Arguably one of the most common factors that arise for couples contemplating marriage is that of cohabitation. As it relates to cohabitation the question therefore arises, should Christians decisions be influenced by the culture in which we live to justify cohabitation, or should the Word of God take precedence? Should consideration be given where extenuating circumstances arise? According to Hohmann-Marriott (2006), “Cohabiting couples and couples who cohabit prior to marriage have less stable relationships than married couples who did not cohabit, and these differences may be linked to processes within the relationships” (p. 1015). In addition, nontraditional beliefs held by cohabiting partners appear to make the less committed and more susceptible to divorce should they eventually decide to get married (Hohmann-Marriott, 2006).
I happen to know of a situation with a godly couple who were engaged when the husband moved from Canada to Florida to take up a youth pastor’s position at his mentor’s church. He did not have the financial resources at the time to buy a home for his family. Based on the Senior pastor’s knowledge of his youth pastor’s character he allowed his youth pastor and his fiancée to live with them for a short time before they got married and the shortly after purchased their own home. In my view, these were extenuating circumstances and a judgement call was made based of knowing both individuals’ characters. I posit that while this is not a situation that would normally be encouraged, it had economic implications and required much payer before making a decision based on the character of the individuals involved. Of course, the couple were not allowed to sleep together while making the life transition. Was there sin involved because of temporarily living under his mentor roof? In my view, steps were taken to avoid obvious temptation and sin. Based on the character of the Senior Pastor, whom I personally know to be a very godly man, I feel he decided based on the character of someone he has known for several years and knew that trusted him to not violate God’s standard of holiness. In conclusion, today’s economic and financial circumstances may require couples to cohabit for a season, however cohabitation does not have to infer sexual intimacy and no effort should be spared to establish a godly union in the shortest possible timeframe.
Hohmann-Marriott, B. E. (2006). Shared beliefs and union stability of married and cohabiting couples. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68(4), 1015-1028. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00310.x