Last night, I had dinner with a friend. We touched on a variety of topics, one of which was living -in and marriage.
Cohabitation/live-in is similar to playing house but without the integrity of marriage. Both parties are given the freedom to leave whenever they want since neither are bound by the responsibility and commitment of marriage.
He mentioned that he would want to live-in with the woman first before marrying her. From this set-up, he says that he would get an idea of who she was at home, her habits, compatibility in all areas of their personalities, tastes, likes, etc.
All valid points.
But notice that his argument focuses on the “Me” part. How can you explain to someone that relationships most especially marriage is never about the “me”, it’s always about the other person?
He mentions that there are more divorces in Christian marriages. He even smirked a bit when I mentioned that I know of a couple who shared their first kiss on the altar. He actually thought it was hilarious!
During the discussion, I could not find the right words to explain that marriage and love is a decision. It is never about trial and error, as what cohabitation espouses. You own that decision and never back out from it. Marriage was designed by the Lord to protect both parties. Men and women have specific roles in marriage which the cohabitation set-up will never define. Cohabitation is always the easiest, more convenient and practical way; marriage requires you to put in the hard work. And if both people are psychologically mature for marriage, they would focus less on self-gratification but more on serving their partners.
“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. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect. Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage, while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment, and this gender asymmetry is associated with negative interactions and lower levels of commitment even after the relationship progresses to marriage.”
And here’s the BOMB: “One thing men and women do agree on, however, is that their standards for a live-in partner are lower than they are for a spouse.” (Source: New York Times)
But whether we like it or not, cohabitation is here to stay.
The author finally adds: “I am not for or against living together, but I am for young adults knowing that, far from safeguarding against divorce and unhappiness, moving in with someone can increase your chances of making a mistake — or of spending too much time on a mistake. A mentor of mine used to say, “The best time to work on someone’s marriage is before he or she has one,” and in our era, that may mean before cohabitation.
After my dinner with this friend, I called up one of my girl friends and mentioned my questions, she simply said: “As human beings, we want to feel loved and SECURE in our relationships. The live in set-up can never give the woman (and man) that”.
She adds: “For people who think otherwise are fooling themselves. It is a defense mechanism and their ego talking. We all want stability and security. If your live in situation doesn’t work, and then you jump to the next relationship, it will be a never ending cycle, till your wasted away and your best years given to a variety of people who never imagined you worthy to be called their spouse”.
Love and security: Such simple words that hold so much gravity in a human being’s psyche. Marriage was designed to be a testament of that love and security.
If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently.
You shield it and protect it.
You never abuse it.
You don’t expose it to the elements.
You don’t make it common or ordinary.
If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new.
It becomes special because you have made it so,
and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.