Living Together Before Marriage: Key to the Collapse of Our Culture

Hosea 4:6 states: My people perish from lack of knowledge.

This is no small statement for God to make, as it concerns ALL those who would call themselves Christians. But this truth may also be applied to all people everywhere, because ignorance in vital areas of life can be devastating.

Imagine you were never taught that fire burns flesh. You might be infatuated by fire because of its warmth on a cold night, but if you jumped into the flame to get warmer the result would obviously be painful beyond description!

The sexual revolution in the 1960’s left a similar burn-scar on our society. Almost every destructive behavior in our culture today may be traced to the “sparks” of that decade which quickly set us ablaze.

What lit the first spark? Very simply, the children of that generation believed themselves to be more enlightened than those before them. They proceeded to torch beyond recognition all the "old moral standards of the past" – and “sex-only-in-the-context-of-marriage” was the first to be set on fire. Once that old taboo became ashes, everything else in the Ten Commandments became fuel for the bonfire.

Here’s just one of the many disastrous consequences from the spark of “free sex”:

The Catastrophy of Cohabitation

In 1960, “living together before marriage” was unheard of. But today, cohabitation has become a substitute for marriage – and a ferociously failing one at that!*

  1. The number of never-married Americans soared from 21 million in 1970 to 52 million in 2005.(1)
  2. Of cohabitating couples who marry, their chances of divorce are 67 percent. (2/3)(2)
  3. Studies show that half of cohabiting relationships end within 15 months— without a wedding. Why? Because women generally cohabit to get a marriage proposal. Men cohabit for sex and money. These goals don’t mix.(3)
  4. Cohabitors are much more violent than marrieds. The overall rates for “severe” violence while living together are nearly five times higher for cohabitors compared with those for married couples.(4)
  5. Women who break up with a cohabiting partner are violently victimized at a rate of 18 times that of married women.(5)
  6. Births to unwed mothers was barely 5% in 1960. Today that rate is 41% (6)
  7. The Number of Unmarried Couple Households with Children rose from 200,000 in 1970 to 2 million in 2005 – and it continues to skyrocket.(7)
  8. Out-of-wedlock births rose from 224,000 in 1960 to 1.5 Million in 2005.(8)
  9. A child of a non-marriage is 22 times more likely to be incarcerated than one raised within a marriage.(9)

Until the ‘60’s, the majority of young adults married by their early twenties, and America had always been among the lowest in the world in divorce rates. The vast majority of children from ALL ethnic and racial groups were raised with both parents at home. Violent crime, prison population, teen suicides, and poverty rates were among the lowest in the world.

But by 1990, America led the world in almost every infamous category named above.

A casual reading of Hosea, chapter 4 to the end of the book will reveal a theme repeated continually regarding the people and the priests of the day: “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children."

In Jeremiah, we are taught to be “watchmen” who warn others of danger on the horizon if they don’t turn from their sin. (Jeremiah 33:1-20)

The Israelites avoided discussing the “hard things”, and eventual judgment came to them, as it must to every nation that disregards God’s Word.

“They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. (Hosea 8:7)

Question: When was the last time you heard a pastor speak on the destructive epidemic of co-habitation? When was the last time you heard a group of Christians discussing it?

Maybe it’s time to begin before the children get burned!


*The Statistics cited above represent only a small fraction from the case studies presented in the excellent book “Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers” by Mike and Harriett McManus.

1. McManus, Mike; McManus, Harriett. Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers (p. 23)

2. McManus, Mike; McManus, Harriett. Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers (p. 8)

3. McManus, Mike; McManus, Harriett. Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers (p. 9). Howard Books. Kindle Edition. Whitehead and Popenoe, “Why Men Won’t Commit,” 6– 7.

4. Kersti Yllo and Murray A. Straus, “Interpersonal Violence Among Married and Cohabiting Couples,” Family Relations (1981): 30.

5. Callie Marie Rennison, “Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993– 1999,” Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, October 2001.

    6.Pew Research, 2014

  1. 7. “Marital Status and Living Arrangement,” U.S. Census, 2005.
  2. 8. “Statistical Abstracts” (1982, 1990, and 2003), U.S. Census Bureau and National Center for Health Statistics, 2006.

  3. 9. Pat Fagan and Robert Rector, “The Effects of Divorce on America,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, 2000. McManus, Mike; McManus, Harriett. Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers (p. 46)

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