Looking at God's World
Cohabitation outside of marriage is spreading to older adults, including parents with children at home, according to Census data reported by USA Today.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when very few unmarried couples lived together. Then it became a phenomenon more of young adults who had never been marriage. Now, nearly 30 percent of cohabiting people are divorced, nearly half are 35 and older and growing numbers are parents with children at home, USA Today said.
As of March, 15.3 million unmarried heterosexual individuals were in live-in relationships, that’s 6.5 percent of all U.S. adults 18 and over. The survey did not count those who had cohabited in the past but are now married or are living alone or with family or friends.
Here are some other highlights:
– 41% of cohabiting couples have kids living with them.
– 47% are 35 and older, and 13% are 55 and over.
– 21% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, 31% have some college, 35% have a high school diploma, and 13% did not graduate from high school.
As a person who has been married 33 years and never even thought about living with someone before my marriage, I find this changing cultural situation hard to grasp. It does not seem right to me that unmarried people should live together, but some of my family and friends have been or are in such relationships.
I grew up in a family with my mom, dad, and sister. That’s the kind of family I generally saw among my friends. And television tended to affirm that model of family. As a result, I grew up expecting to marry for life and raise children. The world of today’s children fits that pattern less and less, and the implications are immense. Fewer children are experiencing what I and my children have experienced.
There is not space here to go into a detailed discussion of what the Bible says on this issue, so let me ask a question and provide a simple answer without simply saying, “Because the Bible says so.”
The question: Why is it important to uphold the importance of marriage for long-term, male-female sexual relationships?
The simple answer: Because commitment is good and important, both for the couple and for any children connected to that couple.
It is important that we value commitment. This seems especially important in regard to children. If they grow up in households lacking in basic commitment, there is a good chance they will not bring it to their own adult relationships in the years ahead. Despite what is seen on television, marriage is the place for sexual relationships. (See the Bible for further documentation.)