How many times have you heard that “Well, I think we should just live together first to see if we are compatible, and then we can get married.” How many times have you saw the sight that the bride walked down the aisle who was already living together with her boyfriend. Nowadays, unmarried couples living together have increased dramatically over the past few decades. The rationale is simple: “By living together before marriage, we’ll know how compatible we are. We’ll find out the truth about a partner. We’ll have greater opportunities to observe a partner’s daily habits and routines and to see him/her in the cold light of morning. You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first, would you? You would be testing the car before you buy it, wouldn’t you?” However, this is presumptuous, naive, and wishful thinking. There is often one person in the relationship who doesn’t think in terms of a permanent, lifelong relationship. Thus, cohabitation often lacks a common purpose and has less benefit because it is not romantic. There are no lasting responsibilities. And it results in a rate of higher divorce.
First of all, cohabitation is not romantic and may kill true love. Those who live together are likely to have a fleeting romance rather than a lasting relationship. A romance is not the same as having an ongoing relationship. Relationships take time and work to develop and maintain; romance is a positive feeling toward another person. Romance without a relationship is a brief encounter at best. Romance, in today’s disposable society, is hastily devised and easily discarded at the first sign of conflict or disillusionment. There is no lasting commitment when times get tough. Good relationships are built upon knowing and enjoying each other on social, recreational, spiritual, intellectual, and communicative levels, not only the sexual level.
However, premarital sex may fool someone into marrying a person who may not be right for him or her. Sex can emotionally blind. Real love can stand the test of time without the support of physical intimacy. “If you establish a mutually satisfying sexual relationship, you lose objectivity and actually cheat on the test of time. The only way to rationally decide whether your love is for keeps is to remove any preoccupation with sexual love. Otherwise you may marry a mirage, not a person you really know.
In addition, love can never be a reason for premarital sex; rather, it is one of the greatest reasons to avoid premarital sex. True love would never seek the spiritual downfall of another. The love is patient and kind. It does not seek to please itself, nor does it delight in evil, but is always hopeful. Therefore, true love is patient in waiting for the proper time for sex. It is kind to future spouses by not pre-harming marital intimacy.
In short, premarital sex can kill romantic. Women most often see living together as romantic, while the men views the arrangement as a “practical” solution that will help them iron out differences and strengthen their love. In fact, live-in couples may find it harder to build lasting love precisely because they have lost their starry-eyed, romantic “illusions.”
Secondly, cohabitation has no lasting commitments or responsibilities. Cohabitation involves “no public commitment, no pledge for the future, no official pronouncement of love and responsibility. Theirs is essentially a private arrangement based on an emotional bond. The ‘commitment’ of living together is simply a month-to-month rental agreement. “As long as you behave yourself and keep me happy, I’ll stick around.”
On the other hand, marriage is much more than a love partnership. It is a public event that involves legal and societal responsibilities. It brings together not just two people but also two families and two communities. It is not just for the here and now; it is, most newlyweds hope, ‘until death do us part.’ Getting married changes what you expect from your mate and yourself. Some would argue that “the marriage license is only a piece of paper”. We are, however, admonished to obey the laws of our government in Scriptures, which requires us to have legal marriages. . “People who marry “until death do us part” have quite a different level of commitment, therefore quite a different level of security, thus quite a different level of freedom, and as a result quite a different level of happiness than those who marry “so long as love death last.”
In brief, dating tends to be artificial. Each person is “up” for the occasion, and they make an effort to have a good time together. But marriage is quite different from dating. In marriage, couples are together when they’re “down,” too. But people who live together in uncommitted relationships, they discover that they can’t adjust and may be unwilling to work out problems, and instead will seek less fractious relationships with a new partner. If either of he/she slips up, the test is over, and they are out the door.
Finally, those who are sexually active before marriage are much more likely to divorce. For today’s people living together seems like a good way to achieve some of the benefits of marriage and avoids the risk of divorce. People use the difference between dating and the marriage as an excuse to live together. If they discover that they can’t adjust when they live together, they don’t have to go through the hassle of a divorce. Nevertheless, the problem with those arguments is that marriage changes everything. If couples that live together think that after marriage everything will be the same, they don’t understand what marriage does to a couple.
To understand why this is the case, ask cohabiting couples that very question. Why did they choose to live with his/her partner instead of marrying him/her? The answer is that cohabiting couples are not ready to make that commitment to his/her partner yet. Further, cohabiting couple wants to see if they still love their partner after they cook meals together, clean the apartment together and sleep together. In other words, they want to see what married life would be like without the commitment of marriage. But cohabiting couples don’t seem to realize is that they will never know what married life is like unless they are married. The commitment of marriage adds a dimension to their relationship that puts everything on its ear. People who want to be cohabit as a couple, there is may possibly be testing each other to see if they are compatible.
However, marriage doesn’t work that way. Newly, married couples make a deliberate effort to accommodate each other, because they know their relationship will be for life. They want to build compatibility, not test it. Slip-ups don’t end the marriage; they may just end the love you have for each other.
In a word, the chances of a divorce after living together are much higher than for couples who have not lived together prior to marriage. If living together was a test of marital compatibility, the statistics should show opposite results — couples living together should have stronger marriages. But they don’t. They have weaker marriages.
In conclusion, it is overwhelmingly clear that cohabitation is very harmful for a number of reasons. In fact, there is not a single good reason to cohabit that stands up under sociological, psychological, legal or religious scrutiny. Cohabitation is so damaging to our human relationships and leaves such deep scars for a lifetime.
As a result, the available social science evidence suggests that living together is not a good way to prepare for marriage or to avoid divorce. No scholar that I know of, or anyone else for that matter, has been able to contest this with any counter evidence. There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.