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Author Topic: Pre-marital cohabitation  (Read 17125 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 27, 2008, 02:46:05 PM »

It's fairly obvious that the Church, at the very least, frowns upon couples living together before marriage. On one hand I can understand the Church's reasons for this position:  the temptation for pre-marital sex would be too great in this situation for almost anyone to resist, "playing house" without the real bond of marriage could be seen as almost making a mockery of the sacrament, etc. Also, some recent research has suggested that couples who live together before marriage (somewhere between 2-3 years before marriage, that is), have much higher rates of divorce than those who  never lived together before marriage.
That being said, is traditional "courtship" the best option for all couples in our day? Frankly, if I were to find myself debating pre-marital cohabitation, I would most likely opt for it. Having been witness to too many unhealthy marriages I'd like to "test the waters" a bit before making the plunge of a lifetime commitment, especially if there already existed a strong possibility for marriage in the future.

So, I'm curious to hear what others think. Also, from the members of clergy who contribute here: is this something you have had to deal with in your pastoral lives? Could an arrangement like this later be sanctified in the Church through marriage?

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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2008, 03:02:09 PM »

...

That being said, is traditional "courtship" the best option for all couples in our day? Frankly, if I were to find myself debating pre-marital cohabitation, I would most likely opt for it. Having been witness to too many unhealthy marriages I'd like to "test the waters" a bit before making the plunge of a lifetime commitment, especially if there already existed a strong possibility for marriage in the future.

So, I'm curious to hear what others think. Also, from the members of clergy who contribute here: is this something you have had to deal with in your pastoral lives? Could an arrangement like this later be sanctified in the Church through marriage?



But isn't "testing the waters" the same argument those of a secular mindset say?  How is this any different?  As much as it sounds illogical, going cold turkey into cohabitation after marriage and leading me not into tempation still seems the best bet.
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2008, 03:05:56 PM »

But isn't "testing the waters" the same argument those of a secular mindset say?  How is this any different?  As much as it sounds illogical, going cold turkey into cohabitation after marriage and leading me not into tempation still seems the best bet.

It's not any different, really. The different for me, personally, would be my motivations- living together before marriage (for a short time) would be done to help ensure I'm making the right choice, with the right partner.
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2008, 03:15:09 PM »

It's fairly obvious that the Church, at the very least, frowns upon couples living together before marriage. On one hand I can understand the Church's reasons for this position:  the temptation for pre-marital sex would be too great in this situation for almost anyone to resist, "playing house" without the real bond of marriage could be seen as almost making a mockery of the sacrament, etc. Also, some recent research has suggested that couples who live together before marriage (somewhere between 2-3 years before marriage, that is), have much higher rates of divorce than those who  never lived together before marriage.
That being said, is traditional "courtship" the best option for all couples in our day? Frankly, if I were to find myself debating pre-marital cohabitation, I would most likely opt for it. Having been witness to too many unhealthy marriages I'd like to "test the waters" a bit before making the plunge of a lifetime commitment, especially if there already existed a strong possibility for marriage in the future.

So, I'm curious to hear what others think. Also, from the members of clergy who contribute here: is this something you have had to deal with in your pastoral lives? Could an arrangement like this later be sanctified in the Church through marriage?




I lived with an ex-girlfriend for three years with the idea that we'd get married at some later date.  That date never came, we had a nasty breakup (which ironically gave me the impetus to come back to the Church) and the whole experience really turned me off to the idea of cohabiting before marriage.  With the risk of sounding like a zealot, there really is no incentive to stick around and really try things out aside from earthly passions.  The grace of God just doesn't enter into it all and that is precisely what is needed in order to learn to live with a spouse, most especially if one of the parties is an actively religious person.  The exceptions I'm sure we all can share merely exist to prove the rule, IMHO.  

Aside from a year living with two roommates while in college, my wife has never lived with anyone other than her parents.  I left my parents house when I was 18 and never looked back.  It was most definitely trying for both of us after we were married.  She had to learn how to live with someone who was very independent and I had to learn how to live with someone who, contrary to what she may think, wasn't.  We had huge fights the first year of our marriage and halfway into our third year, we still have them, only they are far and fewer between and very much not as explosive as they once were and I credit that to God and the Church.  I have no doubt that if we were to have cohabited before marriage we would not be together today.  One of us would have left within that first year and both of us would left without the other half of our soul.  I'm not one for the whole "soulmates" thing.  I'm convinced that the vows we made to one another in front of our family and, most importantly, God and the Church, kept us together and served as a daily reminder that love, true selfless Christian love, conquers all.   I can honestly say that I would be lost without my wife and be incredibly lonely because she's the only person who accepts me for who I am, warts and all.  From my experience, cohabitation before marriage has a knack for making pimples seem like goiters or tumors.

That's just my 2 drachma.
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2008, 03:24:20 PM »

I remember reading somewhere that couples who live together before marriage have a much higher chance of divorce after marriage than couples who do not co-habitate together until marriage.
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2008, 03:43:22 PM »

It's not any different, really. The different for me, personally, would be my motivations- living together before marriage (for a short time) would be done to help ensure I'm making the right choice, with the right partner.
Honourable motivations, to be sure.  Yet the Church, with 2000 years experience, has wisely prohibited this.  "For a short time" isn't short enough to keep temptation away.  And though there will always be temptation regardless, why invite it in to your home?  Having said that,  you may benefit from reading St. John Chrysostom's book on marriage.  He has a really great chapter on how to choose a wife.  In addition, you could visit a reputable marriage counselor and take a 'compatability' test as well as other pre-marital tests.  AND, in addition to all that, your priest will want you and your future spouse to set down with him for a pre-marital counseling session (actually many sessions.)

Married life is wonderful, fun and invigorating to say the least.  But it is also very hard and many times difficult.  You will accidentally (and sometimes purposefully) make each other angry, hurt each others' pride, get in the way of individual aspirations and on and on.  You will have disagreements over the smallest things not to mention money and sex.  Marriage requires you to become a martyr, friend.  The tests and counselings will help you choose someone compatible, but you must die to yourself according to the Holy Scriptures and shacking up before marriage not only does NOT circumvent this dying to yourself but also endangers both you and your parter's salvation.
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2008, 04:33:56 PM »

...the temptation for pre-marital sex would be too great in this situation for almost anyone to resist...

Believe me, anyone living together has no intention of resisting temptation. Wink

I will tell you the following only as a way of discouraging anyone who thinks living together is not without its own baggage.  Years before I became Orthodox, I had 2 live-in relationships.  The first was a total rebellion against my nice girl upbringing and a declaration of how cool I thought I was in college.  You see promising young women who've gotten their lives totally screwed up and you wonder how did that happen?  I can tell you it's only one pregnancy or one illegal drug too many and you too can be living on life's margins.  By the grace of God I was preserved from that fate.  The second was with my future husband and began 3 weeks after we met.  We knew we would be getting married in the future after graduation and lived together for 3 years.  Somehow we've been married almost 23 years, though not very happily. 

So no, I don't think living together is any guarantee of working things out beforehand or gauging whether the marriage will be compatible.  In fact, I think it makes it much harder to disentangle yourself from a relationship because you are too intimately and financially committed.  I would do things 100% different if I could do it over again, including traditional courtship and chastity.  The problems that a couple think they can avoid by living together are solved simply by open communication, mutual respect and a willingness to accept another person's differences.  If you have established those things in a courtship relationship, there isn't anything living together will improve on.
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2008, 05:05:23 PM »

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From my experience, cohabitation before marriage has a knack for making pimples seem like goiters or tumors.


Wise words, Schultz and Gabriel...very wise.

I'm stealing your words for my Journal!!  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2008, 05:16:13 PM »


I lived with an ex-girlfriend for three years with the idea that we'd get married at some later date.  That date never came, we had a nasty breakup (which ironically gave me the impetus to come back to the Church) and the whole experience really turned me off to the idea of cohabiting before marriage.  With the risk of sounding like a zealot, there really is no incentive to stick around and really try things out aside from earthly passions.  The grace of God just doesn't enter into it all and that is precisely what is needed in order to learn to live with a spouse, most especially if one of the parties is an actively religious person.  The exceptions I'm sure we all can share merely exist to prove the rule, IMHO. 

Aside from a year living with two roommates while in college, my wife has never lived with anyone other than her parents.  I left my parents house when I was 18 and never looked back.  It was most definitely trying for both of us after we were married.  She had to learn how to live with someone who was very independent and I had to learn how to live with someone who, contrary to what she may think, wasn't.  We had huge fights the first year of our marriage and halfway into our third year, we still have them, only they are far and fewer between and very much not as explosive as they once were and I credit that to God and the Church.  I have no doubt that if we were to have cohabited before marriage we would not be together today.  One of us would have left within that first year and both of us would left without the other half of our soul.  I'm not one for the whole "soulmates" thing.  I'm convinced that the vows we made to one another in front of our family and, most importantly, God and the Church, kept us together and served as a daily reminder that love, true selfless Christian love, conquers all.   I can honestly say that I would be lost without my wife and be incredibly lonely because she's the only person who accepts me for who I am, warts and all.  From my experience, cohabitation before marriage has a knack for making pimples seem like goiters or tumors.

That's just my 2 drachma.

Thank you for the post!  It says a lot about the goodness of marriage!
To the original poster, if you are thinking about co-habitation or perhaps wondering how to derive a position on it, read Shultz' post.  All of the people I know who lived together before marriage are now divorced.  I'd say even more never got to marriage before they dissolved their relationship whilst living together.  My friends that never lived together before marriage are........... STILL MARRIED! 
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« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2008, 01:22:52 AM »

My husband and I never lived together before marriage. We honestly didn't seem to feel there was any adjustment period after we were married. Adjustment time comes after the first baby....baby changes everything!

Just remember, those crowns placed on top of your head during the wedding ceremony represent martyrdom...you both must be willing to die to yourself in order to make the marriage work. It is not easy. Temptations loom everywhere....
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« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2008, 02:10:32 AM »

It's fairly obvious that the Church, at the very least, frowns upon couples living together before marriage. On one hand I can understand the Church's reasons for this position:  the temptation for pre-marital sex would be too great in this situation for almost anyone to resist, "playing house" without the real bond of marriage could be seen as almost making a mockery of the sacrament, etc. Also, some recent research has suggested that couples who live together before marriage (somewhere between 2-3 years before marriage, that is), have much higher rates of divorce than those who  never lived together before marriage.
That being said, is traditional "courtship" the best option for all couples in our day? Frankly, if I were to find myself debating pre-marital cohabitation, I would most likely opt for it. Having been witness to too many unhealthy marriages I'd like to "test the waters" a bit before making the plunge of a lifetime commitment, especially if there already existed a strong possibility for marriage in the future.

So, I'm curious to hear what others think. Also, from the members of clergy who contribute here: is this something you have had to deal with in your pastoral lives? Could an arrangement like this later be sanctified in the Church through marriage?



I read some stats that living together before marriage ups your chances of divorce later.
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« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2008, 02:20:45 AM »

I read some stats that living together before marriage ups your chances of divorce later.

I read those too. The problem with those statistics is that they don't include the possibility of a number of variables. Some examples are mentioned here: http://people.bu.edu/charris/marriage.html

I've also read that if a couple is engaged before living together their chances of a successful marriage are the same as if they hadn't lived together before marriage.

Just some thoughts.
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« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2008, 06:04:24 AM »

I read those too. The problem with those statistics is that they don't include the possibility of a number of variables. Some examples are mentioned here: http://people.bu.edu/charris/marriage.html

I've also read that if a couple is engaged before living together their chances of a successful marriage are the same as if they hadn't lived together before marriage.

Just some thoughts.

Sounds like someone has an agenda:

Quote
For the past six years I've used the cohabitating statistics to illustrate to my developmental psychology class the concept of spurious correlation. This is also called an illusory correlation, or "third variable problem" because there may be a third variable, other than the variable "did/did not cohabitate", which is the actual causal factor.

Your example of the engaged couple: Does it include those who did not end up getting married?
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« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2008, 10:33:57 AM »

For my fiancee and I, the decision to cohabitate was pretty much already made for us.  We both come from cultures where, more or less, you stay at home 'till you are married (remember, in Italy, most men stay at home into their 30s or later, until marriage).  It just never really came up.  Sure, I can see some of the advantages of cohabitating, such as saving money by spliting costs (food, rent, etc), but the track record I have seen for cohabitating couples in my personal life would be enough to scare most people off.
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« Reply #14 on: February 29, 2008, 11:04:02 AM »

I'm gonna give my two cents here and it is not the church's view. Also Schultz and Tamara, we have spoken many time and i respect your opinions and thoughts. What I am about to write is not meant to counter your statements or offend you in any way. Also, i believe that if you can not live together before marriage that is a good think and should be the ideal. But we live in an imperfect world.

When my wife and I first met she struck me like a thunderbolt. I was approaching 40 and she was in her early 30's. We had dated many people before. I knew on the third date that she would be my wife. Without going into detail temptation took over and we did not want to be apart. We had many decent church going friends and we kept our passionate side to ourselves. We might as well lived together and then we finally did for the last six months leading up to the wedding day. We did so because she could not find a decent apartment for a shor term lease. Her only option was to live with a friend who ofr lack of a better word was a slob (A woman friend.) The friend also had a son who was into the whole Goth thing and was kind of creepy. i could not let her do that.

What am I getting at. We were older and we knew what we wanted in a spouse. Living together was for expediancy and not to "try each other out." We were already committed through engagement. We have been marrited for 10 years and I am not going to say that it was all roses and cream (especially when I returned to the Orthodox Church.) But we fit well. We both grew up 2nd generation Americans in the school of hard knocks. We were taught the Protestant work ethic like all Americans. And we both strived to succeed through education. Although my wife is not Orthodox, she holds many Orthodox views, which does not square well with her evangelical friends. But that is another story.

Schultz, I enjoyed your story. It is similar to mine. A crisis brought me back to church although it was a different crisis from yours.

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« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2008, 12:24:30 PM »


When my wife and I first met she struck me like a thunderbolt. I was approaching 40 and she was in her early 30's. We had dated many people before. I knew on the third date that she would be my wife.

Ha!  I knew on the first date when my wife tripped over her own two feet in front of the statue of Mother Cabrini at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC but kept going like nothing happened even though I could tell she was mortified inside.  I said to myself, "I'm going to marry this girl!"   Two weeks shy of two years later I proposed to her on that very spot. Smiley

My wife's paternal grandfather proposed to her grandmother one month after their first date, and that's a story all to itself I can't wait to regale my own children with someday.

Quote
Schultz, I enjoyed your story. It is similar to mine. A crisis brought me back to church although it was a different crisis from yours.

I know many people who have been through "the crisis".  It just shows how God can make something good happen out of something that seems so horrible and evil at the time.

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« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2008, 02:07:27 PM »

I wish to offer a counter view point.

While I probably don't have the best set of facts, I would be much less stressed out, tired, and frustrated if I could live with my fiancee as opposed to not living together until we are married. Both of us work 50+ hour weeks and she does not drive. I get to spend Sunday at church and 3-4 hours on a Friday with her, and the rest of the time we are apart. How can 2 people be expected to grow and learn to be together when they rarely see each other. If we were living together, there would atleast be the fact that we would be able to see each other every day. Not being able to see her for almost a week at a time is one of the most trying and difficult things I've gone through in my life thus far. We've made it work only because we skip choir practice  police so that we can have a night together to relax and unwind. Further its hard to console and comfort someone when you're very rarely around them. Sorry, the phone just doesn't work well when trying to deal with feelings and thoughts like being there in person.

Just my 2 cents, not to say that the church is wrong per se (hell, I'm not living with her after 1.25 years), but it is very stressful and frustrating in my opinion.

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« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2008, 08:23:18 PM »

I wish to offer a counter view point.

While I probably don't have the best set of facts, I would be much less stressed out, tired, and frustrated if I could live with my fiancee as opposed to not living together until we are married. Both of us work 50+ hour weeks and she does not drive. I get to spend Sunday at church and 3-4 hours on a Friday with her, and the rest of the time we are apart. How can 2 people be expected to grow and learn to be together when they rarely see each other.

Since you are already engaged, what else do you need to know?

I'm afraid I agree with our priest: you learn nothing useful in the first three years of marriage about each other.


Quote
If we were living together, there would atleast be the fact that we would be able to see each other every day. Not being able to see her for almost a week at a time is one of the most trying and difficult things I've gone through in my life thus far. We've made it work only because we skip choir practice  police so that we can have a night together to relax and unwind. Further its hard to console and comfort someone when you're very rarely around them. Sorry, the phone just doesn't work well when trying to deal with feelings and thoughts like being there in person.

Just my 2 cents, not to say that the church is wrong per se


I'm sure she is thrilled to hear that.

Quote
(hell, I'm not living with her after 1.25 years), but it is very stressful and frustrating in my opinion.

You think that is stressful and frustrating?  Wait until you are married.

I remember telling a friend of mine (who was cohabitating, to someone she eventually did not marry and looked back on as abusive) how I would not live with someone I wasn't married to.  "Why?  Because of morals?" she asked.  "No," I replied "because unless you are in it for the long haul, it not worth all the *#@!"
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« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2008, 10:53:21 PM »

I read those too. The problem with those statistics is that they don't include the possibility of a number of variables. Some examples are mentioned here: http://people.bu.edu/charris/marriage.html

I've also read that if a couple is engaged before living together their chances of a successful marriage are the same as if they hadn't lived together before marriage.

Just some thoughts.

Sounds like someone has an agenda:

Quote
For the past six years I've used the cohabitating statistics to illustrate to my developmental psychology class the concept of spurious correlation. This is also called an illusory correlation, or "third variable problem" because there may be a third variable, other than the variable "did/did not cohabitate", which is the actual causal factor.
So merely voicing the scientific wisdom that correlation does not automatically require us to conclude causation is voicing an agenda. Roll Eyes  What agenda would this be?  Opening the minds of others to the wisdom that there's often more to what we see than just initial appearances? Wink
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« Reply #19 on: February 29, 2008, 11:08:28 PM »

Sounds like someone has an agenda:

So merely voicing the scientific wisdom that correlation does not automatically require us to conclude causation is voicing an agenda. Roll Eyes  What agenda would this be?  Opening the minds of others to the wisdom that there's often more to what we see than just initial appearances? Wink

The statistics have yet to be proved spurious (and I do not believe they can be), yet that position is being used to (re)educate.

That's not voicing scientific wisdom.

It's voicing an agenda.

What agenda would that be?  Why, perhaps the tyranny of relativism, something insisted on by the herd of independent minds in the ivory tower.

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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2008, 12:28:20 AM »

It comes as a huge shock to me that this question would even be asked on a Christian forum! We know the Holy Scriptures are quite unwavering about the fact that fornication is a sin. Surely if we are truly following Christ-daily dying to self,bearing our cross, etc. we will joyfully live a life of purity and chastity.
The only place a Christian can experience an intimate relationship is within the holy bonds of matrimony-otherwise it is sin in the eyes of God.  How can anyone who is a true Christian, who reads the Bible, attends services, and strives to please God at all times wish for anything but utmost purity?

I was used to extremely high courtship standards-no touching, often even no hand-holding. I really feel couples who honored one another in this way received a very real blessing.  I really wish Orthodox priests could give talks to the young people on sexual purity, how to conduct a Christian courtship etc. Even just in general, how to live a life of discipleship. This kind of practical teaching is sorely needed.  Why would we look to the world instead of to the Church in this very important matter?
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« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2008, 12:54:27 AM »

^^Amen, sister!  I don't want to seem as though I'm judging anyone, but pre-marital cohabitation is conforming ourselves to the world rather than bearing our crosses.
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« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2008, 12:57:20 AM »

The statistics have yet to be proved spurious (and I do not believe they can be), yet that position is being used to (re)educate.
And even if they haven't been proved spurious, they still don't support the conclusion that shacking up before marriage, in and of itself, makes a couple more likely to divorce after marriage.

Quote
That's not voicing scientific wisdom.

It's voicing an agenda.

What agenda would that be?  Why, perhaps the tyranny of relativism, something insisted on by the herd of independent minds in the ivory tower.

Often what we see, is what we see.
So, you have already prejudged Dr. Harris as having a relativist agenda and are filtering her wisdom through your prejudices rather than giving her a fair hearing.  I'm just as wary of academic relativism as you are, but that doesn't make me reject EVERYTHING that comes out of the "ivory tower" of academia.  Note the text of the quote you lifted from Dr. Harris's paper:
Quote
For the past six years I've used the cohabitating statistics to illustrate to my developmental psychology class the concept of spurious correlation. This is also called an illusory correlation, or "third variable problem" because there may be a third variable, other than the variable "did/did not cohabitate", which is the actual causal factor.
This looks like instruction to her class regarding how NOT to conduct scientific research, and nothing more.  Maybe you would do well to actually heed what she has to say regarding scientific method.

Statistics do indeed show a higher divorce rate among those who cohabit before marriage than among those who don't, but what I read Dr. Harris saying is that we shouldn't infer from this that premarital cohabitation is the sole or primary cause of the higher divorce rate.  What other factors might be at play to cause this?  I've seen this a lot in my own work with statistics over the past 20 years of developing one of my main hobbies.  My project started out as very simple, but as I learned of more and more variables for which I needed to account, my project's complexity increased exponentially.  The simple fact is that when you put your emotional prejudices aside and look at the statistics in a much more objective, rational way, you have to recognize that there really is much more to the situation than meets the eye.

Yes, I see a clear correlation between premarital cohabitation and future marital success, and, yes, I do find that this link does, at the least, make me question whether living together is really a good way to prepare for marriage.  What I call into question, though, is a rush to jump to conclusions, based on the limited data available, that will close our minds to other possible causative factors.
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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2008, 01:14:13 AM »

It comes as a huge shock to me that this question would even be asked on a Christian forum! We know the Holy Scriptures are quite unwavering about the fact that fornication is a sin. Surely if we are truly following Christ-daily dying to self,bearing our cross, etc. we will joyfully live a life of purity and chastity.
The only place a Christian can experience an intimate relationship is within the holy bonds of matrimony-otherwise it is sin in the eyes of God.  How can anyone who is a true Christian, who reads the Bible, attends services, and strives to please God at all times wish for anything but utmost purity?

I was used to extremely high courtship standards-no touching, often even no hand-holding. I really feel couples who honored one another in this way received a very real blessing.  I really wish Orthodox priests could give talks to the young people on sexual purity, how to conduct a Christian courtship etc. Even just in general, how to live a life of discipleship. This kind of practical teaching is sorely needed.  Why would we look to the world instead of to the Church in this very important matter?

There are different life styles for different people, while some may choose a life that's more rigid and monastic, there are others who do not follow those hardline rules in their life. Further, there is a difference between cohabitation and fornication as you advocate. It is entirely possible to co-habitate and not commit fornication. To assume that fornication automatically occurs with cohabitation indicates a serious hole in logic. In addition, if the church was entirely stagnant on everything that she taught, no one would be there except maybe the priests and the monks. One of the beauties of the Orthodox Church is that she can adapt herself as needs dictate. Now by no means am I advocating that co-habitation is acceptable, but it certainly is capable of being argued on both sides with rational view points. Neither, am I advocating the hardline approach that you are by adhearing to "extremely high courtship standards".

If it works for you, then more blessings upon you, but to imply that there is no option other than complete dissmissal of cohabitation, is ignorant of opposing viewpoints and does not show an openness to expand the realm of possibilities of teachings of the church. Remember the rules were set out as guidelines, not as hard, fast, unflexible letters of law (although GiC would probably disagree with me). If that were the case, 95% of us would be excommunicated by now.

-Nick

P.S. I apologize if this post offends, it had no intention of doing so.
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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2008, 01:20:35 AM »

Since you are already engaged, what else do you need to know?

I'm afraid I agree with our priest: you learn nothing useful in the first three years of marriage about each other.

 

I'm sure she is thrilled to hear that.

You think that is stressful and frustrating?  Wait until you are married.

I remember telling a friend of mine (who was cohabitating, to someone she eventually did not marry and looked back on as abusive) how I would not live with someone I wasn't married to.  "Why?  Because of morals?" she asked.  "No," I replied "because unless you are in it for the long haul, it not worth all the *#@!"

Heh, that's pretty amusing ialmisry. We aren't planning on cohabitating, but it was always something I thought of for the 2 years we've been dating. Oh well, I guess that's why we have a forum, to explore things that wouldn't occur in real life eh? Thanks for the pep talk, I'm really looking forward to it now!  Grin

-Nick
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« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2008, 01:35:07 AM »

There are different life styles for different people, while some may choose a life that's more rigid and monastic, there are others who do not follow those hardline rules in their life. Further, there is a difference between cohabitation and fornication as you advocate. It is entirely possible to co-habitate and not commit fornication. To assume that fornication automatically occurs with cohabitation indicates a serious hole in logic. In addition, if the church was entirely stagnant on everything that she taught, no one would be there except maybe the priests and the monks. One of the beauties of the Orthodox Church is that she can adapt herself as needs dictate. Now by no means am I advocating that co-habitation is acceptable, but it certainly is capable of being argued on both sides with rational view points. Neither, am I advocating the hardline approach that you are by adhearing to "extremely high courtship standards".

If it works for you, then more blessings upon you, but to imply that there is no option other than complete dissmissal of cohabitation, is ignorant of opposing viewpoints and does not show an openness to expand the realm of possibilities of teachings of the church. Remember the rules were set out as guidelines, not as hard, fast, unflexible letters of law (although GiC would probably disagree with me). If that were the case, 95% of us would be excommunicated by now.

-Nick

P.S. I apologize if this post offends, it had no intention of doing so.

I've never thought  of living a life of purity before marriage as "monastic"-merely as doing what Christ expects of us! I never thought there was even an "option"- I thought it was a totally natural and normal outpouring of our commitment to Christ-not as legalism, but as freedom from the bondage of sin.

As far as the difference between "co-habiting" and "fornicating"-doesn't the Bible say we should "abstain from all appearance of evil"? I would think in today's world we as Christians are called to be light and salt , and this is one way we can be a good example.

I have had discussions with several priests on this matter and they all told me unequivocally that there is not other choice for the Orthodox Christian ( I myself was trying to find a loophole at the time).

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« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2008, 01:37:58 AM »

It is entirely possible to co-habitate and not commit fornication. To assume that fornication automatically occurs with cohabitation indicates a serious hole in logic.

Agreed.  Not exactly the same situation, but my ex-girlfriend spent the night in my dorm room many times because it didn't make sense for her to go home in the middle of the night using public transportation... and nothing ever happened.  But he who is without sin...
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« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2008, 02:06:43 AM »

Agreed.  Not exactly the same situation, but my ex-girlfriend spent the night in my dorm room many times because it didn't make sense for her to go home in the middle of the night using public transportation... and nothing ever happened.  But he who is without sin...

I'm sorry, man. Wink
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« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2008, 10:05:37 AM »

And even if they haven't been proved spurious, they still don't support the conclusion that shacking up before marriage, in and of itself, makes a couple more likely to divorce after marriage.

You conclude that how?

Quote
So, you have already prejudged Dr. Harris as having a relativist agenda and are filtering her wisdom through your prejudices rather than giving her a fair hearing.


No, I looked at what she calls her position paper, and find it an awkward position.  Quite a contortionist.  For instance:

People who choose to marry without first cohabitating are already a different group of people than those who decide to cohabitate first.
Examples:
The non-cohabitating group may be more religious. Religious beliefs may be the "third variable" which causes people to forgo pre-marital cohabitation AND causes them to disfavor divorce.
The non-cohabiting group may have more money, may be more secure in their jobs, or may be older. Being at a secure point in their life may mean that marriage is more attractive, AND financial security may mean there are fewer stresses during the marriage, thus decreasing chance of divorce.

Lot of hedging, and she doesn't even have the data.  And then she lobs this absurdum:

Scientists often [there's that hedging again-Isa] work from experiments of nature. We can imagine an experiment of nature which accidentally ends up effecting random assignment. Imagine a group of couples desiring marriage. After they've decided to marry, a political or natural disaster happens and communities are thrown into relocation camps or disaster shelters. The disaster happens at a time such that some couples have just been married, but other couples' weddings were still pending. In the relocation camps (or shelters) there is considerable privation and confusion, and the couples end up living together regardless of whether they had been able to have a marriage ceremony performed.

This she backs up with the way her "intuitions" go.  Is that her scientific method?

There were weddings in Auschwitz, so I'm not buying it (yes, I know its free.  You get what you pay for).


Quote
I'm just as wary of academic relativism as you are, but that doesn't make me reject EVERYTHING that comes out of the "ivory tower" of academia.


Neither do I. See "The Case for Marriage" (Waite and Gallagher) which came out of the U of C: nobody's got more ivory on their tower, whatever you can do, we can do meta.

 
Quote
Note the text of the quote you lifted from Dr. Harris's paper:This looks like instruction to her class regarding how NOT to conduct scientific research, and nothing more.  Maybe you would do well to actually heed what she has to say regarding scientific method.

Sorry, I'm not in her captive audience.

Quote
Statistics do indeed show a higher divorce rate among those who cohabit before marriage than among those who don't, but what I read Dr. Harris saying is that we shouldn't infer from this that premarital cohabitation is the sole or primary cause of the higher divorce rate.  What other factors might be at play to cause this?  I've seen this a lot in my own work with statistics over the past 20 years of developing one of my main hobbies.  My project started out as very simple, but as I learned of more and more variables for which I needed to account, my project's complexity increased exponentially.  The simple fact is that when you put your emotional prejudices aside and look at the statistics in a much more objective, rational way, you have to recognize that there really is much more to the situation than meets the eye.

Yes, I see a clear correlation between premarital cohabitation and future marital success, and, yes, I do find that this link does, at the least, make me question whether living together is really a good way to prepare for marriage.  What I call into question, though, is a rush to jump to conclusions, based on the limited data available, that will close our minds to other possible causative factors.

I haven't rushed to any conclusion.  And the data is not so limited.  A lot is referred to in "The Family in America."http://www.profam.org/pub/archive_fia.htm
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« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2008, 11:28:14 AM »

It comes as a huge shock to me that this question would even be asked on a Christian forum! We know the Holy Scriptures are quite unwavering about the fact that fornication is a sin. Surely if we are truly following Christ-daily dying to self,bearing our cross, etc. we will joyfully live a life of purity and chastity.
The only place a Christian can experience an intimate relationship is within the holy bonds of matrimony-otherwise it is sin in the eyes of God.  How can anyone who is a true Christian, who reads the Bible, attends services, and strives to please God at all times wish for anything but utmost purity?

I was used to extremely high courtship standards-no touching, often even no hand-holding. I really feel couples who honored one another in this way received a very real blessing.  I really wish Orthodox priests could give talks to the young people on sexual purity, how to conduct a Christian courtship etc. Even just in general, how to live a life of discipleship. This kind of practical teaching is sorely needed.  Why would we look to the world instead of to the Church in this very important matter?

It comes as a shock to me that you're scandalized by such a question. Yes, perhaps what you've described is closer to the "ideal"...though the no touching and hand-holding bit would seem an American, Protestant contrivance in my opinion. Still, I posed this question as an honest one, not in order to discuss the ideal forms of Orthodoxy but to discuss a real issue that many of us have faced or will have to face. More specifically, I asked what is done by clergy who have experienced this type of situation.
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« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2008, 12:04:05 PM »

It comes as a shock to me that you're scandalized by such a question. Yes, perhaps what you've described is closer to the "ideal"...though the no touching and hand-holding bit would seem an American, Protestant contrivance in my opinion. Still, I posed this question as an honest one, not in order to discuss the ideal forms of Orthodoxy but to discuss a real issue that many of us have faced or will have to face. More specifically, I asked what is done by clergy who have experienced this type of situation.

I am not saying  that your question is not relevant  in today's society; but it is sad that it is  so, and that it affects  Christians as well.

Actually, even "traditional" courtship is a fairly modern innovation. Traditionally people did not court; rather they were  betrothed.

Surely if something good is being practised by another denomination (i.e. abstaining from pre-marital physical intimacy),that is not a reason to pass it off as "protestant" etc.? If I see something that is biblical and helps me to maintain purity and godliness, and does not contradict Orthodox doctrine, then I will gladly adopt it as my own. It is in some of these practical areas I think we as Orthodox need to humble ourselves and realize that we can learn from others.

As far as isolated cases of spending the night at someone's house-that is not what I was referring to. Such an incident has happened to me once, and while I was certainly not happy about it (insofar as I wanted to avoid all appearance of evil); at the time it was an unfortunate necessity. What I was referrring to was co-habitation on an ongoing basis. It may seem like it is necessary and that there is no "hanky panky" going on, but surely if you would consult with the priest and other parishoners, an alternative could be reached. I know many people who say they must do this for whatever reason, but what about the single girl who is very poor? She must somehow find a way to survive even without  the option of living with a man. I know I have done it. 
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« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2008, 02:06:11 PM »

And even if they haven't been proved spurious, they still don't support the conclusion that shacking up before marriage, in and of itself, makes a couple more likely to divorce after marriage.

You conclude that how?
Not enough information is easy to surmise--conclude is actually not the best word here because the term implies that I've made up my mind and that no further research is needed; surmise is much less final in its definition--based on the scientific principle that correlation does not necessarily prove causation.  The conclusion (final judgment) that's hard to support is one based on insufficient data. 

What proof do you have that premarital cohabitation causes a higher divorce rate?  You don't get to use the statistics so often used to show a possible connection, since those are inconclusive regarding causation.  Nor do you get to resort to your allegation that Dr. Harris has an agenda, since such casts aspersion on the presenter without paying any attention to the logic of her position.  Is this not the very definition of an ad hominem?

From Dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ad%20hominem)
ad ho·mi·nem      [ad hom-uh-nuhm‑nem, ahd-]
–adjective
1.   appealing to one's prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one's intellect or reason.
2.   attacking an opponent's character rather than answering his argument.


Quote
People who choose to marry without first cohabitating are already a different group of people than those who decide to cohabitate first.
Examples:
The non-cohabitating group may be more religious. Religious beliefs may be the "third variable" which causes people to forgo pre-marital cohabitation AND causes them to disfavor divorce.
The non-cohabiting group may have more money, may be more secure in their jobs, or may be older. Being at a secure point in their life may mean that marriage is more attractive, AND financial security may mean there are fewer stresses during the marriage, thus decreasing chance of divorce.

Lot of hedging, and she doesn't even have the data.
1.  How is this hedging?
2.  You don't need any data to speculate, which is what her frequent use of may is.  It's simply a device to show that there may be other factors that we haven't considered or have decided in our emotionalism not to consider.

Quote
And then she lobs this absurdum:


Scientists often [there's that hedging again-Isa] work from experiments of nature. We can imagine an experiment of nature which accidentally ends up effecting random assignment. Imagine a group of couples desiring marriage. After they've decided to marry, a political or natural disaster happens and communities are thrown into relocation camps or disaster shelters. The disaster happens at a time such that some couples have just been married, but other couples' weddings were still pending. In the relocation camps (or shelters) there is considerable privation and confusion, and the couples end up living together regardless of whether they had been able to have a marriage ceremony performed.
Again speculation to draw our minds to the reality that we may not have enough information.

Quote
This she backs up with the way her "intuitions" go.  Is that her scientific method?
Well, maybe intuition is a good way to recognize that we just don't have enough information.  She certainly isn't going to let anyone say, as you do, "My mind's made up.  Don't confuse me with the facts." Wink

Quote
I haven't rushed to any conclusion.  And the data is not so limited.  A lot is referred to in "The Family in America."http://www.profam.org/pub/archive_fia.htm
1.  A skim search for specific catchwords on this site found nothing on premarital cohabitation.  Can you point us to a specific article?
2.  Does this site present itself as a serious scientific resource or base its articles on sound scientific research?  If not, then from a purely scientific point of view, I would have to reject what they have to say.

Fortunately, though I see great value in approaching a subject with the rigorous rationalism of scientific method, I understand that a scientific approach is certainly not the only way to see the issue of premarital cohabitation. Wink  I still believe from the Church's witness and from anecdotal evidence that shacking up before marriage is, in almost all situations, a foolish course of action.  Furthermore, I don't see that discrediting the emotional rush to conclude from insufficient evidence that premarital cohabitation per se increases divorce rates necessarily attacks my belief.
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« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2008, 03:11:03 PM »

You're wasting your time, Peter.  This is the approach that some people never seem to get past. 

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« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2008, 03:18:39 PM »

Actually, even "traditional" courtship is a fairly modern innovation. Traditionally people did not court; rather they were  betrothed.

Too bad we can't go back to the old days when women were little more than property.  Now that's Christianity!

I'm sorry, man. Wink

All joking aside, one doesn't have to live in some idealized Andy Griffith Show in oder to be chaste. 
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« Reply #34 on: March 01, 2008, 03:24:51 PM »

There was no such thing as pre-marital cohabitation (in the contemporary Western sense) in the former USSR, simply because a man and a woman could not get a common dwelling (apartment or house) if they were not legally married. But divorce rates in the late 1970-s and early 1980-s were very high. I think there is a whole plethora of factors that influence on the divorce rate, and it is always very difficult to evaluate just one of them.
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« Reply #35 on: March 01, 2008, 04:33:10 PM »

It's possible that you could co habitate with your girlfriend, and treat her like 'one of the guys' or 'a sister in Christ' and never once think of her in sexual ways-everyone here KNOWS that is about as likely as growing 12 nipples on your thumb. Based on male design it would cause stress and frustration sexually, ON TOP of all the stress and frustration of getting to learn how to live with someone you care about-and all without the MUCH needed blessing of the Church on your relationship. Trust me, it's much needed!

I met my dh at 14, and at that time he was still able to keep his mind in the proper cranial position, a while anyway. The more or the longer he was exposed to the world's thinking, that became more and more difficult. Co habitating comes with the same baggage of marriage, without the commitment level or the blessings needed to endure in a relationship.
I could care less about the stats on divorce, you can find stats to support divorce for just about anything. It probably does make one more likely, however marriage is difficult and comes with absolutely no convenient little guarantees. It require growth and maturity, unselfish love and dedication, and a whole lot of resolute determination- even if you have God himself bring you together through very unlikely circumstances.
I wouldn't toy with the lease option here, it's just not worth it in most cases. That doesn't make me protestant, and I don't believe in betrothing a 9yo just for my own peace of mind. But some spiritual oversight from your priest would be a phenomenal idea.
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« Reply #36 on: March 01, 2008, 04:59:27 PM »

^^What an excellent and wise post!!

Just for the record, I also do not condone betrothal, was merely mentioning it to show that, although traditional courtship practises may appear "old-fashioned", they are actually relatively modern. I apologize for the confusion.
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« Reply #37 on: March 01, 2008, 05:01:20 PM »

You conclude that how?

Not enough information is easy to surmise--conclude is actually not the best word here because the term implies that I've made up my mind and that no further research is needed; surmise is much less final in its definition--based on the scientific principle that correlation does not necessarily prove causation.  The conclusion (final judgment) that's hard to support is one based on insufficient data. 

What proof do you have that premarital cohabitation causes a higher divorce rate?  You don't get to use the statistics so often used to show a possible connection, since those are inconclusive regarding causation.

I've seen that assertion.  I've yet to see the substantiation.

All the research I've seen (and I've seen plenty) come to the same conclusion.  An interesting one, which unfortunately I can't lay my hand on right now, deals with a study of children, family structure and problems (drugs, depression, etc.).  It found that the children of cohabitating but intact families display the same rate of problems as the children of divorced parents.

Quote
Nor do you get to resort to your allegation that Dr. Harris has an agenda, since such casts aspersion on the presenter without paying any attention to the logic of her position.


Although ad absurdum can serve the purpose of logic, her use of it doesn't.

Quote
Is this not the very definition of an ad hominem?

I guess not:

Quote
From Dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ad%20hominem)
ad ho·mi·nem      [ad hom-uh-nuhm‑nem, ahd-]
–adjective
1.   appealing to one's prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one's intellect or reason.

I gave a reason (she had not proved the studies false, yet uses them as a case study of false data), and that she was presenting this as gospel truth to her (I am guessing here) undergrads.

Quote
2.   attacking an opponent's character rather than answering his argument.

What argument?  She makes an assertion, which she doesn't back up, and then goes on to promulgate it.

Quote
1.  How is this hedging?
You have to make a straight forward hyothesis before you can test it.

Quote
2.  You don't need any data to speculate, which is what her frequent use of may is.  It's simply a device to show that there may be other factors that we haven't considered or have decided in our emotionalism not to consider.

She gives no proof it wasn't considered.  In fact, does she name the data she is criticizing?

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Again speculation to draw our minds to the reality that we may not have enough information.

Or casting doubt on the reality that we may already have it.

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Well, maybe intuition is a good way to recognize that we just don't have enough information.  She certainly isn't going to let anyone say, as you do, "My mind's made up.  Don't confuse me with the facts." Wink

What facts?  None have so far been provided.

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1.  A skim search for specific catchwords on this site found nothing on premarital cohabitation.  Can you point us to a specific article?

To be honest, I read the hard copy edition regularly, which condenses reports of all sorts of aspects of marriage, divorce, cohabitation, etc.

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2.  Does this site present itself as a serious scientific resource or base its articles on sound scientific research?  If not, then from a purely scientific point of view, I would have to reject what they have to say.

Ad hominem?

Yes, the report regularly cites all sorts of scientific research by the secular definition of the term, for example the CDC in the US and its equivalents in other countries, academic peer reviewed journals, etc.

Sorry, nothing from the Creationist Center.

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Fortunately, though I see great value in approaching a subject with the rigorous rationalism of scientific method, I understand that a scientific approach is certainly not the only way to see the issue of premarital cohabitation. Wink  I still believe from the Church's witness and from anecdotal evidence that shacking up before marriage is, in almost all situations, a foolish course of action.  Furthermore, I don't see that discrediting the emotional rush to conclude from insufficient evidence that premarital cohabitation per se increases divorce rates necessarily attacks my belief.

I remember a sociologist who did a study on the "rigorous rationalism of the scientific method" in the late 80's.  The conclusion: fundamentalist preachers were the best at applying it at problems.  Scientists, among the worst (there pet theories always got in the way).

As Thomas Kuhn states in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions," quoting I believe, Niels Bohr, new scientific advances become established only when the old scientists die off.

You're wasting your time, Peter.  This is the approach that some people never seem to get past. 

Projecting again, are we?

I told my students (who had asked) that I voted for Huckabee.  When asked why, I said to give an anurism to a number of my colleagues.  Not 100% true, the anurism was just a fringe benefit.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 05:26:08 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: March 01, 2008, 05:04:02 PM »

It's possible that you could co habitate with your girlfriend, and treat her like 'one of the guys' or 'a sister in Christ' and never once think of her in sexual ways-everyone here KNOWS that is about as likely as growing 12 nipples on your thumb. Based on male design it would cause stress and frustration sexually, ON TOP of all the stress and frustration of getting to learn how to live with someone you care about-and all without the MUCH needed blessing of the Church on your relationship. Trust me, it's much needed!

I met my dh at 14, and at that time he was still able to keep his mind in the proper cranial position, a while anyway. The more or the longer he was exposed to the world's thinking, that became more and more difficult. Co habitating comes with the same baggage of marriage, without the commitment level or the blessings needed to endure in a relationship.
I could care less about the stats on divorce, you can find stats to support divorce for just about anything. It probably does make one more likely, however marriage is difficult and comes with absolutely no convenient little guarantees. It require growth and maturity, unselfish love and dedication, and a whole lot of resolute determination- even if you have God himself bring you together through very unlikely circumstances.
I wouldn't toy with the lease option here, it's just not worth it in most cases. That doesn't make me protestant, and I don't believe in betrothing a 9yo just for my own peace of mind. But some spiritual oversight from your priest would be a phenomenal idea.

I find that very stereo typical personally. However, I don't take offense because I know none was intended. I would argue that if you are on the path of getting married, you already have the commitment level. If I'm not totally committed to getting this marriage to work, I wouldn't bother wasting my time dating and being engaged to my fiancee. To say that there is a different level of commitment once you get married may definately be true in some cases, but by no means is it true in all cases. I feel just as committed to my relationship and my fiancee as I will 50 years from now because I know that the time I've spent with her prior to being married is going to be as good once I'm married. Further, if you are of the opinion that I am that divorce is only acceptable in rare circumstances, then making the serious commitment up front is vitally important.

-Nick
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« Reply #39 on: March 01, 2008, 05:29:13 PM »

I find that very stereo typical personally. However, I don't take offense because I know none was intended. I would argue that if you are on the path of getting married, you already have the commitment level. If I'm not totally committed to getting this marriage to work, I wouldn't bother wasting my time dating and being engaged to my fiancee. To say that there is a different level of commitment once you get married may definately be true in some cases, but by no means is it true in all cases.

Yes, it is true in all cases.  I've yet to find, see or hear otherwise.

Like having kids, you don't know what it is like until you've done it.  And it's not what you expected.

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« Reply #40 on: March 01, 2008, 05:31:08 PM »

I recommend short engagements. After the second date my husband was sure that I was the right one but I told him I needed more time so he gave me six months to decide. After the six month time period he said we would either get engaged or break up depending on my decision. Once we were engaged he didn't want a long engagement so we married six months later. If his method seems a little systematic or logical (like a flowchart!)  for courting and marriage keep in mind he is an engineer  
Cheesy  Cheesy Cheesy
We have been married since 1991.
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« Reply #41 on: March 01, 2008, 05:35:36 PM »

Yes, it is true in all cases.  I've yet to find, see or hear otherwise.

Like having kids, you don't know what it is like until you've done it.  And it's not what you expected.



I still have to disagree with you. But I'll let you know after I get married  Tongue

-Nick
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« Reply #42 on: March 01, 2008, 05:37:01 PM »

I recommend short engagements. After the second date my husband was sure that I was the right one but I told him I needed more time so he gave me six months to decide. After the six month time period he said we would either get engaged or break up depending on my decision. Once we were engaged he didn't want a long engagement so we married six months later. If his method seems a little systematic or logical (like a flowchart!)  for courting and marriage keep in mind he is an engineer  
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We have been married since 1991.

I have to agree: long engagements seem to serve no logical purpose.  For one thing, not one long engagement I know of didn't end in divorce.
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« Reply #43 on: March 01, 2008, 05:46:30 PM »

I find that very stereo typical personally. However, I don't take offense because I know none was intended. I would argue that if you are on the path of getting married, you already have the commitment level. If I'm not totally committed to getting this marriage to work, I wouldn't bother wasting my time dating and being engaged to my fiancee. To say that there is a different level of commitment once you get married may definately be true in some cases, but by no means is it true in all cases.

I agree that there is some gross stereotyping going on here.  It is kind of frustrating that there is apparently no distinction being made between the person who has three or four different sexual partners every weekend and the deeply committed / engaged couple cohabitating.  What's to be expected? The whole relationship and then engagement process is a bloody long time, and it is all occurring a decade later then when biologically ready.  Fighting thousands of years of evilution isn't easy... and it is a social situation radically different than the patristic era. 
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« Reply #44 on: March 01, 2008, 06:02:51 PM »

I agree that there is some gross stereotyping going on here.  It is kind of frustrating that there is apparently no distinction being made between the person who has three or four different sexual partners every weekend and the deeply committed / engaged couple cohabitating.  What's to be expected? The whole relationship and then engagement process is a bloody long time, and it is all occurring a decade later then when biologically ready.  Fighting thousands of years of evilution isn't easy... and it is a social situation radically different than the patristic era. 

Nektarios,
These were exactly the points I was about to make. Also, I probably should have been more clear in presenting my terms originally- I was speaking primarily of relationships that a couple sees as leading to marriage- not just screwing around, playing house, etc. I don't claim to be wiser than the Church. I do, however, know that I would possess some common sense and awareness of the intricacies of cohabitation before marriage if this is a route I decided to take. For me, living together before marriage (but with serious intentions or an already existing engagement) is a potential solution/option to modern scenarios that are less than ideal by ancient Christian standards, but could not have been foreseen by the ancient Church. Shacking up before marriage is not ideal, sure...but neither are a number of stupid things many of us do in our lives. I guess my point is- it's a move not totally inline with Christian principles and the Church's objection makes sense to me. However, knowing this full well, I may decide at some point to count my losses and go for it, knowing it seems the best option for me. Not following the Church's blueprint to a "T" isn't ideal...sure... but neither is tossing away the possibility of living together if my mind, heart, and common sense told me it was the most practical move- if only to get rid of a fear that cohabitating relationships (married or otherwise) will end in disaster or a general unhappiness. If I'm wrong, then I'd hope God can forgive me.

As for the "tossing something out that Protestant" conversation. I think I was misunderstood. I only commented on the "no hand holding" and "no kissing" before marriage bit. To me it just doesn't seem necessary and I really doubt if that kind of prudishness (not using this word pejoratively here) is mandated by the Church, or ever suggested.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 06:05:00 PM by Bogoliubtsy » Logged

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