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  • Writer's pictureJohn Nolan

The Problem with De Facto Relationships (Living Together)

Updated: 6 days ago

So many of the problems we are facing today in our modern society are repercussions of the

failings of previous generations. Decisions that were made decades ago continue to have far reaching and often unforeseen ramifications, this is clearly seen in the widespread breakup of families within our society.

Building on the Sand
Relationships without God

*Please understand that this blog is not being written to shame those currently living in de facto relationships, but to identify a lifestyle choice that in my opinion hinders rather than strengthens the social fabric of our western society.

I believe that our choices as adults and parents are either improving the future prospects for our children or leaving them with a world in a worse condition than the one we inherited from our parents.

A Changing World

When I grew up in the 1960's, Australian society seemed more stable and within it family life felt more secure and dependable. Very few of my friends from school came from single parent or divorced homes and Australians were still shocked and outraged when the news reported that their had been a murder committed somewhere within our nation. Nowadays unfortunately these scenarios are all to common in our society, and are often even accepted now as the norm.

It was a different time, with different values and a greater sense of community and personal responsibility than what we experience now.

It was a different time, with different values and a greater sense of community and personal responsibility than what we experience now. It was culturally expected that young people showed respect to their elders, stood and gave seats to women while travelling on the bus or train and many people opened doors for others, merely out of a sense of courtesy. These behaviors were instilled into my generation and assigned under the heading of being just 'good manners'.

Unfortunately, many of the decisions that were made by my generation as they sought greater moral freedoms have eroded the very foundations that made our society strong and have destabilized, the structures that supported the family unit.

A Changing Lifestyle

In Australia at that time, there were major changes in acceptable behavior within our society. The behavioral constraints that previous generations had accepted as social norms were abandoned by much of this generation and replaced by a lifestyle best described as being morally relative, where if it feels good, do it!

These social changes were also accepted by the government of the time as the new norm, and de facto relationships became the way many young couples began their life together. This arrangement may seem to be a smarter way to find out if the relationship will last before you take the big step of getting married, but brings with it a range of problems and repercussions of its own.

Legally de facto relationships are now seen as similar to marriage and often incur the same costs as those who are being divorced, which often runs into tens of thousands of dollars in disputed settlements. When children are involved and custody is being contested the financial outlay can escalate considerably, but unfortunately the emotional cost to the family can be even more catastrophic.

(John 4:16-18) Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

Jesus in this story indicates that the men that this woman had been living with throughout her life had the status and benefits of a husband, but they lacked the responsibility and commitment required in marriage.

Listed below are just some of the problems that come with de facto relationships:

  • Statistically Speaking de facto relationships are 6 times more likely to break-up than a couple who is married without living together first.

  • The 'try before you buy' mentality failed to realize that many people decide not to get married and so continue in what is often an unstable relationship. This unfortunately affects not only themselves but any children that may result from the union.

  • After 2 years in a de facto relationship the legal commitments in relation to property settlements etc. is the same as those within traditional marriage.

  • The children of de facto relationships often have different last names to that of their parents current partner and this can lead to a sense of insecurity about identity and acceptance within the family.

  • The children of de facto relationships are still seen within many communities as being illegitimate or 'bastards' and suffer socially from this perception.

It can therefore be surmised that society in general has suffered, rather than benefited from the acceptance and adoption of the widespread practice of living within de facto relationships. It has been 50 years since those fundamental changes in society took place, and we are now reaping the results of a generation of children who don't know who they are and what their responsibilities in society should be.

Mans Ideas Vs God's Wisdom

The question I would ask today is the same one I ask about many issues we increasingly seem to have to face in our modern society, and that question is: What does God think about this?

To find the answer on God's views on this and many other subjects we need to look no further than the pages of God's revelation of His will to mankind found in the Bible.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

God's Thoughts on De facto Relationships and Marriage

In God’s judgment, there’s no such thing as de facto relationships. Relationships outside of the covenant of marriage are clearly described either as fornication or adultery. Fornication is the description of those in a sexual relationship having never been married, and adultery is the description of those in a sexual relationship with someone other than the person that they married. Both of these behaviors are now widely accepted and practiced within our modern society but fail to live up to the standards that God Himself has set.

There are many behaviors that are legally acceptable in modern society but unacceptable in the sight of God.

(Genesis 2:24)

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

When relationships breakup there is often a very high level of emotional pain involved for both parties, and this situation is made even worse when there are children involved as well. God didn’t want His children to suffer this and so made a way for human beings to enjoy the benefits of married life without the suffering involved in breakups or divorce.

The way God established to protect both individuals and the family unit was through covenant marriage. A covenant is a solemn vow and commitment and within marriage it is a commitment to stay married and continue to work through the challenges of life together as a team until they are parted by death, no matter what.

See my previous blog The Benefits of Fidelity

(Matthew 7:24-27)

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

Christ-centered marriage, being based on the wisdom of the scriptures and God's love and Spirit of service within the family unit, is a foundation that can survive through the storms of life and shine as a light into our communities.

The Christian Marriage Difference

  • Both in Relationship with Jesus

  • Built upon Scripture

  • Mutual respect, defined roles, servant-hood, teamwork, fear of God

  • Built upon Covenant Commitment not feelings or lust

I hope you found this helpful

God Bless


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