Marriage is a holy institution ordained by God, never mind what civilization or trends are turning it into. Today, divorce, cohabitation, etc. are not a big deal; with the full backing of legal measures, they have become ingrained in societies. In particular, cohabitation has fast gained ground and is even spreading to Africa.
Cohabitation is a situation where two people who are not married live together in an emotionally and/or sexually intimate relationship on a long-term or permanent basis.
Statistics from National Survey of Family Growth show that between 2006 and 2010 nearly half (48%) of women in America aged 15-44 had cohabited before marriage.
This practice is also spreading to Nigeria; common particularly among Nigerian undergraduates who live off-campus.
The reason behind the problem
The major reason people who cohabit adduce is that they need to get to know each other better to ascertain whether they are compatible for marriage. They believe that when you live with someone, you see him/her as he truly is. It’s a test-run kind of thing for the couple to determine whether they can strike off a permanent, lasting relationship.
However, God has a different view on this matter; God says a man would leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two of them will become one flesh. Again He says marriage is honourable in all things; He will judge adulterers and fornicators. You see, irrespective of changing societal views about marriage, family life and morality, God’s views doesn’t change; He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. God is the designer of marriage and His intent is that a man and a woman should be joined in holy matrimony first, and have sex only within the confines of marriage.
The erroneous thinking
As earlier stated, one of the reasons people cohabit is so that they can get to know each other and ascertain whether they are compatible for marriage. While it is true that living with someone will expose the person to you, and you’ll see his character, habits etc., you should note that some people can be good pretenders. They show you only what they want you to know, even if you live with them over 15 years. I read from somewhere that a grandmother of over 40 years recently discovered she had older step-siblings. Her mother had a previous marriage which she had concealed the knowledge from her and her father. It is only God that can truly reveal someone to you.
Again, some women move in with their intended husband as a final sign of commitment; for them premarital sex and cohabitation with their husbands-to-be are just two more steps in developing a long-lasting committed relationship. This intention is borne out of insecurity and fear; a man who believes you are not committed to him until you have slept with and/or cohabited with him is not deserving to be your husband. And if you think you can hold a man down with sex and/or cohabitation that is a delusion you need to wake up from.
The perfect marrriage: How can we achieve it
Cohabitation is neither a guarantee of eventual marriage nor a successful marriage either; the test-run may fail or succeed. As a woman, you should not run your life on trial-and-error. There is no assurance that the man would marry you, and you would have lost your honour in the process. In fact, statistics from CDC show that one-half of women’s first premarital cohabitations that began in 1997–2001 became marriages and another one-third dissolved within 5 years.
If you want a perfect marriage, then you need to trust God for a spouse; the scriptures say that houses and inheritances are from fathers but a prudent wife is from the Lord – and prudent husbands too! God is an unmistakable Matchmaker, He would match you perfectly with the right person. You should trust Him to bring the right person your way; if you pray, He would guide you into the right relationship.
Of course, marrying a good person does not guarantee the perfect marriage. It does not mean that things would automatically fall in place. You have to cultivate your relationship; you have to build your relationship and subsequent marriage. But being with the right person is the foundation; it means that you both have the right set of materials to build with; you have the same Godly principles and core values, and knowledge and understanding that can sustain a perfect marriage.
Credit: Funmi Thompson