By Tom Quiner
Cohabitation is all the rage.
Since 2002, more than half of women between the ages of 19 and 44 have cohabited with a boyfriend. A big chunk (41% using 2003 data) have kids from these unmarried unions.Is this a good idea?
Cohabiting couples insist that living together, and having sex together, is a good way to determine if they’re “compatible.” In other words, moving in together isn’t based on love. Love is a choice, after all, the choice to grow old together regardless of life’s vicissitudes.
Love is based on commitment.
Cohabiting is based on convenience.
Love is permanent.
Cohabiting is conditional.
Michael and Harriet McManus researched the effect cohabiting had on couples. They published their findings in their book, “Living Together: Myths, Risks and Answers.”
What did they find out? That cohabiting couples are more likely to divorce when they do marry.
They found women who cohabit with their boyfriends do most of the giving in terms of doing domestic work, and even supporting the household financially.
They found their kids suffer psychologically from the unstable home environment, including worse results in school and higher delinquency rates.
Cohabiting couples break up more often than married couples, creating unhealthy stress points in the lives of children. And kids experience higher rates of child abuse and family violence in homes where their parents aren’t married.
Ultimately, love is about giving, and it best flourishes within the framework of marriage. It is suppressed by cohabitation where parties are taking from each other until that point when the relationship runs dry. Most relationships do hit rough patches, and marriage based on agape’ (sacrificial) love gets people through it.
I like the way blogger, Matt Walsh, puts it:
“We commonly view living together as a logical step before marriage, but it isn’t. It’s something some people do, but it isn’t a step to marriage. Your marriage is defined by the commitment you make to the other person — not by the bathroom or mortgage you share. Living with someone is not a “warm up” for marriage or a “try out” period, precisely because it lacks the essential, definitive characteristic of that permanent commitment. You can’t comfortably transition into an eternal vow. You make it, and then it’s made.