19th August

This is an article I put in the parish newsletter recently. I also drew people’s attention to it goodshepherdin the notices at the end of Mass. The easy solution is to ignore such matters, settle for a quiet life, accept the inevitable. But to do that is to surrender as regards the care of souls and what God’s Word has to say about right living.

Harm of Cohabitation: This is an article in the latest copy of the ALIVE! Newspaper. It can be read in full at http://www.tiny.cc/DCLMA in the Misc folder. Here is a summary. Scott Stanley, a psychology professor at Denver University, is worth listening to on the topic of cohabitation. He has spent decades studying how living together before marriage affects a couple’s longterm happiness. Cohabitation has been consistently linked with poorer communication and lower satisfaction in marriage, “higher levels of domestic violence and greater probability of divorce in US samples” he says. Many couples slide into cohabitation and then into marriage without ever really having made a decision to do either. But marriage however is a very different experience for couples who consciously decide to date, decide to engage and decide to get married. Couples who do not live together before marriage are more likely to experience marital happiness. Husbands in particular are more likely to have greater dedication to the relationship (“absent dads” is a serious matter of concern in today’s world with profound consequences for family stability and the welfare of children, particularly providing positive role models for boys.) What about couples who say they want to test their relationship before marrying and use this as a reason to cohabit? Professor Stanley says that there are other less risky ways to do this. Examples given are attending workshops together (like Catholic pre-marriage courses), reading together relationship books, seeing a family life educator or therapist, and making the time to talk openly about expectations. All will admit that testing a relationship is a good idea. But it should be done wisely, not in a harmful way, and should lead to a decision, not to inertia.

This clearly affirms that cohabitation is opposed to the working of our human nature as well as being opposed to God’s Commandments. God is all wise and loving and his Will is the way to true and lasting fulfilment in this life and the next.