Guest / Limited Access /

Glenn T. Stanton has made a career studying the role of families in our society—both as a consultant in the George W. Bush administration and today as director for family formation studies at Focus on the Family. His latest book, The Ring Makes All the Difference: The Hidden Consequences of Cohabitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage (Moody), explores the many downsides of an increasingly popular practice among young couples: living together before marriage. Caryn Rivadeneira, an author and regular contributor to the CT women's blog, Her.meneutics, spoke with Stanton about his research findings and why they matter to men, women, and children.

Why did you focus on the scientific data about the dangers of cohabitation, rather than Scripture?

There's a natural theology in creation that we need to observe. My use of science and data is a pounding on the pulpit. As Christians we read out of two books: the book of Scripture and the book of nature. That's how godly people—and smart people—should look at the world.

Should pastors, for instance, cite academic research to counsel people who are considering living together?

We already know ideologically that marriage is a different relationship than cohabitation, but we need to know that research data support God's Word. The Bible is not some antiquated thing that we need to keep as far as we can from science, lest science overshadow it. It's really quite dramatic how science confirms the scriptural understanding of marriage.

Is cohabitation more or less egalitarian than marriage?

Marriage is actually a very pro-woman institution. People don't fully realize what a raw deal for women cohabitation is. Women tend to bring more ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueBelievers on the MOVE
Subscriber Access Only Believers on the MOVE
A suburban Chicago church ministers to Muslims at home and abroad.
RecommendedInterVarsity Asks Staff to Choose a Stance on Sexuality
InterVarsity Asks Staff to Choose a Stance on Sexuality
Campus ministry's push for theological consistency prompts painful backlash.
TrendingSpeak Truth to Trump
Speak Truth to Trump
Evangelicals, of all people, should not be silent about Donald Trump's blatant immorality.
Editor's PickThe Year of Living Hopelessly
The Year of Living Hopelessly
2016 tempted us toward nihilism. We don’t have to go there.
Christianity Today
The Science of Shacking Up
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.