Faith/Spirituality Forum: Living Together

Living Together QUESTION from Josephine Macchia April 10, 2001 My 25 year old son has been living with his girlfriend for 8 months. This disturbs me greatly and he is aware of how I feel about this. He and his girlfiriend were raised Catholicis but they have both fallen away from the church. I am having a very difficult time with us. How do I accept this when I know it is wrong? I have already told him it is a sin to live together without benefit of marriage, but of course that falls on deaf ears. They have said they want to get married eventually, but no date is set. What can I tell him that will at least get him thinking about how wrong this is? I don't want to destroy my relationship with my son over this, but this is putting a strain on it for sure. Thank you very much.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on July 8, 2001 Dear Mrs. Macchia:
I understand where you are coming from. One of my daughters is living with her boyfriend and has for more than 6 years. They have a baby, and still no marriage.
I told my daughter that living together as they were is called concubinage.
I think it is important to not sugar-coat the language to lessen the effect of the sin. The technical word for the sugar-coated term living together is CONCUBINAGE.
Using the proper term helps to bring home that this behavior is not ok and it is a sin.
Nevertheless, you cannot force your son to change his ways (and I cannot force my daughter to change her ways).
But I can tell her the truth about her situation -- that she is a concubine; and I can make it clear that they are not married and thus shall be not treated as married by me.
That means some tough love. My daughter is planning on visiting her grandparents in September. I don't know if she will be visiting me (I live in a different state from the grandparents). But if she does come to visit me, the sleeping arrangements will be as such as are appropriate for non-married couple -- separate beds.
The Bible clearly teaches us that we are not to indulge sinful behavior, but to call a spade a spade, and to take the high road, albeit tough road, by following through with our non-indulgence by insisting the couple sleep in separate beds while under our house (in other words NOT treating them as married. Why should they have the privilege of being treated as a married couple if they haven't the guts to actually get married?)
Then beyond putting feet to your faith as I have described here, all else you can do is pray for your son. Remember St. Monica who prayer ceasingly for her son. Her son FINALLY came around and ended up one of the greatest Saints the Church has ever known -- St. Augustine. It was the perseverance of St. Augustine's mother in prayer that brought him around.
Pray, pray, pray. As St. Monica's help.
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