With premarital sex and cohabitation rates at an all-time high in the US, many couples fall into a pattern of playing house without committing to each other the biblical way, through marriage. Many justify their decision to live together with the “Try on the shoe before you buy it theory,” arguing the practical merits of shacking up.
But Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist at the University of Virginia wrote an article published in The New York Times about the downside of cohabitation.
“Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not,” Jay asserts. “These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.”
According to the New York Times, cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation.
Couples are playing house in staggering numbers.
Christians who believe that the Bible is the final authority in all matters, however, heed the biblical warning in 1 Corinthians 6:18 to “flee fornication.” They know the downside to cohabitation is being out of the will of God and doing what the Bible calls “sinning against your own body.”
On the other hand, those who approach the issue of cohabitation from a logical standpoint are a part of the two-thirds of people who believe that moving in together before marriage is a good way to avoid divorce by knowing what they are getting into.
Whatever classification assigned to a person—practical or spiritual—both research and the word of God shows that shacking up is a bad idea.
What are your thoughts on the issue?