In other words, we let our culture dictate our appreciation of truth.

For the vast majority of us believers who don’t cohabitate before marriage, do we refrain from the practice because we’re convinced that it’s wrong? Or mostly because it looks bad to our friends in church? We laugh about it when we see cohabitation depicted in movies and sitcoms, but shouldn’t such sexual sin kick us in the gut like some far less acceptable sin would?

As singles increasingly defer marriage so they can establish their careers, and as society continues its return to revitalized—and pricey—urban centers from the cheaper suburbs, it may become easier to rationalize cohabitation as an economic necessity. Relativism always seeks the lowest common denominator, and believers in Christ need to be vigilant against trends that could turn against us.

The Ten Commandments and Cohabitation

But vigilance doesn’t mean legalism, does it? Making rules for the sake of rules may look like we’re doing the right thing, but it’s not the way God uses to preserve his holiness, and it’s not the way he tells us his people should operate.

For example, in a way, the Ten Commandments can be considered rules, but they’re actually a framework for us to model God’s character and identity.

Think about it:

  • “Thou shall have no other gods before me” reminds us that God is supreme.
  • “No graven images” reminds us not to let anything interrupt our sight of our perfect God.
  • “Do not take the Lord's name in vain” reminds us that God’s name is holy.
  • “Remember the Sabbath day” reminds us that God is the creator of everything, including our salvation.
  • “Honor thy father and mother” reminds us that God created the family unit and its unique roles, in part to explain his relationship with Christ.
  • “Thou shall not kill” reminds us that life is a gift from God.
  • “Thou shall not commit adultery” reminds us that marriage is symbolic of the covenant between God and his people.
  • “Thou shall not steal” reminds us that everything belongs to God.
  • “Thou shall not bear false witness” reminds us that God is truth.
  • “Thou shall not covet” reminds us that God apportions his good gifts based on his sovereignty.

And don’t those good gifts that we’re not to covet include love, romance, marriage, sex, fertility, and children? Just because we may not see any of these good gifts happening in our immediate future doesn’t give us the go-ahead to try to bend some rules a bit to jump-start things, does it? Isn’t that a form of coveting? Not to mention adultery.

Take Heart, Fellow Singles!

Throughout the history of the world, whether a married couple were saved or not, what has been the one thing characterizing every marriage that has lasted until death? It’s been commitment, right? And what can possibly be gleaned about commitment through cohabitation, which is a subtle antithesis of commitment?

God knew this essential marriage component before he created Adam and Eve. True, they didn’t have a full-blown wedding with bridesmaids and limousines, but it’s the cultural trappings of weddings that have changed, not the requisite level of commitment. God’s instructions on this subject are not ambiguous, or open to relativistic interpretation. In fact, doesn’t cohabitation betray a lack of trust in God? It certainly supports the illusion that your intimate romances should ride more on your own strengths than God’s truth—hardly the basis for a sound marriage.