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Roselynís Pen: Cohabitation; 'A Canker Or A Blessing'
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I asked a friend, would she like to cohabitate or get married. She told me she prefers cohabitation to marriage. I asked her reasons and she reluctantly voiced out that -“When you get married to someone it involves a lot of commitment and it does not give you freedom. When you are not married to the person, it won't require any document before you break up with the person if you think the person so not good enough for you.”

In my own opinion, her reasons somehow make sense because it has both positive and negative effects.

Cohabitation has become more popular with the youth in Ghana. The youth nowadays doesn’t see anything wrong with cohabitation because they think it's usual.

One may ask, what at all is cohabitation?  "Cohabitation" is commonly referred to as "living together." It describes the relationship of a man and woman who are sexually active and share a household, though they are not married.

I stand to be corrected; cohabitation is not accepted in our country due to our customs and traditions. 

While many in our society may see no problem with this arrangement, living together and having sexual relations before marriage can never be reconciled with what God expects of us.

Countless studies have shown that couples who live together before marriage have higher rates of divorce and a poorer quality of marital relationship than those who do not. Your engagement is meant to be a time of grace and growth in preparing for your marriage.

I believe cohabitation has more negative effects than positive effects. There are also various reasons why the youth like to cohabitate than to get married in this era. Cohabitation discourages the youth from commitment. Marriage is all about commitment. A young adult that is afraid to face commitment will never face the light of adulthood. According to Mr. Fuentes and bunch of websites about cohabitation, the most used reason for young adult to cohabitate is because they want to try before deciding.

He also mentioned that that a couple cohabitate because they are afraid to get married since annulment is expensive. Since marriage requires a lot of experience and maturity and the youth lack such things, they prefer to cohabitate which is simple and does not demand such requirement to marriage. 

It increases the likelihood of early sexual encounter and unwanted pregnancies. When a young couple is alone under one roof, what else do you think they'll be doing? They won’t be studying, that's for sure. If whatever activity it may be bears unwanted results, what do you think people do with unwanted things? 

It is too heartbreaking and unbearable for me to answer that. If they do not abort it, they will find it difficult to cater for their selves and the unplanned child.

 However, on the other hand, cohabitation enables you to know your partner very well. This helps the couples to know how to live with each other. It will help them to know whether he or she is the right person or not. It enables them to live with each other, their dos and don'ts and so on. Many people choose cohabitation as a way to test-drive the relationship before getting married. 

Though early marriage doesn't necessarily mean early divorce, the study shows that living together beforehand improves the likelihood of a couple staying together. It may appear to be a practical, positive stepping stone to healthy marriage but it can cause certain risk which may affect both the couple and unplanned child if that happens. Research indicates that living together before marriage can bring significant harm to the relationship and the individuals involved.

 Why is cohabitation such a concern for the Church?

As you work with your priest during this time of preparation for marriage, you will speak with him about many issues. But the Church is particularly concerned about cohabitation because the practice is so common today and because, in the long run, it is causing great unhappiness for families in the Church. This is true, above all, because - even though society may approve of the practice - cohabitation simply cannot be squared with God's plan for marriage. This may be why most couples who live together before marriage finds married life difficult to sustain for very long.

The Church does not invent laws. It passes on and interprets what God has revealed through the ages. No one in the Church has the right to change what Jesus has taught. To do so would be to deprive people of saving truths that were meant for all time. Our Christian faith teaches that a sexual relationship belongs only in marriage.

Sex outside of marriage shows disrespect for the sacrament of marriage, the sacredness of sex, and human dignity.

I will end by quoting Percy Bysshe Shelley “A husband and wife ought to continue united so long as they love each other. Any law which should bind them to cohabitation for one moment after the decay of their affection would be a most intolerable tyranny, and the most unworthy of toleration.”
Source: Roselyn Osei Kuffour / roselynlove15@gmail.com

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