"Premarital Cohabitation" in Chinese Urban Church

By CCD contributor: Paul Wu , February 15, 2017 02:02 AM

(pixabay.com)

Today is the Valentine's Day. On this day some churches will exhort the congregation to be holy, free from sexual liberation and reject premarital cohabitation.

With the society's development, the sexual morality is on the decline. Cohabitation before marriage was considered as a great shame more than three decades, while it has become more commonly accepted in this era. There is a particular concern on sex topics including love affairs and one-night stands in the modern society. Affected by the Internet and media, even some young Christians expect sexual intercourses.

Many devout Christians show their worries, advising other believers to stick to the truth rather than follow the trend. A large percentage of Christian websites and church publications convey the message against cohabitation.

However, cohabitation among young Christians still exists, and is even common in some areas.

One of the causes of this phenomenon has been always ignored: cohabitation before marriage is not just a matter of faith or morality, but also a social trend.

With the increasing urbanization of China, numerous young people leave their hometowns and work in cities. Not having their own apartments, the majority of them have to rent ones. But the housing price has seen rising in the recent more than one decade, along with higher rent costs.

Renting an apartment costs a lot, creating much pressure for migrant workers on low incomes. Some young lovers prefer to choose cohabitation to share rent burdens. Similarly, some young believers of urban churches use cohabitation as a method for saving money, especially in those churches whose major members are migrant workers.

A pious brother tells me that living together before marriage is really common in his youth fellowship, the most of whom are migrants. Their monthly wages range from 2000 to 4000 yuan while they need to pay at least 1000 yuan to rent an apartment. There is no better way for some brothers for accommodation except living with their girlfriends.

He mentions that you can't simply regard these cohabitating unmarried couples as unspiritual or immoral people. Instead, it is the huge living pressure that leads to their choice of the improper means.

For the church, it should attach importance to the cohabitation issue of Christians who come from other places and find practical ways to solve it. For example, the church can encourage members of the same sex to share an apartment. Rich churches can offer rental subsidies for financially disadvantaged believers, which relieves the pressure and prevents cohabitation.

Translated By: Karen Luo

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