It seems the longer I am in counseling the more this bothers me-- couples living together instead of or before getting married. It seems I am meeting more and more women in counseling that don't want to get married but prefer this "shacking up". The fact that the Bible is clear that sex outside of marriage is sin aside let's look at this from a security and well-being stand point.
One of the biggest reasons I hear for not getting married is that she can leave whenever she wants to. It is much easier to leave. This is true and I will not deny that, but the other side of the coin is that he is free to leave as well. So she can be left with racked up bills, children to care for (that he now could very well feel no obligation). I see it happen more than you would care to know. What about the children? God created marriage to be the environment that children are raised in for a reason. How secure is a child's life when either parent is free to leave whenever they want to?
Then there is the blessings of the Lord. The Bible is clear that this "shacking up" is sin and he can not bless sin. Do you want to live your life without God's blessing? I certainly don't.
Marriage is a covenant and if you shack up you miss the covenantal protection of the Lord on your life. Our society and unfortunately the American Church has forgotten this as they condone this behavior by saying nothing.
There is certainly higher levels of obligation to each other if you are married.
Our society is so backwards-- heterosexuals are running from marriage while homosexuals are fighting for the right to get married. All the while the church is not calling sin what it is sin. Why is this?
It seems recently that I have been in discussions with some pastors who are defining sin by what feels right to them instead of what the Bible says. The Bible clearly says that there is a way that seems right to man, but it leads to destruction. So let's define sin by what the Bible says-- not what we feel. Also let's be in prayer that God bring about a revival in this country so that we get our lives right with him as a nation.