Pre-marital cohabitation is rather common in today's society.
According to a survey of happy marriage and family in China by China Association of Marriage and Family Studies in Nov. 2015, percentages of those who moved in before marriage differs by age category; i.e., 13.7% aged between 49-58, 44% in 39-48, 59.6% in 29-38, and 57% in 19-28. This number is rising each year.
The situation in the church also not optimistic. According to an incomplete survey, nearly one-third of couples cohabit.
So as Christians, what's our take on this issue? Here are several perspectives.
The "ideal" and "reality" for cohabiters:
Relationship booster. Cohabiters believe that by spending day and night together, their love will grow stronger.
Know each other better. Living together will reveal people's true selves so that they could better learn the other's personality, manners, and habits to determine if they're a good fit.
A test-drive period. Lovers want to see if they can get along during cohabitation and experience the difference between love and marriage. Love takes romance and gentleness, but marriage requires two people working together through every trivial thing in two families.
A touchstone for commitment. Some people may try cohabitation out of sexual appeal and curiosity. Either way, they're not ready for the big commitment. It is their way to eliminate "wrong" choices.
However, is the REALITY this perfect?
Possibility of pregnancy. A lot of couples who are not ready to be parents yet choose an extreme way to deal with an unexpected pregnancy - abortion, which is to kill a tiny life. This also poses great harm to women.
For those who already have children, living together doesn't guarantee marriage. Children raised in single-parent families may suffer psychological issues or personality defects all because the parents weren't "ready."
Higher chance of STDs. Having multiple sexual partners increases the risk of STDs. It is more dangerous if people are not sure if their current partners will work out.
Also, the number of college students with AIDS increases every year, according to Chinese universities and colleges census.
Tension in the relationship. Premarital cohabitation comes with distrust toward the partners and others. They often wonder if their partners are engaging in sexual activities with other people, which leads to the destruction of their intimacy.
A threat to future marriage. For those who are used to cohabitation, it usually takes several sexual partners for them to enter marriage. However, if their future spouses can't forgive what they've done, they are likely to hide this and it will hurt their conscience.
Infidelity. Marriage counseling has shown that those who keep chaste are more likely to stay faithful. But those who were "casually" living together can't promise their loyalty.
After people go through these painful experiences, they'll realize that none of the above seems easy. Satan creates a beautiful picture for us, but when you enter into it, you find yourself under fire. What remains will be a mockery of Satan and a lamentation of regret.
From a worldly point of view:
You're your own master to make your choice. So many people take charge of their own bodies with cohabitation because they like it.
Seize the day! For no one knows what tomorrow brings. This world is constantly selling hedonism - don't worry about the future, just enjoy today.
Marriage is only a piece of paper. It is the same as living with anyone. This world denies the sanctity of marriage, underrates its covenants and vows and the will of God and replaces them with casualness and self-indulgence.
The consequence is like Samson, a mighty warrior fooled like a clown because he indulged his lusts.
According to God's will:
You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14) The definition of "adultery" is sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than that person's current spouse.Jesus said, "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28) This teaches us that we need to eradicate all kinds of impurity in words, deeds, and minds.
Become holy. "For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness." (1 Thessalonians 4:7) Sex is a gift from God to mankind and it is only wonderful between one man and woman in a blessed marriage.
Honor marriage and be cautious. "Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers." (Hebrews 13:4) Sexual activities, premarital or outside marriage, are resented and will be judged by God.
Your body belongs to God. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body." (1 Corinthians 6-19-20)
Jesus saved us and we should live by his requirement: glorify God with our body because it no longer belongs to us but God.
The will of God is presented throughout the Bible. He definitely forbids pre-marital cohabitation and it is sinful too. No matter how different the circumstance is, His Word never changes.
I was once asked why the church doesn't veto the unfavorable truth from the Bible and keep the verses pleasing to the ear. Pardon me for saying it, but the church can never have democracy in truth. It is always God that rules. Man may change over time, but God never changes. His holiness and truthfulness are worth trust.
-Translated by Grace Hubl