“Dan” and “Selina” hadn’t planned to move in together. Love had bloomed, but he wanted to be sure they were compatible before the ring appeared. Four years later he still wasn’t convinced. Selina’s marriage ultimatum met with a blank look and a shrug so, angry and hurt, she planned to move out. Since they weren’t married, ending their cohabitation should have been easy. However, trying to untangle the many ways their lives had entwined proved overwhelming to Selina.
In her New York Times article, Meg Jay observed, “Sliding into cohabitation wouldn’t be a problem if sliding out were as easy. But it isn’t. Too often, young adults enter into what they imagine will be low-cost, low-risk living situations only to find themselves unable to get out months, even years, later.’”1 What live-togethers don’t realize is leaving the relationship hurts three ways; materially, physically, and emotionally.
Materially, it’s a hassle to separate items, particularly when there are emotional attachments to them. Cohabitors also have limited legal rights when it comes to property. Consequently, a congenial parting may become acrimonious because of the hassle of splitting the stuff.
Physically, parting after an extended sexual relationship is difficult—particularly for women. For females, satisfying sex is a concoction of their physical and emotional needs being met. When that part of the bond suddenly ends, poor self-image and depression can result.
Emotionally, the very things adult children of divorce hope to avoid happen with the breakup; rejection, feelings of inadequacy, abandonment, unworthiness, lack of trust, and even deeper loneliness. Combined, the material, physical, and emotional cost cohabitors often pay creates bondage, not the freedom they’d hoped for. True freedom comes with God’s ideal plan for couple relationships.
Two thousand years ago Jesus said,”…from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”2 Today, research corroborates God’s wisdom; true happiness is found in God-honoring marriages, not cohabitation.
Next, the cohabitation “advantage” of nudging him into marriage.
1Meg Jay, “The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage,” April, 14, 2012, www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/the-downside-of-cohabiting-before-marriage.html?_r=5&pagewanted=all& , (June, 9, 2014)
2Mark 10:6-8, New King James Version