Pros and Cons of Cohabitation

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Marissa Treece
Theology 20611

Destruction of Marriage

Much of today’s practicing adolescent population would argue the accusation false. As a whole, the liberal population would probably concur. But despite their continuously supported “pros” of premarital cohabitation, it is partly—and largely—responsible for the destruction of marriage as a sacrament and as an institution in America. In the following pages, I will address the sexual ethical issue of cohabitation prior to marriage. While it is clear my standpoint is solidly against this practice, I will analyze multiple facets of position on the issue at hand, including statistical data, theological research, and refined personal dilemmas to portray the issue in a non-bias fashion prior to concluding this research paper with a personally drawn conclusion on the issue based on the information collected and self reflection.

In order to discuss the topic, it must first have a concrete definition. For this research, it is considered that cohabiters are defined as a non-legalized relationship between a man and a woman living together under marriage-like circumstances. Thus the common ground amongst the relationships discussed in this paper have a strong emphasis on not only living in the same dwelling, but also rely on the relationship for means of satisfying family, sexual, and economic functions. In cohabitation, the relationship is a “special type of primary relationship in which the partners aid each other in meeting socioemotional, sociosexual, sociopysical and socialeconomical need of one another.”[1]

Cohabitation is a growing trend among young adult relationships and is considered by many to be taking an appropriate step in bringing the relationship to another level—the next level of intensity and intimacy. The occurrence of cohabiting couples has drastically increased since the 1970’s, commonly dubbed a side effect of the sexual revolution in the 1960’s. Prior to this time, living together out of wedlock was considered promiscuous and unacceptable. Originally, it was a practice of the uneducated and impoverish citizens, but today has spread into much of the American middle class. In society today, nearly 44% of all unmarried women ages 15-44 have or are currently cohabiting with their partner[2]; by today’s standards, it is an acceptable thing to do. Such a rise popularity of the habit forces a posing question on the subject: what is the attraction of cohabiting?

Marriage, for many, is the main goal of cohabiting. Over half of both male and female cohabiters expect at some point to be married with their current living partner, 30% of those planning to be married in the foreseeable future.[3] With this argument, it is necessary to look at the ends of this situation, that the partners have the passion for each other to strive to eventually marry the person they are currently living with. If they plan to marry, the fact that for some reason they have yet to do so does not remove the love and passion between them that would be the means of following through with the marriage, therefore there is nothing lacking from the situation that would prevent he marriage from actually occurring. The cohabitation is simply a means of ending in a happy marriage.

In a cohabiting relationship, partners area able to reap the benefits of both ends of the spectrum. One of the glowing benefits many of those who practice cohabiting find is that living together prior to entering a lifelong commitment allows them to have a taste of what marriage is like without the binding agreement of forever. Cohabiting allows two people to live in the ways of marriage without the intimidating personal commitment of marriage—always having a way out if problems arise amongst the partners. With cohabitation, there is a limited amount of commitment necessary. On any account, any alteration in feelings, after any argument, or for no reason at all, either member can walk away from the...
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