Put a Ring on It

Have you ever heard of “shacking up?”  Now, people describe living together with a more complimentary phrase: “a trial marriage.” And apparently, it’s all the rage:

Cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation. This shift has been attributed to the sexual revolution and the availability of birth control, and in our current economy, sharing the bills makes cohabiting appealing.

In fact, you may have even recently heard rumors I’m living with my boyfriend.  As that gossip spread a couple of weeks ago, people all over America were applauding me for –finally! – coming to my senses and abandoning my no-sex-until-marriage policy.  Others are saying that me shacking up with my boyfriend is the height of hypocrisy.

Here’s the thing.  It’s not true. As I mentioned before, I recently bought a home across the lake from my parents’ house.  While it’s under renovation, I’m actually living in an apartment on their property.  Rest assured — there’s no way on earth my mom and dad would allow a guy to spend the night here with me.

But even if I weren’t temporarily living on their property, I wouldn’t move in with someone.  Why?  Well, new evidence reported in the New York Times suggests what the Bible has already told us: living together before marriage does not lead to happiness:

Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.

Researchers originally attributed the cohabitation effect to selection, or the idea that cohabitors were less conventional about marriage and thus more open to divorce. As cohabitation has become a norm, however, studies have shown that the effect is not entirely explained by individual characteristics like religion, education or politics. Research suggests that at least some of the risks may lie in cohabitation itself.

These so-called “trial marriages” hurt men, women, and children.  So, all of you girls who’ve said yes to sex in the wrong context know this: you don’t have to say yes to living with someone in the wrong context too.

I guess it’s unanimous.  Because now we have the Bible, the New York Times, and even Beyonce suggesting the best way to secure relationship success is to… “put a ring on it.”


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  • Cheryl Brooks

    Right on Bristol. Glad to hear you and the baby are doing so well. Guess he isn’t a baby any more. I will always keep up with the family whether I’m in Alaska or not. Take care. Be safe.

  • Cathy Jones

    So glad to have this clarified. I was really concerned for you and those young people who follow you. God bless you, Bristol.

  • Tiffany Field

    Thank you for letting everyone know the truth. People tend to want to cause harm to your reputation and its very brave of you to set it straight even in your personal life. That is why my little girl is named after your family except we spell it Paelyn.
    Enjoy your life, Live it to the fullest!!

  • http://rtdsmartin.us Tammy Martin

    Thank you Bristol. I so appreciate your post on living together! May God continue to bless you and your family!

  • http://www.redgreenlellow.com Tara McMillan

    well said Bristol, I applaud you for facing those that aren’t telling the truth. A reader in Virginia, and very much a Sarah Palin fan.

  • Angie Wilson

    Hey B,
    My ex-mother law has been saying that for years. And she’s right. The further I go in my walk with Christ, the more I learn and understand the bible, the more I realize the truths of these simple instructions our Lord gave us. I made my mistakes in the past, but I’m living for him now…and he’s showing me how.

    P.s. I’m reading your book…good stuff lady!


  • Glenn

    “These so-called “trial marriages” hurt mean, women, and children. So, all of you girls who’ve said yes to sex in the wrong context to know this: you don’t have to say yes to living with someone in the wrong context too.”

    What does trial marriage do to the nice women and children??


  • Ronda

    Preach it girl, I am sharing this with my daughter. We were just talking about “Living Together” and of course I brought up what God says about living together..I truly believe that more and more we need to talk about this topic. It is not Ok! It is not cool! God does not agree with it!

  • http://EileenS Eileen Steller

    I applaud your decision and your boldness to set the record straight. Sadly, the media will destort the truth or put their own spin on things unless someone takes a stand and says no more to those rascals. We can never go wrong following Gods plan for our lives. Keep pressing on toward the mark.

  • http://lerheims.wordpress.com Bridget @ Le. Rheims

    We’ve known this for years actually. It’s only the NY Times (late as usual) who is just now reporting on it. People who think they can try out marriage and all of its benefits with none of the detriments and also none of the protection that comes from a legal and spiritual marriage are, simply put, kidding themselves. Real married life doesn’t start until after a real marriage. Anything before that is just “playing house”, and when the real work of married life begins, people who were in it for anything other than true, unclouded love head for the hills.

    • myj

      So true, Bridget,