Shacking Up or Sacrament?
“Shacking Up” to Save Money
More couples are riding out the economic downturn by “shacking up,” according to Loop21. Among them are Christians like 29 year old Tamaira Ogden, who moved in with her boyfriend to save money.
“Being a Christian woman, I have gone back and forth about the situation,” Odgen said. “But by moving in together, we are able to save more and clear out past bills. We both feel very strongly about not going into a new marriage with unnecessary debt and so we won’t.”
“Shacking Up” as Sacrament
Saving money isn’t the only justification though, for moving in together without a marriage license. Author and theologian Tony Jones was recently married for the second time at Solomon’s Porch, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but he and his bride didn’t procure a state marriage license. He outlined their reasons here, and expanded upon his argument here and here. Jones said:
1. “The sacred ceremony of marriage is far more important to us than the legal contract of marriage.”
2. “We don’t really care if the government considers us married. We’re far more interested in our marriage being solemnized by our family, friends, and community of faith.”
3. “We don’t think that we should enjoy the 515 benefits of legal marriage when so many of our friends cannot.”
4. “I do not think that clergy should act as agents of the government (as I’ve written before), and I did not want to ask my friend, Doug [Pagitt], to do so.”
Shaking Up the Church
The Loop21 article cites a Census Bureau report that says there was a 13 percent increase in cohabitation between 2009 and 2010, from an estimated 6.7 million unmarried couples living together in 2009 to 7.5 million by 2010. That’s a lot of cohabiting couples, some of whom are surely attending church. What you think about this trend?
Is it time for churches to adjust their view of marriage in our society? Or, do these cohabiting couples simply need to make their “marriages” legal?