While many Christians continue to emphasise on the exceptionality, the decency, and the need of marriage, things have radically shifted over the past few years as society continues to justify cohabitation as an absolute alternative to marriage.
Trying to set the record straight in her new paperback book entitled Marriage or Cohabitation, Elder Thuto Makhala offers a number of advantages which are absent from cohabitation but are present in marriage. Speaking to Arts & Society, he says “Cohabitation affects and goes beyond the two individuals who are cohabiting as it affects the children born in such setups and extended families.”
He also says it is unfortunate that most people these days are misinformed to think that cohabitation is a trial for marriage. Although she says cohabitation partly gives a foretaste of what to expect once two people tie the knot, she says a couple can still have a preview of what to expect in marriage when they are not staying together.
“The problems that two people cohabiting together face today are the same they will face when they get married. So it is foolhardy to assume that cohabiting makes people stronger in preparation for problems they may encounter when they get married,” says Makhala
He also says there are a lot of other ramifications for two people cohabiting. He says if two people have been cohabiting and one of them dies, the remaining partner should not expect some of the advantages that married couples have to be afforded to them.
“When you are married there are legal documents that allow the remaining spouse to perhaps inherit property or real estate. But when you are cohabiting, it sets you up for a potentially detrimental fight with the parents or relatives of the deceased,” he says adding that “when cohabiting, the remaining spouse hardly has a say in what happens to the property or even to the body of the deceased. At times the remaining spouse might even be excluded from funeral arrangements on the basis that they were not married.”