The Ring Makes All the Difference
by Glenn T. Stanton
Reader Appeal: Parents, Single adults
Genre: Cultural Concerns
PopFam Rating: B
Living together before marriage can be somewhat of a controversial topic, especially between parents and their young adult children. Our culture says it's okay, so what's to stop a man and a woman from testing the waters to see if they're right for each other or compatible? Isn't it important to find out if they can stand living together before "tying the knot?" Won't living together better ensure a marriage that lasts?
Well, as Glenn Stanton shows, the answer is no. This book, and the loads of research it draws from, give many, many outstanding reasons why cohabitation is not the best idea. Interestingly, these opinions are not based on Christian or religious research, but from social scientists across the country and data gathered over the past 30 years. This research shows that marriages that begin with cohabitation are more likely to end in divorce, involve some sort of abuse, infidelity, and lack the commitment it takes to make a marriage last. Some of the findings are logical, such as children who live with a mom's boyfriend are more likely to endure abuse, and some is surprising (cohabitating, non-married parents are 292 times more likely to break up than parents who didn't live together prior to marriage).
Often times we think of young adults as those living together, but really adults of all ages adults do, and frequently those adults have children they take into this living situation. As you can see from just the two examples above, this probably isn't the wisest choice a parent can make for his or her child. Which is why this is such an important book. It doesn't just give the standard Christian answer for avoiding cohabitation, but gives reasons that any person can read and understand. The author has done an outstanding job of making this book readable and relevant to singles as well as those with kids.
The evidence the author provides is overwhelming, but what makes this book great for those considering living together is the questions provided after each chapter. The author doesn't just want someone to read the research and put it away, but think it through. Talk about it and make a choice based on facts, not the emotion of the moment.
While I wouldn't recommend reading this book with your teenager, it is good information for parents to have as they instill values and the ability to make wise decisions. Which is what we all want for our children, as well as ourselves, isn't it?
Let’s Talk About It
If your family members are interested in this book, then encourage discussion about it afterward. You can use these questions to get started:
• How did this book affect your opinion of living together?
• What most surprised you about the information provided by the author?
• What can you do to help your kids avoid decisions that might be okay culturally, but not spiritually?
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