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Why wait? Why get married?

Why wait? Why get married?

Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 9:06 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

If you don’t recognize the name Kate Middleton, I congratulate you. You’ve managed to steer clear of the media frenzy related to the royal wedding which took place last week across the great pond.  
Some of my Facebook friends actually woke up at 3:30 a.m. to watch two people they don’t know, two people they’ll never meet, get married.
OK. I’m not going to over-analyze that. It is what it is. But all the hoopla over the royal wedding has made me stop and think about a subject I’ve wanted to address for a while. Why get married?
Lately, I’ve met a lot of young people who are living together. A few days ago, I was speaking in Pennsylvania and a beautiful young 20-something told me about living with her boyfriend and she said it so calmly and so matter-of-factly as though she were telling me she worked for the phone company. Many of the local students I meet are living with their significant others. It’s become a common practice.
In fact, a study done in 2000 indicated that the majority of couples in the U.S. will live together before marriage.
Anyone who watched coverage of the royal wedding knows that Kate and William had lived together for the last year. As various media pundits said so calmly, “They’ve ‘been together’ for eight years.” At one point, a media person actually indicated that their chances were much better for marital survival because they had been together so long, had known each other so well. There would be no surprises for William and Kate.  
But marriage was intended to bring surprises. Wonderful surprises. That’s part of the beautiful mystery of life and love and one of the rewards of making a life-long commitment to another human being. That’s part of the bonding and oneness process that marriage was intended to create.
And statistics are crystal clear about whether living together before marriage benefits the survival chances of the marriage. It doesn’t.
According to U.S. Attorney Legal Services, 20 percent of people who don’t live together before marriage will be divorced within five years of the wedding. On the other hand, 49 percent of people who live together before marriage will be divorced within five years of the wedding. So the media pundit was wrong.  
I’m not angry. I’m not on a soap box. I’m not one bit interested in ranting or engaging in a debate. I’m just deeply concerned about helping young people and people of all ages see the truth about this tender subject. An intimate physical relationship is one of God’s greatest gifts. Bar none. I’m a big fan. But it’s intended to be a marital gift because of the intense power with which it wields people’s hearts and lives. It’s intended for marriage because it has a bonding effect which acts as a glue between a man and a woman. It’s discouraging too when I hear adults say, “Young people are gonna do it anyway.” As I told 300 teenagers recently, “Some people say you’re unable to control yourself, that you’re like a dog or a rabbit, that you can’t make choices. But I think much more highly of you than that. You’re a person. A human being. You can wait for something better.”
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website

Published in The Messenger 5.4.11