12 June 2007

Co-habby together?

Some very good conversation happening over at the Curt Jester's Blog about cohabitation... here.

It's a shame that so many magazines call themselves Catholic and yet print such garbage.

Cohabitation has become common place in today's culture. The Church continues to recognize the danger of a couple living together (and assumedly having sex) prior to marriage in the midst of this. And so, many people get turned off by the Church's "old fashioned" teaching. Unfortunately the response by many Catholics is to give in to society's pressure and find excuses and loopholes to justify what deep down we all know is wrong.

Let's be real, if you're living together you're having sex. There's probably 1 in every 100 cohabitating couples that isn't. And a couple might have all the best intentions in the world, but they cannot hide from the fact that if they are engaging in sexual intercourse before marriage, they are not giving of themselves fully. You cannot give yourself to someone freely, totally, faithfuly, and fruitfully if you can also leave the relationship at any time with no recourse. It's that simple.

Still, I'll play along. Say a couple is not having sex but living together, maybe for financial reasons (although most co-habitators I've met just wanted to get away from their folks). Even if they remain chaste, they're setting themselves up for a difficult time. This idea of a "trial period" in order to see if you can live with the person is ridiculous. PEOPLE ARE NOT OBJECTS TO TRY-OUT! News flash... there will never be a person you can live with in perfect harmony. The only person you are capable of living with in absolute harmony is Christ. As long as we are human beings flawed by original sin, we will always butt heads, step on toes, and rattle cages. If you think you're going to find someone to marry you who won't do all three, you're sadly mistaken.

A healthy couple knows that each is not perfect. They know there will be times when their spouse does something that just ticks them off. And they know that we all have our strange little quirks that are normal to us and yet so foreign to others. Yet the healthy couple marches down the aisle having made the decision to love this person from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part. Despite all the crazy things that come up, all the surprises, and all the "oh, you do it that way" moments.

We need to stop making excuses and call a spade a spade. I have many friends who are cohabitating. I love them each very much and pray that they are an exception to the statitics that spell doom for couples living together prior to marriage. After all, God is certainly powerful enough to work through our own errors.

Nobody is trying to condemn here. But we need to stop trying to make sins okay in order to accomodate good people. Instead, we need to love the sinner and hate the sin.

Love the cohabitator, hate the cohabitation.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I know this is an old blog post but anyway, I just stumbled onto it and just wanted to comment. I think you posted a lot of great stuff! And thank you for acknowledging that there is possibly one percent of people who cohabitate (in the sense of being room mates) who aren't having sex. I agree that premarital sex is selling yourself so short. I am 100% non-cafeteria Catholic, an old fashioned girl. But I did move out of my parents to escape them and for financial reasons moved in with my boyfriend. I got a lot of headache over this -- and the main reason is that hardly anyone will believe that you can remain a virgin while living with your boyfriend. My boyfriend and I (now hubby -- we were married last year as virgins, I state proudly.) knew we were both very strong people and saw no real problems -- I sat down and searched the catechism for something that outright condemed conhabitation (the closest thing I found was leading others to sin from your own actions -- setting a good example).
My only problem with what you wrote is that not everyone who moves in with someone is "trying them out" for marriage. My hubby and I moved in knowing that we were both very open to what God called us to. We were planning on marriage but still considering religious life. We never saw each other as means to an end. True, we got to know each other's habits and routines -- things my former youth group leader told us were supposed to be only discovered after marriage and would spoil the experience. But all in all, we lived together with little problem. We did have some sexual temptation, but that caused us to pray together so much more.
Now I am not advocating cohabitation; I can recognize and realize that people are not always strong and agree with the issues that you mentioned. I am afraid that my decision to cohabitate will one day lead someone to do the same (even with the best intentions) and they will fail to remain chaste and struggle with their relationship. All I want is to make clear my experience (mostly because I liked your laid-back chastisement -- 'cause most people are in your face and won't listen, lemme tell ya), and anyway I still have issues because of how hurt I became b/c of my friends attitutes toward me. So just thank you for letting me vent and putting this is a delicate manner -- great blog!

Anonymous said...
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Nolan Reynolds said...

That's what this is for. Healthy dialogue! Thanks for commenting.

I'm sorry you had to face the ignorance of your friends. That's unfair and your friends should have given you the credit you deserve. Most people don't believe me when I tell them I am a virgin. To them it is not possible that we could be together for 8 years and remain chaste. What's important though is that we are true to ourselves, just as you and your husband were true to yourselves despite what others may believe or not believe.

I think it's awesome that you were able to cohabitate and remain chaste. It sounds like you have a relationship to be admired, a great model of Christian Marriage. It also sounds like you have a very mature understanding of your faith and a willingness to live that out. My point is simply that your situation was not the "norm," sadly. The "hook-up" culture that says "if it feels right, do it" has really taken over. The majority of couples who cohabitate are running into it for all the wrong reasons, and truly it is not their fault. We are products of our environment, poorly catechized. Still, it doesn't make it right. If someone is going to drink poison, yet doesn't know it's poison, it will still kill him. Many co-habitators move in together believing it to be a good thing, only to find it wasn't what they expected, and not really learning much from it. Clearly you did understand what you were getting into. You were wise enough to know it wouldn't be a cake walk, but you both shared a desire to remain chaste and to become better for it. True love trumps all.

Thanks again for your comment. Your insights are very welcome.