In the past weeks I’ve addressed some aspects of modern weddings (you can read about those here and here). Today, let’s consider living together before marriage. Why has it become so common and accepted?
The short answer is because living together is easy and speaking against it is hard. The long answer is very long, requiring a careful tracing of events since Adam’s failure through modernism and post-modern times. That answer will come when time permits.
For now, what if we use the lifeguard approach? What is going on in the mind of a drowning person? A desperate sense of loss of life. That desperation has brought about a reversal of most relationships of cause and effect.
God’s creation, including life infinite and everlasting, has this chemistry: purpose à cause à effect 1 à effect 2. For example, purpose = fullness of life à bearing of children à union of woman and man = conception à extraordinarily powerful, pleasant experience.
Desperation makes living for God and others seem impossible or foolish. What does make sense is to skip to the extraordinary sexual experience. (Similarly, people eat for appetite’s sake rather than for energy to serve others, sleep for sleep’s sake rather than for refreshment to serve others, etc.) Thus, in modern times, as more and more people feel that sense of drowning/loss of life, a majority of the population are skipping to self-gratification. Feelings vs. purpose or feelings as purpose.
The problem with skipping to physical gratification as purpose is that doing so makes two gigantic problems. First, skipping God’s purpose for human union robs that union of its profound, divine, eternal significance. The sexual experience alone does not have the power to preserve and empower a union. Thus, sex becomes casual and more frequent, by various means, various partners, even multiple partners at the same time. Second, the way of this world of desperate people has swept away so many young people, but because of the faith they have and bring to their relationship, living together often “works.” But it often doesn’t. Living together appears as public affirmation of pre-marital sex, which often leads to experimenting with people and in ways that turn out to be mistakes. Evidence of this problem has always been apparent in my ministry, both in the parish and on university campuses. Consider why 99% of pop music is about trouble with relationships.
Where is the hope here? A Green V, three-dimensional worldview centered in a soul regenerated by Christ and animated by His Spirit embraces and appreciates the significance of life God gives us as His caretakers and means of creating new life. This significance in our unions is the rock beneath our feet that orders our life and makes it a joy, full of lasting significance. Sex devoted to child-bearing provides clarity about the good or evil of human sexual conduct. That clarity also brings us to increasing appreciation for the rest of human experience in God’s grace and creation that we would otherwise miss. The great fatigue of raising a family is a blessed fatigue.
Lifeguards already understand what they are swimming toward and bring a flotation device to offer. Understanding God’s creation through this worldview and the redeeming power of God’s means of grace inspires us to reach out to so many who feel hopeless, confused, disappointed, and hurt.
For more on worldview and God’s divine life-savings means, check out more on wordwithoutwalls.com or these podcast episodes: “A New Way to See”, “Defining Redemption”, and “Forgiveness is just the tip of the Iceberg”.