Frustrated with couples who live together before marriage


ARG!!! :mad:

I know there’s been a million threads on couples who cohabitate, but I’m just really frustrated, so I need to vent and would like to hear others’ voices on this. The man who my DH is sponsoring for RCIA is living with his fiancee. We were told that our leader is the one to talk to him about it - so we’ve left it alone and tried to get to know them better and answer any questions they may have. We even gave a talk on marriage for RCIA. DH lent him our Good News about Sex and Marriage book and the guy said he and his fiancee are reading it and it’s very “thought provoking.” Now, an old high school friend just messaged me after about 2 yrs of not keeping in touch and she’s newly engaged and living with her fiance (a guy who she’s dated since high school and I’m not particularly fond of, but that’s not the point).

So, my dilemma is - where’s the line with loving the sinner but hating the sin? I’d love to let them babysit Matthew if we ever had a meeting to go to or wanted to go out for an hour or two - since the first couple has offered to do it for free, but talked about babysitting them at their residence. I’d love to visit my friend, but is it supporting her lifestyle if I go to her house or we go over as a couple to their house? Should we just continue inviting them to our place or go to a neutral area? What do I say? I want to support them getting married, but what do I say when they talk about stuff they do together as a cohabitating couple? It’s really awkward…and I just came back from a day visiting with my relatives and my cousin is living with her boyfriend and it’s so hard to talk to them and nod and smile when they talk about their house or things like that…

Okay, done with my rant. :frowning: I’m just really sad…any suggestions?


I’m sorry you’re so upset. :hug1:

I lived with my (now) DH before we were married, and I “knew better.” :o Now I REALLY know better, know why I shouldn’t have, but the past is done and forgiven, so I have to let it go.

I am now dealing with family members living with their respective significant others, and I feel the way you do. But since I did it to, it’s very difficult for me to try to say anything (and none of them are Catholic, so they don’t see it the way I do anyway).

It’s a very hard thing to see people you care about sinning and not even realizing it or caring that they are. :frowning: For example, my sister (25 years old) often chooses to sleep in rather than attend Mass lately, despite my telling her it’s a mortal sin. :mad: :crying: (I think she may be suffering from depression though, not that it’s an excuse, but at least it’s somewhat of a “reason” that I can try to do something about…but I guess that’s another thread.) All I can do in her case though, and regarding those other relatives, is be the best example I can and continue to pray for them. If specifically asked I certainly will speak my mind about my regret for cohabitating and why it’s not the way God intends for us to live. Aside from that, I can keep praying.

Best wishes and God bless. :slight_smile:


If they don’t know they’re sinning they’re not sinning since the requirement for a sin is that you have to know it’s a sin and do it anyway.


Well, not to start an argument :rolleyes: , but…an example:

A couple is having pre-martial sex. They are not Catholic, so they don’t know/believe what they are doing is a sin. As a Catholic, I know that it is. They are still sinning, even if they don’t think they are.

I understand your point, that knowledge and intent are part of sin, but your statement above essentially means then that sins are only sins for us Catholics to know better, when actually there are certain truths and things that God has told us are sinful and that don’t change and are not up for discussion, no matter if you realize it or not.

Not trying to get in an argument, just trying to clarify my point. :o :slight_smile:


Hi lotus:)

Does your husband feel uncomfortable sponsoring this man? Are they living as brother and sister, under the same roof? As his sponsor, he might talk with them both to help them to understand that if they are sleeping together–before marriage–that is a grave sin. Most people–whether they are Catholic or not–realize that God does not want us to have sex before marriage. Most religions teach this, as well…so, I doubt it would come as a surprise, but we don’t know if they are in fact sleeping together. I think I would feel compelled as the man’s sponsor to give some counseling on the subject–your husband can only plant seeds. I think it’s hard in today’s age, to separate the cultural mindset, with God’s mindset…I think we have all been there to varying degrees–desensitized to what is going on around us in the world…You’re ok, I’m ok, kind of thing. I will keep everyone in this situation, in my prayers…


Does anyone else think this is strange? Why wouldn’t a sponsor be able to talk about this? When a sponsor stands up with the candidate isn’t the sponsor attesting to the candidate’s intentions of living a life in Christ? Lotus, how does your DH feel about it? Does he feel like he’s compromising his integrity?


It’s a great deal of frustration to me when I think about all those women who’d be great girlfriends now and perhaps even wives later, except with all their nice qualities they prefer to have live-in relationships and live in the secular world in other aspects. I’m unable to handle that and even if I were to have a chaste relationship with someone who would otherwise normally have a live-in one, I’d have a problem with it and it wouldn’t make me happy. That’s in my single depression moments. Normally I’m worried, but less so. We need to pray for them and realise they aren’t doing it “to us” and they’re almost 100% likely not doing it to spite our faith.

As for the RCIA situation, how about notifying the priest? There will be sacraments to receive and while we can’t judge the heart of the person receiving them, we would do well to make sure the person knows the teachings and doesn’t oppose them.


Yes, I agree, that’s strange. Seems like your Lotus’ DH should be not only able to, but obligated to speaking up. (not blaming your DH Lotus, just agreeing with the point…) If the RCIA candidate is already “choosing” which parts of the church teachings’ he’ll follow, that’s not a good sign. :nope:


I absolutely agree. The sponsor should be able to discuss these issues - that is the WHOLE POINT of having a sponsor!!! To have someone to help you through the discernment and preparation process for entering the Faith!! It is most frustrating when programs like this try to sugar coat everything so as to not “offend”. Hogwash. The Truth is the Truth - and no one ever said it was easy to be a Catholic. Sugar coating does them no good - it keeps them from knowing and fully understanding Church teaching, and just basic Christianity 101. :rolleyes:



Trust me, lotus, the frustration for us unmarried couples who are waiting to live together until we’re properly married is even worse… Not only do we run into the same kind of dilemmas you do, we get to watch these people enjoying all the good parts of living with the one you love, while we’re trying to do the right thing, and are downright miserable some days while living apart. I’m not sure how Christian this is, but the one thing that soothes me is to know that they are sinning, and that we’ll be happier in the end… I do try to pray for those I know who are engaging in activities that belong strictly in marriage, but it’s hard when you’re woken up at 3am by the sounds of those activities from next door. (The joys of university residence life…)

I don’t really have any advice as far as the visiting/babysitting goes… but good for you on getting the RCIA couple to read TotB! If you know the RCIA couple has had cohabitation addressed in their classes, perhaps you could give them a standing offer to help one of them find a place to live, make it easier for them to make the transition if they decide to shape up and separate until they marry.
Talking to people about cohabitation(which usually involves pre-marital sex) is awkward, mainly because sex is seen now as generally acceptable between 2 consenting adults, no matter what other circumstances surround it… You might want to point out that divorce rates among people who live together before marriage is around 80%(so I’ve read, can’t remember where, but I should try and find it again), or something else positive about living apart until marriage(not sinning is definitely a plus, but that’s tough to tell people who don’t think it’s a sin). So, bottom line: it’s a confusing mess. Pray about it, ask God to give you the nudge to speak up if you should, and to shut up if it’ll do more harm than good. :shrug:


Cohabitation is so common now days ( just as birth control is ) that it just is such a norm for secular people. It is spilling over into Christian people and other people of faith. It is sad.

But it is also common.

The church should talk about it more, like the church should talk more about birth control and that missing mass is a sin, and other common sins.

Don’t be envious or angry at people who are cohabitating when you are waiting to live and make love to your fiance. Pray for them instead. Same thing goes for seeing families with only 1 or 2 kids rather than 4. Pray for them.


Quote: “Same thing goes for seeing families with only 1 or 2 kids rather than 4. Pray for them.”

Don’t think that really applies. There certainly shouldn’t be an assumption that a couple with only two children is living in sin! Isn’t that what NFP is for? Not to mention health issues. I don’t really think that’s an analogous situation at all.


I think my Theo teacher says that’s called “actual sin” which is something that is intrinsically bad but the person who commits the act is either unaware or doesn’t believe it to be sinful. Like how alot of catholics don’t know about the “grave sin” rule and recieve communion without confessing it first.



Last I checked, having a small family wasn’t a sin. For all you know, the couple with 1 or 2 kids (or none) may have fertility problems. That one child may be their “miracle” baby, or two may be all they can afford to adopt.

If I’m not mistaken, it IS a sin to see a small family and assume that they must be contracepting. If it’s not a sin, it certainly is mean-spirited, IMO. By all means, pray for those families, but don’t pray that they may be relieved of the sinfulness of conception because you just don’t know. Pray for God’s will in their lives. That is charitable and covers all scenarios.


Tough topic. I didn’t live with or have sex with my husband prior to marriage. That said, I think I was worse off for it. Not that I’m condoning sin, but for me, if I had lived with him for even 5 minutes the marriage wouldn’t have happened. There are things I learned about him that I would only have learned if I had been living in sin, and they are deal breakers. We are separated for the third time, this time just over a year, and we’ve both sinned atrociously in our marriage. It’s been a dark, dark ride. I know I did the right thing, but that certainly doesn’t guarantee happiness.

Yeah, I get frustrated with people living together too. But sometimes I look at them and think they’re better prepared for marriage than I was because they’re not in for a rude awakening. I encourage my nieces/nephews not to do it, but I can see both sides of this.


Thanks so much for all your replies! I talked to DH today and we’ve decided we’re going to talk to the head of our RCIA program about this to see what we can do and if she has done anything yet. That would put my mind at ease a lot! We have been praying for them and will continue to do so. It’s so difficult to know how to react when someone tells you he/she is living together with their significant other before marriage. I’m going to continue to pray and know that God will lead me to speak the words necessary or to keep quiet and just live the way He wants me to.


People who live together before marriage are not better prepared for it…They are more likely to marry just because they feel like they have to. Living together does nothing to prepare people for the reality of marriage since living together is just an illusion.

Back to the OP though…if the leader already addressed the cohabitation issue with the couple, then I think the right thing to do is assume that they are having a chaste relationship. As far as being their sponsor, you are there to answer any questions that they might have, not judge them. I would never tell anyone that it is OK to live together, but I think you need to be careful of putting them in a situation where they are having a lot of people making assumptions about them if they have already discussed their situation with the leader. There might be additional information that you are unaware of, and I don’t think that they should have to reveal extremely personal information to multiple people. One person who has a leadership role should be sufficient.


I did not live with my husband before marriage. I have three daughters now that are in their twenties. I tell them that the statistics are against cohabitating. When you live together before marriage there is a higher percentage of relationships that break up. That living together period does not guarantee that you won’t be divorced. It actually increases the liklihood.

I am not certain it is our business to tell people what to do. It is my obligation as a mom to tell my kids right from wrong. However, so many young Catholic couples live together before marriage that it is almost the rule rather than the exception. Perhaps it is more so in my area of the country- Chgo. is a very liberal city, with liberal Catholic Universities, and well many many people that accept that their kids live together before marriage.

I pray my kids make the right choice. I pray that if they don’t I make the right decision on how to handle it. It certainly does not send a good message to reject your children when they are in trouble.


I remember Christopher West in one of his TOB talks brought up something that I have struggled with ever since I heard it. Regarding the point someone made about it not being a sin if they don’t believe it’s a sin or those outside the church that don’t even know it’s sinful. Most practicing Catholics know the 3 conditions of mortal sin. Here’s the analogy. Lets say you handed someone a glass of poison, told them it was water, they drank it, and they die. They didn’t commit the sin of suicide because they didn’t know it was poison but they will still die. Now the question. Even though someone does not know or believe something is a sin, isn’t the damage the sin causes is still being done? If you understand the church’s teaching on the meaning of human sexuality (JPIIs TOB), aren’t you conditioning eachother to see sex as something different than what was intended to be? Doesn’t cohabitation send the wrong message to others, especially children? Too much to say here. I think I’ll start another thread on this topic. Even though the conditions of mortal sin are not there, aren’t the damaging effects of the sin still being done? Don’t we think we’re still going to be accountable for these sins? Don’t these sins still crucify Christ even when the ones commiting the sin don’t know or believe they are sins? This is what makes it so difficult for me with my two brothers who are recently divorced, no annulments, and living with their new girlfriends. Both are catholics and have children.


Yes, absolutely the damaging effects are still there, and I am proof of that. I was not Catholic, not religious, moved in with my high school boyfriend in college, then got married even though I didn’t want to. And do you know what, even more than the damaging effects to me and to my kids, what I regret the most is the offense I caused to God.

You see, just because someone doesn’t know something is a sin, does not mean that it “isn’t a sin for them.” It just means they might not be fully culpable for that sin. It still remains an offense to God, and chances are good there are going to be a lot of far-reaching damaging effects for that sin, for everyone it touches.

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