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The Mournful State of Cohabitation

I’ve seen a very sad thing among men, well, actually, among women:  A man says to a woman, hey, (or she says it to him) we can save rent by moving in together.  She says, Okay, and the two move in together and, of course, they are sexual, and they do save rent, but they’ve given their very soul away and all they got back was savings on the rent.

It used to be that giving your body away to your loving bride or groom was a big deal.  On the night of your wedding you’d give your body to your spouse and you’d get a partner for life in return.  It’s more blessed to give than to receive.  In the giving was the creation of a life together.  It was honorable and held high in honor.  The act of lovemaking between a new husband and wife was seen as an act of sacrifice and out of the sacrifice a new family was born.

Nowadays, we don’t call it lovemaking.

It’s called a course word that starts with the 6th letter of the alphabet.  It’s also used as a curse word.  A course word and a curse word.  The blessing of lovemaking has been taken away, because the honor and the protection have been removed.

It’s just two leeches sucking blood out of each other.

And pretty soon there’s nothing left.

Cohabitation is about saving a buck.  If you reduce sexuality to a loaf of bread, all you get are some left over crumbs and an empty plastic sack.  That’s about it.

That’s the very sad thing I’ve seen.  A pretty girl, a broken girl sitting slumped on the couch in my office, hanging her head and sighing, “Marriage wouldn’t make any difference.  It’s just a piece of paper anyway.”

There you go.  You rob marriage of the opportunity to be a precious vessel where a husband and wife sacrifice for each other to create a family that connects the generations and all you get is a piece of paper.

And slumped shoulders.

And a sigh.

Crumbs and an empty sack.


She gave the most precious thing should possibly give (her body, her privacy, her secret garden, her virginity, her value, her dignity, yea, her very life) and all she got was a roommate in exchange.  She has no claim on him, except the rent.  She views herself as a wife, sort of, but she’s NOT.

It’s like somebody aspiring to be a professional football player, but all they do is play catch in the backyard.  They aren’t a professional football player until they SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE, the football contract.

She’s only a roommate.  She signed, all right.  A lease.  How insulting is that?  All I’m worth is a lease?  They keep their money separate.  They keep their hearts separate.  They keep their dreams separate.  Sex loses its allure pretty quickly (If you absolutely want to destroy the meaning of sexuality altogether just have sex for nothing while cohabiting.  Sexuality is very tender and needs the protection and promise of marriage to thrive.)  She makes any requests, any suggestions, any hints of an idea and it’s seen as criticism, putdowns, nagging and control.  Cuz she’s NOT A WIFE.  HE’S NOT A HUSBAND.  He’s just a friggin’ roommate.  No one has any claim on anyone.

And, sadly, neither think they’ve done anything wrong.  They’ve robbed the cookie jar and the cookie jar is empty, but, no, we didn’t do anything wrong.

So on top of loosing her dignity, she’s lost her conscience.  And she sits in my office with slumped shoulders and a sigh.

A loaf of bread.

And a day later it’s stale already.


Check out Dr. Bing’s series on cohabitation here.


Dr. Bing Wall is a therapist specializing in marriage and relationships and issues facing single adults with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.

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