Today we are witnessing more and more couples choosing to live together versus getting married. The statistics bear out that the longevity of these relationships is far less than those who get married. There are many reasons for the decline in marriage, one being disillusionment with their parent’s model of marriage. Then, there is the idea of, Why make a life-long commitment when we do not know if this will work out or not? I have worked with scores and scores of couples, some married and some not. It is amazing that they all want the same thing out of the relationship. They want fidelity, loyalty, accountability, and commitment. Marriage is not a fail-safe guarantee of these things, but it certainly has the potential for them. Most people who live together and are not married often live with a single mind-set. They relate to each other as two single people living together. They have their own money, their own friends, their own interests, and not nearly as much accountability as they need.
The real pursuit of love—the kind that lasts a lifetime with an intimacy that does not fade away like the morning fog—seems to be an illusion to so many couples today. It is clear that people want authentic love but do not know how to find it. One of the reasons it is escaping them is that they are pursuing physical intimacy without emotional and spiritual intimacy. We live in a culture where feelings are assigned more importance than thoughts and where the present takes precedent over the future. In our wild pursuit to feel and experience happiness in love today, we have abandoned the ability to think beyond the present moment. In so doing, we are missing what we all long for.
God did not design us to live that way. He made us with a capacity to think—something that we have to learn how to do. God has a plan for each of us that is unique. We first have to experience God, the author of the plan. Then we learn to live out that plan with our minds and our hearts. When we understand his design for our life, we are willing to pursue a love for a lifetime and not settle for immediate sexual gratification. We wait to discover love, with the incredible joy of experiencing all three: physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy in a special place that God calls marriage.
The culture tells us today that it is too much to expect a young person to arrive at marriage without already having experienced sexual intimacy with several partners. That is a pernicious lie that is robbing thousands of young men and women of the love and intimacy they so long for. What is so incredible is that people actually believed the lie.
It is like sending a couple that has never eaten almonds into an almond orchard to gather some nuts and they come back with only the hulls. They complain that the nuts are not very good. To which you respond that is because you have not found the nuts, only the hulls. The emotional and physical intimacy that last a lifetime do not come from brief sexual encounters of seduction, but of commitment, marriage, and building a life and family together.
 Bramlett, M., & Mosher, D. (2002). Cohabitation, marriage, divorce, and remarriage in the U.S.. Vital & Health Statistics, 23(22), 1-103.
 Thomas, A., & Sawhill, I. (2005). For love and money? The impact of family structure on family income. Future of Children, 15(2), 57-74.
 Park, M. (2003). Are married parents really better for children? What research says about the effects of family structure on child well-being. Center for Law and Social Policy, Washington, D.C. 1-11. http://www.clasp.org