Should my boyfriend and I live together to save money for our wedding? As we've discussed the matter, it has occurred to us that sharing an apartment before the wedding-just as a temporary measure-might be a practical step for us financially. The plan is for my boyfriend to have his own room while I share the other bedroom with my six-year-old daughter (who, by the way, loves my boyfriend dearly). What do you think?
If you and your boyfriend are Christians and are committed to sexual purity, we think this plan is a very bad idea. Although your intentions may be true, you'll be subjecting yourselves to a tremendous amount of sexual temptation. That's a serious matter, since the Bible commands us to "flee from sexual immorality" and to live in a way that is "holy and honorable."
You should also consider the message that this living arrangement would send to your daughter. God has designed sexuality to be a beautiful gift. It's meant be shared between a husband and wife in a life-long, committed marital relationship. If this is what you want your daughter to grow up believing, you will be sending her a confusing, mixed message by living with your boyfriend—even if you are able to resist sexual temptation. In addition, you'd be placing her in an awkward situation with teachers, friends and relatives. She will certainly be asked about the living arrangement. When that happens, will she be able to respond with a satisfactory explanation?
You should also know that if you and your boyfriend should become sexually involved, the research on cohabitation isn't pretty. Couples who live together before marriage have a 60-80% higher divorce rate. They also have higher rates of domestic violence and are more likely to cheat on each other. And if the woman becomes pregnant, there is a very high likelihood that the relationship will end within two years, at which time she'll be left to raise the child on her own. For all these reasons and more, we'd encourage you to wait to build your home together until after the wedding day.
If you think it would be helpful to discuss your questions at greater length with a member of our staff, please feel free to call Focus on the Family's Counseling Department. You may contact them for a free consultation at this number. They'll be pleased to assist you in any way they can.
Cohabitation: Why Traditional Marriage Matters (broadcast)
Living Together (pdf)
PREPARE/ENRICH - This organization offers programs to help couples prepare for marriage and to enrich the marriage of those already married.
Love and Respect - This ministry offers materials, articles, and conferences designed to help those already married to enrich their relationship and for those considering marriage to prepare for the journey together.
Boundless - Boundless Webzine for Christian Singles
Couple Checkup - An online marriage assessment to assist couples in discerning their strengths and growth areas.
Marriage Mentors - This organization helps churches support the ministry of family by training mentor couples who help prepare other couples for marriage, as well as enrich or restore existing marriages.