Written by Evi Idoghor, Creator of Letstalknationblog.com
Young people, now more than ever, are embracing the idea of cohabitation over the good ole' marriage that many once vied to attain. Who needs marriage? That institution is quickly fading away, some argue. Why do adults have to tie themselves down with a contract, when they can live freely without commitment? Or how do we prove compatibility when we don't spend every waking moment together?
Cohabitation according to google.com is the state of living together and having a sexual relationship without being married. In most cases, finances are shared, as well as bills and responsibilities around the home, just like married couples do. Millennials, these days are increasingly shying away from the idea of marriage, and for those who consider marriage, they already plan the divorce before the wedding happens.
Some come up with all sorts of contracts to protect themselves and their assets, while others don't see marriage as a lifetime commitment; it is just something for the here and now. People have become selfish and don't want to share their possessions with someone else; they are often afraid that if a divorce happens, their partner may cart away with 50% of their stuff. I hear things like, “marriage is just a piece of paper” or “marriage is a trap, created by some religious bodies” or “why do I need a contract to prove my love for you?”
For young people who are done with University, and have possibly landed their dream job and even dreamier beau, the next move they often consider is moving in together, in other words, cohabitation, which is a common practice in the western world. Most make this move for a plethora of reasons, such as saving money on rent or the wedding, working on their relationship, or not wanting to get a place by themselves, so what better roommate to get than a lover, makes a whole lot of sense right?
If we are often carried away by the "natural" progression of things in society, we will most likely make decisions that prove detrimental to aspects of our lives such as relationships. Don't let the romcoms fool you, cohabitation might just be a bad move for your relationship. According to a piece found on Psychology Today, "Substantial evidence associates cohabitation with negative relationship outcomes. Pre-marital cohabitation is viewed as a risk factor for divorce as it predicts later marital instability, poorer marriage quality, and less relationship satisfaction."
The Grey Areas Of Cohabitation
Some people argue that cohabitation is an exceptional yardstick to measure how well you are compatible with your partner, both physically and sexually. If one then discovers that they are incompatible with their partner after a period of living together, how many people will they have to live with, until they find the one?
How are financial responsibilities shared when cohabiting? Who pays for what? Do you then have to declare to your partner every account you might have? Is your partner responsible for taking care of your every need? Can you spend nights away from home without letting your partner know your whereabouts? Are family members welcome for thanksgiving? and If the relationship ends, who gets what?
Oftentimes, people are carried away with the romance, glitz, and glam of a relationship, that they fail to ask themselves the critical questions. If people do more research and ask the hard questions, they wouldn't make half the decisions that they are more inclined to make, when they move forward with things blindly.
Some Disadvantages of Cohabitation
1) It is not as stable as marriage: Marriage gives you stability; you are protected by the law once married, so much so that the odds are stacked in your favor if your partner commits adultery. In cohabitation, if your partner cheats on you, you can't go to the court of law to fight for your rights, say if the relationship ends because of that. What grounds do you want to fight that battle? You guys were never married. You and your partner can do whatever you want because that commitment isn't there.
2) It is not a permanent relationship: According to hubpages.com, it is often short-lived, and it is often short-term when compared to its “counterpart,” marriage which is a long-lasting and durable relationship due to strong commitment, based on legal and religious backing.
3) Uncertainty: People who cohabit can’t enjoy their life emotionally and sexually as they are not sure about their future, studies have shown. This proves true, especially for women, who are more commitment-minded, they tend not to be the best version of themselves in a relationship, if they are unsure of where things are headed.
What does the Bible say about cohabitation?
Although there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to dating and relationships in the Bible, we know that we shouldn’t have sex before marriage. There was this story in John 4:4-42 about Jesus and the woman at the well, this woman had already gone through five marriages and the man she was living with at the time when she met Christ, wasn’t her husband. From the statement Jesus made to her, we can conclude that as believers that we are not supposed to live with our romantic partners before marriage.
This was how the story played out: Jesus was well on His way to a particular destination, when He told His disciples that He needed to pass through Samaria. On getting there, He was famished and needed a drink of water. He sat down by Joseph's well and asked a woman who came to draw water, to give Him some to drink.
She was in shock; she wondered how a Jew, could request a favor from a Samaritan. At the time, the Jews and the Samaritan people didn't interact. They went through the whole back and forth of give me water, why should I provide you with water, and so on. Jesus then went ahead to tell her, that if she knew who she was speaking to, she would ask Him to give her living water instead. When she got interested, He told her to grab her husband. She revealed to Him that she didn't have one. To which He replied, "You are correct, You have had five husbands, and the man you are living with right now isn't even your husband. "
From this short exchange between Jesus and the woman, we can deduce that perhaps it isn’t right for two people of the opposite sex who aren’t married, but are dating, to live together. Cohabitation, especially as believers and those who want to get married one day, becomes a breeding ground for sexual sin to happen quickly, notwithstanding the complacency that comes with it.
No one is motivated to take things to the next level. Both parties become stuck in a rot, they begin to doubt if marriage is important, thinking that it is just a piece of paper. However, this is one of the many lies of the enemy. Marriage was created by God (for a man and a woman) for the enjoyment of humanity and fulfillment of purpose. With marriage comes favor, stability, children, legacy, and so on. It was never God’s plan for cohabitation; it is His plan for two people who are in a relationship to do things the right way, which is to get married before living together.
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PS: Studies have shown that married people have better sex than cohabiters! Who doesn’t want that? I know I do!
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Don’t stop here: click this link and explore all our relationship segment has to offer. About The Author: Evi Idoghor is a Christian, writer, content creator, and a graduate of chemical engineering from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to effect change, she launched her online platform in 2018 to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations with one goal in mind—to redefine status quo. Having spent a great part of her formative years in the US where she lived for about 11 years and got to explore what the beautiful country offers by traveling around its coasts, most of her writings have been influenced by her time spent in America. In addition to that, she has worked and partnered with writing agencies and individuals to bring their stories to life.