Can you live with your girlfriend?

Hebrews 13:4 – Let the marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 

The cultural myth is that cohabitating works, but the truth is, it doesn’t. Statistically, couples who live together before marriage have higher divorce rates than couples who don’t. Because they’re not practicing for marriage, they’re practicing for divorce. Covenant is all or nothing. God blesses covenant; He doesn’t bless pretend, practice covenant.

According to the most recent research, there are four reasons why cohabitating before marriage will crush your chances of a holy, happy, and healthy lifetime together:

  1. Cohabitation lacks commitment and shows that the two people are either not fully devoted to one another, or incapable of full commitment altogether. 
  2. Unlike marriage, which is a clear public choice, shacking up is a pointless slide into a passive uncertain future together. Scholars call this “sliding vs deciding”. 
  3. A live-in dating debacle is ambiguous rather than clear, and lacks any real intention for the future. 
  4. The odds of a successful marriage go down with cohabitation. Follow the science…dating, relating, and fornicating is a sure-fire way of hurting your odds of meaningful marriage. (1) 

For those who are dads with daughters, does this look different to you than when you were a young, single man? If a guy is like “I just want to live with your daughter but not marry her”, you’re like “I’m gonna do prison ministry from the inside.” If any guy comes along and is like “I’m not sure I want to marry her, I want to test drive her”, it’s like “That’s my daughter, not a car.” If he’s like “I can’t afford it”, well, then you’re not ready to be married. 

At the end of the day, if you are living with a girl and you’re not married to her, you’re not bringing her closer to Jesus. If you really want to be a good husband, your first job is to help her get closer to Jesus. And if you’re doing anything in your relationship that doesn’t help the other person get closer to Jesus, you actually don’t have a loving relationship, you have an abusive relationship.

There’s no way a girl living with her boyfriend every night can have a clear conscience in the sight of God and say, “By living with this man I’m not married to, I feel a lot closer to Jesus”. It doesn’t work like that.

Most single people have far too few good examples. Our culture has lost both its’ soul and mind. The record number of children born out of wedlock into higher rates of poverty, abuse, and mental health struggles is not what you want to intentionally repeat in your life and legacy. God will not bless your plan of living with your girlfriend. God will only bless His plan, which is a man growing up to take care of himself, leaving his father and mother to prove his adult level of responsibility, marrying a woman in an honorable way, and consummating their covenant as husband and wife. I want the best for you. God’s way is always the best way and the only blessed way.

If you’re not yet married, is there anything you need to change about the way you treat people of the opposite sex, especially your girlfriend or boyfriend? If you are married, how can you raise your future children to act in a God-honoring way when it comes to relationships? 

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