Shacking out… A few thoughts on cohabitation.

At small group a few weeks ago, we talked about cohabitation.

We were discussing how, for some of us, that makes us the odd ones in our families, whereas, for others it is fairly normal.

Living together before marriage is popular and apparently stats are starting to show that divorce rates in couples who cohabited are lower than they were previously (people who cohabited were once more likely to divorce than those who did not).

We watched this video called “Shacking Out.”  A spoof about cohabitation vows.  Here it is:

As you can see, it actually mentions many of the possible pitfalls of cohabitation, including a lack of defined commitment.  We found it funny and intriguing.

Biblically, there are commands to stay sexually pure until marriage.  Refer to Hebrews 13:4 – “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”  See also Genesis 2:24-25, and 1 Corinthians 7:39.

Beyond the Biblical statements against cohabitation, you can also look at it practically.

Really, cohabitation for some people (not all) is like getting a roommate.  A convenient roommate to split bills with and also to test drive a relationship.  And when it stops working, you can bail.

Honestly, get a roommate.  It is less emotionally upsetting if you need to move out.

Living together can be an opt out of some important conversations.  Though many people still have them, people do move in together to avoid discussing marriage and bigger commitment, because clearly, cohabiting is a commitment.  But for some people it isn’t really.  It is just coasting and avoiding bigger issues while getting some conveniences.

Sure, you can see if you can handle living with one another.  But, if you can’t… What do you do with the lease and the stuff you bought?  And what if you can handle each other, but realize it is only for the short term?

There are other ways to test your relationship and figure things out.  Like talking.  Or spending time together.  And planning and praying.

Other people really love each other and the commitment is there when they live together.  Just that there are other circumstances or choices in between marriage.  I am not belittling their commitment.   I guess then, that is where the God thing really comes in.  The, if there is a God and you are doing something He wouldn’t want you to do, would you really want to mess with that argument.

Honestly, if you are prepared to get married emotionally and are intending to live together, then marriage is feasible.  Maybe not a giant, expensive wedding.  But, realistically, living together as a test drive to marriage until you can afford marriage is basically marriage without the paper.  Just get the paper and make the real commitment.  The one people and God know about.

I really like commitment and value it.  I also value what God says about all of it.  So, to me it is an obvious choice.  And a strong witness.

I understand that some people can live together and be committed just like in a marriage relationship.  But most people can’t.  And nobody really needs to for any extended period of time.

I know it is cohabitation vague for many, but look at it practically… Is it worth it to just live together without commitment?  Or without an increased level of certianity?  Is it going to really change an outcome?  Is it worth the risk if God is real?

Overall, it is not our place to judge people’s decisions.  And I can’t change what you choose to do.  I just think that some people need to really consider options before marriage or cohabitation.

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