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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Dave Likeness on November 28, 2021, 12:54:19 PM

Title: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Dave Likeness on November 28, 2021, 12:54:19 PM
The Pew Research Center reported the following percentages among the
adult population ages 25 to 54:

1990.....67% Married......29% Non-Married......4% Cohabiting

2019.....53% Married......38% Non-Married......9% Cohabiting

This trend in the past 30 years has implications for the local
congregation.  When marriage is postponed until people have
become established in their careers, it reduces the number of
years for wives able to have children.

Of course, less children means smaller parishes.   Some couples
are also making the choice to not have any children at all.  The
issue of cohabiting couples who are not married is also not a
positive trend for the future.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Charles Austin on November 28, 2021, 01:30:33 PM
I am surprised that the cohabiting statistics are so low.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on November 28, 2021, 02:51:28 PM
I am surprised that the cohabiting statistics are so low.

But they more than doubled:   A 125% increase.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Charles Austin on November 28, 2021, 03:00:31 PM
I just thought that more than 9% of the adults of that age group would be cohabiting.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Dana Lockhart on November 28, 2021, 11:54:59 PM
I just thought that more than 9% of the adults of that age group would be cohabiting.

I am also surprised it is that low. The latest trend, at least in my extended social circle, is buying homes together prior to (or instead of) marriage.

Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2021, 12:04:16 AM
Dana Lockhart, in my last 15-18 active years of parish ministry, I don't think I had one couple come seeking marriage who were not already living together. Or, in conversations about their life and activities, it was at least clear that they were taking vacations together in what we would consider romantic locations. I've asked other pastors in this modest forum about their experiences with such couples, but have not received any answers or explanations. Maybe they never encounter such couples. But I doubt it.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 29, 2021, 12:54:46 AM
I just thought that more than 9% of the adults of that age group would be cohabiting.

I am also surprised it is that low. The latest trend, at least in my extended social circle, is buying homes together prior to (or instead of) marriage.


A third relative and a partner has just bought a house together. Two of those relatives have since married. The most recent one hasn’t talked about marriage.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Terry W Culler on November 29, 2021, 06:30:44 AM
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?  Even cohabitation without marriage requires a higher commitment to another person than simply "hooking up". If America is bowling alone, maybe it's also living alone. :-\
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on November 29, 2021, 08:07:03 AM
So, what does one do about this?
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Terry W Culler on November 29, 2021, 09:22:42 AM
So, what does one do about this?


As Carl Trueman noted in his recent book, we are experiencing the end result of a 200 year long attack on our understanding of the nature of mankind and our relationship with one another and with God.  Resolving this problem is not the work of one life time but of a consistent and focused effort to educate young people in the meaning and responsibilities associated with Western Christian civilization.

So how can we do this if we continue to send our young folks to be educated by advocates of this "I, Me and Mine" philosophy?  Better home life--sure.  Better church life--sure.  Classical education--can't hurt.  But as to resolving the problem of what we could call the "island life"--probably our Lord's return in glory.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: James S. Rustad on November 29, 2021, 10:09:13 AM
Cohabiting for a few months before marriage would not move the percentage much as it's a snapshot in time.  That may explain why the percentage is lower than many expected.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2021, 10:40:43 AM
Terry W Culler writes:
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?

I comment:
I believe it is possible that the generation younger than mine simply concluded that the lifestyle we consider “traditional marriage,“ was not working very well, lost its divine mandate, created a tremendous amount of hypocrisy and pain, existed primarily for social and monetary reasons, and had a too narrow definition of sexuality. A good number of those concluding  this were members of our congregations, believing Christians, and, as they rejected the idea of a six-day creation, rejected some other aspects of the type of Christianity they have been taught, made their decisions about how they should live as Christians.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Steven W Bohler on November 29, 2021, 10:46:10 AM
Terry W Culler writes:
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?

I comment:
I believe it is possible that the generation younger than mine simply concluded that the lifestyle we consider “traditional marriage,“ was not working very well, lost its divine mandate, created a tremendous amount of hypocrisy and pain, existed primarily for social and monetary reasons, and had a too narrow definition of sexuality. A good number of those concluding  this were members of our congregations, believing Christians, and, as they rejected the idea of a six-day creation, rejected some other aspects of the type of Christianity they have been taught, made their decisions about how they should live as Christians.

So, you are saying your generation screwed it up.  OK.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2021, 10:57:01 AM
Let me ask you directly, Pastor Bohler. How many people come to you seeking marriage who are already living together?
And it is that my generation that “screwed it up“ as you’re so charmingly suggest. It is the previous generations, plural, who imposed a certain rigidity in marriage that turned out to be harmful to many.
So how are your children, their friends, the children of your friends, the children in your congregation approaching marriage these days?
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 29, 2021, 10:59:38 AM

I comment:
I believe it is possible that the generation younger than mine simply concluded that the lifestyle we consider “traditional marriage,“ was not working very well, lost its divine mandate, created a tremendous amount of hypocrisy and pain, existed primarily for social and monetary reasons, and had a too narrow definition of sexuality. A good number of those concluding  this were members of our congregations, believing Christians, and, as they rejected the idea of a six-day creation, rejected some other aspects of the type of Christianity they have been taught, made their decisions about how they should live as Christians.
How does marriage lose its divine mandate? People listening to the Holy Spirit doing a new thing? Rejecting the faith once handed down in order to decide for themselves how to live as Christians is a long hand way of saying that they do not live as Christians. 
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2021, 11:04:54 AM
If, Peter, a couple lives together before getting married, are you saying they are no longer Christians? Is it impossible to be a Christian if one lives together before the church “blesses” that living with a particular ceremony?
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: D. Engebretson on November 29, 2021, 11:24:35 AM
So, what does one do about this?


As Carl Trueman noted in his recent book, we are experiencing the end result of a 200 year long attack on our understanding of the nature of mankind and our relationship with one another and with God.  Resolving this problem is not the work of one life time but of a consistent and focused effort to educate young people in the meaning and responsibilities associated with Western Christian civilization.

So how can we do this if we continue to send our young folks to be educated by advocates of this "I, Me and Mine" philosophy?  Better home life--sure.  Better church life--sure.  Classical education--can't hurt.  But as to resolving the problem of what we could call the "island life"--probably our Lord's return in glory.

Faithful and consistent catechesis is my first response. That said, I have a number of my former catechumens over the years who have ended up in cohabitating relationships, sometimes multiple ones with children by various partners.  The ship as sailed, as they say, and we are likely to see more, not less of this kind of living arrangement.  The reasons vary from maintaining student aid, cost of housing, saving up for the 'big' wedding celebration, to simple convenience and little concern for the institution. Perhaps a big crude, but as I have been told more than once: why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free. People use excuses such as the rate of divorce, but that only indicates that they anticipate failure before it begins and have little dedication to a lifetime commitment and the work required to keep it healthy.   
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Steven W Bohler on November 29, 2021, 11:37:10 AM
Let me ask you directly, Pastor Bohler. How many people come to you seeking marriage who are already living together?
And it is that my generation that “screwed it up“ as you’re so charmingly suggest. It is the previous generations, plural, who imposed a certain rigidity in marriage that turned out to be harmful to many.
So how are your children, their friends, the children of your friends, the children in your congregation approaching marriage these days?

1.  Too many.
2.  You said "the generation younger than mine".  Not "the generation younger than mine and those that preceded it".  I took that as your assigning the responsibility to your generation.
3.  What you call "a certain rigidity in marriage" I call God's intention.  If you want marriage to be all loose-goosey and devil-may-care, then I guess that is your choice.  However, that is not what I see in Scripture.
4.  My wife and I have no children.  And, if we did, I could no more control their "approach" than I could that of anyone else.  All I can do is preach and teach (and practice) what the Bible says.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Michael Slusser on November 29, 2021, 11:39:01 AM
The desire to control / resistance to being controlled are involved here.  "Common Law" marriage left the matter of life together and bearing of children to the man and woman. It was open to abuse and was abused, but by and large may have worked about as well as our formalized, legalized marriages. Extended families had something to do with that.

I think we are at a point where formality and documentation are meeting "we don't need your interference."

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Dave Benke on November 29, 2021, 11:39:12 AM
So, what does one do about this?


As Carl Trueman noted in his recent book, we are experiencing the end result of a 200 year long attack on our understanding of the nature of mankind and our relationship with one another and with God.  Resolving this problem is not the work of one life time but of a consistent and focused effort to educate young people in the meaning and responsibilities associated with Western Christian civilization.

So how can we do this if we continue to send our young folks to be educated by advocates of this "I, Me and Mine" philosophy?  Better home life--sure.  Better church life--sure.  Classical education--can't hurt.  But as to resolving the problem of what we could call the "island life"--probably our Lord's return in glory.

Faithful and consistent catechesis is my first response. That said, I have a number of my former catechumens over the years who have ended up in cohabitating relationships, sometimes multiple ones with children by various partners.  The ship as sailed, as they say, and we are likely to see more, not less of this kind of living arrangement.  The reasons vary from maintaining student aid, cost of housing, saving up for the 'big' wedding celebration, to simple convenience and little concern for the institution. Perhaps a big crude, but as I have been told more than once: why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free. People use excuses such as the rate of divorce, but that only indicates that they anticipate failure before it begins and have little dedication to a lifetime commitment and the work required to keep it healthy.

This is the answer I choose as well.  And I have the same results out in the world as you do, Don.  In my context the health of the marriage relationship from the past generation(s) is often visited upon the children in ways that make them so leery of marriage because of what they've experienced that they delay durable relationships and have no experience with the thick and thin of the marriage bond, just a lot of remembrance of betrayal and loud fights ending with a split.  That being said, we also take time inside the worship service and in other events to thank God for the blessing of marriage and the family.  Food, dancing (!), enjoyment and strengthening of the positive benefits. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 29, 2021, 12:10:52 PM
If, Peter, a couple lives together before getting married, are you saying they are no longer Christians? Is it impossible to be a Christian if one lives together before the church “blesses” that living with a particular ceremony?
Once again, Charles, you overreact and exaggerate. We do not say that couples who live together without being married (either in a church or civil ceremony) are no longer Christian. That living arrangement is not in accord with what after prayerful and careful study we understand God to have revealed in Scripture. Our understanding of the Simul suggests that no Christian truly and fully lives in compliance with God's will. Yet they are still forgiven Christians.


What are you suggesting? That since none of us lives the perfect Christian life we can simply ignore God's expressed will for our lives and do our own thing whatever we want?


As to your slighting reference to the church "blessing" the living arrangement with a ceremony, as you well know we Lutherans have never considered marriage to be a sacrament that must be performed by the church to be valid. In the discussions in the ELCA leading up to the decisions at the 2009 CWA the term PALMSGR was developed  as a marriage equivalent since at that time same sex marriage was not yet widely legal. The PA stood for Publically Accountable something that marriage accomplishes rather handily. Does the ELCA, or you,, no longer consider such Public Accountability important or even desirable?
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 29, 2021, 01:24:12 PM
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?  Even cohabitation without marriage requires a higher commitment to another person than simply "hooking up". If America is bowling alone, maybe it's also living alone. :-\


One son has usually lived with others (who were not his "partners"). For a while, he shared a townhouse with two women. When one had to leave, she was replaced with a guy. When our son moved to the other coast, he first shared a house with five others; then a smaller place with one other guy, whose girl-friend/fiancée/wife moved in with them. Our son offered to move out, but they wanted him to stay. (Partly because he helped pay the rent - and they liked him.) When he moved again, he shared a townhouse and now a 4-bedroom house with a friend from jr. high. He has "lived together" with a number of people, but not shared a bedroom with them. Where does that fit on the chart?
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 29, 2021, 01:26:52 PM
So, what does one do about this?


As Carl Trueman noted in his recent book, we are experiencing the end result of a 200 year long attack on our understanding of the nature of mankind and our relationship with one another and with God.  Resolving this problem is not the work of one life time but of a consistent and focused effort to educate young people in the meaning and responsibilities associated with Western Christian civilization.

So how can we do this if we continue to send our young folks to be educated by advocates of this "I, Me and Mine" philosophy?  Better home life--sure.  Better church life--sure.  Classical education--can't hurt.  But as to resolving the problem of what we could call the "island life"--probably our Lord's return in glory.


Isn't the "I, Me and Mine" philosophy form the background of those who insist on their own choice regarding the vaccine or gun ownership or abortion rights? It's not really a philosophy as the original sin that we are born with.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 29, 2021, 01:31:59 PM
Terry W Culler writes:
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?

I comment:
I believe it is possible that the generation younger than mine simply concluded that the lifestyle we consider “traditional marriage,“ was not working very well, lost its divine mandate, created a tremendous amount of hypocrisy and pain, existed primarily for social and monetary reasons, and had a too narrow definition of sexuality. A good number of those concluding  this were members of our congregations, believing Christians, and, as they rejected the idea of a six-day creation, rejected some other aspects of the type of Christianity they have been taught, made their decisions about how they should live as Christians.

So, you are saying your generation screwed it up.  OK.


Or the previous generation preached a good ethic, but didn't live it; so the phoniness of their preaching was negated. Consider just how attire has changed for worship. I was chastised by some back in the 60s because I wore sandals to church. People had their "Sunday-go-to-meeting" clothes. Today, at least in Arizona, coats and ties are almost never seen on men. More often shorts and Hawaiian shirts (and sandals). Many of the "rules" (or customs) of the previous generation are no longer seen as valid for the Christian life today.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 29, 2021, 01:47:22 PM
Terry W Culler writes:
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?

I comment:
I believe it is possible that the generation younger than mine simply concluded that the lifestyle we consider “traditional marriage,“ was not working very well, lost its divine mandate, created a tremendous amount of hypocrisy and pain, existed primarily for social and monetary reasons, and had a too narrow definition of sexuality. A good number of those concluding  this were members of our congregations, believing Christians, and, as they rejected the idea of a six-day creation, rejected some other aspects of the type of Christianity they have been taught, made their decisions about how they should live as Christians.

So, you are saying your generation screwed it up.  OK.


Or the previous generation preached a good ethic, but didn't live it; so the phoniness of their preaching was negated. Consider just how attire has changed for worship. I was chastised by some back in the 60s because I wore sandals to church. People had their "Sunday-go-to-meeting" clothes. Today, at least in Arizona, coats and ties are almost never seen on men. More often shorts and Hawaiian shirts (and sandals). Many of the "rules" (or customs) of the previous generation are no longer seen as valid for the Christian life today.
So, do you consider the "rule" that a committed relationship ship made in a publically accountable way is a mere custom, easily dispensible? (It is that commitment made in a way that is publically accountable that is of the essence of what marriage is, the ceremony solemnizes that commitment.)
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Terry W Culler on November 29, 2021, 02:13:00 PM
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?  Even cohabitation without marriage requires a higher commitment to another person than simply "hooking up". If America is bowling alone, maybe it's also living alone. :-\


One son has usually lived with others (who were not his "partners"). For a while, he shared a townhouse with two women. When one had to leave, she was replaced with a guy. When our son moved to the other coast, he first shared a house with five others; then a smaller place with one other guy, whose girl-friend/fiancée/wife moved in with them. Our son offered to move out, but they wanted him to stay. (Partly because he helped pay the rent - and they liked him.) When he moved again, he shared a townhouse and now a 4-bedroom house with a friend from jr. high. He has "lived together" with a number of people, but not shared a bedroom with them. Where does that fit on the chart?



This has nothing to do with the topic at hand
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Terry W Culler on November 29, 2021, 02:14:52 PM
So, what does one do about this?


As Carl Trueman noted in his recent book, we are experiencing the end result of a 200 year long attack on our understanding of the nature of mankind and our relationship with one another and with God.  Resolving this problem is not the work of one life time but of a consistent and focused effort to educate young people in the meaning and responsibilities associated with Western Christian civilization.

So how can we do this if we continue to send our young folks to be educated by advocates of this "I, Me and Mine" philosophy?  Better home life--sure.  Better church life--sure.  Classical education--can't hurt.  But as to resolving the problem of what we could call the "island life"--probably our Lord's return in glory.


Isn't the "I, Me and Mine" philosophy form the background of those who insist on their own choice regarding the vaccine or gun ownership or abortion rights? It's not really a philosophy as the original sin that we are born with.


There are indeed many variations of this worldview self focused worldview
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Dave Likeness on November 29, 2021, 02:28:19 PM
These are some excuses for cohabitation:

1. The couple wants to "make certain" they are a good fit for each other
before they ever think about the life-long commitment of marriage.

2. The couple has no interest in marriage.  They are good friends who
want to save money by sharing rental fees for an apartment.

3. The couple  does not believe in marriage but want to have a sexual
partner who is available to them most of the time.

It seems that men are more leery of marriage commitment than women.
We are dealing with a secular culture which rejects the 6th commandment
and has no guilt about adultery.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 29, 2021, 03:14:38 PM
So, do you consider the "rule" that a committed relationship ship made in a publically accountable way is a mere custom, easily dispensible? (It is that commitment made in a way that is publically accountable that is of the essence of what marriage is, the ceremony solemnizes that commitment.)


What constitutes "in a publicly accountable way" has changed over the generations. I have no idea how many centuries went by when couples "married" without any formal documents filed with state officials. The "public" was their families and communities. (Often the "marriage" was arranged by the parents.)


I suspect that "common law" marriages were the norm for much of America's early history.


Most folks of my generation and younger have seen that the legal marriages are easily dispensable through no-fault divorces and extra-marital affairs. The use of a religious (or civil) ceremony and the official documents are no guarantee that a marriage will last a life-time or chaste.


Not long ago a couple, friends of our son, had said that they were not going to get married, but just live together. They had pledged their love and faithfulness to each other - and they believed (and still believe) that was enough. They eventually did have a small marriage ceremony that only a few knew about. Their reason for going through the legal steps had nothing to do with commitment or love; but the financial and other benefits that come from having that piece of paper filed in some county clerk's office.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 29, 2021, 03:15:47 PM
Is it possible that the relatively low percentage of people living together without formal marriage reflects something else--the narcissism that seems so common among younger people who have grown up with the isolating force of modern tech?  Even cohabitation without marriage requires a higher commitment to another person than simply "hooking up". If America is bowling alone, maybe it's also living alone. :-\


One son has usually lived with others (who were not his "partners"). For a while, he shared a townhouse with two women. When one had to leave, she was replaced with a guy. When our son moved to the other coast, he first shared a house with five others; then a smaller place with one other guy, whose girl-friend/fiancée/wife moved in with them. Our son offered to move out, but they wanted him to stay. (Partly because he helped pay the rent - and they liked him.) When he moved again, he shared a townhouse and now a 4-bedroom house with a friend from jr. high. He has "lived together" with a number of people, but not shared a bedroom with them. Where does that fit on the chart?

This has nothing to do with the topic at hand


It illustrates that there are different definitions of "living together." What answer should he put on a poll like the one in the first post?
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 29, 2021, 03:28:52 PM
These are some excuses for cohabitation:

1. The couple wants to "make certain" they are a good fit for each other
before they ever think about the life-long commitment of marriage.

2. The couple has no interest in marriage.  They are good friends who
want to save money by sharing rental fees for an apartment.

3. The couple  does not believe in marriage but want to have a sexual
partner who is available to them most of the time.

It seems that men are more leery of marriage commitment than women.
We are dealing with a secular culture which rejects the 6th commandment
and has no guilt about adultery.


It's also possible that they have discovered that the OT rules against adultery had nothing to do with having sex with an unattached woman (either unmarried or not engaged to be married). Even Luther's Large Catechism expresses this: "Therefore, it is explicitly forbidden here to dishonor another’s marriage partner."
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: D. Engebretson on November 29, 2021, 04:20:50 PM
These are some excuses for cohabitation:

1. The couple wants to "make certain" they are a good fit for each other
before they ever think about the life-long commitment of marriage.

2. The couple has no interest in marriage.  They are good friends who
want to save money by sharing rental fees for an apartment.

3. The couple  does not believe in marriage but want to have a sexual
partner who is available to them most of the time.

It seems that men are more leery of marriage commitment than women.
We are dealing with a secular culture which rejects the 6th commandment
and has no guilt about adultery.


It's also possible that they have discovered that the OT rules against adultery had nothing to do with having sex with an unattached woman (either unmarried or not engaged to be married). Even Luther's Large Catechism expresses this: "Therefore, it is explicitly forbidden here to dishonor another’s marriage partner."

I know that you have argued many times that marriage as we have traditionally understood is not mandated by the Bible, nor was it practiced. On that many of us disagree.  So be it.

But how many people, in general, do you honestly believe have "discovered" your interpretation? In all my years of ministry I must admit that your interpretation sounds novel. Usually I heard the argument of "we don't need a license from the government to be legitimately married."  But I don't remember people generally discounting Adam and Eve's union in Genesis or other areas of scripture traditionally seen as defining marriage as unrelated to marriage, or hearing people argue whether the word "marriage" is even used in critical passages. For the record, in the Small Catechism, Luther interpreted the 6th commandment as calling for a person to lead a "sexually pure and decent life," which was given in addition to loving and honoring ones spouse.  Only in recent decades would many people tend to think that unrestricted sex outside of marriage is a neutral, non-moral issue.  One seldom hears a person saying two people are "living in sin," or that a baby was "born out of wedlock."  Young women are no longer escorted out of their communities to have their babies elsewhere to avoid community shaming.  In fact, many regular church goers today seem to celebrate such births with as much enthusiasm and approval as they do for the married, and see absolutely no problem with the cohabitation.  They may occasionally say something to their pastors in passing, such as: "Well I don't approve of it," but one wonders how strongly they feel on this point and are simply telling the pastor what they think he wants to hear.  Many parents simply remain silent on the issue out of fear of alienating themselves from their children or grand-children.  Clearly the prevailing culture of the late 20th century to the present has 'won the day.'  I am pleased that in a few short years I will no longer have to have discussions with young couples about their living status and the church's requirement to honor the place of sex only within marriage.  I suspect at this point that what I am told in the office is quickly ignored when they are well out of my sight.  I am not naive, but deeply disappointed in where things have gone in the church.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 29, 2021, 07:17:30 PM
I know that you have argued many times that marriage as we have traditionally understood is not mandated by the Bible, nor was it practiced. On that many of us disagree.  So be it.


 Can we agree that the Bible doesn't mandate a state license nor does it even tell us of vows being shared between couples who are being married? (About all we know about their marriage celebration from biblical accounts is that they drank a lot: the wedding at Cana and Jacob was so inebriated that he didn't realize he went to bed with Leah rather than Rachel.)

Quote
But how many people, in general, do you honestly believe have "discovered" your interpretation? In all my years of ministry I must admit that your interpretation sounds novel. Usually I heard the argument of "we don't need a license from the government to be legitimately married."  But I don't remember people generally discounting Adam and Eve's union in Genesis or other areas of scripture traditionally seen as defining marriage as unrelated to marriage, or hearing people argue whether the word "marriage" is even used in critical passages. For the record, in the Small Catechism, Luther interpreted the 6th commandment as calling for a person to lead a "sexually pure and decent life," which was given in addition to loving and honoring ones spouse.  Only in recent decades would many people tend to think that unrestricted sex outside of marriage is a neutral, non-moral issue.  One seldom hears a person saying two people are "living in sin," or that a baby was "born out of wedlock."  Young women are no longer escorted out of their communities to have their babies elsewhere to avoid community shaming.  In fact, many regular church goers today seem to celebrate such births with as much enthusiasm and approval as they do for the married, and see absolutely no problem with the cohabitation.  They may occasionally say something to their pastors in passing, such as: "Well I don't approve of it," but one wonders how strongly they feel on this point and are simply telling the pastor what they think he wants to hear.  Many parents simply remain silent on the issue out of fear of alienating themselves from their children or grand-children.  Clearly the prevailing culture of the late 20th century to the present has 'won the day.'  I am pleased that in a few short years I will no longer have to have discussions with young couples about their living status and the church's requirement to honor the place of sex only within marriage.  I suspect at this point that what I am told in the office is quickly ignored when they are well out of my sight.  I am not naive, but deeply disappointed in where things have gone in the church.


Perhaps 35 years ago I read an essay that called on all Christian pastors to stop signing marriage licenses. Marriages in the church should be about asking God's blessings on the couple and their new life together. That was separate from the state's license of creating a legal partnership. The essay further suggested that the elderly who might lose benefits with the state license, could still be married in a church. They would be united under God, but not under the state.


There was a pretty clear understanding that the state license gave some benefits, but it did not make a marriage. Too many ended in divorce or unhappiness. I've said this before, but marriage is based on the commitments that the couple make to each other. As such, it doesn't just happen with a ceremony and a license. It is a growing process that can begin with the first date, and second, third, and subsequent dates, engagement, marriage, and growing through the stages of the marriage: a couple, a family with children, empty nesting, retirement. Involved in the growing commitment will be sexual acts. The following is "the road to arousal" given by Ray E. Short in Sex, Love, or Infatuation: How Can I Really Know?, p. 121.


Full Repression
Holding hands
Hugging
Casual kissing
Serious kissing
French kissing(?)
Breasts covered
Breasts bared
Genitals covered
Genitals bared
Oral sex(?)
Genital to Genital
Sexual Intercourse


He includes these principles:


Principal 1: Avoid the two extremes.
Principal 2: Don’t light more fires than you can put out.
Principal 3: Avoid all chance of pregnancy
Principal 4: Set your own limit – and stick to it.
Principal 5: Couples who care, should share.

He, and I think all of us, would say that some of these behaviors will take place before couples marry. His advice is to draw the line as to how far one is willing to go before marriage while one is not aroused, and stick to the line (see principal 2).


My point with this is to indicate that marriage is not about going from full repression before marriage and everything after the ceremony. Marriage as commitment and the sexual expressions of love, are things that grow and develop between the couple. The public ceremony and license signing is just a step in the ongoing process.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 29, 2021, 08:09:59 PM
These are some excuses for cohabitation:

1. The couple wants to "make certain" they are a good fit for each other
before they ever think about the life-long commitment of marriage.

2. The couple has no interest in marriage.  They are good friends who
want to save money by sharing rental fees for an apartment.

3. The couple  does not believe in marriage but want to have a sexual
partner who is available to them most of the time.

It seems that men are more leery of marriage commitment than women.
We are dealing with a secular culture which rejects the 6th commandment
and has no guilt about adultery.


It's also possible that they have discovered that the OT rules against adultery had nothing to do with having sex with an unattached woman (either unmarried or not engaged to be married). Even Luther's Large Catechism expresses this: "Therefore, it is explicitly forbidden here to dishonor another’s marriage partner."

What do the OT rules have to do with us?!

The shrimp can't be far behind. Or maybe an irrelevant, personal acecdote.   ::)

Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2021, 08:36:13 PM
Pastor Kirchner grumps:
The shrimp can't be far behind.
I comment:
Oh, so there are passages in the Bible that you choose to ignore. Or you choose to interpret them in different ways than the Faith community,

Pastor Kirchner:
Or maybe an irrelevant, personal acecdote.
Me:
Well, heaven forfend us from citing our real experiences in the world rather than sticking to airy principles of philosophy or theology.
How about you? How many couples have you married that were not already living together or - if they lived far apart - taking vacations together in Cancun or Acapulco?
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 29, 2021, 08:46:57 PM
Pastor Kirchner grumps:
The shrimp can't be far behind.
I comment:
Oh, so there are passages in the Bible that you choose to ignore. Or you choose to interpret them in different ways than the Faith community,

I don't ignore them, but they don't apply to us.

Good grief, Charles! You brag about being in your luxury facility and having shrimp cocktails being delivered at your door during those dark, depressing times when the rest of us were out and about, working.?
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2021, 08:57:30 PM
What?!? I don’t remember bragging. I don’t apologize for living in a comfortable (not “luxury”) place and what does that have to do with anything?
Got an answer to my question about marrying couples were already living together?
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 29, 2021, 09:20:29 PM
What?!? I don’t remember bragging. I don’t apologize for living in a comfortable (not “luxury”) place and what does that have to do with anything?
Got an answer to my question about marrying couples were already living together?
I believe the point was that if you eat shrimp and you know kosher laws from the Bible, then you know it isn’t a matter of simply selectively applying verses.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Charles Austin on November 30, 2021, 12:00:31 AM
Irony and whimsy fail again. Sigh.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 30, 2021, 01:14:08 AM

What do the OT rules have to do with us?!


The Ten Commandments. The great commandment(s). The first command from God to humans: Be fruitful and multiply (and it wasn't about orchards or mathematics).

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The shrimp can't be far behind. Or maybe an irrelevant, personal anecdote.   ::)


If biblical truths cannot show up in personal anecdotes, then it isn't much of a truth. Just words in a book. If the Word of God doesn't change people's lives (which can be related in anecdotes,) then it has lost its power. I continue to believe that God's truth and God's Word are powerful enough to be illustrated in people's lives.
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 30, 2021, 08:20:30 AM

What do the OT rules have to do with us?!

The Ten Commandments.

Lutheranism 101, Brian. We don't derive the 10 Commandments from the OT. What does Moses have to do with me? I'm not a Jew.

"The law of Moses binds only the Jews and not the Gentiles"

LW, vo! 35, "How  Christians Should Regard Moses"

https://www.nlnrac.org/node/253
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Norman Teigen on November 30, 2021, 08:42:43 AM
I know from personal experience that Pastor Austin does not live in luxury.  It is a reasonably typical place the likes of which are seen nearly everywhere. 
Title: Re: Changing Lifestyles Of American Adults
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on November 30, 2021, 09:11:52 AM
Here is my to-do list when a couple has been living together/having sex before marriage:

1. Help them acknowledge that this is not the way of the Lord. Most still know that.
2. Help them understand that beginning sexual relations before marriage comes with proven problems for couples, namely, less developed spiritual bonds/commitment. This shows up later in the marriage when the sexual interests change and the spiritual aspects must hold the two of them together. Last time I checked, this problem leads to divorce in about 75% of cases. Divorce is far lower for couples who wait to have sex until after marriage.
3. Lead the couple in prayers of repentance and new commitment, understanding that they are not "trying" the other person but giving themselves wholly to one another.
4. Encourage them to return for counseling early if problems should arise, understanding that marriage is a lifetime commitment.

In some cases I have urged couples to separate as part of the repentance. (This often depends on family and household relationships and how long they have been together.) Illinois helpfully had common law marriage on the books (7 years cohabitation). Ohio does not.