Most Abrahamic religions consider sex before marriage to be a sin. Some cultural beliefs in Asia and Africa were also very much against sex before marriage. Even though living together doesn’t necessarily mean that there must be sexual relations, there is always that implication. My story tells me many things about marriage. Sometimes, living together before marriage will invole serious problems happening in couples, so meeting a therapist for marriage counselling is necessary.
I started dating seriously after I got my first job. I went out with this girl who I became quite fond of after dating her for some time. We had a lot to share. We enjoyed each other jokes and we’d do a lot of things together. One thing led to another, and one fine evening we met as usual and she told me she was going to have a baby. I was both excited and anxious. I had always wanted to start a family. Although this is no exactly how I planned it. She did not seem too excited but that was perhaps because she was a little nervous.
We later decided to move in together. The baby was born and we raised it together. However, we started arguing. Raising this baby was beginning to take a toll on both of us. Sometimes our arguments were extended enough that we would both give each other the cold treatment.
One day she said she had needed to go for the weekend. She would be back in less than 48 hours since she had to be back on Sunday evening when she would take over the responsibility of watching the baby. I stayed home throughout the weekend. With the help of my sister I baby sat my son.
When it was time for her to come back, she never showed up. A week later and she was gone. It would be weeks later that I would realize she had no intention of coming back. I decided to raise the baby on my own; with the occasional help from some members of my family.
Living Together Before Marriage
I started reflecting on the biblical and the traditional idea of living together before marriage. What was its purpose? Were there any real-life benefits that we could gain from this? Or is it only a spiritual rule with no clear real-life benefits? The Christian position of marriage is best captured by Apostle Paul. Paul felt that marriage was a social obligation. He stated that a couple living together and having sex between was pure and necessary.
There is no clear prohibition of sex before marriage. However, Apostle Paul was very much against sexual immorality. “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not.”1 Corinthians 6:18-20.
Because there are no explicit verses that specifically prohibits sex between unmarried men and unmarried women, there has been a lot of debate about this issue in the past. To some, the only thing that Paul prohibits is sexual immorality.
There are however verses that imply that sex between men and women before marriage amounts to immorality. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul says that to avoid sexual immorality a man should have sex with his wife, and similarly the wife should have sex with the husband.
If it therefore generally accepted that sex before marriage constitute sexual immorality, then it only follows that moving in together, according to Christianity is also a sin. Some Christian scholars have even gone as far as to suggest that even when living together without engaging in any sexual intercourse would still constitutes sexual immorality. The other major religions seem to complement this view in a way.
Secular view On living Together
The secular view of moving in is that this is a convenient way for two people to come together without the legal commitment and hustles of marriage. You can bring together both of you heads to take advantage of the logistical and financial benefits of living under one roof. After all, if you have been dating for some time, why not just start living together?
Some people like me, used to see living together as the best way to raise a child. In my case this happened after we had an unplanned baby. It seemed like the logical thing to do. There would be no need for both parents to live away from each other. Even those who are proponents of this arrangement will readily admit that there are pitfalls that a couple could fall into if both parties are not careful. The first problem is commitment. Both of you need to be clear of your commitments to each other before making this move.
You do not want the situation where one of you will be forced to move out later on. It can take a toll on your emotional and even financial well being. This is particularly true granted that breakups happen unexpectedly. No one prepares for a break up months before.
There are certain changes that will also happen in your life that you will not have prepared for. For example, your friends will no longer feel comfortable coming over. This can leave a big gap in your social life. At this point, some people may begin to feel shortchanged. You may feel like this is not what you signed up for since you were not prepared.
Psychologists suggest that the longer people live together before they get formally married the higher the chances of divorce later on. Think about it? Why are you moving in together, but none of you is getting married.
It appears that both parties are not sure of their commitment. If this is the case, things can get complicated quickly. For example, if there is no solid commitment either one of the parties may reluctantly agree to have the baby. When the baby is born, you may start to feel like you’ve been trapped into a life that you had not fully prepared for. At this point the relationship could start sliding down a very slippery path.
The couples success after moving in together will depend on how prepared the couples are and how committed they are to each other. Relationships require a lot of work from both parties.