Today, a few members of my team and I discussed divorce, as a follow up to my message last Sunday.
Here’s a link to our discussion: On Divorce
The article was birthed out of the reaction to a post on this blog from 2009 (Seven Reasons Why Living Together Before Marriage is Not a Good Idea) that has been viewed (as of today) over 50,000 times.
Here’s an excerpt from my article, Cohabitation for Idiots:
OK, I can hear what you’re thinking. This is an opinion section in the Christian Standard, and you’re going to try convincing me that living together before marriage is a bad idea. Why don’t you stop wasting my time and tell me why I’m right to believe it’s a sin for women to serve Communion?
Well, because I’m not and you’re wrong, but that’s just my opinion and not the point of this opinion piece.
And anyway, I’m the one who was asked to write an opinion article about something I care about and I want to write about cohabitation, which I’m a lot more excited about than what I was previously going to try to write about, which was an article about why we don’t use hymnbooks at Journey Christian Church (where I am the lead minister), which I realized was quite simple to answer: because we don’t want to—and by “we” I mean those in the leadership team who lose sleep over reaching lost people.
So, that’s that, and now I really do want to try to convince you that living together before marriage is a bad idea—and by “you” I mean “you members of the Christian church,” because according to a survey on my blog,1 which more than 1,600 of you answered, the majority of you Christian church people who took my survey (40 percent) believe it’s OK to live together before marriage.2
I do a ton of marriage counseling. Currently I’m working with about a dozen couples from all over the country. In the past 21 years of ministry I’ve worked with hundreds of couples, with most of it being—what I would call—“crisis marriage counseling” with couples who are having huge problems that are directly connected to the fact that they cohabitated before their wedding day.
So, let me “waste” a few moments of your precious time and share why I think cohabitation is an idiotic thing to do.
Click here to read the rest of the article: Cohabitation for Idiots.
Here’s a chart that I’ve created comparing Convenient Love vs. Covenant Love:
About 14,000 readers have read my post on the dangers of living together before marriage: Seven Reason Why Living Together Before Marriage is not a Good Idea.
It’s obviously a topic that a lot of people are interested in.
That’s why Paul Williams’ article in the Christian Standard caught my eye. He writes:
A study recently published by the National Center for Health Statistics received a remarkable amount of media attention. The study concluded that those who cohabitate before marriage are less likely to see their marriages survive 10 years than those who do not cohabitate before marriage.
Most reports about the study were presented with a sense of shock and amazement. An article in The New York Times was shamelessly pro-cohabitation. It even included this quote from a University of Michigan professor, “From the perspective of many young adults, marrying without living together first seems quite foolish.” Now remind me again, when exactly did “many young adults” become the quotable authorities on issues of morality?
The majority of American young people think cohabitation is not only all right, but normal. The number of women in their 30s who cohabitate has doubled to 61 percent in the last 15 years. From the writings of Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith, it appears only about 15 percent of the emerging adult population hold conservative values on the subject. Smith says most of those are Evangelical Christians.
You can read the rest of the article here: And So It Goes
Almost 2,500 people have read my article on Living Together Before Marriage.
It is the most viewed post on my blog every single day.
The popularity of this post has convicted me to write a short ebook on the subject.
I’d love your help and input.
If you have stats, stories, or anything else that you think might help me with this project, please send it to me (email@example.com) or post it in the comments section of this post. I’d be so grateful for your help. I believe your involvement will add value to this project.
At Fusion (our youth group) last night we discussed four questions we can ask ourselves to determine whether something is right or wrong.
I promised them I’d post the questions on my blog.
Here you go.
btw–I’m fascinated that my post, Seven reasons why living together before marriage is not a good idea, has been viewed over 1200 times. I think couples that are considering living together outside of marriage could use these four questions to help them figure out whether cohabitation is right or wrong.
Question #1—Is it helpful—physically, spiritually, mentally? I Cor. 6:12
Question #2—Does it bring me under its power? I Cor. 6:12
Question #3—Does it hurt others? I Cor. 8:13
Question #4—Does it glorify God? I Cor. 10:31
I love this blog and I love interacting with you. I love your comments, your insights, your questions, and your wisdom.
I’m busy this morning trying to finish the last chapter of my next book (which is due to the publisher on Monday), but I had to pause and thank you for reading my blog.
As of this morning, my blog has had almost 3,500 visitors this month. This is a record . . . and very humbling. I thought only my Mom was reading my blog!
In case you’re interested . . .
These are the top posts from this month (with view counts):
|Seven Reasons Why Living Together Before||260|
|J4 on the Early Show This Morning!||103|
|A Few of My Favorite Quotes||61|
|Fireproof Message Video||60|
|Inspirational Story of Faith, Hope and L||50|
The most viewed post I’ve ever written is the one on Robby Tebow with 306 views. Who would’ve guessed there were that many Gator fans out there with the ability to read? Go Vols! (You all know I really like and respect the Tebows. I just gotta keep it real!)
I’m so grateful for you. Thanks for stopping by on a regular basis.
Stay in touch and I’ll keep trying to write things that inspire, encourage, motivate, challenge, and bless you, my friends.
You’ve surely blessed me and I’m so grateful.
—From Women’s Health: Should you be living together? Quote from article:
But research has shown that living together before marriage can sabotage long-term love. Couples who share an address before exchanging rings have slightly higher odds of getting divorced. So how do you know if the timing is right to start shacking up?
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/10/19/should-be-living-together/?intcmp=features#ixzz2A38kwDxEAn article in the NY Times on 4/14/12 supports my opinion that living together before marriage is not a good idea.
What are your thoughts?
The Christian Standard magazine just published an article I wrote based on the reaction to this post. You can read the article here: Cohabitation for Idiots
I’m currently working on a family life book (for information on my 5 other books click here: Arron Chambers.com) so I’m very interested in the issue of cohabitation.
This is a big issue today. I’m seeing a lot of young couples who are living together before marriage. This troubles me for several reasons, not the least of which is that living together puts a couple in a place of enormous temptation to have premarital sex, which is a sin.
A few years ago, I came across this flier on living together. It’s been helpful to me in explaining some of the other reasons why living together before marriage is not a good idea (when the sin angle isn’t enough of a deterrent ), maybe it will be helpful to someone you know.
Seven reasons why living together before marriage is not a good idea:
1. Those who live together before marriage are least likely to marry each other.
Forty percent of couples who live together will end their relationships before marriage.
2. Those who live together before marriage have higher separation and divorce rates.
The Journal of Marriage and Family reported marriages that are preceded by living together have 50 percent higher disruption rates than marriage without premarital cohabitation. The Universities of Chicago and Michigan reported that those who cohabit before marriage have substantially higher divorce rates than those who do not; the recorded differentials range from 50 to 100 percent. Researchers from Yale University, Columbia University and the Institute for Resource Development at Westinghouse revealed the divorce rates of women who cohabit are nearly 80 percent higher than the rates of those who do not.
The University of Wisconsin at Madisonresearchers report that cohabitors perceived greater likelihood of divorce than couples who did not cohabit before marriage and the longer couples live together outside of marriage, the higher likelihood of divorce.
3. Those who live together before marriage have unhappier marriages.
A review of 10 cohabitation studies found that those who cohabit prior to marriage show a significantly lower marital quality and have significantly higher risk of marital dissolution at any given duration. Couples who lived together before marriage also separated more often, sought counseling more often and regarded marriage as a less important part of their life than those who did not live together before marriage.
4. Those living together before marriage have more frequent disagreements, more fights and violence.
Three studies find this to be true. Pennsylvania State University researchers found that those who live together were more negative and less positive when resolving a marital problem and when providing support to their partner. They also found that husbands and wives who had lived together before marriage were more verbally aggressive, less supportive of one another and generally more hostile than spouses who had not lived together.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison reported that couples who had cohabited prior to marriage reported greater marital conflict and poorer communication than married couples who had never cohabited. Research reports couples who live together have more frequent disagreements, more fights and violence, lower levels of fairness and happiness with their relationships compared to married people.
5. Those who live together do not experience the best sex.
The National Institute for Healthcare Research found that couples not involved before marriage and faithful during marriage are more satisfied with their current sex life than those who were involved sexually before marriage. Another study done by the Family Research Council found that 72 percent of all married “traditionalists” (those who strongly believe out-of-wedlock sex is wrong) reported high sexual satisfaction. This is roughly 31 percentage points higher than the level by unmarried “non-traditionalists.” Religious women are most satisfied with the frequency of intercourse and were more orgasmic than are the nonreligious.
6. Those who live together before marriage experience more behavioral problems.
Compared with married couples, cohabitors report higher levels of:
7. Living together outside of marriage negatively impacts their children.
David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, researchers from the National Marriage Project, found that children living with cohabiting biological parents who are unmarried are 20 times more likely to be abused and children whose mother lives with a boyfriend who is not the biological father are 33 times more likely to be abused than children with married biological parents.
Compared to children in intact families, children in cohabiting households had more behavioral problems and poorer academic scores.
Every empirical study seen indicates living together does not produce healthier, happier marriages, but the contrary. Mature love is built on the security of knowing that your love is exclusive and permanent.
1. Bumpass, Sweet and Cherlin, “The Role of Cohabitation in Declining Rates Marriage” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53 (1991) 913-927. 2. Ibid 3. William G. Axinn and Arland Thorton, “The Relationship Between Cohabitation and Divorce: Selectivity or Casual Influence?” Demography (1992): 358. 4. Neil Bennett, et al., “Commitment and the Modern Union: Assessing the Link Between Premarital Cohabitation and Subsequent Marital Stability,” American Sociological Review 53 (1988): 127-138. 5. Elizabeth Thomson and Ugo Colella, “Cohabitation and Marital Stability: Quality or Commitment?” (Study of more than 13,000 adults) Journal of Marriage and the Family 54 (1992): 266. 6. Alfred DeMarris and K. Vaninadha Roa, “Premarital Cohabitation and Subsequent Marital Stability in the United States: A Reassessment,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 54 (1992): 178. 7. John D. Cunningham and John K. Antill, “Cohabitation and Marriage: Retrospective and Predictive Comparisons,” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships(1994): 90. 8. Dr. Catherine L. Cohan, “Living Together Pre-Marriage May Lead to Divorce,” Journal of Marriage and Family 64 (2002): 180-192 9. Ibid 10. Elizabeth Thomson and Ugo Colella, “Cohabitation and Marital Stability: Quality or Commitment? (Study of more than 13,000 adults) Journal of Marriage and the Family 54 (1992): 259-267. 11. Susan L. Brown and Alan Booth, “Cohabitation Versus Marriage: A Comparison of Relationship Quality,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 58 (1996): 668-678. 12. David B. Larson, MD, NMSPH, et al, “The Costly Consequences of Divorce: Assessing the Clinical, Economic, and Public Health Impact of Marital Disruption in the United States,” National Institute for Healthcare Research, Rockville, Maryland. (1994): 84-85 13. David Larson and Mary Ann Mayo, “Believe Well, Live Well,” Family Research Council (1994). 14. Allan V. Horowitz et al, “The Relationship of Cohabitation and Mental Health: A Study of Young Adult Cohort,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 60 (1998): 5005-514. 15. Jan E. Stets, “Cohabiting and Marital Aggression: The Role of Social Isolation,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53 (1991): 669-680. 16. Jan E. Stets, “The Link Between Past and Present Intimate Relationships,” Journal of Family Issues 14 (1993): 236-260. 17. Popenoe and Whitehead, “Should We Live Together? What Young Couples Need to Know about Cohabitation Before Marriage,” National Marriage Project, Rutgers, (1999): 7. 18. University of Wisconsin’s National Survey of Families and Households, American Family Association Journal, July 1993. 19. Popenoe and Whitehead, Should We Live Together?” What Young Couples Need to Know about Cohabitation Before Marriage,” National Marriage Project, Rutgers, (1999): 8. 20. Ibid.