Those living-together avoid dealing with some of the joint decisions that married couples have to make.
For example, money and property tend to be either ‘his’ or ‘hers’, not ‘ours.’ Consequently, it isn’t all that important how he or she spends his or her money. In-laws are rarely a factor; they often disapprove and stay aloof from the couple. Nor do most in-live arrangements have to adapt to children (Dunagan 1993).
Those who live together often have a “marriage of convenience” or a “marriage of compatibility” rather than a marriage of commitment.
“Marriages of convenience” are disposable; marriages of commitment are lifelong and not to be dissolved. Commitment means being determined that the two of you will stick it out no matter what (“whether in sickness or in health…so long as you both shall live”). When there is an agreement without commitment it is easy to give up. When there is a commitment ahead of time, you hang-tough through good times and the bad and don’t bail out at the first sign of trouble. As one pastor put it: “Imagine building a wonderful house, but without nails. In the first stiff wind, it will collapse” (McManus n.d.). Commitments are said and kept “before God” and with His help, and “in a the company of people”; an agreement is made between two people and kept only as long as it continues to be convenient for either party. A lifetime commitment, provided by marriage, is needed in order for a relationship to be pleasing to God. When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, he pointed out her lack of commitment (Jn. 4:16-18). The Bible says men are to love their wives like Christ loved the Church. Christ was so committed, that he died for the Church (Eph. 5:25). The Bible also says that a husband must not divorce his wife (1 Cor. 7:11). That’s commitment to stay and continually work on the relationship (de Neui n.d.).
Those having premarital sex may be fooled into marrying a person who is not right for them.
Sex can emotionally blind. Real love can stand the test of time without the support of physical intimacy. “If you establish a mutually satisfying sexual relationship, you lose objectivity and actually cheat on the test of time. The only way to rationally decide whether your love is for keeps is to remove any preoccupation with eros, sexual love. Otherwise you may marry a mirage, not a person you really know.”
Those living together have superficial and significantly weaker relationships. Researchers have fund that couples who live together before marriage have weaker marriages (DeMars and Leslie 1984). Anyone can make love, but not everyone can carry on a meaningful conversation. A good relationship is much more than physical intimacy. Beauty is more than skin deep; there is a deeper intimacy of the mind and spirit that takes the time and commitment of a marriage to develop to the fullest. Physical attraction is insufficient glue with which to build or maintain a lasting relationship. A more recent study at Johns Hopkins University, again confirmed that couples who cohabit have quite different and significantly weaker relationships than married couples (Schoen and Weinick 1993:408-414). They determined that men and women looking for someone with whom they could cohabit search for “characteristics such as education which can reflect a short-term ability to contribute to the relationship.” The researchers found, “While cohabitors anticipate time together, married persons anticipate a lifetime.” They also discovered that most cohabitations end within two years and that “cohabitations are not informal marriages, but relationships formed by looser bonds.”
To be continued.