My Thoughts On Christian Couples Moving In Together Before Marriage
Something that is becoming more and more prevalent in society is the choice to cohabit before marriage. Many Christians are really committed to their faith, yet when it comes to living together with their boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s something that they choose. Maybe, it’s because moving in together and ‘testing the waters’ has become almost normalised in our society, but I think this creates all sorts of problems...
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
As Christians, we’re not called to follow the crowd, we’re called to follow Jesus and carry our Cross. Society is already messed up and disorientated. It’s almost as if ‘single’ people are acting like they’re married, and married people are acting like they’re single. Somehow moving in together is seen as a bigger step in the relationship, than exchanging vows. As a believer, I'd like to share a couple of reasons why I think choosing to cohabit is a bad choice, not out of judgement or condemnation, but out of conviction from the Holy Spirit.
1. Playing With Fire + Temptation
Choosing to save sex for marriage and then moving in together is like choosing to go on a diet but keeping sugary treats on your kitchen counter. It simply doesn’t make sense and is not a wise choice. When you cohabit with someone who you are in love with, you both intentionally enter yourselves into a situation in which you’re surrounded by temptation and the near occasion to sin.
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” - 1 Corinthians 6:18
The Bible doesn’t directly mention cohabitation, but God has provided us wisdom through scripture to help us discern right from wrong and lead us to the path of holiness. Moving in together before marriage is essentially pushing your boundaries, playing with fire and ultimately leads you to the path of destruction. Even if you have the self-control to abstain from having sex, you can still take things too far and fall into the sin of impurity. It's simply not wise. Don’t play yourself and think you can resist temptation, especially when you’re lying next to someone who you’re in love with.
True love wills the good of the other person, which includes protecting them from the temptations of sin. Cohabitation only offers the opposite: it's choosing to use someone, rather than truly love them. Often what sex does is it covers up an absence of love that fails to develop; it keeps people tied down in relationships to someone who is not their spouse and sometimes, it even blinds people to the abusive reality of the relationship that they’re in.
Sex is a powerful good gift from God that binds couples together, yet when it’s used in the wrong context, it spiritually bonds a couple that was never meant to be together in the first place. Guard your hearts, because breakups are tough enough when sex is not part of the equation, but when it is it can be devastating.
2. The Sin Of Scandal
Many Christians argue that it’s ok to move in together, share the same bed but not sleep together. Not only is that an unrealistic expectation for two people who are madly in love, but it also gives rise to the sin of scandal.
For instance, if a couple is seen to be living together, it’s often assumed that they are sleeping together. Even if this is not the case and the couple are in fact not sleeping together, it simply does not seem plausible to the outside world. If another believer looks up to this couple and assumes that cohabiting is permissible, then it makes it more likely for that new believer to stumble.
“But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6
Jesus uses the metaphor of children to represent those who are still spiritually growing and maturing in their faith. Yet, the Bible warns us that if we’re not careful, we can lead people astray and cause them to stumble, whether consciously or unconsciously. As believers, our lifestyle should be a witness to others on their journey of faith, rather than misleading them through the sin of scandal.
3. Long-Term Instability
Many people cohabit to ‘try out’ a relationship, out of the fear of divorce. Yet, many studies show how premarital cohabitation is associated with increased risks of divorce, poor quality marriages and higher levels of domestic violence. Despite the common belief, that cohabitation enables a couple to get to know each other better and to test for compatibility, the negative correlation only proves that cohabitation can be destructive in the long-term.
Cohabitation essentially cheapens the value of marriage. It’s all about gaining the perks of marriage, without the actual commitment or sacrifice. Yet, marriage was never just about sex. Marriage was meant to be an ever-lasting covenant, with sex being just a part of the entire package. Yet, when sex becomes the glue than bonds the wrong two people together, it’s sticky. However, when you stay set apart, you can honour the Lord and really discern if the person is the one God has for you.
If you end up breaking up with the person you’re cohabiting with, it’s difficult not only emotionally, but financially. It’s just unnecessary stress and the instability caused by it is not worth it. Until you’ve exchanged wedding vows, that person is not your spouse, so why would you want to risk it?
4. You Miss The Honeymoon Period
If you've already moved in with your partner years before you get married, when you get married what changes? Nothing.
The truth is when you cohabit, you essentially have your honeymoon period in the first few months, getting used to living with that person. Then when you actually get married, nothing is different or special because you go back to the same lifestyle as before.
However, for many couples who have chosen to wait until after marriage to move in together, the honeymoon period is full of joy and excitement, because the couple can grow together, knowing that they are fully committed to each other for the rest of their lives. Marriage marks a new beginning in the relationship, not the end of the relationship.
When you cohabit, you don’t know how long you’re going to be in a relationship with that person for; its unpredictable, no matter how serious you are. Waiting is worth it because you don’t miss the honeymoon period…
If you were thinking about cohabiting in the future or currently are, I encourage you to pray about this choice and ask the Holy Spirit to convict you to follow the right path. As believers, I think we should be wise about the decisions we make, especially huge ones like moving in with someone.
Comment below what you think: should couples live together before marriage?