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Last Updated Friday January 29, 2016 03:36 PM -0500

Shacking Up & Abstinence

Marriage vs. cohabitation

Over the years, the number of unmarried couples living together has grown. Liberals, who emphasize relativism and eschew passing judgment, have argued that unmarried cohabitation is equally as good as married cohabitation. But a new compilation of empirical research by Heritage�s FamilyFacts.org demonstrates that married couples are more stable, better off financially and less prone to depression and alcoholism.

Click here to read more about the benefits of marriage as compared to unmarried cohabitation.


Abstinence Pledges Curtail Teen Out-of-Wedlock Births
By AFA Journal
June 10, 2004

(AgapePress) - A new report released by the Heritage Foundation reveals that efforts recommending abstinence to teens can pay off in reducing out-of-wedlock births.

The report, which was based on data gathered by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, found that "[y]oung women who take a virginity pledge are about 40% less likely to have a child out of wedlock when compared to similar young women who do not make such a pledge."

Kirk A. Johnson, senior policy analyst in the Center for Data Analysis, wrote in the Heritage report that the finding "strongly suggests the potential for abstinence education programs to reduce teen pregnancy and out-of-wedlock childbearing."

The benefits of reducing such outcomes of early teen sexual experimentation are more than just theoretical. The report noted that children raised by single parents are "seven times more likely to live in poverty than are children raised in intact homes."

The Heritage Foundation study considered other factors such as the girls' family status, religiosity, income, race, etc., and still determined that "the virginity pledge itself was found to have a strong independent effect in predicting lower levels of out-of-wedlock childbearing."

This article appeared in the June 2004 issue of AFA Journal, a monthly publication of the American Family Association.

The Hard Line
Shacking Up? Consider this...

By R. Cort Kirkwood
July 26, 2002

(AgapePress) - Like the “news” we hear from most other sociological studies, the latest from the Centers for Disease Control isn’t news at all. Shacking up before marriage, the federal disease detectives say, increases the chance of divorce.

However predictable, CDC’s new data on marriage merely ratify an obvious truth:We live in a divorce culture that says marriages were made to be broken.

The Reasons
The statistics from CDC are just what we’d expect:

While little or no religious faith and low income portend divorce, which at the 43% rate is a contagion, CDC found that 40% of marriages that grow from “cohabitation” ended within ten years. In contrast, divorce occurs in 31% of marriages wherein the couples did not shack up.

The reason, one observer told Associated Press, is that “many people enter a cohabiting relationship where the deal is, ‘If this doesn’t work out we can split up and it’s no big loss because we don’t have a legal commitment,’ " she said. “The commitment is tenuous, and that tenuous commitment might carry over into marriage.”

No kidding. But the commitments are “tenuous” because they are joined to gratify concupiscence, not to offer unconditional love to another with the goal of becoming one. People shack up for the convenient sex. You don’t have to go home on a cold night after it’s over.

And once the shoes are under the bed permanently, ending the “relationship” is much more difficult than if the shoes had not moved in. Retreating from an ill-considered “engagement” during “cohabitation” requires Herculean emotional and psychological strength.

So one or both parties are channeled toward that “tenuous” marriage. Result? Divorce.

The Wrong View of Marriage
But the CDC inadvertently identified another “factor” that explains the divorces where the spouses did not live together before marriage.

Quoting a “marriage expert” who toils for the federal government, AP reports, “part of the problem may be attitudes toward cohabitation are different than attitudes about marriage .... When living together, [the “expert”] said, the attitude is ‘I vow to stay together with you as long as you make me happy.’

“In a marriage, people focus on making their partners happy. ‘If you’re used to viewing being together as a test of the other person’s ability to take care of your needs, once you get married it’s hard to just switch that,’ ” the “expert” said.

Happy? Needs? The “expert” just doesn’t get it. No wonder the federal government hired him.

Marriage was not ordained to make you happy. It was ordained to make you better. The main duty for each spouse is not fulfilling the “needs” of the other, however selfless the effort.

The principal duty for spouses, at least in a Christian marriage, is to help each other get to heaven. This is what should make us happy, and even married atheists or others who don’t share the Christian view of marriage should strive to become better human beings -- not gratify egoistic urges.

A Sacred Bond
Which brings us back to the beginning.

The prevailing, legalistic view of marriage as a “tenuous commitment” is ripened in a culture that no longer views marriage as an indissoluble and sacred bond or sacrament joined by God. Today, marriage is a “contract” either husband or wife can break because they aren‘t “happy.”

Until that changes, until society understands marriage the old-fashioned way, the CDC reports won’t much improve.

R. Cort Kirkwood is a syndicated columnist and managing editor of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He can be contacted at kirkwood@shentel.net.

� 2002 AgapePress all rights reserved.

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