A Christian Explanation for Why Living Together Before Marriage is the Worst Idea You’ve Ever Had

Earlier this week, we discussed 27-year-old tattooed rebel Matt Walsh and his terrible, harmful views on sex.

The gist of Walsh’s post was that if you have sex with someone before you get married, you’re pretty much the worst, your future spouse will hate you, and all you’ll have left to look forward to is a long, horrible life of empty, second-hand banging.

Now, I know Walsh isn’t the only religious fella obsessed with virginity. In fact, it’s a pretty solid theme across most major religions. So imagine my lack of surprise when this came across my desk:

5 Reasons Shacking Up Before Marriage Is a Bad Idea

Now, as a current shacker-upper myself, I was pretty excited to hear what promised to be five super-solid reasons I should move out of my lovely apartment in Chicago since it’s been tainted with the pre-marital-living-together-ness of my boyfriend and me.

The beginning of the end…

So, let’s start with #1 and work our way down, shall we?

1. No blessings from God.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Not a single blessings from God! WHAT WILL WE DO?!

The Bible considers shacking up the opposite of a legitimate marriage.

I’m sorry to stop him so quickly, but a couple quick points to make right off the bat:

  • Oh my god, stop using “legitimate.” I know it’s been over a year since the Todd Akin debacle, but it still gives me the heebie-jeebies whenever I hear old (presumably) white guys describe just about anything as “legitimate.”
  • The author (only cited as “AllProDad.com Staff”) uses the term “shacking up” seven times in this relatively brief article.
  • Whenever I see people use “opposite” in a way that doesn’t quite work, it makes me think of this.

I’m sorry, AllProDad.com Staff, I interrupted. Please go on.

A legitimate marriage consists of a union between a man and woman who have made a covenant and commitment. Shacking up involves neither. Marriage was a union created by God and is a union God blesses.

Kind of a redundant paragraph, but I get your point. No marriage certificate = no shiny happy God light shone upon you two.

Fine. I’ll just have to cope.

2. Your relationship will probably end. 

Well, shit.

Mr. Staff quotes a statistic pulled from a 2009 article from the Examiner that says 80 percent of “shacking-up relationships” (Pleasp, please stop) end before marriage or in a divorce after marriage.

I’m seeing a huge [CITATION NEEDED] there, because it presents “some interesting stats on cohabitation gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau and the latest university studies,” but doesn’t provide any sort of link. Also, it’s from 2009, so the latest census data was nine years old at the time. I was going to do some pavement pounding of my own, but, to tell you the truth, I just don’t care that much.

Why, you ask?

Because I seriously don’t give a crap about those statistics. While I am completely pro-people-working-on-their-relationships, sometimes breaking up is the right thing for two people, and I don’t think that we need to villainize people because they decided that splitting up was the best option for everyone involved.

Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe people do give up on relationships or marriages too easily but 1) I don’t see how that’s any of my personal business because I can’t read minds or control people and 2) how is rushing into marriage the solution to this?

Anyway, the article says this next:

One reason is because there is not a commitment when you move in before marriage.

Oh, sorry AllProDad.com Staff, I must have missed you when my boyfriend and I discussed at length about when we felt were ready to move in together. Speak up next time, won’t you?

Moving on.

3. Your children will be negatively affected. To the parents who have children, your kids are three times as likely to be expelled from school or get pregnant, five times more likely to live in poverty, and 22 times more likely to be incarcerated — all because you choose to live with someone you’re not married to.

Those stats are from the same shady article, so take that as you will. I also feel like there are some cause and effect issues — I have to wonder if there are some single parent/born into poverty factors that haven’t been taken into account. Again, they didn’t cite sources, so your guess is as good as mine.

Maybe it’s in the Bible and all of us just ignored it.

4. It makes you lazy. As a married man, I know that once dating ends, the relationship changes. Living together removes the “being your best” part of your relationship. Kind of like most job interviews — you wore the suit to the interview, but once hired, you show up in khakis and a polo.

Aha! So AllProDad.com Staff is married! And lazily so! I’ll figure out your secret identity yet, AllProDad.com Staff, if it’s the last thing I do!

And the interview analogy kind of falls apart when you consider that few jobs ask you to wear a suit every day, and it will probably just serve to make your coworkers uncomfortable if you’re constantly trying to wow them with your fancy attire.

I don’t know about you guys, but my favoritest part of being in a relationship isn’t when he brings me out to fancy dinners or surprises me with flowers (though I do like those things very much, Mikey!), it’s when we spend an entire Saturday on the couch in our sweats rewatching the first season of Dexter and ordering in pizza and I don’t have to wear makeup or *shudder* Spanx (I know. I don’t have to wear either one of those things. Please don’t yell at me) and we can both just be ourselves and not put on a little play showing only our very best side all of the time. Because just being ourselves is what I like about us, and if that works for us, good. And I don’t give a shit if AllProDad.com Staff says differently.

And with that rather sappy sentiment, we come to the fifth reason why shacking up is such a terrible idea:

5. Saving on rent. Mentioned above.

That’s how he ends it! WHAT IS THAT?!

That doesn’t even make sense! Unless Mr. Staff got confused and, maybe instead of offering a reason not to shack up, he gave us something that’s not a good enough reason to shack up?

I guess I’ll just have to track down AllProDad.com Staff and ask him what he meant.

(Image via Shutterstock)

About Jessica Bluemke

Jessica Bluemke grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Ball State University in 2008 with a BA in Literature. She currently works as a writer and resides on the North side of Chicago.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    4. It makes you lazy. As a married man, I know that once dating ends, the relationship changes. Living together removes the “being your best” part of your relationship. Kind of like most job interviews — you wore the suit to the interview, but once hired, you show up in khakis and a polo. I mean now that I am hired, a.k.a married, I mean I don’t even try anymore. Before, I was like “Honey, I love you. Do you want me to cook tonight.” Now that we’re married, I’m like “Get me a sandwich, and rub my feet.” I leave my underwear everywhere and warm up my socks in the mircowave. Hell, I haven’t showered in two weeks. Just think how much worse my relationship would have been if my wife had found out how much of a selfish, lazy, misogynistic asshole I was before she entered into a legally binding contract of marriage with me.

    • JT Rager

      I was wondering that too. Does the article imply that once you’re married it suddenly becomes ok to be a slob around the house? Or that once you’re married you will want to wear a suit around the house? I genuinely don’t understand the point he’s trying to make with that one.

      • onamission5

        I took it to mean that once you’re no longer in the dating phase, you stop making any effort and your real personality comes out, so you want to delay that as long as humanly possible in order to rope your future spouse in with the whole fake you pre-marital romance part. ‘Cause apparently when dating is over, you’ve finally had sex, and people can be their awful selves, there is no excitement, hope, or joy left.

        It really doesn’t speak well for the authors’ views on humanity.

        • Itarion

          Or, you know, the author in general.

  • Gringa123

    This is funny to me b/c I went through the whole catholic marriage thing, and our priest actually told us that sleeping with someone WAS like a marriage to god. You have given yourself to someone so they are basically now your husband/wife. If you break up, it’s like you’ve gone through a divorce which is against the faith. Now, he didn’t say it was a marriage, just emphasized how sex = marriage in “god’s eyes” and how bad the “divorce” part could be because you’ve given your heart to someone else and it could therefore never entirely be given to someone else. He was not a typical priest that you usually hear about, and he was cool with us living together already, so his analogy was probably not entirely sanctioned by the church.

    • allein

      Hmm…pretty sure none of my exes kept a piece of my heart…(my bank account, in one case, but not my heart).

  • Northstar

    Married 23 years. Great husband, great kids. Shacked up beforehand, very deliberately. Even more, I’ve told the kids they are crazy if they don’t shack up before marrying, to see if works. So there!

    • WallofSleep

      I know of more than a few decades long marriages that started like that. Some shacked up and even got dogs, just to add a potential parenting element into the mix. I say more power to ‘em.

      Me, on the other hand… I have shacked up more than once, and if there were a god in heaven, I’d be on my knees every day thanking him for the fact that I’m still a bachelor. Hell, I might even start my own sect.

      • Kodie

        We’ll call it the bullet-dodgers.

    • Gus

      I believe the statistics show that couples who marry later in life stay together longer. I expect that having shacked up with a few partners in the meantime, including the one they eventually marry, plays a role in that. In fact, I’d like to see statistics on the likelihood of divorce, given having lived together before marriage.

      I don’t have 23 years in yet, but so far it’s working pretty well for the wife and I, too.

      • Lynn Narkevic

        I remember reading a statistic (i don’t have a citation, it was a long time ago) that cohabitation had no effect on divorce rates. The rate was the same for those who said they had lived together before marriage as for those who said they didn’t.

    • eonL5

      Yup. Shacked up, bought a dog. THEN married and had 2 kids.Oh noes! My spouse wasn’t my first! We’re doomed. Doomed I say! 23 years later… still good. But one of these years… maybe in another 20 or so. Boom! It’s all going to come crashing down ’cause we started by shacking up.

    • Katie DeLeon

      A huge reason that it MAY be true that people who live together before marriage have a higher divorce rate is that their religion, which keeps them from “shacking up” also keeps them from divorcing. It says nothing about how happy the couples are. Uber religious people who think divorce is an abomination will not do so, regardless of how horrible their marriage.

  • http://ma-sblog.blogspot.com/ Alice

    My husband and I will be married 19 years in July…and we “shacked up.”

  • Kate Corwyn

    Shacked up with the same partner for 24 years so far. We figure that a joint mortgage is a more than adequate symbol of commitment.

    • asonge

      This is so distressingly plausible.

  • Liz Erbe Wilcox

    My mom, who is 91 and completely sane, thinks living together prior to marriage is a good thing. Did it with my husband of 33+ years and our two daughters are now living with their boyfriends.

  • flakingnapstich

    I’ve “shacked up” with two women in my lifetime.

    The first was the woman I’d dated for over half a decade and been engaged to for a fair hunk of that. In the time we lived together we realized that despite all the love and affection we had for each other we would have been MISERABLE as husband and wife. It’s a good thing for both of us that the relationship ended. She moved on to “shack up” with another guy and they have been happily married for over ten years.

    The second woman I “shacked up” with is the woman to whom I have been married for close to ten years. Living together helped us see that we worked well together.

    I’m a big advocate of living together as a precursor to proposal. The practice saved me from having to get a no-fault divorce. when my son is older, I’ll advise he live with whoever he wants to marry for six months to a year before they even BEGIN planning a wedding, so they can sort of they’re compatible in the long run.

  • bamcintyre

    Here’s what I remember… I had a really sweet girlfriend. But i needed to move back from the east coast to the west coast for business. She said, “go ahead, but I’m not going anywhere without being married.” (funny thing, when she told her friends she was getting married, that all said “to who?”) OK, so I wasn’t a great catch. But we have been married for 40 years. And I still love her, and would do anything she wants. And she constantly takes me to task for things i don’t do right. But I do love her, and will (if she will let me) spend the rest of my life with her.

    Bottom line? You never know what you want ’til you get it. I knew, and while I am not the best husband in the world, I try.

    • Kodie

      My college boyfriend proposed to me, expectedly, over the summer after graduation, and I wanted to go live with him where he was going to grad school a few states away, but he said no because he didn’t think his parents would approve. He didn’t ask them permission, he didn’t tell them what he wanted to do, he just wanted to marry me after waiting apart for two years until after he got his degree. It was all planned out in order. So he met someone else and they technically didn’t “live together” because they fucking lived in a co-op, and we were broken up right before Christmas, and then he got his master’s and then he married her.

  • Savoy47

    The reason these guys are so hung-up on virgins is because that way the
    woman won’t know how bad a lover the guy is.

    • Gus

      And when it comes to “shacking up”, they probably also don’t want her to know if they leave their underwear on the floor, never do dishes or clean, drink milk straight out of the carton, or fly into violent rages when someone leaves the cap off the toothpaste.

    • Highlander

      Indeed, it is the height of laziness to want to have sex with a woman who has low expectations, because she has no other experience to tell her what to expect. 30 second drill and spill? “That’s as good as it gets baby…”

  • Gus

    #1 reason why shacking up before marriage is a really fantastic idea: Do you really want to sign a legally binding contract with someone promising to stay with them for the rest of your life and obligating you to a fairly messy, expensive, and emotionally draining process should one or both of you choose to break the contract if you haven’t even lived together first? Honestly, you’re an idiot if you don’t “shack up” before marriage. It’s like buying a car without test driving it, or a new pair of shoes without trying them on (and without free return shipping).

    • Pepe

      I 100% agree with this. But it’s gonna be almost impossible for me, coz I’m from India. Man how I wish certain things were different with the culture.

    • cary_w

      Humph… Well, I’m certainly feeling like an idiot now. I didn’t live with my husband before we got married, four months ago we leased a new car without test driving it, and just last night I ordered a new pair for running shoes without even checking the return policy

      • Pofarmer

        Cookie?

      • allein

        I didn’t test drive my car, either. I test drove a certified pre-owned from 2 model years earlier, but I ended up leasing a new one with a different body type (the new Hyundai Elantra GT they came out with for 2013). Granted, I was trading in my 10yo Elantra but they did a big redesign for 2011. No regrets and if finances allow I would definitely consider buying one when my lease is up. :)

        • cary_w

          The car and the shoes I blame on living in a rural area, so it’s a huge time commitment to try-before-you-buy. We did a bunch of research on cars, decided we wanted a 2014 Subaru Forester, manual transmission, then looked up all the dealers in the state and found out there was only one in the whole freakin state! So we agreed to buy it over the phone. We love the car, except it’s ugly, it doesn’t even look like a Subaru, but we knew what it looked like beforehand, and you really shouldn’t judge on looks!

          As for the marriage, I was too young, stupid and in love, but it worked out anyway, 23 years so far! But now we find ourselves in the awkward position of trying to convince our daughter to just move in with her Christian boyfriend instead of rushing into marriage at such a young age! Us: “Don’t make the same mistakes we made!” Daughter: “but it worked fine for you!” Crap! You just can’t win raising kids!

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Lol yeah! My parents weren’t thrilled when I moved in with my then-boyfriend, but I pointed out that they lived together first and obviously it worked out for them! Then again, they were less against it themselves and more against it because certain unnamed extended family members got obnoxious about “living in sin”.

            Since then-boyfriend became now-husband, obviously it worked out pretty well for us too.

  • Timmah

    I cannot stress enough how much god hates it when you SAVE ON RENT. It is an abominatoin onto Him!

    • Georgina

      Yah, for it saith: renter unto caesar !

    • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

      It’s strange, since I thought ‘Jesus saves’ was a central tenet of their faith. So I guess they should say, ‘Jesus saves, but you shouldn’t.”

  • SherL

    Huh. I shacked up twice before marriage. Once with a former boyfriend & once with my husband. I was really grateful that I went through that growing period with the former bf because it helped me realize what I *didn’t* want in a husband or father of my kids. In fact, I thought I didn’t even want those things for years, until I came to a point, with him, when I realized I really did, I just want ready yet & definitely not with him. Now I’ve been married for 13 years, very happily, with one daughter who is such a great, smart, funny & full of potential kid. If I’d stated in my parents church & married who they wanted I’d be still married to a gay man with several kids that I want ready for, nor would my health have handled them, and completely lost & bewildered. Living together is a part of the relationship process, and for many of us a way to figure out who we are & what we really need to help us be happy. But I guess happiness doesn’t matter in their God’s eyes.

  • onamission5

    Working backwards…

    5. I’m all for saving on rent so I really don’t see the problem there. Cutting down on expenses is a bad thing now? Huh.

    4. Cluestick: Living together is just like being married in pretty much every conceivable fashion, but without a piece of paper that makes it ridiculously expensive to break up. Seriously. I have cohabitated with Spouse for 13 years and two months now and we’re no more or less lazy in our relationship maintenance than any couple we know who’s got a legally binding contract. That is to say, by about year five, any couple will start taking some things for granted.

    3. My biodad came from married parents and spent almost his entire adult life in jail. Both of the people who raised me had married parents, and also dropped out of high school. None of my four kids has married parents and somehow, all of them manage to get decent grades, not be pregnant (as if pregnancy is a character flaw, gag), and abide by the law. Marriage isn’t a solid predictor of… well… anything.

    2. All relationships end. Some end in legality, some end in inevitable death, some go up in flames and some just peter out, some change form, but they all end in one way or another. The ones that can’t abide change tend to end sooner and more dramatically. Also, I have news. Just because nobody’s signed divorce papers doesn’t mean A) your relationship with each other is intact or B) your relationship is anything to envy. My grandparents went some 15+ years almost never actually speaking to each other. This was their solution to ending their constant, screaming fights. That I am supposed to want to emulate, because legal paperwork makes people all better now?

    1. Ah, ahahahahahaha! Blessings? More like overwhelming sense of heteronormative superiority, he means. Also, newsflash, marriage is a legal contract, which is why church marriage without proper documents doesn’t count, but people can get married without any form of religious trappings so long as their legal papers are in order. Legal. Not religious, and certainly not the sole purview of one religion.

    • fenaray

      Wonderful comments! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • ZeldasCrown

    1-Just because two people aren’t married doesn’t mean they haven’t made a commitment. See, for example, couples who have been together/lived together a long time without getting married. See also, all the married couples who struggle with fidelity and trust, and how many of those end in divorce.
    2-So what’s the solution? If all those couples had gotten married first before moving in together, all those marriages would have ended in divorce (ok, I guess it’s possible some would have ended up being miserable life-long marriages if the couple thought divorce was a no-no). It wasn’t the lack of being married that caused the split, it was whatever made the couple feel they were no longer compatible.
    3-I don’t really have much to add to what Jessica said. I agree completely that there likely are additional factors at play.
    4-Same thing as 2-the changing nature of the relationship upon moving in together happens whether or not the couple is married. So, again, same outcome had all these couples gotten married first.
    5-I agree that this is a really weird one to throw in there. I’d agree that shouldn’t be the only reason a couple should move in together, but it kind of feels like he wanted to have a list of 5 things, because that sounds better than a list of 4 things, and couldn’t come up with a really good fifth point.

  • Wrich

    Marriage is a contract. If you do not test the product before signing the deal, you are just plain crazy. If you do not inspect the house before taking out the mortgage, you are just plain crazy. Yet, this contract which is marriage should be seen differently? (pardon my vast generalities in the post…but you get my drift.)

  • asonge

    There is one reason that I agree with (not listed here, ironically) for delaying cohabitation. I remember reading somewhere that cohabitation can extend relationships that weren’t very strong to begin with because of the strong financial ties of a cosigned lease or whatever rental agreement. Having independent partners means splitting up is easier, so people aren’t going to be as invested, and if the relationship isn’t that strong, you’re better off breaking it off early to see other people.

    I personally plan to overcome this by having a “get out of dodge” savings fund in my next relationship (that both of us would contribute to), so that neither of us is held hostage in a relationship by any kind of financial co-commitments. The fund could be easily rolled into a downpayment on a house if we wanted to continue the relationship on some greater commitment.

    • onamission5

      Ah, but that’s an argument against marriage, too, that legal contracts keep people together long past their relationship expiration date. AllProDads can’t have that.

      • asonge

        Eh, I think of marriage not as some force that keeps couples together, but a clear boundary for common overlapping sets of expectations from each other (that can of course be changed by the couple). Splitting up a household is a tough thing to do, and marriage law seems to provide a good way to split up a “joint venture”, so to speak. That one is willing to engage on life with another person like that (an intimate affair, even outside of any kind of sexual aspect) makes one vulnerable to getting really screwed without concepts of community property, etc. That households can operate as something that’s greater than the sum of their parts, having legal protections for common arrangements makes sense. (And yes, I’m for splitting up the various things that marriage entails so that poly folk can subscribe selectively to those same protections).

    • Kodie

      I wanted to comment about that also. A lot of other commenters talk about their good relationships, but relationships can be bad too. Moving in together seems to be a compromise everyone is willing to make until they find out what it’s like and what they’re partner is like. It’s a good thing to not be married yet. But also bad relationships continue out of habit and expectations that this is just a stepping stone toward marriage. And these people who live together may eventually just get married because they’re too lazy or too invested to break up (as they probably should), and eventually the marriage fizzles out. It’s kind of like they did get married because they were already living together and they were living together to do this try-out thing, and it wasn’t working out but nobody said anything to stop it because where are they going to go? Moving sucks, moving without your partner to help you pack and load the truck sucks, fighting and finding your shit on the lawn sucks. The lease renewal offer comes and you either have to sign it or find another place to live, and nobody says “hey, I don’t want to live here next year with you, ok? But I have no place to go until the lease is up… that cool if we’re just roommates now?”

      Divorce must be messy, but I don’t think breaking up when you officially live together is a picnic – did it twice, with the same guy even. A few years ago, I was going out with a (different) guy who came over one day and stayed for 9 days, like he lived there, and increasingly made expectations over my housekeeping. One day, he yelled at me like it was my fault he hadn’t seen his friends in over a week, and we didn’t last too long after that. I liked it at first, but he was testing me for a housewife, so phew!

  • onamission5

    Also, that was a lot of words for the staff at AllProDad to basically say, “We’re so freaked out by sex that we don’t want fully grown adults to know what they’ve gotten themselves in to until they are locked into a legally binding contract for life with no easy way out.”

  • Ders

    I have a theory on #5. He thinks that “shacking up” means that the guy will have to pay for a bigger place. This is, of course, because women should be at home and men should be bread winners. So as a male you should just live on your own in a smaller place until you have to get a bigger place to keep your possessions (including the woman you just obtained). Just a theory though. I hope that’s not what he means.

    • onamission5

      Oh, maybe they believe that it’s a bad thing for hetero couples to split expenses because of god ordained marital gender roles, and having a woman help pay for stuff is too emasculating or infantilizing for Real Men or something. That ought to have occurred to me, but it did not.

    • Jacqui H

      Good Catch!

  • Anna

    Outside of conservative religious denominations, are there even any people who don’t live with their partners before marriage? It seems like the normal course of events nowadays. You date, you move in together, you get married. That’s the “respectable” middle class way to do things. I think people would look at you oddly if you skipped the second step.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      There’s probably some … I know a friend of mine dated then married then moved in together (he is religious, but not crazy religious, if that makes sense), while myself and a good friend of mine both lived together with our respective partners before getting married.

      It’s definitely becoming the norm to move in together first, though. It’s cheaper that way and a preview of marriage, somewhat, because you get to see your partner’s annoying habits up close and personal.

      • Anna

        I’ve been trying to wrack my brain to think if I know anyone who got married without living together first. I don’t think so. Frankly, I can only think of one person who even got married before the age of 25/26. How I grew up, young marriage was not only discouraged, it would have been really off-the-wall to marry before you finished college or grad school.

        Most of the people I knew from high school and college started getting married in their late 20s, and all of them lived together first. These were obviously not all atheists. Most were Catholics and Jews, or mainline Protestants. We don’t have a large evangelical population here, so I can’t speak to their marriage habits.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Nodnod. I actually got married pretty young (23) and got a lot of flak from relatives for marrying so early.

    • Jacqui H

      Sadly, even mildly-to-non-religious people often bend to the will of their parents/grandparents and don’t live together until they are married or engaged. I’d say its the majority of people in middle class Michigan.

      • Anna

        Really? I find that startling, to say the least! Granted, I’ve lived near San Francisco my entire life, but it seems to me like living together is entirely accepted. Not only among all the people I know personally, but also as portrayed in the media. You don’t often see depictions of couples getting married without living together first. From movies to popular sitcoms to reality shows, living together seems to be taken for granted.

        Outside of conservative religious environments, that is. I could well imagine it’s not accepted among religious families in the Bible Belt or Utah, but Michigan surprises me. Especially middle-class people in Michigan, most of whom would delay marriage until the mid-late 20s. I don’t think anyone around here (save the devoutly religious) would find it normal to jump right into marriage without a year or two of living together first.

        • Jacqui H

          It is startling! And I know it’s anecdotal, not a study, but Its true for 80-90% of my age group.

          Edited to add: I’ll say that it was also accepted by mostly everyone when we went to live together (except one crazy aunt, who thought it was the worst idea in the world and then got super mad two years later when we didn’t get married in a church)… But there was also one interesting thing where a friends mother was surprised we were getting married because she assumed I just didn’t want to… because we lived together first… People are weird. :)

    • Anat

      Well, my husband and me didn’t actually live together before getting married. First I was attending college in my hometown while living with my parents, he was living in an off-campus dorm. Then my parents went abroad for a few years, leaving the house to my brother (also a college student) and myself. So boyfriend and I stayed some nights at my house, some at his dorm. Then I went to graduate school while he had to join the military (that’s life in Israel for you). We marred while he was still in the military, so we got our first joint address when married.

      • Jacqui H

        I think the progression makes sense here. You had two houses, but were essentially spending all your time together split between them, next step there is getting a place together, which you couldn’t do due to circumstances beyond your control :)

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    2. Your relationship will probably end.

    We lived together before getting married 41 years ago. Just can’t seem to get past that crazy-about-each-other problem, so I’m afraid we’re stuck being married for the rest of our lives.

    3. Your children will be negatively affected. …expelled from school …pregnant …live in poverty …incarcerated.

    Our daughter is now 28, and none of that has happened. She’s hard working, well respected at her job, getting her Masters Degree from an excellent university, and on her way to becoming a successful psychotherapist. How long are we supposed to wait before all this catastrophe happens?

    • allein

      So sad to see couples staying together because they actually like each other instead of an artificial sense of obligation to some religious construct. Young people these days. Tsk, tsk.

    • Itarion

      I think your daughter should have to have a professional session with some of these people. See what’s really wrong.

  • Kelly Even

    Married 12 years and shacked up for 2 beforehand. Have a great husband who is anything but lazy and goes out of his way to make sure I know I’m the center of his world. We have 5 great kids who are well behaved, never been to jail, do well in school or at work, and do not live in poverty. We also took in a homeless teen who is doing well at school and at work. Yes the Atheist family took in the homeless. Christians pray, Atheist do.

    I highly recommend shacking up.

  • skyblue

    …your kids are three times as likely to be expelled from school or get pregnant, five times more likely to live in poverty, and 22 times more likely to be incarcerated — all because you choose to live with someone you’re not married to.

    Correlation does not imply causation.

  • the moother

    Is that pic of Justin Bieber?

  • Annika Raaen

    While I will concede that everyone’s different when it comes to sex and love (and I totally respect that)…I think mature and responsible adults *should* live with a partner they are serious about. Why wouldn’t you? The thought of being stuck with someone who I can’t live with (or who is sexually incompatible with me) gives me the creeps. This AllProDad.com Staff guy is regressive and living in a fairyland. Maybe it worked for him, but it didn’t work for the handful of women in my former religious community who were in new marriages with men who turned into raging assholes once they consummated their “pure” and “holy” union. I knew of two women who were brave enough to speak up and get out, even though they endured judgement (and even mild shunning). And even though their ex-husbands were still “upstanding” members of the church.

  • Pitabred

    I’m most disturbed by the fact that he apparently hid his true self from his wife until after they were married, and he had her legally bound to him. That seems deeply unhealthy in a relationship.

  • Mick

    Wait until AllProDad talks about sex within a marriage. You can do whatever he does but everything else is verboten.

  • baal

    5/6 kids of my parents (including me) shacked up and we are all still married to that person. The last one didn’t shack up and is now divorced. This proves next to nothing but knowing if you’re 1. able to live together 2. sexually compatible are huge.

  • Randy Meyer

    From about 1995 until 1998, I ‘shacked up with’ the woman I was dating at the time. We thought we were being so smart about it by getting a two-bedroom apartment and each of us having our own bedrooms. And honestly, things were going great. We were together most of the time but it was nice to have the separate bedrooms if we sometimes just needed a little downtime apart. As I said, things were going great… until I gave her the engagement ring. That is when things all fell apart. It turned out to be a great thing that we didn’t get married and only ‘shacked up.’ Because of it, we were able to just walk away from each other and not have to break a vow made to each other. So just because it is right for one person or whatever the ‘statistics’ show, it isn’t necessarily good for everyone.

  • allein

    1. How does moving in together not constitute some kind of a commitment?
    2. And marriage is some kind of guarantee against your relationship ending? What if you find out things about your partner that you (literally) can’t live with only after you’ve married and moved in together? The breakup is a hell of a lot harder and more expensive at that point.
    3. Uh…I don’t have kids. But I’d say if you have a good relationship your kids probably aren’t going to end up in jail as a direct result.
    4. Um, I don’t want a guy in a suit all the time. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl, after all (which is pretty much what I wear to work…my last job started with a rather impromptu interview with another department, to which I wore jeans and a fleece sweatshirt that I wore because my previous job included some degree of manual labor in a warehouse and I didn’t like to get my nice clothes dirty).
    5. If you save on rent you can afford a big flashy wedding and that’s all shallow and stuff and not a good way to start your marriage. Or something like that… I don’t know.

    • Itarion

      4. Oh, thank goodness. I hate suits!

      More seriously, if you can’t be yourself around your significant other, then that’s probably not a healthy relationship, and you should think about that. I mean, there are people who like wearing suits all the time, and people who like people who like wearing suits all the time, and that’s fine. But the option to not wear a suit is the important bit.

  • Stev84

    Seeing people when they don’t show you your best side is actually an argument for trying out living together before deciding if you get married.

    And I’ve seen people quote those statistics before. Even if there were a legitimate study, I’d like to see some numbers from a country that doesn’t have the same weird sexual hangups Americans have.

  • revyloution
  • James Allison

    I am reminded of Pauls wonderful advice on marriage – ‘it is better to marry than to burn (in lust).’ I Cor.7:9. Pauls definition of marriage was having sexual union. So marry so you can have a lot of sex. Something you don’t hear much from the pulpits these days. The other side of the coin says that sex is normal, marriage is a choice. Relationships are built on our need for companionship. Marriage is built on our need for ownership. Even in Jesus’ day wives were property. Whether a physical marriage ever takes place in a relationship or not is not important. What is important is that the people involved are committed to the relationship – however they want to define it.

  • closetatheist

    Whenever I hear anyone bemoaning the modern, *terribly* high divorce rates, I like to pop back with something like, “I think that’s great!” After they pick themselves up off the ground i’ll remind them that, unlike our ancestors who were under tremendous pressure to get and remain married for social, familial, monetary, religious or other reasons WE ARE FREE TO END BAD RELATIONSHIPS now. How many young people were pushed into loveless or abusive relationships only to realize that they had no way out and lived their lives in misery? The ability to end things that are hurtful is GOOD. It shows our society has progressed; our children are more educated, they can provide for themselves, they are independent, there is less sexism, most people do not believe that abuse is a man’s right over his family, and that society, in general, is less judgmental and more accepting.

    And I’m tired of Christian teens being taught that “dating is practice for divorce.” What BULLSHIT. This is a subversive way of getting more kids to remain virgins but what it really does is stunt teenagers maturity. They never learn to compromise with someone they love, never learn what character traits mesh well with their own, or never learn that they may have some maturing to do before they can be a good mate. So you know what we get? Intellectually immature kids marrying at 18 just so they can finally fuck someone. Sounds like wedded bliss right there.

    • http://silentcoder.co.za/ A.J. Venter (silentcoder)

      And don’t forget – our ancestors had a life expectancy of about 30 and got married about 3 weeks after hitting puberty. They never had a teen-sex problem because all the teenagers were married and “forever” meant about 20 years at most.

  • Felicia

    As a former shacker-upper, I want to comment on “there is not a commitment when you move in before marriage.”

    My husband and I have been married 15 years and shacked up for 9 months before the wedding. Before that, we’d done about six sessions of couples counseling at my husband’s request when our relationship got serious. He was married previously and wanted to identify any potential pitfalls or issues before getting married again.

    Our very wise and perceptive counselor pointed out during one session, “You two are already married.” What he meant was we were two people already committed to one another. Neither the wedding ceremony or “shacking up” made us a committed couple; we already were before we took those steps.

    Blanket prohibitions such as “no sex before marriage” or “no shacking up” just don’t work because every couple is different, and what works for them won’t necessarily work for someone else. It seems to me many religious people are uncomfortable with differences; therefore they wish everyone to follow the same cookie-cutter rules.

  • SeekerLancer

    I don’t know why anyone gets married before living together for a while. I don’t know why anyone would make a potentially damaging financial commitment before trying it out first, so you can work out your potential problems before tying the knot or breaking it off.

    I’m sure most of those “relationships ended” statistics would have been divorces if they took the “good Christian” route and got married first.

    Stupid, arbitrary religious commands make life a lot more complicated than it has to be for people.

    As for me I’ve currently “shacked up” with my girlfriend for longer than many marriages last. Still haven’t broken up or been smitten by any gods. Maybe they’re cooking something up.

  • James Guillory

    “5. Saving on rent. Mentioned above.”
    Really, this is so totally obvious I don’t see how you missed it. Before marriage a woman belongs to her father, and lives on his dime. If a guy shacks up with a woman he has to pay for her rent as well as his own. AND he doesn’t collect the dowery. Guys, this is a bad financial move all around.

    • allein

      I’m living on my dad’s dime? Then what’s with our spreadsheet of things he fronted me money for when I bought my condo that I’m paying back over time? And the new list he’s accruing as he fixes my bathroom? I may have a bunch of his dimes tied up right now but he fully expects them back.

    • MineApostasy

      Oh crap I was sitting here trying to grok it and couldn’t. It’s such a foreign concept to me that: one, the women getting married are still living with their parents when they get hitched (how young are they?), and two, that both partners in a relationship wouldn’t be working at first. I mean, when kids come in to the mix — and if one income is enough — I can understand the decision to stay at home, but… yeah.

  • ZenDruid

    As for those manly Christian men [spit], cohab is too much of a stress on them. In a 24-7 relationship they are prone to stop treating their women as friends and partners, and start regarding them as mother/domestic servant/sex toy. The dichotomy is too severe, and the pretense too demanding, thus no shacking up.

  • L.G. Keltner

    Growing up, my parents told me that living together with someone beforehand is a good idea because you’ll learn if you’re able to coexist together happily before you make a permanent commitment. I lived with my husband for almost a year and a half before we got married, and I’m glad we had that time to feel things out and get used to being together all the time. When we got married, I had no doubts because I knew exactly how we functioned together. That’s more valuable to me than some overly romanticized and outdated idea of purity that often falls short of expectations anyway.

  • FTP_LTR

    I now have this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh9ugRFvJkg stuck in my head.

    Thank you.

  • Edward

    Does anyone else mentally replace things like “No blessings from God.” and “living in sin” with nonsense words?

    “If you shack up before getting married you won’t get any bloggleblargers from fargletarg.”

    It’s pretty much the same thing.

    • onamission5

      This genuinely made me laugh. I am totally doing this from now on.

    • Ron

      Ceiling Cat sez, “no can haz cheezburgr if u mek seks b4 u iz maryd. srsly.”

  • http://pandarogue.blogspot.com/ Yǒuhǎo Huǒ Māo

    I love your response to #4. Indeed, that’s what I do a lot with Girlfriend. We sit at our computers and play games and watch shows, sometimes we go out and shop and do stuff like that and it’s a great time. I have so much fun just doing mundane crap.

    We still go out, we still go on dates (and I’m still planning some.) Living together with Girlfriend will let us figure out what quirks we have that piss the other off – like my forgetting to put a new bag in the trash cause goldurnit I forgot again this morning.

  • Lorne Dmitruk

    Well I guess me and my common law wife of 20 years will just have to split up and sell the house.


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