By Adrian Thatcher
This ebook is the 1st optimistic, in-depth learn of cohabitation outdoors marriage from a mainstream Christian theological standpoint. The ebook retrieves the traditions of betrothal from the bible and church background, and exhibits how those can rework Christian attitudes to residing jointly sooner than marriage. It takes factor with theologians who marginalize marriage, and means that the popularity of marital values can act as a beneficial bridge among Christian educating and those that usually are not officially married.
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However, an author’s prior commitments are no substitute for a clear account of the adopted method for dealing with an ethical problem. So: the theological analysis gets started by contrasting the negative results of the guide to cohabitation with what Christians understand by salvation (ﬁrst section). The analysis soon reaches a crossroads. A basic distinction is required between two types of cohabitation, ‘prenuptial’ and ‘non-nuptial’ (second section): thereafter one type only ( prenuptial) becomes the preoccupation of the book.
This chapter has attempted to indicate something of the complex, shifting, nature of cohabitation. It will quickly become out of date, but for now it must remain the basis for theological analysis, reﬂection and response. These tasks are now overdue and will be taken up in the next chapter. Hall, ‘Marriage’, . Carmichael, ‘Consensual Partnering’, . Living together: a preliminary theological analysis The previous chapter was a ‘pre-theological’ attempt to understand an international social phenomenon prior to beginning theological analysis and reﬂection upon it.
We have already noted (above, proposition ) that cohabiting couples are more violent to each other than married couples. Robert Whelan’s study, based on British data in the s, claimed that children of cohabiting parents were times more likely to be subject to child abuse. ‘The most unsafe of all family environments for children is that in which the mother is living with someone other than the child’s biological father. ’ Jon Davies envisages an imaginary foetus approaching a life assurance agent about a policy which is most likely to provide him or her with a happy life.