August 22, 2013

Is It OK to Sleep in the Same Bed Before Marriage?

When women require excellence in relationships, men should step up to a challenge. Sleeping in the same bed before marriage is a disordered way to express your love for each other in a relationship that is not permanent. Marriage is the free, faithful, total and fruitful exchange of vows between a man and a woman. The more wholesome the dating and courtship period, the greater the chances of a happy and successful marriage. If a man is not ready to commit to a woman, he should not have access to her sexual emotions.

When a couple sleeps in the same bed, it points towards the marital act. To wait for marriage is to avoid this occasion of sin. Those who are married will have all their lives to fall asleep looking at their partner.

Cohabitation seems a good way to ‘test drive’ our marriage before making the full commitment. Since marriage is just a piece of paper, then surely it’s no big deal?

John Paul II said that freedom without responsibility is the opposite of love. The greater the sense of responsibility, the more a person is willing to give of themselves. Many studies show the damaging consequences of cohabitation. (footnote). The more often and longer a man and woman cohabit, the more likely they will divorce later. More than half of these unions dissolve within 5 years, according to a study by the Vanier Institute of the family. Cohabitants are more likely to be unfaithful and suffer from depression than married people. Children born to cohabitants are far more likely to experience disruptions in family life with possible mental and psychological upheavals.

Those that think that marriage is just a legal contract will be far more willing when difficulties arise to bail out and remember the conditionality of the contract. Cohabitation sets a bad precedent. In reality, it dissolves the traditional boundaries surrounding marriage.

Living together erodes the important time of discernment and preparation before marriage, helping couples decide if it is healthy and good for them to live together for the rest of their lives. A marriage cannot be test driven because it can only be entered in good faith and hope. There is no dress rehearsal, because a true marriage in the eyes of God cannot be undone. Engagement is the time to set solid foundation to help the strength of marriage, building up trust, co-operation, fidelity and companionship. Cohabitation undermines this trust because both partners are aware that it is perfectly possible for them to bail out at any point. This does not help in building up the virtues. It is an exercise of convenience rather than purity and true love.

JD Unwin, an anthropologist of the 1930s discovered that sexual license is always “the immediate cause of cultural decline.” He found that “In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on premarital and extramarital continence.” In every verifiable case, he found once a group became sexually permissive, “the energy of the society...decreased and finally disappeared.” Essentially- what is at stake over the culture wars over marriage and family is the healthy continuation of our society. He found that societies would collapse if they became too sexually permissive, because fewer and fewer citizens were concerned with the building up of the next generation and the righteousness of society.

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