[Guest Post by Ruth Rutherford] – Picture this, ladies: You’ve been dating an amazing guy for a while now and things are going perfectly.
He is sweet, funny, smart and driven. When he looks at you, his eyes sparkle. When he smiles at you, your heart melts. And, most importantly, he really, truly loves God. You pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming because (deep breath) you think you’ve found the one.
You spend nearly every waking moment together, often falling asleep in one another’s arms while watching the latest Redbox release. Rustled awake by a nearby car alarm, you look at the clock near his couch and it says 2 a.m. You both groan as you slip on your shoes and coat, and crawl toward the door, secretly wishing you could both just crawl into his bed instead.
The subject of your future together starts to come up more often.
You talk about marriage.
You talk about where you might live.
You talk about finances, which turns into quite the Debbie Downer dinner topic.
Between his car payment and your student loans and both your apartment rent payments, money is tight. The math tells you to move in together. You’d only pay rent once, could share a car, and would see each other more often. And, hey, you could even read the Bible together every morning over coffee!
Although you feel a bit uneasy about it, the logic is there.
And you do love him with all your heart, and plan to marry him. So, why not? Why should you abide by some archaic, Christian dating guideline from days of yore? It’s 2013.
Times have simply changed.
And you’d be right to think that–times sure have changed. But that doesn’t mean that many of the guidelines around faith and relationships aren’t still incredibly relevant.
It’s like your mom used to tell you when you got too close to the stove: “Hot! Don’t touch!”
You were curious, drawn to the gas flame like a moth to a front porch light. But you, with your inquisitive streak, just wanted to touch. What your mom knew that you didn’t is this: If you’d just wait a few more minutes, you could taste what was cooking and actually enjoy it…without getting hurt.
So here you are–older, more mature, but with that same inquisitive streak.
The man you love–who you want to spend forever with–is inviting you to live together with him.
In his apartment.
In his space.
In his arms every single morning.
Sigh. It’s hard to resist. The upsides are clear. Yes, you would save money. Yes, you’d spend more time together. Yes, you would learn more intimate details about each other and grow closer. But don’t be blinded by the heat of the moment, by the lure of the flame.
I can tell you with complete certainty–and with many friends’ experiences to back me up–that there are, indeed, downsides. And they are dangerous.
Living together will open the door to experiences reserved for husbands and wives.
The intimacy you’ll share will be beautiful, but will come with a level of commitment that can be scary. And without marriage vows to hold you together, it will be way too easy to simply walk away when the going gets tough, leaving your heart in the balance. And if you’re trying to save yourselves for marriage sexually, you’re acting as your own worst enemy by tearing down all practical boundaries against temptation.
If he’s the one for you, and if you’re the one for him–you both deserve the commitment.
Notice the operative word here is “the”– the commitment, as in marriage. You both deserve to hear that mutual promise from the other, and to act on it.
When it comes to living together before marriage, hear me when I say, in my best mom voice: “Hot! Don’t touch!” Just wait a little while longer.
What you’ll taste in a loving, committed marriage relationship will satisfy any curiosity you have over what kind of toothpaste he uses or whether he wears boxers or briefs in bed. It’ll satisfy your curiosity as to what true, patient, sacrificial commitment is all about.
And most importantly, it’ll protect your heart for the long haul.
A freelance writer based in Washington, D.C., Ruth Rutherford (@ruth_rutherford) enjoys blogging about faith and life as a Christian single. She hopes her words will inspire others (and herself) to embrace their place today, instead of obsessing over tomorrow (ikissedmydategoodnight.com).
[Photo: .nate, Creative Commons]