From time to time there is a flurry of articles on cohabitation vs. marrying. The latest batch mostly claim there is little or no difference between the two. Furthermore, their logic suggests that people eventually marry anyway, so it’s no big deal. But is this the whole picture?
A recent article titled, “Is Marriage the Only answer to Happiness”1 was unusual in that it showed both sides of the coin. The upside was “Cohabiting provides people with companionship, intimacy, and everyday assistance just like marriage.”1
But “the report found that cohabiting relationships tend to be less stable than marriage and that couples would break up within two years.”1
More interesting was what came next. “It (the research) also indicated that the benefits of intimate residential relationships persisted indefinitely for men, but for women the benefits of living together, whether married or not, declined after the first year.” Plenty of research would not include married women in this statement, but I’ve addressed this in other blogs.
The question is, when a man lives with a woman without marrying her, does he do as well as his married peers? Though the experts might differ, the Bible is clear he doesn’t. However, the reason may surprise you.
Proverbs 27 17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” One way men are “sharpened” is by advice from their wife. Granted, no husband enjoys hearing “truth” from his spouse. (Well, maybe one—there’s always one.) But women were created to help men be better—dare I say—to be more Christ-like.
Now, before I lose all you guys look at Genesis 2. Man is roaming around the Garden of Eden. Life is good: sleeping when he wants, burping whenever he wants, not cleaning up after himself, and naming the animals without being told he was doing it wrong. But God looks down and for the first time says, “It is not good.”2 Then God states, “I will make a helper suitable for him.”2 Eve shows up, and the rest is history.
God knew Adam would never be all God desired without guidance from his loving wife, Eve. And this is a big reason why cohabitation hurts men. When iron sharpens iron there are sparks. A woman who doesn’t have the security of a wedding ring is never going to push the envelope and tell the guy what he doesn’t want to hear. Not when there is the risk of him leaving because of “all the nagging.” And her fear increases when kids are added.
Consequently, the guy doesn’t get sharpened the way God intended—never reaches his full God-potential. Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”3 I’ve been married for 32 years. God has used my wife to “sharpen” me countless times. Did I like it? No. Was it in my best interest? Yes.
So guys, be the man she knows you can be and “put a ring on it.” You’ll be taking the first steps toward receiving blessings from God you can’t imagine!
For more on this subject, click here for articles on myths people believe about living together.
1 Is marriage the only answer to happiness?, Han Nguyen, Jan 2, 2016, http://www.smh.com.au/national/is-marriage-the-only-answer-to-happiness-20151230-glwsu2.html.
-Couple with boxes – http-//www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/comment/regulars/briefing/article820396.ece
-Adam and Eve by Lawrence OP
-Rings – Sonnet 116 – Marriage of true minds by Robert Chealb