Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cohabitating: Who does it hurt?

Ah, June brides, the Sunday paper with the Weddings and Engagements...oooh Bridal pictures! Hmmmm, what fun reading over where they're ceremony was held, the honeymoon destination, what the bride's gown is like, the reception, all the guests! The special day is coming or has arrived and special it was! However, I wonder how many would splash their names and pictures for all to see on their decision to cohabitate? I can see it now, the newspaper section would read, "Weddings, Engagements and Cohabitation announcements."

This subject has been bothering me for quite some time. It seems that there are an awful lot of young people "shacking up" together for various conveniences and "well, we are engaged". Whatever! Now, how is that living within the realm of righteousness in the eyes of God? How can we see this as an OK situation? Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free? A woman that agrees to live with a man without a marriage vow is cheapening her good name and character. Beside the fact that it is a risky business moving in together without being a formal family, people are people and anything can....and WILL happen; be it death, a falling out, change in attitude, illness, who knows! These things make a difference in the relationship and then you have to go about the business in undoing the combining of stuff. That is painful.

This attitude that, "If it feels good, do it" If it feels good and no one else is involved, who does it hurt?" If it feels good to move in and play married couple before the ceremony no one else is affected, right? Are there parents? Are there nephews and nieces? Are there neighbors? Friends? Folks at Church? Do they know about this? We live in a world where it is better not to say anything than to correct....or counsel each other. What happened to being corrected? We live in a society where there is no right and wrong....just a lot of gray areas.

Talking to my knight just today, "If one of our daughters decided to live with a guy, how would you feel?" He said, "I wouldn't like it at all, but it would depend on how old she was." I countered, "What difference would her age be, would that change how you felt about her living with some guy?" He thought about it for a moment and then said, "No, I still wouldn't like it. It's not how I would want her to live, no, age wouldn't really play much of a part, you're right."

These couples are hurting their parents, breaking their hearts, no it isn't alright, no it isn't the way they would like to see their children live...believe me! These parents don't say anything because they don't want to upset anyone and feel that they won't be able to stop it anyway. These cohabitating couples are breaking their parent's hearts.


Anonymous said...

These 'couples' who choose to move in together without marriage vows are going about the relationship game all wrong. How can one seal such a 'marital' relationship without vows? Suddenly shacking up leaves out the most important aspects of wedlock, like God's grace and blessings which are bestowed only when He(The Lord)is included with the wedding vows.
For God invented instituted, and designed the sacrament of marriage so He should get first say. It is only for LOVE Alone, not money or anything else. To all you cohabitors out there: KNOCK IT OFF NOW!!

Christina Martin said...

Deciding to cohabit often really amounts to a subconscious decision ahead of time to fail. No, not a risk of failure (though most couples who cohabit before marriage end up divorced) but an actual decision to fail. This is because they come to take not just the sex but also the intimacy of marriage casually, leaving themselves "open" to change their minds and find someone else. All the while, the decision to live together instead of having sex while maintaining separate lives carries an implicit demand that the rest of society be aware of and support their decision to have sex and be public about it.

Sex outside of marriage is a barrier to intimacy; but it is not the only problem with cohabitation. Pretending a form of intimacy that isn't planted in permanence and commitment makes a mockery of the emotional, financial, and life-planning intimacy that naturally accompanies a decision to join as one. Then, to make matters worse, it also very often (I believe more often than not) amounts to a situation of two people using each other. One using the other for uncommitted sex, while the other is using the first with an attempt at manipulation: "once we're living together, he'll have to marry me... it's one more step toward marriage!"

It saddens me to see so many using sex as a means of manipulation instead of an expression of love.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm surprised that your paper still has a "Weddings and Engagements" page. In lots of places, that's been changed to a "Celebrations" page, so that same-sex 'couples' can list their 'committment cermonies'.

Anonymous said...

I have two general confusions about your post.

First, what if a man and a woman moved in to the same house or apartment together and they were not a couple? Would moving in together still be wrong? The argument given in the post would have to endorse that a man and a woman could not co-habitate together sans phrase.

Second, I take it that your post supposes the couple is intimate with one another (I'll let readers draw their own inferences about intimacy) and that it is wrong for an unmarried couple to be intimate with one another. That's why it's wrong to move in together. So, should we revert to arranged marriages where a man and a woman aren't allowed to be intimate with one another before marriage? Is that the suggestion being made here? What sort of intimacy is morally permissible?

Also, I might remind you that a couple need not live together to be intimate with one another. If that's so, then (if I'm understanding you correctly) not living together but being intimate with one another is morally permissible while living together but not being intimate with one another is morally impermissible.

Christine the Soccer Mom said...

Wow, Anonymous, that's a lot of mental gymnastics to try to poke holes in what Ebeth said. I'm impressed with your flexibility!

If you really want to know what she means, I"d head to the link she's got on the left sidebar for Theology of the Body. Christopher West excells in explaining what marriage really is. Really, sexual intercourse is a renewal of marriage vows, which means that sex outside of marriage is just play-acting. There is nothing to renew, so it's not the purpose of the act (intercourse) to have sex outside marriage.

This fact, this basic teaching of the Church, was a revelation to me only a few years ago, and I grew up Catholic! But what a beautiful teaching it is! It completely changed the way I see sex; it elevates what society and our culture tell us is nothing but animalistic (so why make it special?) to a level that helps us to know that when we partake in the marital embrace, we are getting a glimpse of Heaven and the unity of the Blessed Trinity! We are (as husband and wife) a reflection of that union of God - three Divine Persons in one God.

When I was taught that the Father and the Son's love for each other is so perfect that it is a whole separate Person - the Holy Spirit - and that the union of a husband and wife mirrors that, it blew me away! The love between a husband and wife, manifested through the marital embrace, is so real that a separate person can result from it!

I don't know about you, but that puts me in total awe of what happens in the marital bed. What an awesome thing, what an amazing gift we've been given!

Anonymous said...

While I understand that it is an ancient command to not cohabitate before marriage, I would never marry anyone that I am not familiar with the living styles of. Today has been about the last straw for my fiancee and I, who were raised and have lived Catholic for 24 years. We have been flat out turned away from many churches for cohabitating, and it is very likely now that The Church has lost two members. Being unwilling to welcome those who have not maintained strict adherence to the rules of The Catholic Church has driven us away. I was raised Catholic and have lived a life of acceptance, understanding, and forgiveness, and in return The Church has rejected me.

Ebeth said...

Dear Anonymous #2,

There is no ancient command, it is a current and always command not to cohabitate. While it is true as you say that you don't really know how someone lives until you actually live with them, getting to know someone is more than just knowing whether they pick up their socks or return to toothpaste cap after brushing their teeth. Really! You don't truly know how a child is going to be until you give birth to it.....does that mean that you will give it away if it doesn't live up to your expectations?

Cohabitating is "play acting" there will never be another way to put it. Christians who know and believe there is a God are responsible for the future of this world we have been put on as stewards. Procreation is a main reason we are built to be man and woman, to carry on God's creation.

Well, you say you have been turned away because you have been living a smorgasbord Catholic life, "I'll accept this, but not that, I like this rule, but that one is too hard...but I am still a Catholic." How is that so? How can to say you accept Jesus, but not his teachings? Can you really just take Jesus in the form You want him to be? Should an office of the law grant you pardon from running a red light, just because you don't like where the red light is located?

Surely, the priest(s) you met with told you more than what you are implying. It just wasn't what you wanted to hear.

How is your prayer life and devotion to the passion of Christ? Truly seek Him and understand that Jesus loves you both very much and wants only....ONLY the best for you. But you must love Him back and forget the will of the flesh. You misery will be short-lived if you both would open your hearts to what the Church is truly saying!

She loves you and we do to.

Ebeth said...

My comment was for Anonymous #3 mostly....sorry...forgot I had 3 Anonymous comments.

Notice that the anonymous comments are mostly against the Church's position on cohabitating.

Thanks to Anonymous #1 for your kind response.

Thank you Christine for you good comment. I'm sad, too. I have a very good friend of mine who has decided to turn against the Church and co-habitate with someone he is engaged to, but doesn't respect him enough to be agreeable to his faith. Saddens me to the core!

Christina! Whhoohoo! Loved your comments, thanks for having my back.