Cohabitation is defined as the act of living together between a man and a woman before marriage. It describes the relationship of a man and woman who are sexually active and share a household despite not being married to each other. According to the Christian faith which the Catholic Church follows, sexual relationship is only reserved for men and women who have been married. Any involvement in sexual intercourse before marriage is thus, regarded as sinful and against the Christian teachings. Cohabitation is a sign of disrespect for the sacrament of marriage, the sacredness of sexual intercourse and human dignity.
The Catholic Church, just like other Christian societies cares for its members the way a parent cares for his or her beloved son or daughter. Having the knowledge that cohabitation increases the chances of failure in marriage; the church is interested in offering protection and preservation of happiness. Besides, there are quite a number of men and women today who simply start cohabitating based on physical attraction. They do not evaluate the reasons they give for justification of their decisions.
According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, every sexual act is intended by God to express love, commitment and openness to life in the gift of marriage. Engaging in sex outside marriage is an immoral practice that does not express the intentions of the Creator. Cohabitation passes a false message that the couple is committed yet they are not because that can only be shown through marriage. Cohabitation is more like pretence that is highly disregarded by God; it is an act of cowardice. Two people who are choosing to cohabit are afraid of making life commitments to live with each other as husband and wife even though they convince themselves that they are one.
According to the catechism of the Catholic Church, some couples claim that they have a right to live together if they intend to get married later on. Even though the couple may be sincere in their decision, the Catechism stresses that human love is incompatible with trial marriages. Cohabitation is more like standing in the middle in order to first weigh out options so that if things fail to go according to your expectations, you can easily jump ship. God does not require people who test the waters since in the process; we break a lot of laws that include engaging in sexual intercourse among others.
Unlike the marriage covenant, cohabitation is a temporary arrangement that is compared to a business deal that can either succeed or fail. In fact, studies that have recently been conducted on cohabitation show that most of those who are involved end up in heartaches. As much as the Catholic Church teaches that people who are interested in getting married need to take some time to know each other well through courtship, it does not advocate for cohabitation. However, cohabiting couples cannot be denied the chance to marry in the Catholic Church.
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