The U.S. Census Bureau has recently reported that cohabitation among heterosexual couples has hit record numbers as living together – as opposed to getting married – becomes more and more mainstream and totally acceptable.
Before I review some of the statistics – we need to recognize, as Christians, that the reality of sexual intimacy outside of marriage always comes with a moral and spiritual cost – and that the culture is in denial and so will reject the idea of a cost being involved when marriage breaks down and being shacked up is on the rise. But the cost will be paid!
Here are some statistics and a comment or two:
1> In 1977 less than one million opposite-sex couples lived together. In 2007 (just 30 years later) 6.4 million couples co-habited. Cohabiting couples now make up almost 10% of all opposite-sex couples, married and unmarried.
2> In 2006 the Census Bureau reported 5 million unmarried opposite-sex households. In 2007 (1 year later) we see 6.4 million unmarried opposite-sex households.
3> Co-habitation is now accepted by the society in which we live. Marriage between two people of the opposite sex is no longer seen as nor treated as the norm.
4> The good news – We still lag behind Europe in this trend away from “marriage” as we have known it. The percentage of unmarried couples living together in Europe is much higher than here in North America.
5> Cohabitation is not seen as a permanent lifestyle here in North America. It is viewed as a “life stage” which either takes those involved into calling it off and living separately once again or to being married after their “trial period” of ‘seeing if it will work’. Linda Waite, a sociologist, states: “If it doesn’t lead to marriage, it leads to splitsville.”
6> There is a move to have cohabitating couples recognized as “a family form in its own right” which would be totally distinct from marriage.
What does all this amount to?
A fundamental change in one of the foundational institutions of our culture – the family. Add to the above ‘new family form’ the other ‘new family form’ of children growing up with 2 dads or 2 moms because they are living with a homosexual couple … who legally have been able to get ‘married’ in Canada for some years – and in the U.S.A. we are seeing a similar trend towards wide-spread acceptance of this lifestyle and the fact that it is marriage and not simply a “civil union” as some like to call it. Add these two new forms of ‘marriage’ and the Christian concept of marriage ’till death do us part’ is almost toally lost in the turmoil being created.
Call it a social trend. Call it a temporary transition. Call it a “part of the life course”. Call it a trial run. Call it being shacked up. Call it cohabitation. Call it by as many other names as you want. It still boils down to THE FACT that according to God and His Word this is out and out sin. He is not moved by our arguments nor is He fooled by us calling it whatever we want to call it so as to make ourselves feel better about the situation. In God’s eyes it is sin. Plain and simple – sin! It is sin! Did you hear that – it is sin!
And, the sin does not just go away if the couple “make it right” by getting married in a Church by a pastor or by a Justice of the Peace. To make it right the couple need to repent of their sin and do so with godly sorrow like King David did in Psalm 51 after sleeping with Bathsheba when they were not married. Repent with godly sorrow and receive forgiveness and let God cleanse you of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Then begin to live according to His Word and by His moral code – The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). Otherwise your declaration of being a believer and follower of Jesus Christ rings hallow.
So, cohabitation is now acceptable by society – accepted by those who are living together and by others who are their friends and neighbours. But, according to God’s Word – it is still not acceptable to Him – it is sin – and so should not be tolerated in the life of a believer. Even if the whole world comes to believe it is right – it does not mean the Christian must agree with them and go along with the flow. The flow is downhill into the sewer.
Do I hear the toilet flushing?