Yesterday, I put up a post that was born out of concern called Why It’s Stupid to Live Together. I probably wasn’t very grace offering (sorry), and I wanted to correct that. I’m not backtracking or trying to offer a dissenting opinion or justification, though. In fact, I stand by the statement: It’s stupid to live together before marriage. But I do want to offer hope. There is a better way.
Cohabitation is a social experiment that’s had horrible and painful results. It’s hurt people I care about deeply. I’ve seen far too many girls graduate and slide into a living arrangement that seems like it makes sense but ends up crushing her heart. I’ve seen too many guys who weren’t committed to a relationship leading a girl down a path that they know will end in sorrow because they didn’t have the guts to put on the brakes, either. Some of these have been students in my youth ministry, friends, & family members. They’ve been wounded and now carry the scars of their mistakes. Some still deny or have no idea of the damage they are causing or allowing as their character erodes grain by grain. I pray they wake up before the day when they’ll realize they don’t even know who they’ve become or how. This is not some abstract cultural phenomena – these are people I love.
I have also known a few exceptions who have lived together for a while, gotten married, and are still together. I wish them well, and am so thankful for the way God has poured His grace into their stupidity and built something good. It’s the same grace that makes something beautiful of my own stupidity. And in that grace, is the hope of all of us who are stupid.
That grace gives us the courage to look honestly into what our relationship actually is.
That grace is our comfort when we admit the painful truth that he or she is not really here because of love, but because they want something.
That grace gives us the strength to walk away from the expedient.
That grace is our wholeness as we pick up the broken pieces of our lives and put them back into His hands. Because He is here because of love.
Don’t buy the lies:
- that living together is a good way to grow your relationship. There may possibly be nothing that could stunt the growth of your relationship more.
- that it’s the only way you can really afford to make ends meet. The financials don’t actually add up in reality like we think they will.
- that it’s the only way to make sure you’re really compatible. Commitment can lead you to compatibility.
- that the heart wants what it wants and you have no choice. Put your heart back in the hands of its Maker and see what it wants, then.
- that you’re too entangled to get out now. God has an amazing way of unraveling the messes we make of our lives. Please let him.
Instead of those lies, believe this truth: God knows what He’s doing with you and can build you into a relationship that is better than anything you could come up with on your own by following the pattern our culture is setting.
The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
-Paul, to the church in Corinth
Relationships are God’s idea. Let Him lead you into a relationship that only He, in His Grace & Wisdom, can build.