Cohabitation for engaged couples

Is cohabitation a sin (mortal or venial, and if so, which) for engaged couples? What if we are making a conscious, prayerful effort (with some success) to stop having sex until we’re married?

Cohabitation statistics are not very good.

It has been shown that it does not lead to better marriages. Communicating what you want about your married life, what expectations you have, now, before the ceremony, is far important than sex.


My immediate reaction would be to say that at the very best it would be a serious occassion of sin. Not only for yourselves but because it is a cause of scandal to those who know you. But talk to your priest. If you don’t at least do that you are acting with a doubtful conscience and you are not allowed to do that. Every doubt must be resolved.


Your home should be a safe place, free from most temptations to sin. It would be highly unwise to live together before marriage; you would never be able to let your guard down.

Do you have a wedding date set or are you just playing house? Set a wedding date,
stop having sex and discuss the cohabitation with a priest. If you don’t have a wedding date set move out.


It’s a mortal sin if engaged in knowingly.

Live apart until the wedding.

The proper order of things is this:

Friendship :heart: Dating :heart: Courtship :heart: Engagement :heart: Marriage :heart: Living together :heart: Children

If you get the order mixed up, or if you omit any of the steps, unexpected results may occur.

That’s right right. Since the 1970s, it started to become sex first and getting to know - really know - the other person ONLY AFTER THE CEREMONY. And then you find out that you’re not compatible with the other person or he or she had problems that were not revealed because more time was spent having sex, and that the other person has TOTALLY unrealistic expectations. Too many people stopped viewing marriage as a partnership. It turned into a list of “what I want, and if you don’t give it to me, I’ll be very upset,” and likely divorce you or just walk out.

I’ve met people who fell into that category.

So, follow the right order. Meet her family and you meet her’s. Families become in-laws. Know what you’re getting into BEFORE THE BIG, FANCY, or not so fancy, WEDDING.


First of all, I want to commend you on your wanting to start RCIA. Besides, RCIA, would you and your future spouse consider taking precana? Precana will help you a lot with these kinds of questions you are having and bring up more you never thought of!

I think the Catholic Church would discourage your living together without the benefit of marriage, even temporarily. Yes, it may be somewhat platonic now, but that could change. We Catholics believe that we are to avoid temptation insofar as possible.

As to sin, if it was just a fleeting thought of lust, and you and your fiancé were to dismiss it immediately, I would suspect that would be venial. If we so much as have a lustful thought and do not dismiss it immediately, we are cooperating with it, and I think at that point it becomes a mortal sin. I’m not an authority on this. Could someone else clarify who is “in the know”?

My question would be why you would consider being involved in any kind of sin. Even venial sin is to be avoided.

Do you understand how horrific hell truly is? See some websites like:

Some people do not accept these visions, and as Catholics, aren’t required to. If not, then just read what Christ said about hell. He said it’s be better to go into heaven crippled than into hell, whole.

Anyway, best of luck in your relationship, and God bless you!

Congratulations on your engagement and on entering RCIA.

Have you had a chance to begin your marriage prep at your parish where you will be in RCIA?

You may find stopping sexual relations to be much easier when you don’t live together. Living together has the feel of husband and wife - so it may be harder to stop sexual sins in the same home.

When friends or even the postman and neighbors witness that you live together but are not married, they most likely assume you are sexually active. That impression gives them one more “nice couple” who shows that it is acceptable. It helps them to form the idea that cohabitation is acceptable. That becomes the sin of scandal.

Children and teens will notice that you live together but are not married.

Assuming that you do change and begin a chaste relationship, no one who sees you living together knows this… nor do they want you to say…“We live together, but we don’t have sex.”

Your priest will be the best person to discuss cohabitation with you and your fiance.

Are you two willing to live separately until you are married?

May God bless you with courage to live apart in a chaste relationship. May God bless you in your studies with RCIA and in receiving the Sacraments. May God bless you and your fiance with a holy marriage.


Actually sharing a household before you are married is not a sin, but unsuccessful attempts to refrain from premarital sex is a mortal sin, no exceptions. One of you should move out, whatever the hardship, until after your wedding.

If you are new to the Church we don’t want to inundate you too much but Theology of the Body is a good start to understand why the Church is adamant about living a chaste single life. Dr. Edward Sri has a great companion book to Theology of the Body which is easier to understand it is called Men and Women and the Mystery of Love it is even in ebook form which is how I have it. EWTN also has a three part special with Dr. Sri you might be able to find it on YouTube. God Bless and ask people to pray for your marriage. It is the hardest of the vocations.

actually it is

Please tell me I am misunderstand…are you saying if you have a date for a wedding, cohabitation is okay?

Morally (and thus spiritually), culturally (scandal to others), and even in terms of your relationship and future marriage (just see the studies…not good for it) – points to* yes *separating now.

Live as an engaged couple.

“Apart” :slight_smile:

The “no exceptions” part makes that an incorrect statement, although I would say that in the case of most Catholics, all three conditions for mortal sin would likely be present in the case of consensual premarital six.


The Church in US needs to do a better job with engaged couples or rather couples thinking about engagement because sometimes by the engagement it’s too late and few will turn around even if pre Cana is a disaster.

Living together as prior to marriage is wrong. Aside from the issue of sex before marriage, scandal is a sin. With our relativism society today, it is critical adults provide a good moral example to young people, especially their own.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit