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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  • Joseph

    I sure am proud of you, Bristol!!! You rock! :)

  • Ashley

    It’s amazing how the Bible had it right all those years ago but the New York Times has to publish it for people to believe it…

    Preach on, sister, and keep the faith.

  • http://www.lovefestoslc.com Alison Sweey

    Totally agree. I’ve been with my husband now for 18 years. I know if I did the trial marriage route, I honestly don’t think we still would be together. With a commitment made in front of my family and God I said that through all things we would be together. And we’ve been through all things… And I love him more now then the day we married. What a gift he’s been. We are far from perfect but through our marriage and christian faith we can do all things through Him who gives us faith. Thank you, Bristol, for staring the not trendy answer of putting a ring on it. You made such a positive impact with all at LoveFest a couple of years back… And you keep providing a strong message to many. God bless you. Wishing you all the best! Say hey to Piper!

  • Courtney

    This is disgusting. Who says you have to have sex just because you live with your “significant other” to start with? Some people do have self-control.
    I moved in with my boyfriend a few years ago. Why? Because if we wanted to take our relationship any more seriously, it was the only choice. Your relationship can only progress so far in a long distance situation. He’s in the military and stationed in another state (previously stationed in another COUNTRY). Could I have moved to the state he was in, into my own place? SURE!…if I hit the lotto. Would it have been better if I stayed 1,200 miles away from him and just jumped into a marriage? If you think THAT is the better thing to do, I’ll keep it simple: you’re stupid. Let’s be honest, rushing into marriage is the problem. Not fully knowing who you chose to marry IS the problem. The military(in particular) is riddled with couples and divorces stemming from that. They don’t want to “shack up,” they want the extra pay and benefits, so they skip the whole, “are we right for each other” part and just get married.
    We’re engaged now, still “living in sin,” and happy as ever. I finally feel (over a year after engagement) we’re both at a point where we can start planning our wedding and we’re aiming for sometime next year (if he doesn’t get deployed again during that time frame).
    I don’t think lightly of divorce just because I chose to “shack up.” Living with my fiancee, learning how he works day in a day out, good and bad, REAL LIFE, is me taking a step to help AVOID divorce. My mom’s side of the family are strict Christians (I am Christian and God gave me my own mind to think for myself with) and it was an adjustment for them to understand why I was moving in with him. But now they’re proud of me! They understand I’m doing all I can to make sure our relationship is what we had hoped it is and to make sure we live out “til death do us part.”

    • Karen Bowan

      I am sorry, but I disagree with you. That is the problem too many people profess to be Christian and then live like there is no God. If you are a “born again” Christian, trying to live a Christian life and living according to what God says in the Bible, you would know better and you would feel ashamed at what you are doing. The bible says: But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality or of any kind of impurity or of greed because these are improper for God’s Holy people. Ephesians 5:3 Read Ephesians and Colossians and truly see what God says about shaking up!
      God wants us to follow his blueprint for our lives..life is so much better when we do!

    • Millie


      I guess I did it the old fashion way,, but don’t regret it a bit. I dated my present husband over
      fifty years ago without living with him or having sex. But of course back then more couples
      did that sort of thing. I feel you can learn all you need to know about the other person in a dating
      relationship. There are young couples today that are doing the same thing and they are building
      on their relationship without a trial marriage situation.

      I would not take anything for waiting until my wedding night to have sex. I feel that when this
      occurs before marriage then it takes away something very special. Marriage is one of the most
      sacred thing with God.

    • bellagrazi

      Courtney, Bristol was very respectful in her post on this subject. Too bad you didn’t feel the need to show her the same respect. Your anger was a bit over-the-top. No need to be so defensive. Others got their point across without verbally attacking Bristol. It’s unfortunate you chose to be so antagonistic.

  • JB Webster

    I’m a gand ma with teenage grandchildren & I hope they turn out as well as you. Bristol you have such a good head on your shoulders. You have a beautiful boy and you are a good role model. Keep up the good work God Bless! (hope you’re keeping up with your dancing you had my vote every week)

  • Georgia

    Good for you, Bristol Never change and be who you are!

  • http://www.biglittledays.com Jaime

    Yes! So true! There is a fabluous book that I have been recommending left and right called “Before You Live Together” (http://www.beforeyoulivetogether.com/) –I bought it at a Christian bookstore, so you know what the point will be ;) But, amazingly, only the first third of the book is about the pros and cons of living together. The rest of the book is about how to know if the guy/gal you’re with is marriage material without the mini-marriage, as I call it. My favorite part boils down to this: if you have friendship-love, passionate-love, and sacrificial-love all in that one person, what are you waiting for? Get married. It’s kind of radical and reckless in today’s “be certain he’s THE ONE” culture, and that’s what I love about it. Anyhow, enjoying your blogs. You are not fighting alone. You’re just doing it with a bigger audience.

  • Esther Ruth

    Amen! Great post:)

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