“Cohabitation is the relationship on the man’s terms.”
Many couples are choosing to share a bed before they share a last name. What are the pitfalls of this approach?
Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family says it leads to benefits for the man while leaving the woman unprotected.
“Men are generally more inclined to be comfortable with things with less commitment. And that’s exactly what cohabitation is.”
A wife is a much more powerful and influential player in the relationship than a live-in girlfriend simply because of the legal and spiritual relationship. A husband is more likely to partner with his wife to discuss weekend activities, financial strategy, and spiritual matters than a man who lives with a woman he’s not married to.
“Wives have that influence; they have that power, if you will, and it’s been that way ever since the beginning of time. But cohabiting women do not have that power.”
Often when a woman tries to assert herself or help her cohabiting partner, she feels dismissed or ignored instead of respected. Rather than being his partner, she’s ‘just his girlfriend.’ A man is more likely to respect his wife because they’re in covenant together.
In his book The Ring Makes All the Difference, Glenn says this cycle can have harmful results.
“It actually requires that both a man and woman in the cohabiting relationship learn to be a bit more manipulative with one another because they have to work and trick to get what they want.”
Glenn adds a key fact – marriage makes men better.
“There’s wonderful research showing that men who do get married become better men. They are more polite. They work harder; they earn more money. They’re more respected in the community; they’re more likely to stay employed.”
Glenn says it’s a direct reflection of the way God wired men to behave and lead.
“Whenever we’re in a situation and things are not demanded of us, we don’t face challenges and things like that, we are weaker people for it. And cohabitation doesn’t require anything of us. But marriage does. And that’s why it’s a better deal.”
Glenn T. Stanton is the director of Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs and a research fellow at the Institute of Marriage and Family in Ottawa. He debates and lectures extensively on the issues of gender, sexuality, marriage and parenting at universities and churches around the world.
Key Scriptures: Genesis 2:24
Featured Songs: Psalm 51 by Shane & Shane; Psalm 139 by Shane & Shane; Unashamed by Chris AugustThe ring makes all the difference
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