HEARTLIGHTTogether In His Grace







Recent Together in His Grace Articles:
Discipline or Punishment?
An All-time Low
The Story of Janet Elway
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Related Sites:
National Marriage Project
Should We Live Together?
Don’t Trash the “Blueprints”
by Byron Ware

    Tim Allen, in ABC’s popular sitcom Home Improvement, seems to always be looking for ways to change his tools for “more power.” I bet if he talked with one of the inventors of some of those tools that they would tell him that there are specific reasons why they invented the tool the way they did. And what happens to Tim when he makes those hair-brained changes to the tool? You remember, another HMO goes out of business.

    It seems like many people need to remember this concept when it comes to marriage.

    In my last article I quoted information from The National Marriage Project, a comprehensive compilation of statistics and surveys from Rutgers University in New Jersey. This information showed that the U.S. marriage rate at its lowest point in recorded history. The National Marriage Project report blames the declining marriage rate on people marrying later in life and on more couples living together outside of marriage. According to the report, nearly half of people between ages 25 and 40 have at some point set up a joint household with a member of the opposite sex, outside of marriage.

    Another paper done by The National Marriage Project offers vital information about this phenomenon. It is called Should We Live Together?: What Young Adults Need to Know about Cohabitation before Marriage, A Comprehensive Review of Recent Research. David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. January 1999. 23 pp.

    Popenoe and Whitehead write,

“For today’s young adults, the first generation to come of age during the divorce revolution, living together seems like a good way to achieve some of the benefits of marriage and avoid the risk of divorce... But a careful review of the available social science evidence suggests that living together is not a good way to prepare for marriage or to avoid divorce. What’s more, it shows that the rise in cohabitation is not a positive family trend. Cohabiting unions tend to weaken the institution of marriage and pose clear and present dangers for women and children.”

    After reading this information, my question is this: “Why are so many people trying to change what God created with such a weak and dangerous substitute?”

Cohabitation does not reduce the likelihood of eventual divorce!
    I encourage you click on this link and read this article! Here are the bottom-line findings in their research on couples living together:

  • Cohabitation does not reduce the likelihood of eventual divorce; in fact, it may lead to a higher divorce risk.
  • Cohabitation may change partners’ attitudes toward the institution of marriage, contributing to making marriage less likely, or if marriage takes place, contributing to making it less successful.
  • The break-up rate of cohabitors is far higher than for married partners.
  • Annual rates of depression among cohabiting couples are more than three times what they are among married couples.
  • Women in cohabiting relationships are more likely than married women to suffer physical and sexual abuse. Some research has shown that aggression is at least twice as common among cohabitors as it is among married partners.
  • The most unsafe of all family environments for children is that in which the mother is living with someone other that the child’s biological father.

    When you look at the whirlwind of damage cohabitation (“living together”) has done to modern society, you realize how destructive changing God’s plan actually is. When we are all willing to put Christ back into the center of our lives, our home, and our relationships, we will find true “home improvement” and the peace that comes from following God’s blueprints.


Copyright © 1999, Byron Ware. Used by permission.

HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
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