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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



A "no rules, just rights, do-my-own-thing" generation has decided God was wrong about marriage.  God said, 'Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).  But many modem people have apparently decided that marriage is not honorable or even important.  Millions now think there is no such thing as fornication and adultery- only sexual fulfillment.  And many have decided that God will not judge the sexually immoral.  After all, millions of people no longer do- so why should God not be at least as tolerant, open, and inclusive as most people?  Couples who spend tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on houses and furniture have decided marriage is a non-essential, at least in the beginning.  At the first wedding ever performed, God said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).  The modern version often reads more like this- "Therefore a man shall leave his mother and father and move in with his girlfriend, and they shall become domestic partners and cohabit and conduct a trial marriage until they see if they are compatible.  " Statistics indicate 4 million couples are living together without the commitment of marriage.

"Cohabiting, domestic partners, living together"- it all sounds so cool and free and modern.  But is it working?  Data from social research says no.  Cohabiting couples who later marry have a significantly higher rate of divorce than those who did not live together.  Other negative findings- a woman living with a man is more than twice as likely to wind up as a victim of domestic violence and more than three times as likely to suffer depression as married women; unmarried couples enjoy a significantly lesser degree of sexual satisfaction (hindered by lack of commitment).  To summarize- cohabiting leads to more divorce, more depression, more domestic violence, and less sexual satisfaction.  (USA Today, 7/13/98)

Marriages that work do so not because the couples are 100% compatible, but because they are 100% committed.  The lack of commitment that leads to cohabiting rather than marriage in the first place is the very reason it won't work.  Jesus said in marriage "the two shall become one" (Matthew 19:5-6).  Young people need to face up to this truth: trial marriages are failing the test- God's way is still the best!

Dan Gulley
Srnithville, TN