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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  • Michele

    Just wanted to let you know—1st off—I supported you on DWTS. I became a fan. However, I want to point out to you and the rest of the country that you can live with someone without having sex. I did. My boyfriend moved in with me after 9 months of dating. We later got engaged and lived together for two more years, getting to know one another and becoming best friends, without ever having sexual intercourse (of any type). After three years of living together (without any type of sexual intercourse), we got married. We have now been married for 10 years . I want to let you and others know that they should not be so quick to jump to conclusions. We both informed our parents of our plans to live together and not have sex. While it was not easy at times (to resist temptation) it became easier as time went on and as we neared our wedding date! It was great for the two of us, as we were able to save money to pay off all of our debt before marriage and get to know one another’s daily living habits. From the moment we got married, I knew that if we could resist temptation for three years and still stay commited and strong, we could endure anything. Since our wedding day, we have bought our first house together, taken care of my ailing mother, buried both of our mothers, and made many, many happy memories! I am glad that we were able to start the way that we did, with such a strong foundation. I would not change one thing if I could.
    P.S–I also want to add that I, like you became pregnant while not married. I was 21 when I got pregnant, a senior in college. I graduated college when my son was 6 months old, with the help of my two very supportive parents. When my son was one year old, I met my boyfriend, who has been a wonderful role model and caregive for my son since he came into our lives.
    Just wanted to speak up for those people trying to do what they feel is right but in their own way!
    Michele from Mississippi

  • Justwondering

    “Rest assured — there’s no way on earth my mom and dad would allow a guy to spend the night here with me.” It’s remarkable that Ms. Palin offers condemnations of other’s choices with such authority and arrogance, yet sees no irony in her admission that she really has no authority at all; that she’s still dependent on her parents and what they will and won’t “allow.” Keep preaching, Ms. Palin. You’re a city on a hill.

  • skye

    I understand you are in the spotlight and all but why would it be anyone’s business if you were living with your boyfriend? It’s things like this that make me so happy I’m not famous as I had wished to be when I was younger.

  • Katherine

    My husband and I lived together for one year prior to our marriage. We were engaged when we “shacked up,” but the engagement came after our plans to move in together – so we would have shared a home regardless of our relationship status. I can’t tell you how happy I am! By living together prior to our marriage, we’ve both found and fixed the quirks that drive each other nuts. When we finally tied the knot, the transition to married life was flawless.

  • Maria Dorsey

    I would love to know where in the Bible it indicates, “living together before marriage does not lead to happiness?” I would love to show it to my boyfriend. Thanks.

  • Joe

    I don’t understand what the big deal is about Gay people in America. Last time I checked we are the land of the free. So what your saying is that if your mom runs for President again she won’t take VOTES from Gay people because their Gay? I don’t care for Glee either buts its better then all the violent shows out there.

    • Mary

      Get off your l,iberal high horse, Joe! Bristol said absolutely nothing about ‘gay’ (your words, not mine!) people! Bristol, stay true to your convictions and be proud of the life you are choosing for yourself! Much love to you and your entire family!

  • Emily

    Yes, yes, yes! I recently took a class called Marriage and the Family and we had an entire section on the sexual revolution. I don’t remember the exact statistic, but well over half of all cohabiting relationships end in a year (either due to break up or marriage). However, the marriages that do result generally end in divorce. Even my friend who is pro-sex before marriage is against cohabitation after that class and we jokingly (but still dead seriously) tell our other friend that she better not cohabitate before marriage.

    I also find this post interesting, because recently my step-sister said she though you should live with someone before you marry them. That it gives you a chance to know how they actually live. No matter your religious values, the facts tell us that rarely works out.

  • Eric

    You had a kid. You had sex. You do not have a no sex before marriage policy. What planet do you live on?

    • Emmica

      LOL That was exactly my thought. I’m like what?!

      • Erin

        There is a such thing as learning from your mistakes. Bristol would never say her child was a mistake. But she has realized that sex before marriage was a mistake. Bristol, unlike some whom I would agree are hypocritical, is a good example of not just regretting mistakes, but warning other people not to make them also. Bristol’s been there. And she doesn’t want America’s teens to go there too.

        • Alex

          It’s a beautiful thing, the Lord’s mercy. Even when we commit sins in God’s eyes, such as engaging in premarital sex, cohabitation, or homosexuality (I only name these simply because they seem to be the latest feather rufflers,) when we turn back towards God and confess our sin, he’s so forgiving and wipes our slate clean! His abundant love and mercy is a beautiful thing! (People don’t have to agree with me that those actions are sins, nor do they need to correct me on it in subsequent posts. I’m sure you all are lovely people, but it won’t change my beliefs.) Bristol, I know you’re so right on with the subject of cohabitation. I’m getting married next month and people cannot believe we’re not living together. In fact, my fiance cannot insure the engagement ring and other assets as riders on his home insurance policy, simply because I’m not living with him. Talk about structuring the system to only cater to certain individuals!

          • John

            This is why you’re religion is a joke, you can commit any number of abhorrent crimes or acts and just be like “sorry bro, really” and the slate is clean? fuck no! If you kill regardless of apology you’re a murderer. I have no faith for a god or a religion that allows child rapists, murderers, thieves, and sowers of ill will into their ranks over a simple “I’m sorry” get a grip.

          • Jenni

            Well said Alex! I have a child out of wedlock and yes I admit i sinned but i am now celibate and have been for 5+ years. My son just turned 5 so 5 years and 9 months to be exact. i applaud you Bristol on your stance. The fact that you are in the lime light makes it so hard when all your sins are laid out on the table in front of you. if you steal a candy bar, you have sinned by committing theft. But does that mean you should say, “Oh well! I’ve stolen so now I am forever a thief! I might as well go out and rob a bank.” No! It means you repent and turn from your wicked ways. Fortunately for you that sin isn’t public for all the world to see like a child.

    • Mary

      Eric, I don’t know about yours…but the GOD I serve is the GOD of second chances!

      • Holley

        Well said Mary!!

    • LeAnne

      You can change your mind. What if you made a decision or mistake and then changed your mind? Are you saying that is not possible, Eric? My goodness you are closed minded to anything but YOUR way and ideas. God bless you though :)

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  • Jessica Miller

    So, pretty much you’re telling me that wait until you’re married to live together? See, here’s the thing, when you are living together before marriage you can know if it’s actually gonna work out and see how they live, etc. But, if you get married and then live together you’re STUCK with that person, so you can’t just leave em cuz you don’t like the way they live. Well, if you would’ve lived with em before you got married, you would’ve known that. AND, btw, if you really love someone, it doesn’t matter if you’re married or not. I have lived with my bf a year already and we are doing just fine. And, that’s my first experience living with a guy. Pretty sure it doesn’t matter.

    • Chitter

      The problem is that this country doesn’t seem to understand what “marriage” really is. It isn’t like picking a dress for that special party. It isn’t just trying on different outfits until you find the right one. Marriage is a commitment made between two people, a lifetime commitment. Two people who decide to spend their lives together NO MATTER WHAT. If you think getting married and living with that person means you are STUCK, then you have no business marrying. Living together and marrying are two totally different things. When you live with someone, there is no commitment. The door to leave is always open. Getting married and actually working on that relationship day after day, good or bad, just seems to be too hard for most of this country. Sad!