Living Together vs. Marriage
I'm about to discuss something that is highly controversial. I value each and every one of you, and honestly do not wish to offend anyone with this. Because it literally hits close to home with me, I've avoided discussing it before.
I'm a Christian and I've been living with someone instead of being married to him. Please spare me the platitudes of it being between God and I. Of course it is: Since it's not something I can be put in jail over, it must be between God and I. But that doesn't stop others from questioning if I'm a true Christian or not. That also is between God and I. I believe that I am a Christian, but believing that may not make it so, and I realize that too.
Is living with someone sinning, and if I'm sinning, than is this perpetual sin an indication that I'm not a Christian? Perhaps, but then my fellow churchgoers and Christians need to examine their own repetitive sins. From what I can see, one of the obvious repetitive sins is gluttony. And simply because the government has not acknowleged that I am married does not make it so.
I have been living with this man for six years because there are reasons that I don't wish it to become legally binding, but there have been enough good things that I've wished to remain with him. Yes, it's been my decision, and not his. No, he's not a Christian. He's agnostic, at best. And yes, I'm familiar with the scriptures about being "unequally yoked".
Studies seem to indicate that living together is not as healthy as marriage. But what they fail to examine is why. It is often said (or implied) that problems come from living together. Yet, in my opinion (based on experience and the experience of others) living together comes from problems. If the problems didn't exist, marriage would occur. Instead, the partners exist in relationship purgatory.
One obvious solution is to avoid being involved with someone if there are problems which would impede marriage. But it starts with "We'll be OK once we get this one little thing ironed out," and it escalates when the "one little thing" multiplies like nymphomaniac rabbits.
Of course if you keep sex out of the relationship before marriage, it also discourages living together, which helps you evaluate the situation from a distance for a while. But the problem with evaluating something from a distance is that you may never discover the problem until you are married. I've been there/done that already and have a failed 12 year marriage as a result of it.
I am tired, oh so tired, of smug assesments of me by other Christians. I am worn out from trying to decide if I should explain my reasoning, or just sweep it under the rug and be dishonest through silence.