The enchanting actress Diane Kruger of National Treasure fame put it this way:
“Without sounding pessimistic, I learned that I don’t believe in marriage. I believe in a commitment you make in your heart. There’s no paper that will make you stay.” (Glamour Magazine interview)
She expresses an understandable and widely held sentiment. A lot of people look at the failure of marriages around them and decide that maybe it’s time to try some other type of relational arrangement.
The question is; what really works? Can you, as Ms. Kruger implies, just trust your heart to guide you into a great, safe, fulfilling, and long-term relationship?
What this actress and many other folks in our society are recommending is cohabitation. This is also known as living together, shacking up, or other colloquialisms. Regardless of what you call it, we do not have to wonder – the statistics are in.
The impact of living together are staggeringly bad. Consider just some of the impact:
– Women experience a 200 to 500 percent increase in physical abuse compared to marriage.
– 1 percent of married women are unfaithful versus 8 percent of cohabiting.
– Rates of depression 3oo percent higher for cohabiting couples versus married.
– Women suffer more – they end up with responsibilities of raising children/running household and do so without legal protection. They contribute 70 percent of household income.
– Rate of sexually transmitted diseases is six times higher for cohabiting women than among married women.
– Cohabiting couples have 78 percent less wealth than continuously married couples.
– A cohabiting woman is nine times more likely to be murdered!
(Statistics from The Ring Makes All The Difference: The Hidden Consequences of Cohabitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage by Glenn Stanton, available in the Love University Bookstore.)
So while it is understandable that many have become disenchanted with marriage, it is clear from the 30 year study of living together that shacking up is dangerous to your health.
So, what about marriage?
The problem with marriage is ignorance. Before our society began experimenting with cohabitation in large numbers beginning in the 1960s, it first began discarding ancient wisdom on what marriage even was to begin with. And that is when the trouble started.
If you want to have a great long-term relationship, then you have to align yourself with the truth. Continue reading the Love University materials, and work hard on being the right person. Learn what love is, and how to do love.
Choose to do what so few people choose – to do the hard work now and be intentional in your relationships.
You’ll be glad you did. Until next time…