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Cohabitation’s Dark Lie

The Bible says* a prostitute wipes her mouth and says, “I’ve done nothing wrong,” and the same thing is happening in my office where young men and women who cohabit outside of marriage look me in the eye and say they’ve done nothing wrong.  These are the same people who say to me that marriage is only a piece of paper and they are everything a married couple is and they look longingly at each other in the eye and then glance at me for approval.

I’m looking for words to explain to this straying generation that has lost it’s conscience along with it’s innocence and rushes headlong into evil not knowing their very souls are at stake.  It’d be one thing if people lived together and knew it was wrong and were at least sneaky about it.  Now they live together and prance around like lustful stallions wanting more and more, but aren’t willing to pay the bill.

And the bill?  Your soul.  Your will.  You aren’t married until you both say at the same time in front of other witnesses that, indeed, you are giving your very souls to each other, you are dying to yourself.

At that moment, that is also consummated through intercourse between the husband and wife, you are united literally by God.

And if you don’t do that, you aren’t married.  Plain and simple.

Jesus said that.  I didn’t make this up.  Check it out:

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.**

What God has joined.

What GOD has joined.

God doesn’t join you until your wills and spirits and souls and bodies are joined.  Publicly.  Willingly.  Sacrificially.

It’s not called the “marriage altar” for nothing.

You are squatters, living in the marital house for free.

Pretenders.  Actors.

You snuck into the theater for free and didn’t pay for your ticket.  Just being there doesn’t make you a patron.

When you cohabit and don’t get married, you give away your body, but you hang on to your soul and you bifurcate your personality and become schizophrenic, broken and divided, because deep in your conscience God’s Holy Spirit is saying to you that what you are doing is phony and cheap and wrong and sinful and you know it and you squash it down, down, down, so you can’t hear God’s voice in your life.  And if you won’t hear God’s still voice about something so fundamental to life that it is honored throughout human history across the world in nearly, entirely all cultures and creeds, how are you going to hear His voice in other areas of your life?

If you aren’t faithful in this one small little, but very fundamental thing, how are you supposed to be faithful in big things?

Jesus said, “the pure in heart shall see God,”  which raises the question, what shall the impure in heart see?

If I were you, I wouldn’t want to open that door.  The portal of instant pleasure might look pleasant, but instead invites a whirlwind of disaster into your life.

It’s like playing doctor without the training and the study and the commitment and the walking across the stage and receiving your degree and becoming licensed so you can practice.  We can do all that without the study and the commitment and the walking across the stage and getting the degree and becoming licensed, right?  Anyone can wear a white smock?  We’ll just be doctors.  Forget the sacrifice.  Forget the waiting.  Forget the study.  Forget the anticipation.  Forget the longing.  We’ll just be doctor’s now.

You say, “Dr. Bing, you are so judgmental.  Lighten up already.  We’re doing nothing wrong.  We’re happy.”

I say, “Look.  I didn’t make this up.”

Really.  I get my view of this straight from the mouth of Jesus.  A woman comes up to him at a well*** and Jesus asks her for a drink and because she was a Samaritan and a woman, she was a bit startled he’d even talk to her, let alone ask for a favor.  And they begin to talk and, as was his practice, he brings the discussion to eternal life and that he himself is the living water she’s really looking for and in the midst of this spiritual discussion, they begin to talk about cohabitation.  I kid you not.  Two thousand years ago.

He’s telling her if she knew the gift of God sitting right in front of her, she could ask him for living water and she would never thirst again.  And she says, “give me this water so I won’t be thirsty and have to travel all this way to this well to get water.”  He’s talking about himself.  She thinks he’s talking about literal water, the H2O variety, not the eternal kind.  And he says,

“Go, call your husband and come here.”

The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her.  “You have correctly said, I have no husband: for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”

The woman fairly well freaks.  How could this guy read my mind?  Whatayaknow?  He wasn’t just speaking to her.  He was speaking to this lost generation.

Jesus distinguishes between the 5 men who were her former husbands and the man she was living with who wasn’t her husband.

Living together does NOT MAKE YOU MARRIED.



You can’t be a Christian if you don’t “ask of me and I will give you living water.”  You have to choose.  Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian.  You aren’t a Christian until you open your heart to Christ and let him into your life and you turn your sin over to him and give him your life and he gives it back again.  You humble yourself.  And when you turn your will over to him, your will, your life, you goals, your aspirations, that’s when you become a Christian.

Anybody can sit in a church.

Big deal.

When you get married you humble yourself before God and man and kneel at an altar and give of your life and soul and body to your wife or husband and he or she does the same and you two are joined together BY GOD and he gives you a new life together back for the rest of your life.  HE JOINS YOU.

He’s such a loving God that even if you don’t believe in Him or think He’s a joke, He still graciously joins you to your husband or wife.

But He doesn’t join you if you just play house.

Therein lies the problem.

A man and woman, living as IF they are married, but aren’t?  A couple of phonies?  This would be the definition of TROUBLE.

Crossing the border of another country doesn’t make you a citizen of that country.

Sneaking into the college stadium at night and running around with some buddies and playing catch with a football does not make you a member of the college football team.

Sneaking into a college class without getting accepted into that college and paying tuition doesn’t make you a college student.

It makes you a thief.

A thief takes something for nothing.

It isn’t your car until you sign on the dotted line and either pay for it now or you pay for it as you go.

If you don’t do that, you’ve stolen the car.

You are robbers, stealing a car that isn’t yours.

You can drive the car all you want and hang your elbow out the window.  You can even turn on the radio and the GPS device.  Hey, look!  It all works, just as if I owned it!  But if you didn’t buy it….

If you are cohabiting without marriage, you are stealing something that is not yours to take.  You haven’t sacrificed.  You haven’t said, I do.

And if you haven’t said I do, God doesn’t join you together.

You are a bunch of kids playing house.

With about as much maturity.

Getting something for nothing is not the road to either maturity or happiness.

You want it now?  Which is curious because the Bible says the fundamental definition of love is that love is patient and if marriage isn’t worth waiting for and if you aren’t worth waiting for, and if your boy or girlfriend isn’t worth waiting for, what kind of love is that?

Cohabitation: Welcome to a road of misery.  Two selfish people, trying to get something for nothing.

Look…I wouldn’t want to do anything in my life that doesn’t have the hand of God’s blessing on it, you know what I mean?


*Proverbs 30:20

** Matthew 19:6

***See John 4:1-30 for the entire story


Dr. Bing has commented on cohabitation in numerous other blogs.  Check them all out here.  He has a series on cohabitation.  You can find those here.


Dr. Bing Wall is a marriage therapist 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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