Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

October 4, 2009

A Response to "Shacking Up"

A thoughtful post on the phenomenon of cohabitation, Edith. As someone with two cousins who have done this and one who is currently doing this, I have many opinions about the matter.

I think one thing to note is that no one couple does this for exactly the same reason as another. Sure, there is general sociological trend to live together outside of marriage, but just like every other trend, people participate in it for their own reasons. My three cousins illustrate this: 1) Cousin #1 and his girlfriend moved into together a few months before they got engaged. They had every intention of getting married (and they have a wonderful marriage), but it was "more economical" in their opinion to move in together; 2) Cousin #2 and his girlfriend moved in together without any intention of getting married because they supported the "Why do we need to get married if we're committed to each other" philosophy; 3) Cousin #3 and his girlfriend are living with another couple right now, which is some sort of glorified mixture between college and playing "house," but it seems they moved in together to test whether or not they would want to get married in the future - the "test drive" philosophy.

I think in a culture of immediate gratification and one in which there is a longing for intimacy in the midst of this sterile, virtual atmosphere (and a world where jobs take us further away from interaction with people), it's going to be hard to reason our way back to the goods of marriage for individuals, couples, and society as a whole. With the divorce rate where it is, even among Catholics, we need to take a serious look at our motivations for marriage. Is it any wonder that a generation who has spent it's twenties hopping from job to job or city to city is also unable to commit to a person? We have to LIVE this commitment in our personal and professional lives to demonstrate that the blessings of commitment are worth the demands it places on us. If marriage is truly a vocation, it means that the life of the individuals before they take their vows have led them to it, but it also requires the individual to stick it out with God and their spouse when the going gets tough. God never calls us to anything He doesn't want for us. Let's follow the direction of St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day is today, to "preach the Gospel and if necessary, use words."

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