiting families are under the age of 6, in part because these families are two to three times more likely to break up in a child’s early years than married families. But the preliminary evidence strongly suggests that, even when cohabiting families stick together, children don’t fare as well on average as when they are blessed with a mother and father who got and stay married. That makes sense, if you think about it. What is a man saying when he marries? That he and his child and the child’s mother are one family unit, and they will be his most important priority; that he will be faithful to his wife, and that he will share his time, love, energy and money. People don’t always live up to their ideals, but it helps to begin with the right idea.

By contrast, when a man refuses to marry, what is he saying? Something like this: “I reserve the right to find someone better in the future, which includes the right to break up this family, the right to make love and children with another woman in the future. And by the way, my money is my own. What I choose to share with you, I hope you’ll be grateful for.” Naturally, no decent guy would say things like that out loud to the woman who is having his baby. But actions speak far louder than words, and so does inaction. (Maggie Gallagher from the article: “Be a Man, Get a Wife sent by Smart Marriages)

• Three quarters of all family breakdowns affecting young children now involve unmarried parents, new research suggests. The findings indicate that family breakdown is no longer driven by divorce, but by the collapse of unmarried partnerships. …The findings show that it is no longer plausible to argue that all relationship types were equal, researchers said. “The evidence is irrefutable. Unmarried parents are five times more likely to break up than married parents. Divorce is not the major problem any more.” Penny Mansfield, director of One Plus One, said that Britain appeared to have reached a watershed in the way families were forming. Whereas couples in previous generations did their courting, got married and had children in that order, nowadays growing numbers were having children first and only then deciding whether to remain in a couple relationship.

“The problem with this approach is that having children generally destabilizes a relationship. If you are trying to figure out whether to form a partnership in the early years after having a child, it’s a bit like pedaling uphill,” she said. “What we have lost is the idea that at the heart of marriage there is a link between parents which is of value of itself. That link would then cradle the upbringing of children. Maybe we need to rediscover this link in this new world of equality,” Ms Mansfield said. (From the London Times article: Unmarried Families are More Likely to Fall Apart, as reviewed in Marriage for Life Newsletter)

• Cohabitation also deteriorates parental authority. For single parents who are interested in the spiritual training of their children, cohabitation makes the strength of their message weaker. “How can mom tell me not to do something when she moved us into his house before they were married?” I’ve heard many an adolescent ask. “Good point,” I respond. I’ll never forget hearing one child say, “We go to church, but I’m not sure why. In the end, my dad lives by convenience.  That’s why he lives with Marsha.” Parents who want children who live by God’s moral standards must themselves live by those same standards, no matter how “impractical” it may be. (Ron L. Deal, from article “The Elephant in the Bedroom”)

• We are to give our body to our spouse only within the context of a permanent marriage commitment. (See Genesis 2:24.) Anything less than this dishonors the high purpose that God intends for our sexuality. Premarital sex is, therefore, self-centered —it seeks immediate physical pleasure at the expense of God’s design for us and for our partner. It should be fairly obvious as well that those who practice premarital sex on an ongoing basis are also deliberately reserving the right to exit the relationship easily, should they decide to. In other words, when someone calls on you for premarital sex, he is really saying, “I want to use your body to satisfy my sexual appetite, but I want to remain free to reject you afterward.” (Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt, from the book, The Myth of Romance)