Cohabitate – What is wrong with living together.


Read about cohabitate / living together before marriage, and what it does to a couple who want a long term relationship. Check out the research results below showing that couples who cohabitate before marriage are worse off if they live together after marriage.  What does God want from us?

Cohabitate, or living together before marriage.

Cohabitating is more popular than ever. The majority of all marriages are now preceded by cohabitation: 60-75% of first marriages and 80-85% of remarriages (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000). Is this a good trend? Are the objectives for doing so being met?

Dr. David Olson formed Life Innovation Inc. in 1980. The objective was to develop exercises allowing a couple to explore their strengths and growth areas. The result was an inventory that has been taken by over 1,000,000 couples. This organization recently released a report on cohabitation to their over 50,000 certified counsellors.

Here are some excerpts from this report:

Why is cohabitating so popular?

Economic – ‘We can share living expenses.’
Time together – ‘We are able to spend more time together.’
Increased intimacy – ‘We have more opportunities to share sexual and emotional intimacy.’
‘Testing’ compatibility – ‘Enables us to learn more about each other’s habits and character and see how we operate together day-to-day.’

What are some characteristics of those who cohabitate?

Cohabiting couples have significantly lower scores in most categories of Life Innovations’ inventory. (Olson, 2001)

Areas covered in inventory:

Idealistic Distortion
Leisure Activities
Marriage Expectations
Sexual Relationship
Marriage Satisfaction
Personality Issues
Family & Friends
Role Relationship
Conflict Resolution
Spiritual Beliefs
Financial Management

“Couples living together have the lowest level of premarital satisfaction when compared to other living arrangements (Olson, 2001)”

Marriages preceded by cohabitation are more likely to end in divorce  Another good input source for finding out about current marital trends can be found in the Rutgers University social behavior report ‘The state of our unions 2001.’ (Popenoe & Whitehead, 1999)

Living together before marriage ‘appears’ to be a wonderful and satisfying thing to do. It has become so acceptable that we often hear that ‘everyone is doing it’. The facts from social studies, as well as God’s Word, does not support this to be a wise and profitable practice.

“God’s words in Isaiah 55:8 come to mind ‘ ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.”

What is the alternative? How can one be sure that they are compatible and marrying the ‘right’ person?

  1. I suggest that there are many ways to confirm a relationship. Here are some cornerstones:
  2. Give the relationship enough time to surface traits and character. This means that one does not jump into a marital relationship within the first few months of dating.
  3. Get as healthy as you can before placing your unreasonable expectation upon a relationship to bring you happiness.
    Seek one with spiritual compatibility first. This will allow God to be a part of your process and bonding.
  4. Develop an accountability group with one or two Christians of your own gender. Their perspective and accountability will go a long ways toward finding and building a healthy and compatible relationship.
  5. When you are ready to consider a more serious relationship, seek a Christian counsellor’s input and assessment. (I recommend that you find a Christian counsellor who will use Life Innovations’ premarital inventory.)
  6. Seek the confirmation of Christian friends and family, as well as your Pastor.

What about sexual compatibility?

Sexual compatibility is not a sexual activity, but an act of intimacy that comes AFTER a healthy bonding. Ask a couple who has been married for 10 to 20 years and they will tell you that their greatest sexual satisfaction came many years after marriage.

Please read further information on sexual compatibility in previous posts:
Sex After Marriage
Sexual Compatibility
Sex Before Marriage
Chemistry and Christian Dating

Do not be fooled! God is not only our Creator, but also the creator of marriage. He knows what is best and has taken the time to leave instructions to bring the maximum fulfillment and happiness into our lives. Do not short-circuit your future happiness and fulfillment by shortening the course. It is your future!

Dr. Jim
Author of “Guide to Successful Online Christian Dating”

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6 comments on “Cohabitate – What is wrong with living together.Add yours →

  1. Whoa!

    Not one word about it being “wrong”…about it being
    a “sin” to live together unmarried — as if you were married?

    Only that…

    “God’s Word, does not support this to be a wise and
    profitable practice.”

    What if Cohabiting couples had significantly “higher” scores in most
    categories of Life Innovations’ inventory? Then what? Would it then
    be “wise and profitable?”

    Are we to base our Christian behavior on psych-scores?

    It’s great that “real-life” experience supports the wisdom of
    God’s Word…but I think most would walk away from an article
    like this merely thinking…

    “Well, it seems that modern psychology analytics have determined
    that my living unmarried with someone does not quite reach the
    level of relational satisfaction that I desire.”

    And that is all well and good. But as Christians, we should walk
    away from an article on this topic thinking…

    “Lord God, thank you for the wisdom of your Word. I now see in it that what
    I was thinking about doing is wrong. I know that pretending to be married is
    not only a sin against my own body, but more importantly, it is a sin against you.”


    This article (even though it has many good points) just skirts-by and lightly touches
    upon what should be the “core reason” a Christian chooses not to test-drive a potential
    marriage and just — live together.

    As Christians, living with someone should not be “based” on modern psychology or
    “what’s best for us” polls. It should be based on our relationship with Jesus Christ and
    His will for us as revealed in His Word.

  2. Following God’s commandments and rules for Christian dating and marriage were best for my wife and I. We did quite well and enjoyed a guilt free marriage with lots of Love, both physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Of course, We were together for 44 years, and I ended up retiring early to take care of her as she got weaker and weaker and finally expired and left for Heaven. Jesus probably hugged her and introduced her to her many relatives who were born again here on earth. I was a trained personal evangelist, and among many others, my mother finally prayed the sinner’s prayer, in her eighties, with my urging her to complete it. Praise God.

  3. Are you crazy? Those who live together and are not married are hell bound! Have you lost your mind? Hebrews 10@6-27 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received a knowledge of the truth no sacrifice for sin is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

    Those who live together and are not married are not saved! How is this even a question?

  4. That scripture came our wrong, it is Hebrews 10:26-27

    If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received a knowledge of the truth no sacrifice for sin is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

  5. What a poor article. It is definitely politically correct. I agree with Ramdy above. I expected much more form this website.

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