Living Together Is Prevalent But Problematic


posted by on Christian Encouragement, Relationship Encouragement

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So, we want to talk about living together before we get married.
Now, we know the Bible has some very specific things to say about sexual sin, and nobody would ever pretend that moving in together wouldn’t be coupled with a very active sexual relationship. And I’m sure we’d also agree that sexual convenience would have to be one of the major factors in deciding to live together in the first place.

That’s why, when we describe the live-together home in the following drawings, we’ve placed the bed in the center of the home. Because the bed, after all, is the biggest reason we’re living there at all.

Now, the first thing we want to notice about our live-together home is that it has only three walls. That’s because nothing is really permanent about this relationship. Now, it’s not that we don’t love each other in this relationship, we clearly do. But the very nature of our live-together commitment is that we can end it at any time without any messy and expensive legal and financial mumbo-jumbo.

So, in our live together home, we can mostly come and go as we please. And the only semi-permanent life-arrangements we need to work out are – who’s going to pay for what – and when are they going to pay it. And our live together arrangement will usually allow each of us to maintain our separate bank accounts and it will allow us to lead a mostly separate life, only commingling those things that are easy and don’t produce much conflict.

So, our live-together relationship is really the best of all worlds. And as long as the sex is good – and the food is good –  then everything is good in our breezy little three-walled home – where we wake up every morning with the unspoken understanding that both of us are totally free to leave the home and the relationship at any time. And this unspoken lack of permanence mostly relieves all the pressure and responsibility that is always present in the actual life-long commitment of marriage. So, our live-together relationship isn’t really preparing us for a lasting marriage, it’s mostly setting us up for an emotional disaster.

That’s because nothing easy lasts forever. See, living together doesn’t really fulfill the God-given desire within each of us for a permanent marriage commitment. And often, after a length of time has passed in the live-together relationship, one of the two partners (usually the woman) will start to become impatient with the lack of permanence and commitment in the relationship, and she will often begin to clamor to get married.

Now, most men (particularly those who are willing to enter into this kind of arrangement in the first place) are usually perfectly happy to remain in the uncommitted state of living together indefinitely. But, with enough well-directed pressure, and given the man’s desire to please his partner (and to keep the sexual faucet open), a man will usually agree to be united with his partner in marriage. And then our easy, breezy live-together couple will become husband and wife. And they will vow not to part from each other until death.

And, at the moment our newly-married couple returns to their love nest, they will discover the previously missing fourth wall has been added to their home. And now, they are no longer free to come and go as they please. Now, every annoying and dysfunctional thing about their partner that used to not matter so much, has taken on a much greater significance because now it’s a permanent part of their lives together.

And now, our former easy-breezy couple begins have conflict over things that never mattered before, because neither of them were ever really permanently responsible for each other before. And the realization begins to sink in, that everything that one of them does will have a life-long effect on the other persons life. And each of these things must be confronted immediately. So the couple starts to argue about money; they begin to fight about jealousy and family issues; and they begin to have heated discussions about planning for the future. And it starts to become clear that, this marriage will sadly not go the distance.

And it’s all so unnecessary, because each of these conflict areas could have been uncovered and dealt with easily in a pure and discovery-laden courtship. And maybe these issues might have dissolved the courtship, but that’s way less painful and permanent than a divorce.
So, those are my feelings; I’d love to hear yours.

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