Why cohabitation over marriage?


#1

Why do couples cohabitate rather than marry? And why do these same couples have children under this arrangement? As Catholics, how do we view cohabitation? Can children of cohabitated couples receive the sacraments of the Catholic church? :confused:


#2

[quote="doubtThomas, post:1, topic:209297"]
Why do couples cohabitate rather than marry? And why do these same couples have children under this arrangement? As Catholics, how do we view cohabitation? Can children of cohabitated couples receive the sacraments of the Catholic church? :confused:

[/quote]

I'll answer backwards since that seems to be the order of importance:

Can children of cohabitated couples receive the sacraments of the Catholic church?

Aboslutly, more over every child is a blessing no matter how they're made. Cohabitation, cloneing, IVF whatever. The sin's of the parents aren't the fault of the child, they are born into this world the same way the rest of us are.

As Catholics, how do we view cohabitation?

Gravely offencive to God, it desecrates the holy (marriage, marriage act). A couple would do well not to cohabit before marriage.

And why do these same couples have children under this arrangement?

There has been a general loss of a sense of sin in our culture. The world promotes cohabitation and promotes babies out of wedlock. In fact I would not be shocked if the world prefered making babies out of wedlock if you make them at all. There is a drive to push the idea that all marriages are equally valid. Your posting reminds me of a failure of mine to even question someone (who a friend of mine was selling a car to) about their cohabitation arrangement. I should have done so and will strive for better next time.

Why do couples cohabitate rather than marry?

These day's it's almost preferred to marriage, at least in the world (as per above). It's seen as being more practical, and equally valid. Frankly it dove tails with all this supposed "gay marriage" stuff that is going on all around us.


#3

[quote="doubtThomas, post:1, topic:209297"]
Why do couples cohabitate rather than marry?

[/quote]

Because it's safer than marriage legally and financially. No one expects a marriage to fail when they get married unless they are complete fools. However, more than half of marriages end up in divorce, and quite ugly ones. It's scary to watch the walls come down on your friends, neighbors, acquaintances, parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. as they make their way though a divorce. Marrying in the Church is even worse because one is expected to live as if still married (no dating others) unless they get an annulment, which is hard to get. By staying single, there is less risk.

[quote="doubtThomas, post:1, topic:209297"]

And why do these same couples have children under this arrangement?

[/quote]

For the same reasons married people have children.

[quote="doubtThomas, post:1, topic:209297"]

As Catholics, how do we view cohabitation?

[/quote]

The Catholic Church forbids cohabitation unless the relationship is chaste. Which is not what commonly happens.

[quote="doubtThomas, post:1, topic:209297"]

Can children of cohabitated couples receive the sacraments of the Catholic church? :confused:

[/quote]

They evidently can because I know people who cohabitate whose children get Baptised. I'm sure someone will follow with, "that's not true, she's lying, she can't provide proof". I would think the sins of the parents had nothing to do with the child. But, in the past, some priests denied Baptism because the livestyle of the parents indicated there was no real drive in the parents to raise their children Catholic. I don't know if it's just a matter of "bad priests doing bad things, yadda yadda" by Baptising children of cohabitating parents, but they don't look at it this way anymore. Not where I live anyway.


#4

[quote="crazzeto, post:2, topic:209297"]

And why do these same couples have children under this arrangement?

Your posting reminds me of a failure of mine to even question someone (who a friend of mine was selling a car to) about their cohabitation arrangement. I should have done so and will strive for better next time.

[/quote]

I agree with you. I too was in a similar situation. I didn't ask "the question." As Catholics we should question those parties that are cohabitating, especially those couples who were raised Catholics. What are we fearful of? Wouldn't our questioning open the eyes of those who are cohabitating? PLEASE respond. :confused:


#5

[quote="doubtThomas, post:4, topic:209297"]
I agree with you. I too was in a similar situation. I didn't ask "the question." As Catholics we should question those parties that are cohabitating, especially those couples who were raised Catholics. What are we fearful of? Wouldn't our questioning open the eyes of those who are cohabitating? PLEASE respond. :confused:

[/quote]

Perhaps it would, but of course you always risk gravely offending the individual esp if you're not particularly careful about how you raise the issue. Today there is a great push for "all love is equal, all love is valid" et. al. So it's best to be gentile, but clear about the superiority of doing things Gods way. Honestly I think this merits serious thought and perhaps practice in learning how to reach and communicate with such individuals.


#6

[quote="doubtThomas, post:4, topic:209297"]
I agree with you. I too was in a similar situation. I didn't ask "the question." As Catholics we should question those parties that are cohabitating, especially those couples who were raised Catholics. What are we fearful of? Wouldn't our questioning open the eyes of those who are cohabitating? PLEASE respond. :confused:

[/quote]

In short, no. It would not open their eyes. My sister lives with her boyfriend, as do many of my friends. I have never questioned their living arrangements because I know that it actually accomplishes the opposite. These people are so entrenched in the idea that cohabitation is a pre-requisite for marriage that as soon as someone expresses a contrary opinion they immediately shut out that and all other opinions from that person. I hear how they talk about other people who have questioned their decisions- they characterize them as old-fashioned, antiquated, and out of touch with the real world. Not someone whose opinion sounds well-thought out and valuable.

My sister thought that she could convince me to live with my husband before we married, so I could make sure that "the way he squeezes the toothpaste doesn't annoy [me]." (Actual, serious quote) Did her questioning my reasoning make me rethink it? No. Then why would I expect my questioning hers to make her think again?


#7

I would also add that studies have shown that couples who cohabitate before getting married are more likely to get divorced than those who do not.

Cohabitation is a sociological phenomenon with a lot of different factors contributing to its spread, so I don't know that there's one thing we can point to as the culprit. As Crazzeto pointed out, the loss of the sense of sin is one of the big ones.

It's remarkable to see that, within my short lifetime, we have gone from cohabitation being referred to as "living in sin" to it being referred to as "cohabitation". In TV shows and movies, and in the wider culture, it is pretty much expected that moving in together is the step in a relationship below marriage (and even below engagement). This newly established cultural norm makes it even easier for people to do because it's just what "everyone" does.

I've known many people that view cohabitation as the "trial run" before marriage. I've drawn people's attention to the studies that show that the "trial run" actually weakens their chances of having a successful marriage. One friend fully accepted the validity of the studies, but still couldn't imagine not living together first to "make sure" they wanted to get married. Not surprisingly, they are now divorced. It just seems intuitive to them that if you know what you're getting into, you can make a more informed decision. What ends up happening, though, is that both people are going into the relationship without the proper level of commitment. Once you're living with someone, it is more difficult (not less difficult) to break off the relationship before that final commitment is made. Your lives get so entwined that it is painful to separate, but the safety that the marital commitment offers is absent.


#8

[quote="doubtThomas, post:1, topic:209297"]
Why do couples cohabitate rather than marry?

[/quote]

Different reasons. Some come from broken homes and they believe a trial marriage can prevent them from repeating their parent's mistakes. Some people just don't see any value in marriage as a legal contract.

[quote="doubtThomas, post:1, topic:209297"]
And why do these same couples have children under this arrangement?

[/quote]

Whoops!

[quote="doubtThomas, post:1, topic:209297"]
]As Catholics, how do we view cohabitation?

[/quote]

As sinful behavior

[quote="doubtThomas, post:1, topic:209297"]
Can children of cohabitated couples receive the sacraments of the Catholic church? :confused:

[/quote]

Yes, people aren't denied the sacraments because of their birth. However, an infant shouldn't be baptized if there is a reason to believe the parents will not raise the child catholic.

Can. 868 ยง1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:

1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;

2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.


#9

[quote="meltoine, post:6, topic:209297"]

My sister thought that she could convince me to live with my husband before we married, so I could make sure that "the way he squeezes the toothpaste doesn't annoy [me]." (Actual, serious quote)

[/quote]

That's kind of funny, because that is always the example I hear from people about why cohabiting is a good thing. If that's the determining factor for whether or not to get married, they have much bigger issues! :p

And of course, there is a very easy way to find out that information without living together: ASK! ;)


#10

[quote="doubtThomas, post:4, topic:209297"]
I agree with you. I too was in a similar situation. I didn't ask "the question." As Catholics we should question those parties that are cohabitating, especially those couples who were raised Catholics. What are we fearful of? Wouldn't our questioning open the eyes of those who are cohabitating? PLEASE respond. :confused:

[/quote]

I think we need to be careful about how we promote moral truths, particularly to strangers.

Think about it, if you tell a complete stranger (or even a friend of a friend of a friend) that they are on the path to hell as they are living in sin, what is the most likely reaction:
[LIST]
]They will thank you profusely for opening their eyes, repent, and accept Jesus into their heart; or
*]They will get defensive, feel indignant, and go home reassuring themselves that Christians really *are
a bunch of judgmental hypocrites, so it's a good thing they're not like that.[/LIST]

My guess is that the second option is a much more likely reaction.

I don't think we should be timid or ashamed of the truth, but we should be attentive to how the person may receive what we are saying. It is better to proclaim the truth about the dignity of the human person and how it relates to marriage than to point fingers at them specifically. And, of course, your chance for success increases if the person really can tell that you love them. We must love them, or else our words will mean nothing. Our ultimate goal is always the salvation of souls, not just winning an argument or being "right".

Prayer is really the key. Pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance in knowing what to say.


#11

Some peoples' analysis of their choices sometimes seem a little shallow.

But if you get into it a little more deeply, apart from the convenience of no legal/moral constraints, sometimes you find severely problematical family-of-origin situations. Despotic parents. Major marital problems/ divorce / infidelity / mental illness / or sometimes, just some major "looming" issue of the "free floating anxiety" sort] that overwhelms.

This is not to condone cohabitation. What is often needed is marital counseling or behavioral counseling [what is reasonable and appropriate and what is not] prior to getting married.

Or some personality reconstruction.

AND THEN, there are the insults visited upon some of the single people. A single woman brings her child to a rectory to arrange a baptism and is denied. I presented that case to a senior priest [for discussion] and he was horrified. Baptize the child immediately, offer absolution to the mother and encourage her to get to Mass on Sunday [or if she has to work on Sunday, on some other day, but get them back into the mainstream of Catholicism].

Instead, both mother and child were discarded.

No telling where they are now.

[Actually, I do know. And all I can do is pray for them.]


#12

[quote="Rence, post:3, topic:209297"]
Because it's safer than marriage legally and financially. How is it safer? I am not following this.

No one expects a marriage to fail when they get married unless they are complete fools. However, more than half of marriages end up in divorce, So what is the alternative? Don't get married just in case? Is the breakup less painful because they are not married?

and quite ugly ones. It's scary to watch the walls come down on your friends, neighbors, acquaintances, parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. as they make their way though a divorce. Apparently, it can get ugly even if you are not married, so not sure why this is the reason they don't get married either.

Marrying in the Church is even worse because one is expected to live as if still married (no dating others) unless they get an annulment, But anyone getting married in church that is truly faithful knows this when they are getting married...

which is hard to get. By staying single, there is less risk. Risk of what? Of having to stay and try to work it out? So they are really entering the relationship half heartedly, leaving themselves an out, "just in case?" :shrug:

[/quote]


#13

[quote="Joe_5859, post:7, topic:209297"]
What ends up happening, though, is that both people are going into the relationship without the proper level of commitment. Once you're living with someone, it is more difficult (not less difficult) to break off the relationship before that final commitment is made. Your lives get so entwined that it is painful to separate, but the safety that the marital commitment offers is absent.

[/quote]

Joe, are you saying that the the reason why separation among those living in sin is high is due to the absence of a marital commitment? :confused:****


#14

[quote="Joe_5859, post:10, topic:209297"]

I don't think we should be timid or ashamed of the truth, but we should be attentive to how the person may receive what we are saying. It is better to proclaim the truth about the dignity of the human person and how it relates to marriage than to point fingers at them specifically. And, of course, your chance for success increases if the person really can tell that you love them. We must love them, or else our words will mean nothing. Our ultimate goal is always the salvation of souls, not just winning an argument or being "right".

Prayer is really the key. Pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance in knowing what to say.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:Thank you.


#15

I think that we underestimate the severe damage that divorce has wrought on the younger generation. Many of them grew up in single parent homes or broken homes, etc. Many of the younger people were never taught that it was wrong to co-habitate. They are afraid of commitment. In fact, many of them probably believe that commitment isn't really possible anymore yet they still want a relationship, children, etc. I blame divorce for this phenomenon. Granted, not every couple who co-habitates before marriage comes from broken homes. My sister and her husband were living together before they were married. My parents are still together and so are my brother-in-law's. Why did they live together? Financial reasons. That is also another reason why many are living together since it is easier to share the bills.

It is very sad. The ironic part of it is that some couples come to the realization that they have just been playing house and that they should get married. I hope and I a pray that my sister and her husband stay together. I know what the stats say but there is still hope that they can work things out even though they were already living together :(.


#16

[quote="Joe_5859, post:7, topic:209297"]
I would also add that studies have shown that couples who cohabitate before getting married are more likely to get divorced than those who do not.

[/quote]

This again? No, the studies show a correlation between divorce and cohabitation. But that doesn't mean one causes the other. Very likely, the actual cause is that couples who do not believe in the sanctity of marriage are more likely to cohabitate and to divorce, but that does not mean cohabitation plays any role in divorce.

Why are people cohabitating more these days? Marriage is much less sacred than it used to be and society is much more open about sex than it used to be. This leads to two scenarios: the first is a couple that sees the high divorce rate and are so concerned about it that they want a "trial marriage" to ensure that thing will work out (after all, nearly half of all children getting married these days come from divorced parents). So they move in together. The second scenario are couples that don't believe marriage is required in order to form a long-term commitment so they move in together.

You're also seeing weddings skyrocket in price ($30,000 - $40,000 is typical these days) and fewer parents are paying. This leads to extended engagements (2 years is now normal) to "save up" which lends itself to cohabitation for financial and practical reasons.

"As Catholics, how do we view cohabitation?"

It's a sin because it creates scandal.


#17

[quote="doubtThomas, post:13, topic:209297"]
Joe, are you saying that the the reason why separation among those living in sin is high is due to the absence of a marital commitment? :confused:****

[/quote]

Sorry, my thoughts were bouncing around and I wasn't as clear as I should have been. I will try again. :o

There is a very real sense where cohabitation is "living a lie". The actions (i.e. living together) say one thing (i.e. commitment); however, the couple's words (i.e. lack of life-long vows) say quite another. It's similar to the "lie" our bodies tell when engaged in extramarital sexual activity. The language of the body is saying "loving commitment" while the two people may be thinking the opposite.

When one approaches relationships with the mindset that cohabitation is helpful or even necessary, that is often evidence that one does not fully appreciate the permanency of the marital vows.

So the cohabiting couple is sort of quasi-committed, but not fully committed. When marriage does come, it can be difficult to change the quasi-committed mindset because, externally, nothing really changes once they do get married. They simply go back to their shared home again and keep on as they have been.

I have the feeling I'm still not articulating myself as clearly as I'd like. Maybe I need to take a break and try again later. :o


#18

[quote="CoffeeHound, post:16, topic:209297"]
This again? No, the studies show a correlation between divorce and cohabitation. But that doesn't mean one causes the other. Very likely, the actual cause is that couples who do not believe in the sanctity of marriage are more likely to cohabitate and to divorce, but that does not mean cohabitation plays any role in divorce.

[/quote]

I said nothing about causation. I said that couples who cohabitate are more likely to get divorced.


#19

[quote="Joe_5859, post:17, topic:209297"]

I have the feeling I'm still not articulating myself as clearly as I'd like. Maybe I need to take a break and try again later. :o

[/quote]

Joe, you are quite clear and couldn't be more articulate about the issue. Thanks.


#20

[quote="Joe_5859, post:18, topic:209297"]
I said nothing about causation. I said that couples who cohabitate are more likely to get divorced.

[/quote]

First of all, why would you have said it if you didn't imply causation? It wouldn't have been germane to the discussion otherwise. Second, your language structure clearly does indicate causation. This indication comes from the grouping of the two phrases and the time dependent nature of the language structure.

Not indicating causation would have been a phrase such as "Couples that cohabitate are also more likely to get divorced" which indicates correlation but not necessarily causation.


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