Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sex and Cohabitation vs. Marriage

Many people today think that things such as cohabitation and sex before marriage are healthy ways of testing out how compatible two people are. I worked in the restaurant business for two years where I was surrounded by people who lived very different lifestyles than my own. At times it was hard and I felt like an outcast, but by the grace of God and with time, I was able to build some pretty good relationships and report with the people there. On several occasions, upon learning that I was a virgin and saving myself for my husband, my friends there would ask me, "Well, what if he's not any good?" referring to sex. I'd smile a little and reply, "I'm not marrying a man for how good he is at sex." That was usually enough of an answer for them. Some would even reply, "Good point." I was always baffled that they hadn't thought of it first. When did love become dependent on how good some one is at sex? When a man and a woman take the time and effort to really get to know each other through conversations and quality time and are attracted to each other's character and values, the two don't need sex or cohabitation to show them how compatible they are.

The Statistics:
  • The average length of a live-in relationship is 1.3 years.
  • Cohabiting couples have an 80%+ chance that their relationship will end. (40% breakup before they marry; the other 40% divorce within 10 years of marriage.)
  • The U.S. Justice Department found that women are 62 times more likely to be assaulted by a live-in boyfriend than by a husband.
  • Living together doubles the risk for child abuse for any children in the home of a couple cohabiting.
  • Cohabiting women have rates of depression 3 times higher than married women.
  • Approximately 1 in 5 women living with someone has a sexual relationship with someone other than the guy with whom she lives. On the other hand, only an estimated 1 in 25 married women has a sexual relationship outside of marriage.
  • If the couple abstains from sex before marriage, they are 29-47% more likely to enjoy sex afterward than those who cohabit.
  • Married couples who pray together and practiced Natural Family Planning (NFP) as opposed to artificial contraception only have a 3-5% divorce rate.
  • Currently, there are 12 married couples for every cohabiting couple
A marriage certificate will not provide a guarantee for a successful marriage, but it will help you avoid the above risks of living together. God wants us to have healthy, happy and meaningful relationships. The sacrament of marriage provides graces and strength for God to more fully work in your life and to allow you to have a better relationship with your spouse.

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