The Benefits of Living Together
Around Christmas time, I was walking Star–my dog–and stopped to talk to my neighbor.
I told him how excited I was that this was going to be my second Christmas with Marc. His immediate question was,
“So when are you getting married?”
Shocked, I said that we were already married. His next reaction was priceless.
“Good. As it should be.”
Why is it that we presume all young adults who are living together aren’t married?
Maybe because less and less people delay marriage until they’re in their upper 20’s and early 30’s.
Maybe because young adults in church look (and act) no different from those not in church.
I apologize if this is offending anyone or stirring up needless drama. This really is the first time I’ve written on the topic–and this time I’m not wussing out. It is not my aim to judge or condemn anyone, but to pose the distinct question:
What does it really look like to do life together in a healthy way?
I’m not just talking about living together inside or outside the context of marriage. I’m talking about Acts 2 where the believers lived together and had everything in common (Acts 2:44).
Whether you’re single, married, divorced, or living with roommates or parents–it’s a question I find myself asking quite often, especially in the first year of my marriage.
I’m totally stealing this from The Sacred Search, a new book by Gary Thomas. In it he says,
“God made you a sexual being but commands you to restrict sexual activity to marriage (1 Cor. 6:15-20; 7:36-38; 1 Thess. 4:3-7). At a certain point, for some of you it will become overwhelming difficult, to the point of courting temptation, to delay the marriage that will allow a holy expression of sexual activity” (The Sacred Search, page 84).
When Marc and I got married I was scared.
It is by the grace of God I waited until marriage for sex, and also for living together. It wasn’t because God made me or my parents forbid it, but because I truly desired to have a physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy marriage from the start.
When I say there are benefits to living together it’s because I’ve lived them.
Not because I’m making you see my point or telling you what to do. I can only tell you what I am experiencing and what I’m experiencing has been nothing short of a miracle.
It wasn’t until I got married that I realized how unhealthy I was living.
Through Marc, God showed me it was the way I was living that was causing me pain–and I didn’t even know it. I was living at my parents, and not watching my eating habits. I was in an abusive relationship with someone I thought was my “best friend.” I wasn’t exercising regularly and my anxiety was out of control.
Just because I was living a pure lifestyle (by Biblical standards) didn’t mean I was healthy.
Not everything is beneficial. Twice in the Bible it says,
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12 & 10:23).
I’m so glad God didn’t let my impulsive behavior get in the way of Him bringing Marc into my life. So often I try to outrun God. To make things happen on my own simply because I can.
Living together with Marc has shown me a softer side.
A gentler side. A more (gulp) patient side of life. One that doesn’t assert his or her own way, but submits and surrenders to God. As a result of our healthy lifestyle I’ve been able to get back in the gym, eat more healthy and let go of hurtful friendships.
That’s why I’m starting this series. It is my hope to create conversations, ask the tough questions, and allow God’s Spirit to lead and guide.
What does healthy living look like for you?
I can’t tell you, but God certainly can.
I can’t wait for God to reveal to you the benefits of healthy living that are nothing short of a miracle–like He has in my life.
[Photo: craigCloutier, Creative Commons]