Cohabitating with Christ?

A 2013 study concerning cohabitation of couples revealed that 48% of couples entering their “first unions” did so without wedding vows between the years of 2006 and 2010. That was an increase from 43% in 2002 and 34% in 1995. Within three years 40% of those couples  married and 32% remained in a ­cohabitating non-marriage relationship. The study also showed that one out of four women have lived with a man by the time they’re 20. That ration ­increases to three out of four by the time they are 30.

Researcher Pamela J. Smock (director and research professor at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor) said, “The question becomes not who cohabits, but who doesn’t?”

Blogger Melissa Melms who moved in with her ­boyfriend commented, “It was definitely a no-brainer for me. It was always something I planned to do.” She added, “I think it would be weird to me to have a friend who would wait to move in together until after they got married.”

Why do people choose to cohabitate?

Melms said it was a way of making sure they were ready for the daily challenges and rewards of ­getting married. She also adds that it was a logical ­progression on a path of increasing commitment. Melms added, “We’re talking about getting a puppy now. That’s the next step.”

In Ephesians 5, Paul compares marriage to our ­relationship with Christ. The wife should submit to her husband as she does Christ (vv. 22–24). The husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church (vv. 25–33). In order to fulfill those obligations to each other, the husband and wife must be committed fully to one another—true devotion. They must love one another completely..

It seems that many people are approaching ­Christianity the same way they are ­approaching ­marriage today. Many are choosing to simply “­cohabitate” with Christ rather than be His bride (2 Corinthians 11:2). Many are afraid to fully commit to a life of devotion and service to Christ. Instead, they partially commit. They treat discipleship the same way Melms and others like her treat the marriage commitment. They want to live with Christ, but not be married with Him in order to see whether they are ready for the daily challenges and rewards of being a Christian.

There is a problem with that approach. Jesus told people if they weren’t prepared to fully commit to Him then they weren’t worthy of Him (Luke 9:57–62). He expected full commitment to Him from the ­beginning. Not partial commitment. Not a “feeling out” phase. He wants complete and total devotion (Matthew 10:34–39). James described this kind of ­approach as being adulterous (James 4:4).

Are you fully committed to Christ? Are you His bride? Or are you just cohabitating with Him?