Jenn Giroux
Cohabitation: a royal mistake
By Jenn Giroux
April 29, 2011

Did you ever notice that there is a different tone and feel to a wedding and the celebration that follows when a couple has been living together prior to taking their vows?

Something is missing.

Oh, it's not the guests, the music, the cake, or the decorations. There is always plenty of that to go around.

But something is lacking.

I will go so far as to say that there is a special look that is absent in the way a co-habitating bride and groom even look at each other.

There is no anticipation and no excitement of a new 'beginning.'

Cohabitation makes a mockery of a sacred vow and sacrament, and leaves the bride and groom without that tangible sense of the life-long vocation and commitment that they are entering into.

Some 750 million people flocked to their televisions to watch the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981. This was in a time when cohabitation would have been a royal embarrassment. Despite an increase of accessibility to view the ceremony, is it possible that the widespread knowledge that the Royal Couple, Prince William and Kate, have been cohabitating for 8 years, is the reason for America's notable lack of excitement about this royal wedding?

Where is the mention or outrage of this public scandal and embarrassment? The Dallas Morning News of April 9 captured the mood well when reporting "William and Kate's cohabitation elicits a shrug."

Is this a clear example that children grow up and live what they learned? Or are the sins of the father (Prince Charles' long accepted affair with Camilla) being visited upon the son (Prince William)?

It is, in fact, a myth that cohabitation is a good way to determine compatibility.

Switching over to a full commitment after finally taking marriage vows can be difficult if not impossible after a couple lives together first. .

The US Bureau of Census (2000) tells us that 60-75% of first marriages are now preceded by cohabitation. A Canadian Study (Wu, 2000) found that prior cohabitation doubles the chances that a marriage would end in divorce. This may explain the utter chaos we see today within society and the Church.

Living together before marriage has a profound, long term effect upon a couple's relationship and marriage. Years of study and actual statistics from both secular and religious sources have confirmed that the list of negatives include: decreased premarital satisfaction, decreased sexual satisfaction after marriage, a heightened acceptance of divorce, increase in the likelihood that there will be sexual infidelity, an increase in violence in the relationship, and an added adverse effect on the couple's desire to have many children.

It is not unreasonable to question how 8 years of cohabitation did not render a pregnancy unless Kate is using some form of contraception. Knowing what we do about the effects of hormonal contraception on a woman's body (and the fact that long term use often allows fertilization but actually thins out the lining of the uterus, causing a spontaneous abortion masked as a heavy period) could it be possible that several royal embryos have already been aborted?

It is broadly accepted by the mainstream media and young people today that "everybody lives together." Selfish behavior (such as the sexual gratification sought in cohabitation and the use of contraception) always renders consequences. Sadly, many young couples don't even know why they shouldn't 'shack up.'

It was a great blessing recently when Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe, New Mexico issued his courageous Pastoral letter, "Pastoral care of couples who are cohabitating" which is gaining widespread circulation. He writes:

"We have three groups of people who are living contrary to the Gospel teaching on marriage: those who cohabit; those who have a merely civil union with no previous marriage; and those who have a civil union who were married before. These people are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and may not receive Holy Communion. They are in great spiritual danger. At the best — and this is, sadly, often the case — they are ignorant of God's plan for man and woman. At the worst, they are contemptuous of God's commandments and His sacraments...... Christ our Lord loves all these people and wishes to save them — not by ignoring their sin, or calling evil good, but by repentance and helping them to change their lives in accordance with His teaching. "

This high profile royal couple, who willingly or unknowingly lives in this state of moral confusion, implores each of us to fall to our knees — not to exult and honor the Royal Couple as the British media will — but instead to pray for them.

Archbishop Sheehan's Pastoral letter carries a great reminder to all couples who seek to "make right" their living situations. Through the grace of God there lies eternal hope for the restoration of the sacred institution of Marriage.

The message to this generation is loud and clear and quite undeniable: Cohabitation is a Royal mistake.

© Jenn Giroux


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Jenn Giroux

Jenn Giroux has been a Registered Nurse for 29 years, where she has witnessed firsthand the physical, emotional, and spiritual fallout of the women's movement, especially in the areas of contraception and abortion. In response, she has answered God's call to be a witness to the hidden truths on these subjects... (more)


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