Today is not easy for anybody to stand up and state the correct position about premarital relationship especially sex. The standards of our society have been eroded and policy makers keep on shifting goal posts. People are conscious of the extra-marital relationships and when faced with it, they condemn those involved in the strongest terms possible. They are ignorant that premarital relationship is bad and has adverse effects on our society. Our society treats premarital sex lightly and many a times designing new technology to use in the premarital sex.
Premarital relationship has been on the increase in the modern society in all age categories making people’s attitude permissive to accepting such relationships as normal. This kind of relationship is more prevalent among adolescents and young adults who take sexual activity to be the climax of romantic relationships where they hop in and out (Kershaw & Boston, 2009).
An indicator for premarital relationship is dating. Generally during dating relationship, people will exhibit strong romantic feelings for each other. Such premarital relationship is seen as a salient contributor to the social behaviour of the individuals and the society at large. Chung et al (2005), cited that dating and cohabiting are major contributors to the mood and emotional imbalances of most adults in the society.
The purpose of this paper is to argue against premarital relationship with the understanding that premarital relationship or cohabiting have adverse effect on the individuals as they tend to trigger strong stress responses, self esteem problems has high risks and negative effects on the future of marriage institution and also promote violence in lives of the affected people.
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Premarital Relationships Promote Cohabiting
Cohabiting is an environment where committed premarital relationship thrives. Partners here engage in sexual intercourse freely with the pretext and excuse of being in a preparation ground for marriage. Such arrangements of marriage have adverse effect on the future marriage and if not checked can bring the marriage institution to its knees (Shafer, 2006).
Even though people argue that cohabiting is marriage and cannot a premarital relationship, Halpern (2004) argues otherwise that cohabitation is a form of dating than marriage. While cohabiting can be a committed relationship, the literature seems to indicate that it is “not as committed as marriage and can, indeed, becomes another partner in the process of serial monogamy” (Halpern, 2004 p. 104).
Halpern, (2004) goes further to share his findings which indicate that cohabiting is a premarital relationship known to last approximately one year in America. Even though the proponents of cohabiting state that it is beneficial as it allows more sexual activity exposure, but they forget that such an exposure is demeaning since it leaves the concerned having less satisfying sex, and low self esteem in cohabiting persons (Krelder & Fields, 2007).
Premarital Relationships Erodes the Virtue of Chastity
In Corinthians 6:18 premarital sex is sin against one’s body. When one sins against their own body they tend to loose self worthy leading to a life of promiscuity. This defeats the view of love that as created by God. God intended that sex should affirm the dignity and uniqueness of those involved in a marriage relationship. It is only when people go as per the plan of God that they avoid the experiences of worrying about unwanted pregnancies, or sexually transmitted diseases
Cohabiting or premarital relationship contradicts the virtue of chastity that naturally advocates for complete sexual abstinence and continence outside marriage. Failure to adhere to this leads to failure in experiencing “holistic or properly ordered love” (Sprecher, 2004 p. 210).
Engaging in sex before marriage depicts a failure in values that pertains to human sexuality like “great dignity, self-giving, integrity and faithful love” (Sprecher, 2004 p. 212). Premarital sex is immoral since it does not respect the basic purposes of human sexual relationships and right to life as it encourages engagement in abortion. It is important that people respected the sole purpose of sex as designed by God and only engage in it at the appropriate and allowed moments. This can only be true if cohabiting is not permitted and whenever it occurs should be condemned.
Premarital Relationships Kills the True Love
People who engage in premarital sexual relationships do so for various reasons. The motivation for premarital relationship (sex) is rather complex and involves more than just one reason (Sprecher, 2004 p. 210). These reasons are selfish and devoid of mutual caring that is required in a healthy relationship. Teachman (2005) states that one of the person or both tend to use one another as mere objects to satisfy their desires,
“sometimes one party is treating his or her body as a mere instrument, either to motivate the other to do something-for example, to pay money or propose marriage, or provide emotional/or social satisfactions, such as a confirmation of masculinity or femininity, the thrill of conquest or popularity”(p. 205)
Premarital Relationships Causes Unstable Marriages and Divorce
Numerous studies indicate that individuals who engage in pre-marital relationships and sexually promiscuous acquire have weird perception of future marital relationships, and are unable to function well in their marriages. They are less likely to remain in the marriage if the personal expectations are no longer being met. Such partners become unstable in all they do hence opting out of the relationship (Sprecher, 2004). Literature on cohabitation points to negative correlation with marital relationship satisfaction.
Halpern (2004) states that that premarital cohabitation and sexual intercourse diminished marital quality, when measured by happiness, conflict, and communication. Dyadic Adjustment Scale has shown that people who engaged in premarital relationships had lower levels of marital satisfaction than those who did not. He also shows in his study on individuals in their first marriage who had not previously cohabited against those who had cohabited and found out that those who “cohabited with their partner before marriage demonstrated lower levels of commitment to the institution of marriage than those who did not cohabit”( Krelder & Fields, 2007 ). This out rightly speaks against the premarital relationships.
Teachman (2003) asserted that premarital sexual intercourse is negatively correlated with marital stability. This is backed by the study by Chung et al (2005) on women, which found that premaritally sexually active women “faced a considerably higher risk of marital disruption than women who were virgin brides” (38). It is believed that since premarital relationship does not limit the number of partners one can have, one can have more than one premarital partner. But “having partners besides the future spouse, was indicative of marital instability” (Chung et al (2005, p. 46).
Risks of divorce for people engaging in premarital sex with someone who will not be their spouse increased to 114% compared to those who never engaged in premarital sex. Cohabitation is positively correlated with proneness to divorce and probability of divorce. Shafer (2006) found that “Swedish women who cohabit before marriage with their spouse, regardless of length of cohabitation, have divorce rates an average of almost 80% higher than women who do not cohabit with their spouse before marriage” (p. 211). Marital dissolution for the first marriages of Canadian women shows that some cohabiting had taken place before their marriage. Statistics indicate probability of divorce before 15 years of marriage as 35% for women who had cohabited compared to 19% for women who had not cohabited before their first marriage (Krelder, & Fields, 2007).
Statistics clearly indicates that the divorce rate is above 50 percent in developed countries like America and well soaring in the developing countries. A study in 1996 by the United State Census Bureau states that “The number of divorced people more than quadrupled, from 4.3 million in 1970 to 18.3 million in 1996” (Krelder, & Fields, 2007, p. 85). While reasons for divorce are numerous, this particular statistic indicates that the main cause was related to attitude towards sex. This attitude developed due to the casual treatment of the premarital relationship in our society.
Premarital relationships (cohabiting) are negatively correlated with the tendency to remain monogamous after marriage (Halpern, 2004). Kershaw & Boston (2009 found that for “both men and women, having sexual experiences previous to marriage or cohabitation were positively correlated with infidelity in the current relationship” (p.225). This tendency is attributed to the “learned advantage” sexually experienced individuals have with regards to “seeing sexual opportunities and maintaining partners” (p. 241).
Premarital Relationship Has Harmful Consequences
The proponents of premarital relationship are moving advocating for safe sex. This is a lie that is destroying the marriage institution and general morals in our society. The unreliable birth control methods and high rate of failure for condoms is not spoken of by those who advocate for safe sex encouraging premarital relationships. Research has shown that no single method whether it is for birth control or STD prevention is 100% perfect (Kershaw & Boston, 2009). There have been cases of people who engaged in premarital sex using condoms and in the process they got pregnant or contracted venereal diseases.
Associated with pre-marital relationships are a number risks which includes being infected with AIDS and high chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases or even becoming pregnant (Shafer, 2006). There are many other negative consequences for engaging in premarital sex as a result of a pre-marital relationship. Some are emotional as well as psychological.
The young people of today are more tolerant to premarital sex and don’t think twice before engaging in the act. They believe that it is their business and nobody has the right to interfere. What they don’t realise is that it is to prevent against physical harm like AIDS and pregnancy but not the emotional, social or psychological. Many and women will hesitate in marrying anybody they know had sexual intercourse with others. This can affect someone psychologically.
It is true that people who engage in premarital relationship may end up marrying even if they are not the perfect match. Sex blinds them and they believe that they are in love while the truth is that sex has blinded them totally (Halpern, 2004). To avoid such pitfalls, the society needs to stand against premarital sex and relationship.
Premarital sex produces guilt, fear, and loose of self-esteem. This can be carried into marriage and may spoil the sexual life. It is important that married people enjoy the bliss they are supposed to have; they must avoid the premarital sex. It helps to stop the premarital sex from robbing the sexual cement that should be their in the marriage.
Abortion is a controversial issue in our society that has been used to encourage premarital sex. The right of women to terminate unwanted pregnancies is being advocated for. Why would there be unwanted pregnancies if people were encouraged to abstain from premarital sex? This should be the approach not to legalize acts that in the long run would have a disastrous effect on the society.