Perils of “Living Together” before Marriage

Today, it is popular to believe that living together before marriage increases the likelihood of success in a future marriageIn the USA, “the majority of young adults in their 20’s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation.” However scientific research points to just the opposite! Studies show, “Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriage—and more likely to divorce—than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.” One reason for the failure of cohabitation is that the “standards” that individuals place on their cohabiting partner are usually far lower than for a future mate (New York Times, April 14, 2012). In the light of modern research, the biblical commandment forbidding adultery (sex outside of marriage—Exodus 20:14) and the New Testament condemnation of fornication (sex before marriage—1 Corinthians 6:18) become much more significant. While popular opinion tends to view these biblical instructions as antiquated and confining, the God of the Bible said that following these instructions would bring blessings (see Deuteronomy 28:1-14). God knew that cohabitation before marriage would bring heartaches and problems, and that is why He inspired instructions against it. For more information on this vital topic see our free booklet, God’s Plan for a Happy Marriage.—Scott Winnail