changing lives life ministry

My Advice on Cohabitation

I recently read an update from The Methodist Church of Great Britain in which it reports: “The Methodist Church will look at cohabitation, at the urging of the Youth Assembly. The annual report from the Youth Assembly, which was received by the Conference, requires the Methodist Council to work with young Methodists to produce advice on cohabitation “in a 21st century context”.”

So the youth of Great Britain are looking for guidance on cohabitation in a 21st century context…

Last week I listened to, Kids First, Marriage Later — If Ever, a story on NPR summed up as: “Federal data from 2007 says 40 percent of births in America are to unwed mothers, a trend experts say is especially common in middle-class America. In one St. Louis community, the notion of getting married and having children — in that order — seems quaint.”

I found the story to be fascinating and commend it to you…

Here is my simple guidance for all you couples out there:

  • Do not live together before you get married.
  • If you are living together before you are married, do not have sex.
  • If you are engaged and having sex, I challenge you to abstain until your marriage night as a way of setting aside the time for preparation.

It is pretty simple.

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

7 replies on “My Advice on Cohabitation”

What is your reasoning for this advice? I don’t necessarily disagree, I’m just curious about the specific line of logic. I’m assuming much of your reasoning is Biblical – do you have reasons that also come from recent studies or reports on the issue? Just curious!

Jesi – Great question. It sort of started at the end from the time that I spend with couples preparing for marriage. I always ask if they are having sex and if they are I encourage them to abstain from that meeting until their marriage as a way of setting aside the time for preparing for marriage. It is an opportunity to consider more seriously from a spiritual and emotional context what a couple is preparing to do. Likewise, the encouragement to live separately is based on the reality that life really is different when married and the intentionality around a transition to living together may be helpful in that transition. What do you think? How would you advise a couple?

Why – exactly – is the UMC so torn up about homosexuals? It sounds like marriage has much more to fear from all the straight people.


What we have to fear is the general denigration of clear scriptural guidance on what is and what is not proper sexually. We are torn up because the heart of Jesus breaks when we take the path of the Garden and embrace the words(s) of the deceiver rather than the word of life and truth… its really not that complicated, we grieve because God grieves.

Don’t want to turn this post into something Andrew didn’t intend, but I agree with John. There’s plenty of heterosexual sin around for us to deal with. Surveys suggest as many as 1/2 of married men have affairs, and an increasing percentage of women as well. Obviously internet porn is a huge issue.

To Andrew’s original point, I like his advice. There is very solid evidence that living together before marriage increases the chances of divorce. It doesn’t lend itself to healthy relationships. I don’t deal with it as head-on as he does though.


Two things here. One the notion that there is “Enough Hetrosexual sin for us to deal with” shouldn’t suggest that we back off of the clear and unambiguous biblical teaching on a host of other sins ,Including Homosexuality.

Second, while I agree there is evidence that living together before marriage increases the chances of divorce, to me it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the clarity of scripture on the issue. Even if there were evidence that cohabitation lessened the chances of divorce, the Moral Vision of the New Testament simply forbids it. Granted as modern western’s we don’t like to be forbidden anything, but to be a follower of Jesus means that we are called to deny ourselves, and take up our cross…. its the essential work of reversing the sin of the Garden.

This is an interesting one to me: “If you are engaged and having sex, I challenge you to abstain until your marriage night as a way of setting aside the time for preparation.”

Does this challenge include calls to repentance or is this request just more for practical reasons and to provide “reflection time”?

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