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The Ring Makes All The Difference

If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it...

Sounds familiar? Of course! It's Beyonce's famous song, which was also DaleDiva's winning performance piece in the talent show Don't Stop Believing. :)

Image Source: www.dalediva.com

I remembered the song because we were discussing about cohabitation last night, and over the weekend, I was at the Crossroads Retreat which talked about the three vocations: married life, religious life, and single-blessedness. 

Sadly, many couples nowadays find it costly to get married. Thus, they resolve to cohabitation. I learned this several years ago: live in = living in sin. And while the Catholic church is consistent in teaching the importance of marriage in building a family and it being the only moral way of procreating, cohabitation still thrives. Unmarried couples who live together have found a seemingly good rationale: they wanted to see if they really would get along well. But studies have proven otherwise. 

I was never a fan of cohabitation and I was affirmed by the article I read recently. Allow me to share some of the strong parts the author has beautifully written: 

Sliding, not Deciding

Moving from dating to sleeping over to sleeping over a lot to cohabitation can be a gradual slope, one not marked by rings or ceremonies or sometimes even a conversation. Couples bypass talking about why they want to live together and what it will mean.

When researchers ask cohabitors these questions, partners often have different, unspoken — even unconscious — agendas. Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage, while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment, and this gender asymmetry is associated with negative interactions and lower levels of commitment even after the relationship progresses to marriage. One thing men and women do agree on, however, is that their standards for a live-in partner are lower than they are for a spouse.

Sliding into cohabitation wouldn't be a problem if sliding out were as easy. But it isn't. Too often, young adults enter into what they imagine will be low-cost, low-risk living situations only to find themselves unable to get out months, even years, later. It’s like signing up for a credit card with 0 percent interest. At the end of 12 months when the interest goes up to 23 percent you feel stuck because your balance is too high to pay off. In fact, cohabitation can be exactly like that. In behavioral economics, it’s called consumer lock-in.

Lock-in is the decreased likelihood to search for, or change to, another option once an investment in something has been made. The greater the setup costs, the less likely we are to move to another, even better, situation, especially when faced with switching costs, or the time, money and effort it requires to make a change.

Cohabitation is loaded with setup and switching costs. Living together can be fun and economical, and the setup costs are subtly woven in. After years of living among roommates’ junky old stuff, couples happily split the rent on a nice one-bedroom apartment. They share wireless and pets and enjoy shopping for new furniture together. Later, these setup and switching costs have an impact on how likely they are to leave.

Founding relationships on convenience or ambiguity can interfere with the process of claiming the people we love. A life built on top of “maybe you’ll do” simply may not feel as dedicated as a life built on top of the “we do” of commitment or marriage.


To Unmarried Couples (and to Singles who are called to married life):

I hope the purpose of our relationships is for us to to get to know our future spouse. And if we have already confirmed with God that we are with the right (not perfect) person, then may we have the courage to decide to get married. Men, please be man enough to ask for your woman's hand. Remember that you have the privilege to pursue while we (women) have the privilege to choose and the (not so) privilege to wait. :)

Here are some links which may be helpful if you are in a relationship and/or discerning for married life: 
Marriage Tips:

You might also want to read this. :)

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