The Romance Behind Buying the Cow

by Guest on May 6, 2011 · 9 comments

By guest blogger Whitney Garrison

As a recently engaged woman, I of course watched the Royal Wedding with breath bated and tears that were welling. It was a lovely affair, but this piece at on Spectator.org raised the very relevant and unromantic point that Will and Kate had already been playing house for quite some time:

It seems that the royal couple have been playing house of Windsor for the past few years; cohabitating on and off since their university days. Now unfortunately, this type of premarital partnership has been going on for decades; millions of folks all over the world have taken to living outside of marriage in pursuit of I don’t know what. Some of the more honest claim that marriage is an outdated and useless convention, unnecessary to modern happiness, while others feel that a trial period is needed; a sort of audition for the real thing, to see if the two participants will be “compatible” in the long run.

What rankles though, is not the disregard for biblical prohibitions against such behavior, since fewer and fewer people acknowledge any desire or even reason, to pay attention to the word of God. But why then, do countless couples seek the “legitimacy” of a church wedding after years of non-connubial canoodling? These questions become even more compelling when applied to the last royal family in the world to which anyone really pays attention; one that seems hell-bent on breaking all records for plebeian behavior.

I am actually heartened that people still seek the legitimacy of the church because it implies that the church still has influence, but it is disheartening that so few in and out of the church stand up against premarital cohabitation. The banality of cohabitation before marriage can really rob some of the gusto from weddings – not to mention the negative effect it can have on a relationship (see Stephen Rhoads’ Taking Sex Differences Seriously).

Since young ladies rarely live with their parents while waiting for their prince, we don’t have the in-housing flexibility as we once did. I’m struggling with this personally now. We are getting married in August. My finance’s lease is up in at the end of June. Luckily, I’m on a month to month lease but despite this flexibility the financial savings of moving in together before the big day is very tempting. Yes, I’m splitting hairs over whether or not we should move in together six weeks before the wedding, but it’s gripping me.

What do my NeW ladies think? Is premarital cohabitation a necessary practicality or still something to avoid?

Whitney has blogged for NeW before. She is the Director of Development at the American Spectator Foundation

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexis May 6, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I don’t think I would comment on this post at all if I didn’t personally know the author.
As inconvenient as it may be to juggle separate housing in the lead up to a wedding, I think it is important. I feel that there is something deeply romantic about waiting to live together. I loved when my husband carried me across the threshold into our apartment for our first day living together. It was special and something that was completely ours in marriage. I would even go so far as to say that it felt sacred. I wouldn’t give that experience up for anything.

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Whitney May 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Thanks for the encouragement Alexis! I’ll keep you posted.

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Mark May 7, 2011 at 4:27 am

I am all for waiting! Or not! Personal choices for each individual couple!
I just want to know why such a derogatory title? Are you calling women cows?
Are you implying women are bought BY MEN?
I want to know why she (Kate) refused to say traditional vow. He promised everything to her! Why does she refuse? I know! Men are just expected to do what women want, and women should be able to decide what is right for them.

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Whitney May 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Oh the title is an allusion to the saying “Why buy the cow, if you get the milk for free?” It’s not meant to be derogatory, heck, I’m a woman!

I agree that Kate’s refusal to say obey shows a lack of theological understanding and is a wee bit arrogant.

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Bob May 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I think the great English philosopher, Benny Hill, said it best:

“I don’t believe in living together before marriage. And I’m not too sure about after either!

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Bryant May 9, 2011 at 9:24 am

I think there are a couple of points to address here.
One is the issue that the spectator.org piece raised, which is the hypocrisy of living together with total disregard for God’s commands, yet eventually seeking the legitimacy (stability?) of a Church wedding. I agree with Miss Garrison in that it is heartening to see that the Church still has influence. Although perhaps it is more tradition than influence. (Would Wills and Kate have married in a church had he not been royal blood?). Just a thought, at least for this couple.
The second issue is the moral and social prohibition on premarital cohabitation. Could a couple pledge their lives to each other under God and vow to follow Him and love and serve each other, etc., without being married in a church by a minister/priest? Yes! Marriage was instituted by God and the ceremony is simply a public pronouncement of those vows with a recognized minister of God conducting the ceremony. The vows before God are what make the marriage legitimate, not the ceremony. The marriage papers are merely a validation for the state to legally recognize the unique social situation which now governs the lives of the man and his wife.
The problem with cohabitation is that it is a refusal to pledge your lives to each other but expecting the benefits of marriage (even if there is a wedding date set, there is still a refusal until that point). Cohabitation is also a rebellion against God. God ordained that in marriage a man will leave his family and cleave to his wife and the two will become one. In cohabitation, a man is saying that he wants to leave his family and become one with a woman, but refused to cleave to her. This is pathetic, not to mention wrong. (Ladies, I warn you, avoid a man who wants you to move in with him before marriage. If he doesn’t want to commit, i.e. marriage vows before God, before living with you then he is not respectable).
Financial benefits are a sad excuse for transgressing God’s law and the transcendental moral order. It’s financially beneficial for me to steal food rather than pay for it, but it’s still wrong. If you are truly in financial straits then God will bless your decision to obey him.

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Whitney May 10, 2011 at 7:05 am

Giminy, Bryant! It IS possible to cohabitate (though very difficult) without violating Gods law…if you know what I’m sayin. I figure we can hold out for a few weeks…we are still exploring our housing options and we are doing our best to make the timing work out so that we don’t have to cohabitate. Thank you for your other thoughtful comments.

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