rest of the article here.
Suffice it to say that the studies and conclusions are hardly earth shattering. We have known it all along. We have just been afraid to say it out loud. The rise of cohabitation has made the situation faced by America's children even more likely to be difficult, more likely to be lived out in a single parent household, and without the ordinary extra structures marriage and family give to children.
It amazes me sometimes how excited we can get over gay marriage (I think you know where I stand on that) and how we glaze over at the much larger problem of cohabitation and what it is doing to the people cohabiting and to their children. We often overlook this because too many folks in the pews on Sunday morning would be offended by honest conversation, because we Pastors have members of our own families in these situations, and because the answer is not just a marriage license (plus, we cannot go back in time and prevent the damage done).
I for one am amazed at how this has quickly become the norm, has become acceptable even to Christian households and individuals, and how we walk on egg shells about the inherent dangers of such relationships. Clearly we have got to do a better job in this. In every one of our congregations there are children with different fathers, whose mothers were married to none of them. This is not simply about wielding the law and condemnation but about honest conversation to deal with the tragic portrait painted by the statistics themselves -- without commentary.
We are all excited about gay marriage (as we should be) but somehow forget what is the state of heterosexual relationships today (especially those who cohabit). I think one of the most telling lines in the article is that cohabitation continues to be a short-term temporary living arrangement. Perhaps the most wounded these on again/off again living arrangements lies in the wounds that people carry with them into future relationships and the wounded who are carted along as if they were no worse for wear (the children). Truly a vexing problem for Christians today...