“Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”
I’ve heard this phrase a thousand times, as I’m sure you have too… Always from males, in reference to females, with regards to sex and marriage. From a business perspective, the statement makes perfect sense. Even so, I don’t think I’ve ever met a female who is a fan of this statement. Why do you think that is?
At first glance, I believe females detest this statement (despite it’s business logic) because it promotes a lack of marital commitment from males, and no female wishes to be taken advantage of. But when we dig deeper, we find that females are responsible for promoting this “lack of marital commitment” just as much as males are… Maybe not with their “words”, but certainly with their “actions.”
Which brings us to the topic of “living together before marriage”. A generation or two ago, cohabitation before marriage was virtually unheard of. However, in present day society, not only is it acceptable but often times encouraged. And why shouldn’t it be… It makes logical sense, doesn’t it? It must, because I currently hear both males and females ridiculing their peers for even thinking about getting married before first living together… As if living together were the “tried and true” standard for long, healthy marriages. (Have you seen the actual statistics?)
Now, rather than examine this from the faith perspective, I’d like to tackle this topic from a Psych 101 angle. And so not to get everyone all bent out of shape, I will preface that my statements are the “Rule” and not the “Exception to the Rule”… (As I’m sure everyone reading this will claim they are the “exception”.)
From a distance, living together before marriage as opposed to first getting married seems like a great way to “test drive” being married. And I believe this would be true, if the cohabiting couple actually acted like a “married couple” as opposed to a “dating couple who was living together.” What’s the difference, you ask? “You mean there’s more to being married than sex and sleeping in the same bed?” says the live-in boyfriend…
Here are a couple of differences:
Married couples share expenses. Cohabiting couples split expenses.
– She shares her body with you as if you were married. Does she have access to your bank account as if you were married? If not, this is a double standard and your not taking an accurate “test-drive”.
Married couples have in-laws. Cohabiting couples have “your parents and my parents”.
– Husbands aren’t allowed to skip family events. Nor should they want to… It’s your family too! And family comes first.
Wives don’t let husbands go to strip clubs. Husbands have to lie to do that. Especially if the family is on a budget. And Good Husbands (Real Men) put family first (and don’t lie to their wives).
– Girlfriends only have so much control over you. Wives get a 50% vote with regards to your schedule. Don’t think she’s going to be so accepting. Again, not an accurate test-drive.
Again, from a Psych 101 perspective, here is what I’m getting at: Living together before marriage is not an accurate test-drive. I’ve heard it time and time again from males who are living with their girlfriends: “She doesn’t give me too much crap and we’ve been living together for a while now, I think I can handle being married.” On the contrary, the girlfriend is often times telling her friends “I’m excited for all the changes that are going to take place now that we’re finally getting married! Now, I won’t have to put up with his crap anymore!”
And there lies the dilemma… For the entire time you’ve been living together, the male was carrying on as if he were single, seeing how much his girlfriend would put up with. If his girlfriend didn’t complain to much, then he felt comfortable marrying her, expecting that nothing would change. On the other side of the relationship, the girlfriend is putting up with the bachelor, trying not complain too much, in hopes that once they got married, everything would change…
Thus, the reason why the divorce rate is HIGHER among people who live together before marriage compared to those who don’t. (See Discovery Health)
Now, for the take-aways. First, for the guys, then for the girls.
Guys – Husbands (Real Men) are called to be the Spiritual Head of the Household. Boyfriends can’t fill this role because boyfriends don’t live in the household (wink, wink). If you have issue with this, simply test it against the Definition of a Real Man: Does having sex with your girlfriend (i.e. Taking advantage of the free milk) INSPIRE the world you live in? Does it EMPOWER her (I know it empowers you…) or her friends? How do you think it affects her parents / siblings? Are you going to encourage your (future) daughter to follow in your footsteps? Are you putting others first, or are you thinking only of yourself? What kind of example are you setting?
Girls – This past winter, my wife served on a discussion panel during a High School Girls Retreat. One of the most memorable questions of the discussion was “Why are guys such jerks?!” To which one of the other panel members immediately blurted out “Because we let them be!!” Quite candidly, guys don’t have to “take” advantage of you… Not when you “give” your advantage away.
All in, I believe that living together can severely hinder your perspective on what marriage is all about. When you get married first, you move in together with a completely different mentality than when you move in as boyfriend and girlfriend. It’s literally “til death do us part” vs. “if she acts up, I’ll just leave”. And though this mentality isn’t 100% guaranteed to lead you to divorce court, why not just start off on the right foot?
And last, but not least: There is no such thing as “free”… Sooner or later, the emotional hurts left by these actions will have to be dealt with. Girls who consistently give away their bodies will eventually grow numb and calloused. And though you might not have to deal with the emotional wreckage of the girls you abandoned, you will most likely have to deal with wreckage somebody else left behind.
Real Men aren’t supposed to be part of the problem, they’re supposed to be part of the solution.