Cohabitation and Christian faith

22 June 2015

The habit of cohabitation is an increasing phenomenon in our society. It is usually seen as a trial marriage to test the compatibility of the partners involved. Although it has become socially acceptable, it contradicts the most fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. The question is therefore whether cohabitation could indeed be accepted as a trial marriage or even a marriage that differs in name only. Unfortunately most Christians find it difficult to give an answer to this question because they are not properly informed of the biblical view in this regard. Biblical direction is therefore important. This is done from a dogmatic-ethical perspective. The emphasis is not on counselling or the exegesis of certain scriptures as such, but on relevant biblical principles concerning this topic. This does not mean that scriptural passages could be ignored. It stands to reason that biblical principles should be derived from specific Scriptures, and the aim is to deal with these Scriptures in a responsible way. This means, inter alia, that context and historical background are important. In doing so, these principles will not only be identified as guidelines in dealing with the habit of cohabitation, but also as principles that make sense in applying them. This was done by identifying some of the problems involved in cohabitation, followed by a biblical perspective of that which constitutes marriage over against cohabitation.