Q and A: Doesn’t cohabitation work for some people?

Last year, in a guest post called “On Moving In Together” on Devotional Diva, I challenged the practice of living with a significant other before your wedding.

For some, I wrote, “cohabitation is a litmus test. If it works, you get married. If it doesn’t, you don’t. Because (for them,) it’s better to say ‘I’ll love you if…’ instead of ‘I’ll love you despite what’s yet to come…’ For others, cohabitation is like a practice run. If you like it, you commit. If you don’t like it, you call it quits.”

A response to the story sparked this, the latest installment of Q&A:

The Q: “What about couples who live together, get married, and are together the rest of their lives? Couldn’t you argue that it works some, but not all, of the time?” -Corinna

The A: I am certain there are couples who cohabit, marry later, and live as happily ever after as humanly possible. But I won’t argue that it therefore works for some and not for others. This is because “living together before marriage” is not the “it” that works for the couples whose marriages last. Love is the only “it” that works. Some couples who cohabit have it, and others (I’d argue most) don’t.

Click here to read “On Moving In Together.”

Q&A is an occasional feature. If you have a Q, I can come up with an A (and if I don’t have an A, I’ll find somebody who does). To submit a question, click here. No topic is taboo (although I can’t promise I will answer every question). Click here to read all the posts in this series.

A version of this post originally appeared on the blog in 2013.

The single best way to reduce abortions.

When Lisa Selin Davis told a cabdriver she was going to have an abortion, he pulled the car over on the Brooklyn Bridge in a blizzard. He begged her not to do it. Davis, then a 22-year-old aspiring filmmaker, had conceived the child with a married man she met at a film shoot. But she “didn’t want that baby, with that man,” she wrote in an essay that printed in the Perspective section of the Tampa Bay Times on Sunday.

abortion essay in perspective

The story is sad but bold. When Davis resisted the cabdriver’s appeal, he took her to the clinic to which she had asked him to take her, where after it was over, she woke up sobbing in pain and a paper gown. She was sure she would never be a mother. She was wrong. Fifteen years later, she wrote, she gave birth to a daughter and later, to another.  And, she added, “I want my daughters to have the option of safe and legal abortion, of course. I just don’t want them to have to use it.”

Excited to meet and greet women of all ages at my table at Spirit FM’s inaugural women’s conference in September. The conference is a couple months ahead of the Chastity is For Lovers launch, so I won’t have the book with me. I will, however, have Chastity is For Lovers shirts for sale, plus other swag and save-the-dates for both my book launch parties. When attendees aren’t mixing and mingling among vendors, they’ll “re-fuel, re-focus, and revitalize” at the conference. Ladies in or near Tampa Bay who are interested in registering for it can do that here.

Date: September 20, 2014
Time: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Event: "My Life. My Faith." | Spirit FM's Catholic Women's Conference
Topic: I'll meet and greet attendees at my table, and will have Chastity is For Lovers shirts for sale, plus other swag.
Venue: Nativity Catholic Church
Location: 705 E Brandon Blvd.
Brandon, FL 33511
Public: Public

What a sex therapist said about saving sex for marriage.


Dr. Dae Sheridan

A few summers ago, I sat in the back of the first session of a secular human sexuality class at the University of South Florida. The class, which was part of the curriculum for my master’s degree in counseling, worried me, at first. I wondered whether how inexperienced I am would come up in conversation, and how my classmates would handle it if it did.

But the class, taught by sex therapist Dae Sheridan, turned out to be one of the best I have ever taken. For a few hours a week, we could toss taboos and talk about sex and related topics.  The conversation with Dr. Dae, who became a mentor and friend, continued after I finished the class. When I asked for her insight regarding saving sex for marriage, she graciously agreed to let me share what she said with readers:

Arleen: Rumor has it “nobody saves sex for marriage.” Is that true?

Dr. Dae: I absolutely don’t think that no one does! There might not be as high of a percentage of people who are waiting until marriage, (but) I do see an increase in people who are waiting to be in loving, committed relationships. Sex is everywhere, to sell everything, so it’s perceived that everybody’s doing it, but not really everybody is doing it.

Arleen: Are there advantages to saving sex for marriage? (If so, what are they?)

roses among thorns

Roses Among Thorns: Simple Advice for Renewing Your Spiritual Journey (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2014)

St. Francis de Sales — whom I first encountered in the best way as an anxious undergrad in 2006 — is “widely regarded as one of the greatest spiritual advisers in the history of the Church.” He is also my homeboy. So when a friend forwarded me an email from Sophia Institute Press last month about a sale on a couple of books full of his wisdom, I bought them.

Over the weekend, I finished the first, Roses Among Thorns, which is a short collection of excerpts of personal letters written by de Sales. The back of the book says it’s for people who “find it difficult to live amid the clamor of the world with your eyes fixed on Christ alone” (totally me, as evidenced in “The most important thing to do while you’re single.”). If you think you fit the bill (and if you think you don’t), read on. I hope these excerpts from the book do for you what they did for me: