Cohabitation needs to be addressed boldly yet graciously… Always turn to Scripture when discussing cohabitation with couples. When we don’t, they feel we are offering our opinion, which they can choose to disagree with. When counseling cohabiting couples, focus on two key areas…
The link to “Counseling Cohabitating Couples” at The Resurgence has been removed. The original article has been copied below via internet cache.
Cohabitation is increasing and becoming more widely accepted as an alternative to marriage, with the result that marriage is being delayed or disregarded altogether. Cohabitation is here to stay. How do we counsel those for whom cohabitation is the expected norm?
If you are a pastor, counselor, or church leader, you will increasingly encounter unmarried couples who are living together.
Many cohabiting couples are not actively part of a church community. They might attend church service, but have minimal involvement outside of that. Counseling such couples is an important opportunity to help get them involved in church community and service. As they begin to make friends and receive support in preparing for life and marriage now, it prepares them for helping others in the future.
Counsel each couple on an individual basis instead of trying a one-size-fits-all approach. All cohabiting couples have unique situations they are facing. However, most will fall into one of three general categories:
1. Willful couples care little about what pastors say because they have a low view of Scripture and the authority of the church. They usually claim to be Christians and will tell us their Christian parents and friends are fine with their lifestyle. They often ask to be shown a verse that says they can’t live together. They need to be taught about God’s design for marriage in Scripture.
2. Stuck couples know it is sinful and wrong to be living together, but feel trapped and ashamed. Most of these couples want to make changes, but need support, encouragement, and a plan to act upon.
3. Unaware couples have never heard the biblical view and once they do, they want to change. They are soft to Scripture and want to be led. They are quite often either not yet Christians or very young in the faith. Often they are in difficult living situations in which separation won’t be helpful or practical (for example, they own a house together, are raising kids together, or are new to the city with no family or friends). They need prayerful help crafting a plan, ongoing counseling, and care from the church.
A biblical approach
As church leaders, it is easy to fall into one of two extremes. We either ignore the fact that couples are living together and do nothing, or we heavy-handedly refuse to serve them at all, imposing rules upon them that don’t lead to conviction or changed hearts. We must fight the temptation of these extremes and instead stay on the road of grace and truth. Continue reading
The original link to “Dating, Relating, and Fornicating” at The Resurgence has been removed. The original article has been copied below via cache.
Dating, Relating, and Fornicating
Christians worship a single guy who died a virgin. Perhaps that should be listed among his many miracles.
For the first time in our nation’s history, there are more unmarried than married adults. And people are waiting longer than ever to marry—women in their mid- to late twenties on average and men closer to thirty. The closer you get to a major city, the more singles you will find—most of them dating, relating, and fornicating.
This trend includes Seattle. Recently, Mars Hill Church Seattle was listed by the Seattle P-I as one of the best places in Seattle for singles to meet somebody. So, if you’re looking to get hitched, Mars Hill is apparently a good place.
One of the reasons I believe we were named among such places as gyms, bars, and (naturally) dog parks—there are more dogs per capita in Seattle than kids—is because we tend to verbally beat boys who can shave (men who are adults chronologically but kids in terms of responsibility) like drill sergeants. The ones who don’t leave to blog about their hurt feelings tend to stay, grow up, man up, and eventually get married to a nice gal who would like to have babies but does not want to be married to one.
Over the years, we’ve seen thousands of singles come to Mars Hill, become Christians, find healing from past abuse, trust Jesus, start dating a godly guy or gal, get married, and have kids to the glory of God. I personally know hundreds of women who were sexual assault victims at the hands of some loser boyfriend/porn-head find help, healing, and hope in Jesus, get married to a guy who was previously a train wreck, and by God’s grace become new people with a fun, free, faithful marriage. Nothing beats the front row I enjoy for the Holy Spirit’s power in the lives of people whom Jesus loves. Continue reading