One of the most alarming trends in our society today is the rapid increase of couples who opt to live together without the long-term commitment of a marriage. The purpose of this message is to show the listener why this trend is so alarming and to demonstrate that God’s way is the better way.
I. The problem defined
A. 55% of households in America have married couples, (45% are single parents or cohabiting couples)
B. In 1970’s there were 1/2 million cohabiting couples, In the 1990’s there are 3.5 million! (7-fold increase)
C. 33% of women age 25-29 have lived with a man without marriage
D. In the 1960’s only 8% of couples had lived together prior to marriage, in the 1980’s that number was 49%
E. Has become socially acceptable: Only 13% of the population would not want a cohabiting couple living next door to them.
II. The reason given
A. It is economically attractive:
1. Two homes cost more to maintain than one
2. Widows would lose deceased spouse’s pension
3. Relieves ones heirs’ fears about community property
B. Sexual fulfillment without the hassle of pursuit
C. Opportunity to try out the relationship without the commitment of marriage.
D. Women feel that it gives them an equal footing in marriage
III. So what’s so bad about that?
A. A live-in relationship does not deliver what it promises
1. Over 40% of said relationships split before marriage
2. Men tend to have the last word, so gender differences continue to exist despite women’s expectations
3. Men in live-in relationships tend to be more abusive
4. Money quarrels are more frequent because of the lack of commitment to the relationship.
5. Neither partner wants to commit to a long-term financial obligation because of the risk of being left holding the bag.
6. The building of trust is more difficult (“If he will sleep with me without marriage, who else might he sleep with?)
7. Pregnancy is more problematic. Abortions are more frequent in cohabiting relationships and when one decides to keep the child it often drives the other away
8. Because of the lack of commitment, there is a higher rate of infidelity and occurrence of STD’s.
9. Children who live in cohabiting relationships often have no defined identities. The male often feels no obligation to serve as a father-figure, and/or the woman does not want to be saddled with the responsibilities of children she did not bear. (Note the frequent news reports of infants being shaken to death, etc.)
IV. What does the Bible has to say about it?
A. God commends marriage:
1. Genesis 1; “Not good that man should live alone . . .”
2. Proverbs 18:22 “Whoso findeth a wife, findeth a good thing and obtaineth favour of the Lord.”
3. I Timothy 3:12 (recommends that deacons be married)
4. I Timothy 5:14 “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house . . .”
B. God condemns sex outside of marriage:
1. See text: “But whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
2. I Corinthians 6:13-20 (READ) “. . . not meant for sexual . . .”
3. I Corinthians 7:2 (One purpose of marriage is to avoid sex without marriage!)
4. Sexual intercourse is the ultimate sealing of a covenant, a life-long contract, never to be broken
C. Don’t try “But we’ve made our personal commitment to each other.”
(Jewish engagement was a binding as marriage but did not allow sexual contact) The courts don’t buy that and neither does God!
V. What to do about it
A. Stop the sexual contact! Difficult but demanded.
B. Move apart to avoid temptation.
C. Determine if this person should be your marriage partner
D. Get married
We have a couple with whom God has been dealing about their live-in relationship. Today, they come to sanctify their relationship in the sight of God. Let us rejoice with them.Taken from Dr. Arnold Lastinger’s personal sermon notes collection