The Super Bowl this year was a dud. In other words, it was not very exciting. It certainly did not live up to my expectations with the two teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, having two popular quarterbacks: The veteran Tom Brady and the new sensation Patrick Mahomes (My favorite quarterback). But, these two quarterbacks have more in common than football. Both of them have fathered children outside of marriage.
Tom Brady had a relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan between 2004-2006. A couple of months after the relationship ended, she revealed that she was pregnant. She gave birth to a son, John. Brady later began dating, Brazillian model Gisele Bündchen, and they were married at a Catholic wedding in February 2008. They have had two children together: a son, Benjamin, and a daughter, Vivian. Brady, although raised Catholic, has expressed that he is less religious than he is spiritual.
Patrick Mahomes is the son of a major leauge pitcher Pat Mahomes. On September 1st, 2020, he became engaged to his high school sweetheart, Brittany Matthews. In February 2021, she gave birth to their daughter. Apparently, they are getting married in 2022. Mahomes declares himself a Christian. According to Mahomes mother, he came to know Christ in middle school through his involvement in his Church’s youth group (en.wikipedia.org).
A TALE OF TWO QUARTERBACKS
Interestingly, these two quarterbacks, one not particularly Christian and one who had stated he is a Christian, both ended up doing the same thing — namely fathering a child out of wedlock. Now, it is not my place here to make judgments about all this. However, I do want to point out that the moral decisions of Christians today are often the same as those in the world who do not claim to be Christians. The values of the world have become the values of the Church. Romans 12 (J. B. Philips New Testament) encourages believers, “don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.” So what does this mean in regards to Christian Marriage?
This includes not only premarital sex (which can lead to pregnancy) but more things than that, such as, cohabitation which is happening more and more today.
THE FUTURE OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
The Christian view of marriage is not being practiced as it once was. When I was growing up, no one would think of moving in together unless you were married. Indeed, the word “cohabitation” was not in our vocabulary. Now, all that has changed.
“University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus tracks these changes in his new book, The Future of Christian Marriage… [which] features interviews with numerous Christian young people from seven countries. By being both forward-looking and firmly planted in history, Regnerus traces how marriage went from a natural institution bound up with childbearing and blessed by the Church to one that is now, like so many other things in our culture, determined by adult desires and largely defined (or should I say redefined?) by the state.
One of the most counterintuitive findings in The Future of Christian Marriage is that Christian young people around the world still have a recognizably biblical ideal for what marriage should be. Those he interviewed typically mentioned the idea of a lifelong union of man and woman. Often, they talked about how marriage is a picture of Christ and His Church, as Paul teaches in Ephesians 5. Many even mentioned that children are part of God’s design for marriage.
Tragically, far fewer practice, or even try to practice, this design. The average age at first marriage is nearing historic highs in nearly every country Regnerus studied, and cohabitation is quickly becoming a common lifestyle choice, even for young people within the Church” (breakpoint.org).
Note that “cohabitation is quickly becoming a common lifestyle choice, even for young people within the Church” (breakpoint.org). In recent times, my wife Dorothy and I have had conversations with people and parents concerning cohabitation. Let me share one such case.
I recently heard from a pastor I knew out on the East Coast. Here is his email: “We have taught on marriage for over 20 years. We teach God’s Word. We are in a rural community where not everyone thinks that you need a legal certificate to be married. If you are committed Christians, make vows to each other, then you are married in the eyes of God. Where in God’s word does it say you must obtain a marriage license and be legally married in the eyes of the state?”
They wanted my input and feedback, which I sought to do from a distance. Firstly, since this pastor was an Associate Pastor, he needed to submit the situation to the Senior Pastor and the leadership of the Church. This would allow the leadership to be united on this matter. He did just that, and they were totally in agreement about their position on this issue. Secondly, I shared some thoughts on the question of cohabitation vs. marriage. I had talked about this topic in a previous Langstaff Letter. Let me repeat part of it here.
RENTING VERSUS BUYING
The answer is simple. It is like living in a house which you are either renting or buying. Renting allows you the freedom to just walk away at any time. It is not a commitment. Buying, on the other hand, requires you to make a major commitment. It costs you something not just to buy a house but also to take care of it. So, cohabitation is like renting, and marriage is like buying.
A relationship that does not involve a lasting commitment will not last. Marriage is one of the biggest commitments you can ever make.
MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN LIVING IN COHABITATION
Katherine Kersten, in an article in the Minneapolis Tribune, entitled, ‘Live Together? It’s not all it seems to be,’ quotes a report from the Rand Corporation. It confirms that women and men tend to have significantly different expectations of cohabitation. “52 percent of cohabitating young men indicate uncertainty about whether their relationship will last. More than four in ten men say they are not ‘completely committed’ to their partners, compared with only 26 percent of women” (startribune.com).
Cohabitating means a lack of commitment. As James Taranto notes in the Wall Street Journal, “the tendency is for women to be more committed than men, which suggests that many women would settle for cohabitation, when they would prefer marriage” (startribune.com).
All this has meant that there is no longer a period of courtship leading to marriage; a time when people can grow together as friends, building a strong and solid foundation to their relationship.
Also, as Kersten notes, “Children are the big losers. Children who reside with their mother and her boyfriend are about 11 times more like to be sexually, physically, or emotionally abused and six times more likely to be neglected, than children living with their married, biological parents” (startribune.com). All around, cohabitation is not a good idea.
THE CHALLENGE TO CHRISTIANS AND THE CHURCH TODAY
I haven’t enumerated the Biblical reasons against cohabitation in this article. Simply to say, that they are obvious. The Bible has a high view of marriage and the beautiful relationship between a man and a woman that flows through the whole Bible.
In the midst of the world that is increasingly rejecting biblical ideals, we, both as Christians and the Church as a body, need to reject the standards of the world and seek to live faithful lives that will be a testimony for Jesus and that includes commitment to the high ideals of christian marriage.