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Does Living Together Help or Hurt?

Does Living Together Help or Hurt?

Pastor David Gudgel explains how parents can influence their teen and young adult children to avoid the risks of cohabitation and instead choose God's design for marriage in a discussion based on his book Before You Live Together: Will Living Together Bring You Closer or Drive You Apart?
Original Air Date: April 16, 2021

Excerpt:

Dr. David Gudgel: And then I said, you know, “So tell me a little bit about, um, your practices right now. Are you living together?” And they said, “Yes.” And I said, uh, “How does your current situation,” and I’m just thinking of the woman at this point, “Fit your spiritual beliefs with regard to living together before marriage? Is this congruent with your spiritual beliefs?” And she started crying.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Well, Pastor Dave Gudgel is our guest today on Focus on the Family, helping you and your family navigate the topic of cohabitation. And your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, John, I don’t think I’ll surprise anyone with this stat. But it’s more common today for a young adult, say 20 something, 30 something, uh, to be living with a boyfriend or a girlfriend rather than being married.

John: Hmm.

Jim: I mean, if you think of that, that’s a stunning statement. And I know, because we hear from you here at Focus on the Family, many of you are dealing with that, uh, issue with your young adult children. Or maybe you’re that person, and we definitely wanna talk to you today about what, uh, God’s expectations are, what the healthiest thing for you is. And so often, John, here’s the thing. God’s boundaries, I don’t even call them rules. But his boundaries for us are meant for our good.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And somehow, we’ve gotta do obviously a better job communicating that to our own children, so that they can embrace those boundaries knowing that this is the best way to go.

John: Yeah. He designed marriage for a very specific reason. And when, when we, uh, short circuit that path, there can be problems. Well, we have Dr. Dave Gudgel with us. As I said, he’s, uh, got, um, over three decades of pastoral counseling experience. And has talked to a lot of young couples over the, the course of his, uh, time in the pulpit. He’s a husband and dad of three children. Uh, he’s got 11 grandchildren and is lead pastor at Bridges Community Church in the Bay Area of California. His book is called Before You Live Together. And we do have copies of that here at Focus on the Family. Uh, give us a call, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Dave, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Dr. Gudgel: Thank you. It’s a privilege to be here.

Jim: Um, you know, one of the main reasons couples live together before getting married is because they’re not sure this is right. And so we just want, and this is, you know, kind of the excuse that they’ll give is, “We wanna make sure that we’re in love, and that we can play house together,” and those kinds of things. And this Christian young people too. The statistics aren’t that different. Um, you came from that place of uncertainty when you were courting your wife. That’s kinda common, right? Uncertainty’s part of the blessing of marriage. You’re na- (laughs), you’re not gonna be absolutely sure that this is perfect.

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah. Not sure at all. I mean, for me, I thought that Bernice was the one that I ultimately wanted to marry. But I needed some help. And I, uh, went to a friend, a mentor. And he gave me some good information. Uh, essentially it was, “You need to marry her.” I mean-

Jim: (laughs).

John: (laughs).

Dr. Gudgel: … that’s-

Jim: [crosstalk] so he talked you into it.

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah.

Jim: That’s a good friend.

Dr. Gudgel: It’s, it was nice. He cut to the point, you know.

Jim: But it’s really, it is a key question. Because I think that’s often times the response that a parent is going to hear from their 20 something child that, you know, “Mom, dad, I just don’t know. And I thought, you know, Bob and me doing this would be really a smart way to go, so we know that we’re made for each other.” Um, why are couples today so afraid of making a mistake, rather than doing it God’s way? And, uh, you know, just trusting that the Lord, if he’s giving you the green light, if he had a good mentor say, “Hey, she’s the one.” And you’re praying about it, and you’re listening to the Lord, jump in.

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah.

Jim: (laughs).

Dr. Gudgel: You know, that what you just said, Jim, is so true. I mean, a lot of it is connected to what they’re thinking, compatibility. And, “We need figure out if we’re compatible or not.” You don’t buy a car without checking it out, right? So, we need to take this thing for a drive. And they begin the relationship oftentimes that way in terms of living together. So-

Jim: Speak to the fear issue though, I mentioned. I, uh, it seems like we inject a lot of fear into our Christian children about do’s and don’ts. And, “If you do that, you know, you’re gonna get this.” And I mean, I think generally the, they can be a very fearful group of people rather than a positive group of people that are fearless.

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah. And, and I think part of the fear is what they see in our world, and what they see in other relationships. Uh, kids that they are friends with, other students, whoever, um, their parents got divorced. Or they’ve been around the home and seen them yelling at each other, or whatever, and the home was just a terrible place to be. And they don’t wanna go down that road. So, you know-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Gudgel: … one of the thing they think they can do then is to prevent that from happening is by living together and checking each other out.

Jim: And it’s really, it’s unhealthy. And we’ll get to all that data soon. But that is one of five reasons that in your book, Before You Live Together, you talk about. Uh, what are the other four reasons that, uh, people give as to why we need to, you know, test drive?

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, I think of, uh, compatibility as one. I think of them actually as C’s.

Jim: Okay.

Dr. Gudgel: Okay? So you got compatibility. And now you got the cash, you know? Finances, it’s just a lot cheaper for us to live together, you, instead of [crosstalk]-

Jim: Kinda like roommates.

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah. “Instead of living in two different homes-”

Jim: Split the rent.

Dr. Gudgel: ” … we’d much rather live with each other. Are you-”

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Gudgel: ” … kidding?” And, and then there’s the companionship factor. Um, you know, God made us to share a relationship. Uh, it’s two are better than one. (laughs). And you can justify anything and put yourself into a living together relationship just out of loneliness. And of course culture today says it’s okay.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Gudgel: You know, that’s normative now. It used to be wrong to live together. Now you’re like wrong if you don’t live together. And so culture’s gone that way. And then also I think of, uh, love. “Well, we’re in love. So why not?”

Jim: Right. Well, and in fact, one of the common things would be, “W- What does a piece of paper do to make our love for each other any different?” Speak to that. I mean, there is the government recognition of a union between a man and a woman. But, um, there’s much more to it spiritually. And that’s what we as Christians need to zero in on.

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah. And I think there are a couple ways we can look at that. But one is just, eh, from the biblical perspective, when was a person married? And I always go back to John chapter four, where Jesus met the woman at the well, you remember. And they had that amazing conversation about water and how he could give her something that she didn’t have, and she needed it. And he really serviced that need when he said, “You’ve had five husbands. But the one you’re with now is not your husband.”

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Gudgel: So she evidently was in some kind of a living together arrangement with another man, a sixth man in this case. And he didn’t recognize it as marriage. So even right there, you’ve got what you’re just talking about is that there’s something more than just living together that constitutes marriage. And of course, in that world, there was the commitment. (laughs). There was-

Jim: Right.

Dr. Gudgel: … the pledge. You know, the signing of the contract, so to speak. The-

Jim: Well-

Dr. Gudgel: … unconditional [crosstalk]-

Jim: … in, it seems to me that God’s heart is about covenant marriage. Um, you know, we don’t talk a lot about that in Christian, uh, community. But it’s not a contract.

Dr. Gudgel: No, it’s-

Jim: I mean, this, eh, that’s what the state gives you is a contract. But what God’s talking about is a commitment, a covenant marriage for life. Until death do us part. That’s what the lord’s heart is for you, correct?

Dr. Gudgel: Absolutely. And I heard that when we went through our premarital counseling. Uh, it was as clear as it possibly could be when the pastor that was counseling us stuck his finger in, into the air and he said, “You know, Dave, you gotta understand this commitment, this covenant commitment that you’re making to each other. You’re getting married on January 10th, 1976.” So, everybody’s doing the math on that now.

Jim: (laughs).

Dr. Gudgel: “And so that’s the day where you’re making this covenant commitment before others and before God. And you’re gonna have in the course of your marriage, you’re going to have this line of commitment that you’re making to each other. And there are gonna be times where you’re gonna be really excited about your relationship. And things are gonna be so easy. And other times, you’re below the line and you’re thinking this is crazy. But you gotta come back to the commitment.”

Jim: And that’s what keeps you in the game. Contracts don’t keep you in the game. Because you can break a contract if you can find a way, a loophole. But in this commitment, you don’t want that loophole. You gotta fight through it, so you can have the marriage that God wants you to have-

Dr. Gudgel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … on the other end. Uh, Dave, lemme take a minute here. Uh, I want to talk directly to parents who have children living with the boyfriend or a girlfriend. Uh, one mom wrote to us here at Focus and asked one of the most common questions for parents in this situation. And I wanna read this comment from her. She said, “We received a call from my son last week, and he was informing us that he and his girlfriend have decided to move in together.” Now again, this is a Focus on the Family constituent.

Dr. Gudgel: Right.

Jim: A listener.

Dr. Gudgel: Absolutely.

Jim: Christian home I’m assuming.

Dr. Gudgel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And it, eh, this is pretty common.

Dr. Gudgel: Yes.

Jim: She went on to say, “He is very open to hearing our heart on issues. We told our son that we don’t agree with him living together. And that we feel it’s against what God wants for them. He said he understood, but that it wasn’t going to change their minds.” And then the question, “How can we still love them and support them, and have a relationship with them without condoning them living together?”

Dr. Gudgel: Absolutely.

Jim: So, everybody’s leaning in now that is in this situation.

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah.

Jim: How do you answer that?

Dr. Gudgel: Well first, I would wanna say, please know you’re not alone in this. This has become commonplace in the church. It’s become commonplace in practicing born again Christians. So, you’re right there. In fact, the church that I’m at now, when I started there 10 years ago, the first five premarital counselings that I did were with couples that four of them were already living together.

Jim: Four out of the five?

Dr. Gudgel: Four out of five.

Jim: In the church?

Dr. Gudgel: Yes.

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Gudgel: But I mean, in terms of your part in helping them, uh, to me the main thing is, is that you wanna continue the relationship. Do not sever the relationship. Whatever you do, if you sever the relationship, you don’t have a chance to continue to influence them.

Jim: But that really does beg the question, how do you do that? How do you engage your adult child to say, “Boy, this is really not what I expected. It’s, I know, displeasing to God’s heart. But I love you.” And, um, uh, what, where do you go from there?

Dr. Gudgel: Well, and I think that’s what you gotta say. I think you gotta be honest. You have to be clear. You have to speak the truth and love. And so, all of that, the child needs to hear where you are, what your convictions are, where you believe the Lord wants them to be.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Gudgel: So, s- don’t hold back on that. But then at the same time, I don’t think you wanna foster their living together. So, don’t start, you know, enabling that in any way.

John: Yeah. Dave, I, we’ve got some friends who are in this situation. And they’ve just taken it upon themselves and, to not only love their child. But also, to love the boyfriend.

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah.

John: And to say, “There’s a ministry opportunity, ’cause he doesn’t know Jesus. And how’s he gonna know Jesus if we don’t show him love?” In other words, “If we just show a condemnation because, you know, scripture says this is wrong.”

Dr. Gudgel: Mm-hmm.

John: “Then how’s he ever gonna understand the grace and love of Jesus?”

Dr. Gudgel: Oh, yeah. I totally agree with that. And I’ve seen parents impact their children because they worked through it, they continue to pray with them over it. Uh, they didn’t compromise their beliefs. And, and what they did in terms of how they helped or didn’t help their kids as they were getting ready for marriage.

John: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Gudgel: But they stuck through it with them.

John: It’s a real opportunity for grace and ministry. So, uh, Dave Gudgel is our guest today on Focus on the Family. And we have his book, Before You Live Together. Uh, call us for a copy or, uh, stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Eh, Dave, there was a couple that came to you for premarital counseling. And they were planning on living together. But you were able to talk them out of it. Again, parents are saying, “What did you say, Dave?”

Dr. Gudgel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: “How did it work?”

Dr. Gudgel: (laughs).

Jim: Um, and it’s gonna be different. But for this couple, you were able to convince them not to. What happened?

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah. It just depends upon what happens in the sessions. But of course, I’m always looking for opportunities to speak truth into the situation. And I often begin with a couple that I don’t know, and some ways you could even, uh, relate this to parents with their children. I know they, (laughs), obviously know them. But I began with, you know, “Tell me a little bit about your spiritual beliefs.” I gotta get a sense of where they are spiritually. And that’s always fascinating. This particular couple, the woman said, “Man, I love God. And he’s been very much a part of my upbringing, my family. And so, he’s very important to me.” And then the guy said, “Well, I’m, I don’t really have any relationship with God. And, uh, so I’m not really there.” And I said, “Well, eh, you know, what place,” this is the second question, “Would you like God to have in your relationship? If he’s gonna have any place in your relationship, what would it be?” And she said, “Yeah, I th- I’m just really up on that.” And he said, “Well, I’m open to it,” you know, that sort of thing. And then I said, you know, “So tell me a little bit about, um, your practices right now. Are you living together?” And they said, “Yes.” And, uh, well, I said, uh, “How does your current situation,” and I’m just thinking of the woman at this point, “Fit your spiritual beliefs with regard to living together before marriage? Is this congruent with your spiritual beliefs?” And she started crying.

Jim: Oh.

Dr. Gudgel: I mean, you know, she was really, really crying. I, in fact, I had to get up, walk over, get the Kleenex box-

Jim: Right.

Dr. Gudgel: … and bring it over, and-

Jim: So, she was convicted.

Dr. Gudgel: Yes.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Gudgel: And I think that’s why these question are so important, are question like that, because sometimes, you know, nobody’s asked them the questions.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Gudgel: And that was the beginning of a breakthrough.

Jim: David, it’s hard. I can see that conversation hap- happening successfully with a pastor who they’re coming to you-

Dr. Gudgel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … for input. They’re looking for wisdom.

Dr. Gudgel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: They’re probably anticipating you’re gonna go their direction. But a parent may not be able to have that conversation, or it’s gonna be awkward, or it’s not gonna be received-

Dr. Gudgel: Right.

Jim: … the way it will be by, you know, a stranger, if I could say it that way. Eh, so how does a parent go about challenging their daughter, in this case.

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah.

Jim: And asking those same questions. Would you s- encourage a parent to kinda stick with that same outline?

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah. I, it, to some degree, you, you’re seeing the value of questions over telling, right?

Jim: (laughs).

Dr. Gudgel: Let’s ask them. [crosstalk]-

Jim: Don’t lecture.

Dr. Gudgel: … over telling. Yeah. And this is not the time to lecture. So, uh, but I think that you can say, “Honey, uh, you’ve walked with the lord all these years. What place do you want him to have in your marriage?”

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Gudgel: Uh, and, uh, hopefully that will come, it’s-

Jim: [crosstalk].

Dr. Gudgel: … “Would you like to get married?” You know, and-

Jim: That’s really like the woman at the well.

Dr. Gudgel: Yes, it is.

Jim: [crosstalk]-

John: It’s very much what Jesus-

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah.

John: … was saying.

Dr. Gudgel: And we know that 95% of young adults wanna get married.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Gudgel: Eh, so, uh, we’re … Okay, so we already anticipate that she’s gonna say, or he’s gonna say, “Yeah, I wanna get married. What place do you want God to have in your relationship?” “Well, honey, how’s that gonna work out? You know, the Bible says in he- Hosea 10:12,” and I’m not saying you gotta use this verse, “Sow righteousness and you will reap the fruit of unfailing love.” Now that’s a huge statement there, because couples, one of their fears is that the love won’t work out, the relationship won’t work. And they’ll end up getting a divorce like everybody else that they see. So, I always look at that and I think to myself, “Okay, we wanna help them reach unfailing love in their marriage and their commitment, and that sort of thing.” And Hosea 10:12 says that’s the result of sowing righteousness. So, “Honey, if you compromise your faith right now, that’s a setup toward ultimately losing love.”

Jim: Yeah.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Eh, Dave, I think this is a good place to ask about some of the data. I referenced-

Dr. Gudgel: Sure.

Jim: … that a moment ago. But what happens generally? Now, there’s always outliers. We get that. But in the data when you look at couples that, uh, live together and not married. What is the typical future? Uh, what are some of the greater pitfalls that they face-

Dr. Gudgel: Right.

Jim: … et cetera?

Dr. Gudgel: Well, lemme just, uh, make it as clear as I can s- first, then we’ll see if we get the muddy, you know, part of this coming. (laughs). But, uh, yeah, of eight couples that live together before marriage, okay? Four of them are gonna split up. They’ll never marry. Four of them will marry. Of the four that marry, three will divorce. And one will live on from there, and-

Jim: So that’s a 75% divorce rate-

Dr. Gudgel: Absolutely.

Jim: … in that group, if you live together before marriage?

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah.

Jim: That’s frightening.

Dr. Gudgel: It’s frightening. So, eh, those are eight couples that live together before marriage. It’s not a good th- potential future.

Jim: There’s also other risks. I mean, it’s a more dangerous environment f- typically for the woman, et cetera, correct? And-

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah.

Jim: … especially if that woman is bringing children into the relationship.

Dr. Gudgel: Absolutely a potential for conflict in the relationship. I mean, uh, there could be aggression, abuse, all of that can be a part of it. Abandonment. So yeah, adultery often comes, uh, because of, you know, how the arrangement got going, and the sort of a conditions-based relationship that they have. So, “If you perform long enough and well enough, then we’ll get married or we’ll stay married.”

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Gudgel: So, something has to change, back to what we talked about at the beginning. Some kind of covenant, unconditional commitment love.

Jim: Right. Eh, it is different, that’s the point. It is different when you are committed versus having an exit door.

Dr. Gudgel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: It just makes your behavior different. And you see that in the data-

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah.

Jim: … in the surveys. You refer to these as the three elements, uh, statistics is the first. Soul wounds is the second. What are the soul wounds?

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah. So, when you do go down the, uh, performance-based relationship road, that, “If only,” or, “If then,” that can hurt you when it doesn’t work. You know, “I’m not loved, because I don’t perform well enough,” or whatever it is. You know, Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart, ’cause it’s the wellspring of life.” And one of the places that this really can hurt a person’s heart is emotionally, and the emotional connection. I did a, uh, two-hour call-in program out of this area, where the third caller, uh, said, “Lis- Lemme tell you my story. We lived together for two years. And then we got married. And then shortly after we got married, we found Christ as our personal savior.” And she said, “And now we’re in intimacy therapy counseling.” I said, “Wh- (laughs), wow.” Eh, she said … I said s- “Tell me a little bit more about that.” And she said, “We’re in intimacy counseling because we don’t have emotional intimacy in our relationship.”

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Gudgel: And, uh, this is one of the greatest challenges I think that could potentially can happen is, is the couple has not built an emotional connection. It is absolutely crucial to a happy relationships. [Gallop 00:19:40] did some studies some years ago and found that the number one factor of happiness in marriage is friendships. It’s an emotional connection.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Gudgel: It’s that filial love.

Jim: Yeah. And, uh, it’s so critical. And it’s, uh, you know, it doesn’t shock me that data, science is backing what the Bible’s talking about. Uh, you know, that we are built for commitment relationship, et cetera. Uh, Dave, let’s address the spiritual ramifications, that last of the three. You met a woman named Nichole who lived with her husband before they got married. And you say her experience is, uh, pretty common among Christians who cohabitate. Uh, what took place there?

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah. So, we did not, uh, have a long talk about this. I got to hear a little bit about the story. And then I think she shared the story with you all. But it has not turned out well. Uh, and you know, I’m not surprised, because like I said, when the relationship often times is built on the physical, the emotional is stunted, and the spiritual is almost like non-existent.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Gudgel: And that’s what took place in this relationship.

Jim: Yeah.

John: And as you mentioned, Dave, uh, Nichole did share her story with us. And we have a clip of her describing her thought process before she started living together with the man who would eventually become her husband. And, uh, when she and this man were dating. Here’s what Nichole said she was thinking about, uh, about them living together.

Excerpt:

Nichole: Well, our relationship at that point, both of us with God was not firm enough to say, “Oh, this is wrong.” Or I knew it was wrong. And I felt deeply convicted, even tormented sometimes about the decision that I knew that I was making was wrong. My husband didn’t have that same conviction. And so that should’ve been a red flag in the beginning, you know, that I felt really convicted and he didn’t. Because obviously we’re [inaudible]. So, for somebody who’s thinking about moving in together, they should really think if they’re feeling these things about even not really being sure, but their other, significant other isn’t, then that should be a red flag for them. We just moved forward and I, I just shoved those feelings down. And I did it because I really wanted it. And, um, unfortunately I completely did an about face on God, you know?

End of Excerpt

John: Hmm.

Jim: Eh, Dave, you hear that in her clip, even the unequally yoke, she says it in such a way of shame.

Dr. Gudgel: Absolutely.

Jim: That she hadn’t thought that through. Why do so many young Christians ignore that conviction of the spirit?

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah. I don’t know what happens there, other than I think Satan does a good work. You know, he’s the liar and the deceiver, and the destroyer. And he will cause people to think that they could be the exception to the rule. So, you know, the scripture says, “Sow righteousness. Sow it.” That means it’s something that you have to do repeatedly over and over and continue to make really good choices. Here’s the problem, when a couple’s living together before marriage, often times it’s going pretty good. I mean, in the immediate, it’s lo- really looking really good. But, you know, when we’re talking about the law of the harvest, which is a law of sowing and reaping, you don’t see the results of that for a while. You d- you’re not gonna see it in the same season. So often right now, everything will look good. And this is another way I, I try to help parents help their children. You know, “Honey, this isn’t the law of Pinocchio.” What’s the law of Pinocchio? Well, if you do something wrong, it’ll show up on your face right now. Well, this is the law of the harvest. And that is the result of God’s work in you. And what you wanna do is you wanna sow righteousness. “What’s righteousness?” It’s knowing what’s right and doing what’s right, no matter what.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Gudgel: And if you know what’s right, and you walk down that road, that’s where you’re gonna see God’s greatest work in you. And I think of, you know, often in a wedding I’ll say, “Hey, listen, if you had these qualities in your marriage, would you be happy, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentle and self-control?” And of course, they’re like applauding.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Gudgel: They’re, “Yes. Of course.”

Jim: “That’s the man I’m looking for.” (laughs).

Dr. Gudgel: “That is the man I’m looking for.” But that is the result of sowing righteousness-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Gudgel: … of walking in the spirit. And that’s what we wanna help our kids do. That’s what we wanna help couples see.

Jim: Mm-hmm. Eh, Dave, we’re coming right in for the landing on this. And I know people are saying, “I, I wish you would ask this question.” So, I’m gonna just take a stab at it. Um, you, you know, one of the things that you mentioned was being kinda stuck, it sounded like even the data, stuck in a bad marriage. “And I made this mistake. I lived with him.” Maybe they’re the three and four that are on the road to not making it.

Dr. Gudgel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: How do we as Christians together as a community improve that statistic? How do we try to save more than 25% of those marriages that started in a bad place? And have you had those couples come back to you for help to say, “We’re in trouble. I feel like I’m stuck, because we were unequally yoked. We have lived-”

Dr. Gudgel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: ” … together. We didn’t set this up properly. But what do I do? Do I divorce him now? Or do I stick with it?”

Dr. Gudgel: Yeah. I would encourage them to stick with it and continue to work on that relationship. But of course, work on your relationship with God and the relationship that you share with God as a couple. So, I think about a triangle, okay? Just a simple triangle, three layers. The bottom, the foundation there is spiritual, the middle is emotional, and the top is the physical. So often times what happens is, the spiritual and the emotional are deglect- neglected. You gotta work on the spiritual commitment that you share. The love of sacrifice, Agape’s right there. And then you gotta work on that emotional connection. The number one reason women in America get a divorce is a lack of emotional intimacy. A lack of an emotional connection. So, work on your emotional connection.

Jim: Hmm. And most men are going, “Uh, say that again. What does that mean?”

Dr. Gudgel: That’s right.

Jim: But you gotta work on it.

John: And we’ll save that for another-

Jim: Yeah, right. (laughs).

John: … broadcast.

Dr. Gudgel: (laughs).

Jim: Definitely.

John: (laughs).

Jim: Dave, this is so good. Eh, thank you for your willingness to dive into this tough topic. Eh, we don’t cover this very often. But we do hear from a lotta parents who are struggling with their young adult children, who are living together. Eh, let me turn to the listener. If you feel powerless in this area as a parent, and maybe you’re even worried you’re going to lose your relationship with your child over the issue of cohabiting, uh, get a copy of Dave’s book, Before You Live Together. It’s the biblical advice you need to tackle this in a loving and truthful way. If you can give a gift of any amount to Focus, I’ll send this to you as our way of saying thank you. Or if you can’t afford it, call us anyway. I trust others will cover that cost. And to those of you who are able to give to our ministry, I wanna say thank you. You are the reason we’re able to continue standing for biblical values in a society where truth is more and more unpopular. Uh, your gift is bringing real hope to parents needing help, couples considering divorce, and families who are struggling. So, thank you for being on the team, and keeping our ministry going strong.

John: Well, you can join the support team and get a copy of Dave’s book when you call 800-A-FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Dave, thank you again for being with us.

Dr. Gudgel: Oh, my privilege. Thank you.

John: Well, be sure to have a great weekend with your family, and your church family as well. And then join us on Monday as Dr. Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane will be sharing some inspiration for how you can stay off your phone and spend more time with your children.

Teaser:

Dr. Gary Chapman: We all have the same amount of time every day. It’s just how we’re gonna invest it. And I like to stay to parents, think in terms of, what is the time that my kid is sitting on the screen? What is it teaching them? What do they come away with? You know? And how is it impacting them? Because it is impacting them.

Today's Guests

Cover image of David Gudgel's book "Before You Live Together"

Before You Live Together: Will Living Together Bring You Closer or Drive You Apart?

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