Should You Buy a House Before or After Marriage?
Modern society is almost unrecognizable from that of decades past. One of the most substantial changes is the rising number of men and women cohabiting before marriage. It is touted as a necessary step in the progression of a relationship: a testing period, of sorts. But there is troubling evidence of relationships actually being damaged when two people move too quickly. Young Christian couples are faced with the decision of whether or not to live together more and more often, and it is a choice that can only be made with great deliberation and a clear mind. There are three primary paths for men and women to take in this matter, each with its own pros and cons.
Living Together Before Marriage
The first option is the easiest and the new normal. There are now millions of houses in America that are home to heterosexual, unmarried couples. Many of these households also contain children. The argument for this is that if a man and woman can’t make it work living together, they should find out before entering a contract as serious as marriage. It also helps to determine whether or not two people are a sexual match. They have time to get to know each other’s little habits, establish a division of labor and generally work toward a positive dynamic that may or may not end in marriage.
On the other hand, a University of Denver study found that cohabiting couples were more likely to end their marriages in divorce. Similarly, women living with a boyfriend were more likely to be abused and experience domestic trouble. There’s also the situation where a couple, unable to leave each other but unwilling to commit, never marry at all. Because of this, the Christian attitude toward marriage continues to stress the dangers of living together before marriage.
Building a Home After Marriage
Another option is to put off all thoughts of home-making until after the honeymoon. This is a better choice than living together because it maintains purity and relegates married life to marriage. Man and woman are able to start fresh as husband and wife, free to learn about and explore each other as God intended. This is the way things used to be done; typically, newlyweds found an apartment until they were financially stable enough to buy a house.
However, the prospect of entering into married life with little preparation is frightening for many young couples. In today’s uncertain economic times, banking on finding a nice place together immediately is not always wise, and being kept apart after taking vows is contrary to the whole purpose of marriage. Instead of cohabiting against the teachings of the Bible and foregoing all planning until afterwards, the best path may be one of moderation.
Preparing a Home Together
Agreeing upon and owning some form of housing before the wedding has numerous advantages. It takes away any stress during the honeymoon period, which should be all about the joys of a new marriage, and viewing prospective homes or apartments gives newlyweds something exciting to do while waiting for the wedding. They can begin decorating and making plans without the temptation of actually sharing a living space. Then, when the happy bride and groom are ready to settle down, they already have a starting point to begin building their family.
The act of cohabitation itself is not sinful. Engaging in sexual activities before marriage is. Should a couple truly and honestly be able to live together without desire, and it seems unlikely, then there would be no reason to keep them apart. Human nature being what it is, though, it is wiser to stick to Biblical principles and follow the tradition of moving in only once wedding bands are firmly attached to fingers. Doing so is proven to lead to happier marriages and a greater connection to God, and it is well worth the effort of remaining moral in a sometimes dissolute society.