There was an earthquake in newsrooms across the globe last Easter. Not the Earthquake that occurred in Indonesia, Chile or Mexico City, or even the seismic activity on Easter morning some two-thousand years ago. The globe stopping news was that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were engaged.
The story was given equal air-time to conflicts and news that will literally change the way people live. The engagement may do the same. It appears to be is a story of hope for many young people who are actively struggling with the definition and understanding of marriage. A generation marred by divorce and a spiral of silence resulting in gay-marriage debates, young people today are delaying the commitment of marriage and settling for the trial run cohabitation. Worldview expert John Stonestreet has commented that students he connects with have talked about marriage as an obsolete institution, resulting in the popularity of an ambiguously defined cohabitation.
The video above is a short introduction into the conversation of marriage. Glenn Stanton's book The Ring Makes All the Difference communicates a more realistic picture of the situation apart from the Hollywood scene of cohabitation leading to marriage in Brad and Angelina's story. Stanton notes that statistically, cohabitating couples are 50% to 80% more likely to divorce than non-cohabitating couples seeking marriage. Claire Kamp-Dush noted in the Journal of Marriage and Family that there was little evidence that the negative consequences of cohabitation dissipated over time as cohabitation became more prevalent. They discovered premarital cohabitators were more likely to have lower levels of marital happiness, more marital conflict and higher levels of divorce.
Statistics and science speak volumes to young adult's parent's generation. However the real-life example of Brad and Angelina stand in support of the post-modern youth who deny what social science reveals. This is best seen through the visceral response to clinical psychologist Meg Jay's article published in the New York Times entitled "The Downside of Cohabitation Before Marriage,". Huffington Post writer Natasha Burton has a personal response that she believes trumps the logic and research of Jay, Stanton, Kamp-Dush and others.
Burton's Huffington Post column is a therapeutic anecdote to the stressful confusion of relationships for young people. At Hillcrest, our desire is to use Biblical authority to define relationships in the life-giving way God intended them. This perspective enables students to apply the logic and reason of Jay, Stanton and Kamp-Dush while also providing a meaningful committed solution to the cohabitation question posed by Burton. As noted by Glenn Stanton in The Ring Makes All the Difference:
This is what I find time and time again as one who seeks as a Christian to research the truths of marital, family, and sexual relationships. I discover constantly that rather than contradicting God's Word, well-done, honest science-free from advocacy and political or ideological influence-supports what God tells us is best for us...The book of science gives witness to the book of Scripture. And why shouldn't it? Both have the same author.
We celebrate that we can understand Scripture to be God's blue-print for life as we live in a world that continually redraws the plans for a healthy and productive society. At Hillcrest, students interact with teachers who care and model the cohesive family structures we all desire for our kids. We pray our students take this message of intention and organization and winsomely share it as they participate in God's world, living their life with significance.