06 March 2013

So you're moving in together....

I don't know how to respond when I hear that someone is moving in with their partner or boy/girlfriend. "oh" is what usually comes out of my mouth.

The problem is not that I don't have a response or an opinion about unmarried folk living together. The problem is that I have a rather strong opinion: don't. I believe Christians ought to get married before moving in together, and even non-Christians would do well to make the commitment before moving in together, especially if there's children involved (see Gruntled Center's blog to read more about that).

Because I don't believe living together outside of marriage is a good thing, I'm not willing to congratulate people when they tell me they're going to move together, although this is the correct social response. Moving in together is seen here, even in Christian circles, as an indication that the relationship is going well and developing.

At the same time, I don't find it particularly loving or helpful to respond to someone's excitement about moving in together by condemning them. How I'd like to respond, not just to the couple but society in general, is by asking whether moving in together without the commitment of marriage and the wedding is good.

The beginning phase of living together is delightful and exciting, but it is also hard. This is primarily because your schedule is now interrupted and determined by another (children only increase the demand on your time), and the other cleans, eats, and sleeps sometimes much differently than you. A wedding ceremony is a chance not only to celebrate the delight of being in love but also a reminder of the loving community around you (we had 80+ cards hanging up from our wedding day!) who are there to support you and pray for you as you experience the challenge of developing your relationship further and learn to live together well. Without the wedding ceremony, I worry that we lose out on supporting each other - and experiencing that support.

In writing this, I have discovered a fitting response for how to respond when I hear people are moving in together: I'll be praying for you and your relationship. Without the wedding ceremony, less attention is likely to be given to the prayers and outside support that help make a relationship thrive. And so extra prayers would definitely not hurt! I know that it can be hard, and I want the best for those around me and their relationships. Wanting the best is also why I (still) want them to choose marriage instead of just living together.

1 comment:

Tom Braun said...

I think your response is a good one. I will have to remember that.