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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  • FailinPalin

    Oh Bristol, Bristol, Bristol. The WHOLE Palin family were humping their brains out before marriage. While doing other things like cutting school bus brake lines and other fun stuff like that. And your dear mother had a thing for chocolate before her shot gun wedding to dear old dad.

    Don’t act like you’re some sweet, demure and pure virgin girl. No sex before marriage to you evangelicals usually means don’t put it in THAT hole, but I have two others that are available. Maybe 4 if you include your ears.

    • George

      Dude, you are what we call “TRASH”!

  • Erin

    There is a such thing as learning from a mistake. Bristol would never say her son was a mistake, but she has learned that sex before marriage was. Bristol is a good example of someone who regrets what she did and does not want to go back. See, Bristol has been down that road and she doesn’t want to see America’s teens go down it also. Her platform is to protect teens from making the choices she did. She is an amazing pop-culture icon and it’s good to have her :)

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  • Danielle Kuhl

    The excerpt you site from that April NY Times article is based on data from 30 years ago. The “cohabitation effect” is no longer a valid argument for not living together before marriage. It has recently been debunked by updated data in social science, from research done by a scholar in my own department at BGSU, Wendy Manning. It is the “serial cohabitors” whose futures and wellbeing are less than ideal. You can conveniently choose to site research that you think backs up your arguments, but as we all know, even people who do not cohabit before marriage can end up in unhappy marriages and get divorced.


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  • Frank

    Re: Sex before marriage and/or co-habitation…my wife and I did not live together nor did we have sex before the wedding. And how did that work for us? We’ve had some rough spots over the years, but have managed to work them out and without cheating on each other. We will be celebrating our 60th anniversary next month.

  • Reality

    Bristol ,get your GED, a steady boyfriend, a marriage license , a real job.and a life before you speak about something you know nothing about. Your mother made millions speaking about Stuff,she knows Nothing about; but it will not work for you.

  • Kaitlin

    Hey Bristol! I am 15 years old and from Mississippi. I just want you to know that I respect you and everything you stand for. Being raised in ‘the Bible Belt’, I have always had a firm Christian faith and Christian views. I think you are a very inspiring person. Don’t let anything shake your faith!

  • Marissa

    I actually respect and look up to Bristol as a 19 year old woman. Even though I don’t exactly agree with everything she says and even though we don’t have the exact same views I admire her strength in standing up and following exactly what she believes in. She is definitely an inspiration and I really look up to her. (:

  • Gloria King

    Thanks for your bold and truthful statements in this blog. It shows you research out what you say and why you stand where you do. Your blog is refreshing to this grandmother who has a hard time with her grandaughter’s life style. You have given me words to say to them and places to back up what I say. God bles you.