Issues and Answers

Why People Choose To Cohabit Before Marriage And What The Results Of That Choice Means

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Jerry Connell


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000212

00:31 Hello, I'm Shelly Queen and welcome to another Issues and
00:32 Answers. I'm so glad that you joined us
00:34 today and before we begin this program, I have a Scripture
00:37 to share with you and I think you'll understand why as soon as
00:41 we do the program; The Bible says in Mathew 7 in verse 24;
00:45 this is Jesus speaking. He says: Everyone who hears these words
00:49 of mine and acts upon them, in other words obeying them will be
00:53 like a sensible man who built his house upon the rock and rain
00:57 fell and floods came and the winds blew and beat against that
01:01 house, yet it did not fall because it had been founded on
01:06 rock. You know, our topic today is going to be cohabitation
01:10 before marriage, in other words living together before marriage
01:16 and the Bible has to say a lot about this but what were going
01:19 to do today is to look at those who are not following that
01:24 advice of building their house upon the rock of Jesus Christ
01:29 and on His word and actually we are going to be looking at the
01:33 causes and the results from the statistical information and from
01:38 various surveys. We have with us again today and I'm so happy
01:42 he has returned, pastor Jerry Connell from Lincoln Nebraska,
01:46 pastor, for those who haven't got to know you, tell us what
01:48 you do.
01:50 I am on staff of the College Church at Union College, a
01:54 church of about 2100 members plus 900 college students so
01:58 were thinking in terms of about 3000 we provide ministry for, I
02:03 do family ministries and my training is in theology and
02:08 clinical psycho therapy so I'll go, I wear a few other hats,
02:12 primarily what I do is counseling and a lot of what I
02:14 do is pre-marriage counseling, marriage counseling, and post
02:18 marriage or what I call post mortems, I find out why they
02:22 died. So for the divorcees, yes? Yes
02:27 That's a lot of what I do. Well, you know, it seems to me
02:31 that more and more people even in churches are beginning to
02:34 live together. What are your statistics on that?
02:38 Well, that's interesting, let me just give you some statistics,
02:41 in North America, first of all, just across the population, ok
02:45 and then well focus it down more on some of the religious
02:48 world, but I want to go back to something else I think is
02:51 really important, because I've been journaling through the
02:54 gospel of Mathew and when I got to this verse you've just read,
02:58 Yes William Berkeley, the famous
03:00 Scottish theologian from Edinburgh University, the
03:04 famous ethicist but he said on this verse, he said the problem
03:09 today, this was 1956 when he wrote this commentary, he said
03:13 that the problem today is that fewer and fewer people know what
03:17 Jesus said. That's true.
03:21 But Jesus said that if we build, and the way He teaches,
03:23 the way the Scripture teaches, is that were going to build
03:26 something solid, if we don't when the rains and flood of life
03:30 come, Its gonna be disaster. Well if that was true in 1956
03:35 just think how it is 50 years later. Exactly.
03:38 Well, in 1970s in the US about 523,000 couples lived together
03:44 1970, that's all. Half a million By 1980 was 1.5 million, tripled
03:52 By 1990 it was 2.85 million. Unbelievable.
03:57 By the year 2000, 5.5 million. That would knock your socks off.
04:05 You're kidding. And so, at that growth if it
04:07 keeps going, don't have the 2006 but if we keep on going at that
04:10 rate were probably running about 7.2 or 7.4 million couples
04:17 that are cohabiting. That's amazing, now I know this
04:20 is a hot research project right now there's a lot of research
04:25 being done... A lot of research going on, let
04:27 me talk about the churches first of all, and give you a
04:29 little bit of information on that those coming from religious
04:32 backgrounds, see across the border about 50% of people who
04:36 get married are living together before they get married, so
04:41 roughly, ok, now of that 50%, those coming from what is called
04:47 Born Again Christian families, about 25% of Born Again
04:50 Christians are cohabiting before marriage, 37% of just Christians
04:57 across the board, ok, the main line of Christians, not the
05:02 ones with you know, more conservative, about 37 %, 36%
05:07 of Catholics cohabiting before marriage, atheists about 51%
05:15 Interesting! It is.
05:16 And there are some particular reasons why people are
05:21 cohabiting so these is just some research on this, ok? And
05:26 there's 5 major reasons why people choose to cohabit before
05:30 marriage. The first one is experience, we are living
05:36 together, they say, because we want to find out how compatible we are with each other
05:40 They say: does it meet our expectations?; will I be happy?
05:47 We're living together because we want to decrease our chances of
05:51 divorce. We want to increase the chance of a strong till
05:56 death do us part, that's why they are choosing to live
06:01 together. Now, according to Ruggers Univ. 62% of the men and
06:05 women in their 20s believe that living together before marriage
06:09 is a good way to avoid divorce. 62 %, recent research.
06:16 Another 42% said they would only marry someone if that person
06:19 agreed to live together first. And what they don't realize is
06:24 I'm sure, from just what I've seen, in my counseling and in
06:29 my life time is that it probably increases the chances of them
06:34 getting divorced. Were going to get there
06:35 eventually, to that research. The second research says the
06:39 reason why they live together, besides experience is finances.
06:45 Now, that almost makes sense I mean when you think about it
06:49 Here's what they say: We're living together because it just
06:52 makes good sense financially, two can live more cheaply than
06:55 one, why pay for two houses or apartments, cooking for two
06:59 costs less, electricity is less, garbage, telephone, water and
07:03 the research shows though that in cohabitive relationships
07:06 women often pay up to 70% of the cost of the cohabitive
07:09 relationship, yes, so it is not always a good thing for the
07:13 woman.
07:14 Reason nr. 3: companionship, it is not good that people should
07:18 be alone, right? We get a full grip on that.
07:21 Companionship, we would rather live with someone than live
07:25 alone, loneliness is a problem for some, they don't wanna come
07:28 home to an empty house and they want to share their lives with
07:33 someone so the need to eliminate loneliness is very prominent for
07:39 some people and some cohabit to feel loved and appreciated, some
07:45 cohabit to feel secure, so that's part of the companionship
07:51 they feel secure, ok, if you got a guy in the house you feel
07:54 more secure than being alone or just a couple of females living
07:57 together, ok so that's another, the third reason, companionship
08:01 Nr. 4: culture, the reason people live together is they
08:05 just say, you know what, its just where we are and the
08:09 social evolution of our culture, we want to live together
08:14 nowadays because everybody is living together before they get
08:18 married, society once frowned on it but now is acceptable, now
08:21 its normal and the societal, parental and religious
08:29 influences have weakened as the family structure has broken down
08:33 so its no longer seen as taboo like it used to be in years gone
08:38 by and in 1977 the TV program Trees Company, that show shocked
08:45 the sensibility of America when it was on because that was so
08:52 different, that was 1970s I remember it.
08:56 But now its common place for programs on television to have
08:59 boys and girls living together, its no big deal, you'll see it
09:04 on movies all the time and its just become the acceptable norm
09:09 and some churches have relaxed their standards and they are
09:12 saying: well, its where we are with this generation, let's not
09:15 make a big deal out of it because we want to keep them
09:18 coming to church and get them to the next level, next stage I
09:22 mean, next level, into marriage, ok, because we now that when
09:25 people get married they tend to come back to church if they are
09:28 not going to church, especially when they get children and then
09:32 they tend to start coming back to church for a while to see you
09:36 know, what church is like again. Nr. 5 is love. Were going to
09:40 get married eventually, we're in love, and the fact is that
09:45 most men and women who lived together do plan to get married.
09:50 Now some are not even engaged but they plan to and so we're
09:54 going to get married anyhow, we love each other, we anticipate
09:59 making that commitment some day and some people are engaged and
10:02 they are counting the days and so they think, well, you know,
10:06 its close so lets live together and so some they just
10:14 feel that's nothing wrong with doing it and they reason:
10:18 Listen, we love each other, we're going to get married, this
10:22 will be good for us, its a good thing, so why wait until we get
10:26 married? We'll just cohabit and eventually we'll get married.
10:32 So, a high percentage of people think living together is a good
10:34 idea but now to the statistics, I am purposely quoting State
10:40 Universities, non-Christian journals on marriage and family
10:46 and research in those places because I just want people to
10:51 hear what the researchers are finding out.
10:55 And this, you want them to hear aside from the Bible, what the
10:58 Bible has to say is clear but sometimes people who look at
11:02 what the Bible says and say that's our cake, that is, you
11:05 know, that was written so long ago that it doesn't apply to us
11:08 anymore but what we're gonna see now is that current research
11:12 outside of the Christian circle, outside of the Christian norm
11:16 is saying that the results are the same thing that the Bible
11:19 says they will be. Well, it was kind of interesting
11:22 a few years ago and I wish I had been able to Xerox the
11:25 journal because I forgot the author's name but it was a, it
11:29 worked at the University of Minnesota, taught in a school
11:33 of marriage and family there and years ago, 25 years ago he
11:37 used to tell couples: You know what, before you get married
11:41 just live together. I mean, you know, back in the 70s it was,
11:44 you know, the free love kind of thing and the Heat-Ashbery
11:48 Movement, that swept across North America...
11:50 It feels good, do it It feels good, do it
11:53 And so he said that, you know, its not a big deal, just live
11:57 together, try it out, you know what, this gentleman, this
12:01 researcher completely reversed his position because as the
12:05 students came back to him and talked to him over the years it
12:09 began to realize what was happening in their lives and in
12:12 their relationships, The Univ. of Wisconsin school of
12:15 emerging family, the same thing, I've read a research from there.
12:20 But here's what the researchers have looked across the board, ok
12:25 Here's what the researchers are saying: Nr. 1 reason why people
12:33 shouldn't live together, why most authorities say people
12:37 shouldn't cohabit before marriage is there's a greater
12:41 chance of divorce. And these are non-Christian
12:44 researches. These are non-Christian
12:47 researchers, these are just the research that's out there,
12:51 greater chance of divorce in fact up to 85% of those who get
12:55 married after cohabiting will end up in divorce.
13:00 So... Now le me...
13:01 Let me repeat that because I want to clarify it too. Ok.
13:04 But let me repeat the statistic because I want to make sure
13:08 that people hear this: if you live together 85% of those who
13:11 live together before they marry will end up in divorce.
13:16 Well, let me clarify because we need to make this very clear.
13:19 Of those who cohabit before marriage for all of the 5
13:22 reasons why people choose to cohabit with the intention of
13:25 getting married, 50% of them never get to the altar.
13:28 Ok. The average cohabitive
13:30 relationship lasts about 18 months, ok, now, of the 50% that
13:38 do get married, 50 people I mean, ok, so lets take 100
13:42 couples, 50 of them will never even get to the altar, their
13:46 relationship will dissolve before they even get there.
13:50 Of the other 50 of the 100, 85% of those will end up in
13:56 divorce so if you figure that out statistically, of the 100 is
13:59 about 92,5% of every couple will end up in divorce.
14:03 You know, people think that living together is going to be
14:07 a taste of what is going to be married, and it isn't, I mean is
14:11 you don't have without that commitment in your heart and the
14:15 commitment to your spouse or to your partner you are in a
14:18 relationship that is a little more free if you will and yet
14:24 more burdened down, because I wonder how many couples that
14:28 are in their first year of marriage when they are going
14:31 through this adjustment period, and everybody goes through an
14:35 adjustment period, I wonder how many couples, if they had not
14:39 been married but spent that first year or 18 months together
14:43 would have walked away from the relationship but because they
14:47 were married said: ok, I've said I do, I've made a vow, I
14:51 want to keep this and they worked it out.
14:54 Yeah. But 50% of those living
14:57 together never make it... Never even get to the altar.
15:01 And 85% of the 50... The other 50 that get married...
15:04 They get a divorce. Yes, so you figure that as 92,5
15:09 percent of the 100 that start living together and, You know,
15:13 live together and are getting married end up not being with
15:16 each other. When I try to illustrate this with young
15:19 couples or couples I say, you know, lets just go from 92,5 up
15:23 to 93, just to round it off, if you had to cross the street and
15:27 there's only 7% chances you're gonna make it do you think you
15:30 will try? That's almost double
15:32 the national average of
15:34 people who are getting married and getting a divorce.
15:36 Well, that's an interesting statistic too that I could get
15:40 too but let me just say, here's what they found, cohabitation
15:43 increases the chances of divorce that's a study I'm quoting from
15:47 Yale University. Yale Univ. The Univ. of Denver found the
15:51 same thing, a significantly higher divorce rate for those
15:55 who cohabit. The Univ. of Denver US News and World Report called
16:02 the trouble with pre-marital sex reported seriously more
16:05 likelihood the divorce after cohabiting. US News and World
16:08 Report. In the first 5 years of marriage after cohabiting 39% of
16:13 these marriages will break up in the first 5 years, in the next 5
16:18 years 62% of the marriages will break up within 10 years and
16:23 then up to the 92,5% in the subsequent years beyond that.
16:29 I can just hear many mothers out there saying: I told you so.
16:32 Well, you know, we need to move on in our program and what I
16:37 wanted to ask you is: What are some of the results of the
16:42 choice that when people make this choice to cohabit before
16:47 marriage, what are some of the results?
16:49 Well, anytime you deal with a divorce you deal with a
16:52 relationship where your heart is broken if you don't even get
16:55 to the altar that's gonna set you up to invest less deeply
16:59 into the next relationship in case you get shafted.
17:02 Ok. You see, you're gonna hold back
17:04 a little bit on that, secondly, if you're in a divorce, divorces
17:07 hurt, anybody who has been through a divorce and I've
17:10 walked with many people who've done that, I mean you get, its
17:15 not, well, its not just a walk in the park, it's a very painful
17:19 experience going through divorce and it will affect your children
17:24 for the rest of their lives. In some ways I believe that it
17:27 is probably more painful than even the death of a spouse
17:30 because they're still there. If you have children particularly
17:34 you're never divorced. A couple of other things, the second
17:38 reason the researchers are saying its best not to cohabit
17:42 before marriage its because there's better odds for conflict
17:47 Living together outside marriage increases the risk of emotional
17:50 and physical abuse, what most people don't know is that
17:54 aggression is at least twice as common among cohabitation,
17:59 cohabitive couples as among married ones, this is Washington
18:02 State Univ., they wrote an article in Dr. Jen Stats from
18:07 Washington State Univ. in The Journal of Marriage and Family.
18:10 Repeat that statistic, its twice; yeah, a battery,
18:15 domestic violence, twice as high in cohabitive relationships as
18:18 in married relationships. Do you think that's a control
18:23 issue or I mean... There's all... I'd love to get
18:27 into that and I know it might be into that but I want to get
18:30 through the rest of these reasons, maybe we can come
18:31 back to that. Ok.
18:36 Pennsylvania State Univ. did a study and found couples living
18:41 together argue, shout and hit each other more than married
18:44 couples do. That's in The Journal of Marriage and Family.
18:48 So one of the results then of living together could be that
18:52 if you do get married you already established a pattern...
18:54 Exactly. And its pattern that may not
18:56 have happen had you married first but you have gotten into
19:01 this pattern and its an abusive relationship.
19:04 Aha, and in the relationship before marriage.
19:10 Aaa, women are 62% more likely to be assaulted by... if living
19:13 with a man unmarried than if they were married, that's The US
19:19 Justice Department statistic. 62% and then between 1979-1987
19:26 65% of violent crimes against women were committed by
19:29 boyfriends or ex husbands, only 9% were committed by a husband.
19:36 So cohabitation isn't a good thing. I mean this is what the
19:40 research from public univ. are saying. Let me give you another
19:43 reason that they found why people are saying now that the
19:49 research is out: Don't cohabit before marriage. Another reason
19:53 is less chance of happiness, unmarried couples that live
19:58 together have fewer levels of happiness than married couples
20:04 either before or during marriage. It is hard for a
20:09 person to be happy when he or she, when his or her relationship is built on
20:13 the need to prove him or herself You see, that's so much of what
20:18 is in a cohabitive relationship; I wanna do a test run, I just
20:22 wanna see, you got to prove to me that this is, you know, and
20:27 that's what the relationship is built on, so the basis of
20:31 cohabitation is other than to prove ones love and
20:35 compatibility, that's not it, it's just I want you to prove to
20:40 me that you're acceptable, I want you to prove to me that you
20:44 are good enough. If you can make me happy, if we are sexually
20:48 compatible, so I got to try you out to see if were compatible
20:52 if you gonna meet that need in my life. And if its not now I'm
20:57 gonna go find somebody else. In a study, this is a good side
21:03 study, 6203 couples, married partners reported significantly
21:07 higher levels of happiness than did cohabiting couples, that's
21:12 The Journal of Family Issues. That's a big study, 6200 couples
21:16 said as they did the research the level of happiness was much
21:20 better than people who were cohabiting. Let me give you
21:23 another one. This is what the research says, the Journal of
21:27 Marriage and Family, married couples have less depression,
21:30 less anxiety, lower levels of all other types of psychological
21:34 stress. That's married couples.
21:36 Yeah. Compared to those cohabiting
21:39 together Yeah.
21:41 Reason nr. 4: greater risk of adultery.
21:45 Really?! That's interesting. A greater risk of adultery. In
21:48 fact the research even shows that those who were just
21:50 sexually active before marriage even if they don't live together
21:54 there's a higher rate of adultery after marriage.
21:56 Higher rate of divorce too. And I could get into all the
22:00 reasons for that too but here, a Michigan study showed that
22:05 couples who waited to cohabit until after marriage would rate
22:08 their relationship stronger than those who cohabited before
22:12 marriage. Women between 20 and 37 years of age who lived with
22:16 their partners before marriage were more likely to have extra
22:20 marital affairs, men also. About 17% of females and 24% of
22:26 males. Contrary to popular belief a study of 3500 people,
22:32 this is a national sex survey, ok, and another survey of 1000
22:38 people concluded married people have more and better sex than
22:45 non-married. More and better. The long term marital
22:48 commitment deepens both the emotional and physical
22:52 satisfaction because the commitment is there. Yes. And
22:56 those who wait until marriage are 29 to 47% more likely to
23:02 enjoy sex within marriage. That's what the research shows.
23:08 And lastly, the reason why people are saying don't cohabit
23:12 before marriage is there are less likely to even say: I do.
23:17 They go and live because they plan to get married, like I said
23:19 50% of them never get to the altar, the average cohabitve
23:23 relationship lasts only 18 months. Its amazing.
23:27 And... so it sounded like the results of all of these, I mean
23:33 all these are secular organizations, secular studies
23:37 that are proving out what the Bible has to say. Exactly.
23:40 That Gods original plan was the way to go and all that we've
23:44 been fed, all of these reasoning are faulty in their
23:48 thinking and they do not work, Yah, so, for divorce, you know
23:54 up to 85% higher after they get married if they've lived
23:57 together, 85% of that 50% I should say and higher aggression
24:02 50% higher aggression, 50% probability of not even getting
24:06 to the altar. So, I mean there's no reason to cohabit, no good
24:11 reason I mean just pure, raw research, Shelly, there's no
24:16 good reason the people should cohabit before marriage. And
24:23 you know, when we think about relationships we don't usually
24:26 think of it as trying them out, he's trying her out, she is
24:29 trying him out but people say well, we'll know if the other
24:33 is right for each other if we're compatible, if we're both
24:36 happy and fulfilled, if we tried to live together but what this
24:40 means is it all depends on if my partner meets my expectations
24:45 living together automatically puts people on a performance
24:49 basis. Yes.
24:51 And that's not good. Ok, we only have a few minutes
24:54 left so let me ask you a question, I'm sure that someone
24:57 in our audience is going to fall into this category, that they
25:00 are watching, they are currently living together, they may be
25:03 Christian or non-Christian, what advice would you give them,
25:06 say that they have already moved in together, what advice would
25:10 you give them now? Move out!
25:13 That's simple and quick. Aaaa, yeah, I mean I would say
25:16 on unequivocally, move out, start building your
25:18 relationship based on a good, solid basis, because as Jesus
25:21 said, if you build it on a solid foundation... see, all I did is
25:25 illustrate through statistics from secular research
25:28 institutions and non-Christian journals on marriage and family
25:31 What the Bible says.. And so, even though you are a
25:35 pastor saying: Move out! Yeah.
25:38 What you're saying to me from all these statistics and all of
25:41 these studies is that even if you weren't a pastor, if it was
25:44 someone who had done one of these studies, they would be
25:47 giving the same advice. They would be saying...
25:49 These are what the authorities are coming to the conclusion now
25:52 that we've done this research over these last 30 years or so
25:57 Let me just illustrate just again the moving in together,
26:05 living together, how performance based it really is, what they're
26:09 really saying is: If you make me feel loved then I'll marry you.
26:14 If you satisfy me sexually then I will marry you. If you treat
26:17 me with respect then I will marry you. If you make me happy
26:20 then I will marry you. If you fulfill my needs then I will
26:23 marry you. If you like what I like then I will marry you. If
26:27 you make something of yourself then I will marry you. f you
26:30 don't do the things I don't like then I will marry you. The focus
26:34 is on you. Not the other person. In Christian marriage is based
26:38 on considering the other better than themselves and serving and
26:41 meeting the needs of the other person.
26:45 And so in marriage the goal is to take care of the other
26:46 person in sickness and health, in richer or poorer and so the
26:51 greatest thing you could do is just to do what the Bible tells
26:56 us to do because divorce hurts and runs in families from
27:00 generation to generation and it hurts the children because
27:04 literarily it will stay with them the affects for a life time
27:08 You know, we have a couple who works here at 3ABN and they're
27:12 so precious, they never even kissed till they said their
27:16 wedding vows and their marriage is so strong, they are so...
27:20 Can I give you just one statistic, just very quickly
27:22 again, famous authority, the Christian author that I quoted
27:25 before, he said: If people have a real heart relationship with
27:28 Jesus, I mean they really do it right, a real heart relationship
27:31 with Jesus he would say, he has a research to support it the
27:35 divorce rate is 1 in 1000. Praise the Lord. Jerry Connell.
27:38 Thank you so much pastor for being with us and you know the
27:41 Bible says in Psalm 119: 105: Your word is a lamp to my feet
27:45 and a light to my path. If you are living with someone move out
27:49 and look at what the Bible has to say to have a happy future.
27:54 Thank you for joining us!


Revised 2014-12-17