I remember being given a key to someone's home that I was dating. Oh, how exciting that was for me. And I have to be honest, it made me feel really special and loved. I felt this was the true sign that I was the one for him. Does this sound familiar to you? We get all giddy inside when we get popped the question. Not "Will you marry me?" But "Will you move in with me?" So, often we believe that not too long after we move in, we will soon get married. But this is more often not the case.
Now, there are those that move in together as a couple and decree that no sex will be involved but let's get real. That may be the idea, but likely premarital sex will be a part of the relationship, often called cohabiting and boy does this muddy the waters of a relationship. Many Christians are adopting this practice more than ever before with little regard to biblical principles. No, there is not a scripture that says, "Thou shalt not live with your girlfriend or boyfriend" but we are instructed to flee fornication (1 Corinthians 6:18), shun the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), and Proverbs 6:27-28 says this, "Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared?" My mother use to say if you play with fire, you will get burned. She was referring to the fires of life and oh how I found it to be true!
David Gudgel, author of Before You Live Together, says: "Living together automatically puts two people into a performance-based relationship. Each person attempts to earn the other's love through achievement. Each evaluates whether the other meet up to his or her expectations. Two-words characterize performance-based relationships: if and then."
Whether they want to admit it, when two people live together before marriage they are thinking:
If you make me feel loved, then I'll marry you.
If you satisfy me sexually, then I'll marry you.
If you treat me with respect, then I'll marry you.
If you make me happy, then I'll marry you.
If you fulfill my needs, then I'll marry you.
If you like what I like, then I'll marry you.
If you make something of yourself, then I'll marry you.
If you don't do things that get on my nerves, then I'll marry you.
Gudgel points out that all of the ifs are valid in a marriage, but the focus should not be one-sided. "It should be on your partner satisfying you" and "you satisfying your partner." What needs to be known is neither our spouses nor we have the ability to meet every need. This is why God must be the center of our marriages.
If you love each other sincerely and God is truly the foundation of your relationship, refuse the cohabiting relationship. Time wasted on what seems to be the right thing to do interferes with your fellowship with God and causes your heart to get more deeply involved in a relationship that may not lead to marriage.