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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  • bellagrazi

    So, is Gino going to “Put a Ring on It”, Bristol? : )

  • Abby

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this! My best friend and I were having this same discussion last week.

  • Diane Warner

    Do you still have your house in Arizona?

  • http://aconservativeknitteretc.blogspot.com/ Ali Garrett

    Its Amazing how you are staying true to what You say & believe. Thats what Teen Girls & Young Women need someone to say No things aren’t really so different it’s self respect

  • Diane Kristy

    (second to last paragraph – change ‘mean’ to ‘men’ – you don’t mean ‘mean men’, right? lol)

  • Cathie

    I sure do admire you, Bristol! You are wise beyond your years!

  • Andy Sandoval

    Great blog, Bristol! What a great example you are for everyone! Keep blogging!
    SHOCKING! The Bible was right, again!

  • itallmatters

    Yeah! Bristol – co-habitating is the rage – but just because everyone else is supposedly DOING IT – don’t make it right – as your mother would say. Stick to your principles and there will be someone come along that also shares those values and treasures your life and LOVE YOU FOREVER along with your precious son!

  • Ariel Hector

    First off, just because two people are married, doesn’t mean their happy. Another thing, wouldn’t you want to live with someone for a few months before you intend on marrying them? No one says you have to have sex. There is such a thing as self-control while you’re living with someone, so if you want to wait to have sex until you’re married, you can still do so. I honestly think it’s ridiculous that we live in a world where if a man and woman are living together we automatically assume they are also having sex with each other, because that’s not always the case. To sum it up, “putting a ring on it” doesn’t always equal happiness. Having a partner that will treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve does.

  • Jane

    GREAT JOB, Bristol!! My husband and I lived together for about 3 years before we were married. It was NOT healthy on our relationship for so many reasons. It developed a heart issue within me that felt, “If you don’t love and respect me enough to commit to me for the rest of our lives, then you don’t completely love and respect me.” I heard a counselor remark once that when you live with someone outside of marriage you are proving to one another that you are capable of cheating. It took awhile to let that sink in, but it is true. Our society is so shallow that many not only fear commitment but fear failure and pain/hurt. Whether you are married or not married, there will be pain/hurt in the relationship. Marriage takes commitment, dedication, and very hard work. When you’re discouraged and want to give up, when you really don’t “like” that person, you have a commitment to the relationship. That is what makes marriage work. And that is the missing element in shack up relationships; no commitment = no security = no safety = failure.

    • blackbird

      Thanks for your post Jane.

      “…when you live with someone outside of marriage you are proving to one another that you are capable of cheating…” ~ I never thought about it that way.