One of the most common, but flawed reasons people get married is because they feel they are “compatible.” Couples are even encouraged to live together in order to discover this mystery of relationship compatibility. Tragically, 80% of couples who live together before they get married end up in divorce court. How can this be true? Wouldn’t couples who live together before marriage discover problems in the relationship and call things off? Rather than weed out bad relationships, living together frequently perpetuates them. The couple who lives together before marriage is under the illusion that they are truly getting to know each other. After all, they see each other at their worst, smell each other at their worst, and have to deal with the day-to-day annoyances of sharing space with someone.
The truth is they are still putting their best foot forward in the relationship. Then they get married, and the real man and real woman emerges. Marriage intensifies everything. The good in the relationship gets better. The bad gets worse. Six months into the marriage she says to him, “You changed. I don’t know what happened to us. Things were so much better before we got married…”
The virtue and value of living together before marriage is a lie from the world designed to destroy relationships. A companion lie is that a couple needs to find out if they are sexually compatible with one another. Many who hold this view will say, “You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive would you?” This is an easy one to answer. If you are a male, and you are engaged to a female, or vice versa, you are sexually compatible. The parts will fit. God figured out all that stuff ahead of time. Using the gift of sexuality before you are married will damage your sexual future together, not improve it.
The best sexual relationship is built on a healthy emotional and spiritual relationship. Can two strangers hook up for some temporary pleasure? Sure. But don’t confuse that with great sex, or a rush of feelings with relational compatibility.
An excerpt from “Visionary Marriage” by Rob Rienow: