This from the July/August 2008 issue of "Family Foundations" by Dr. Stephen J. Genuis: Although the importance of enduring marriage is increasingly evident, the question remains as to why cohabitation does not prepare for marriage. Essentially, successful marriage is just as much about commitment and willingness to self-sacrifice as compatibility issues. Not to diminish the importance of mutual communication, healthy attraction as well as shared beliefs, values and goals, a fundamental ingredient for successful marriage is commitment and intention to persevere. While marriage is a wonderful blessing, couples cannot anticipate the various challenges and circumstances that arise. Perserverance and commitment, not intuition and emotion are the glue that binds through difficulty and strife. Those willing to engage in a cohabitation experiment are, by definition, willing to engage in a relationship that does not require permanence or commitment. Perhaps the most important ingredient of marital stability - commitment - is a virtue based on character and loyalty, not on emotions or feelings...As a physician who observes the outcomes of life choices on a daily basis, I am continually astonished at how many life changing courses of action are decided by feelings, intuition and transient emotion, without studying the realities of facts or consequences. Marriage is a profound covenant with supreme implications for individuals, offspring, and social stability; decisions about marriage or cohabitation should not be taken lightly...Strong marriages depend on couples maintaining values of respect, self-sacrifice, commitment and perseverance, not succumbing to contemporary fads of playing house. Commitment is the virtue that transforms vows into reality. If we wish to benefit society and diminish the anguish associated with fractured homes, enhanced marital marital stability can be secured by training in virtue, not trials of living together.
Amen! and thank you, Dr. Genuis for truth spoken in love. As Mary and I approach our 25th wedding anniversary next week (7/30/83) I would only add that virtues such as commitment, self-sacrifice and perserverance are made possible by the grace of God and seeing holy marriage as an icon of the relationship between Jesus and the Church (Ephesians 5:32), the ultimate commitment of all history. When I begin to see myself (within the context of marriage) as an icon of Jesus Christ who is called to love Mary as much as Jesus loves the Church, even to the point of dying for her, I can see also more clearly my daily need to turn to God and change the way I think and act (a good translation of "repent!"); and when Mary sees herself as an icon (within the context of marriage) of the Church that is deeply moved to love and serve Jesus because of the way He has first loved us, her love for me will likewise be an ever-increasing blessing in more ways than we could have imagined. Just as Jesus could never break His commitment to the Church and the Church cannot cease confessing her Lord, so a Christian husband and wife cannot separate what God has joined together.
Revelation is required to see marriage in this light, and to recognize as a LIE the common belief that living together is good preparation for marriage, that no one is hurt by sexual activity outside of holy marriage, etc.
A website worth investigating from that same issue: