Plenty of studies have proven it.

Living together before marriage doesn’t work. Cohabitation doesn’t make marriages stronger. In fact, it usually has the opposite effect.

Sure, modern society wants to believe that cohabitation makes sense, and plenty of singles assume they’ll be the exception to the statistics. But who has the better track record when it comes to sexual morality: our culture, or God’s Word?

Many Christians wouldn’t personally consider cohabiting, so maybe you’re wondering why the topic is even up for discussion. We know it’s a sin, and we know God’s design for marriage is less about “being made for each other” and more about being true to a covenantal relationship.

But we get lonely, don’t we, and apprehensive about our singlehood. Some of us may be feeling our defenses weakening, especially as the culture around us continues to embrace cohabitation. After all, the popular media that has saturated our lives elevates sex and pleasure over the biblical values of marriage, fidelity, and sexual purity.  It’s becoming ever so antiquated for singles to live apart—and without physical intimacy!—before marriage.

In terms of acquiescing to cultural norms, parts of evangelical Christianity have gotten to look more like the world than the Godly alternatives we’re supposed to represent.  Abortion, for example, has already made its way into our communities of faith, and divorce has been with us now for decades.  How much longer until cohabitation makes its inroads among us single believers?  Taking a firm stand now can help delay—and even thwart—such a likelihood.

Don’t Take Your Cues From Society

First, however, let’s review the statistics. Studies show that today, more than half of all marriages start with cohabitation. Couples who wait until they’re engaged before they cohabitate have the same probability of divorcing as couples who move in together before ever discussing marriage. Indeed, even the degrees of morality on the cohabitation continuum don’t make much of a difference.

It gets worse: if a woman gives birth before she’s married, or a man fathers a child before his first marriage, the chances they stay married are worse than for cohabiting couples who wait until after they’re married to have kids. Since premarital birthrates are rising in the United States, this can only mean that more and more kids will be raised in broken homes in the coming years.

Strangely enough, women who claim to be Protestant now tend to have one of the lowest marriage survival rates, and women who claim no religious affiliation a higher rate.

Many of us know the truth, yet we yearn to dabble in lifestyle patterns that weaken our resolve to abide by that truth. This is evident in far more scenarios than cohabitation, isn’t it? We figure that since grace is more powerful than our sins, we’re pretty much invincible when it comes to flirting with disaster. We’ve grown accustomed to misguided interpretations of the concept of “risk” and we misapply God’s intentions for the role righteous risk should play in our lives.