Living Room: Episode 267

Living Room: Episode 267

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Hello, friends! One of the most common bits of feedback we've received about the new site so far is a desire to still comment on podcasts. Because our current functionality doesn't allow this (but we're hopeful for the future, so don't worry), I'll throw out a quick show summary each week, then you can have at it with your comments. So listen to the show, and here we go. And, yeah, you can thank me now. Or later.

This week we're talking about the many options you have as a single young adult when it comes to your living situation. Some of you live with your parents; some are with roommates; some live with a family, or rent a room, or live alone. Some own homes, and some don't. Our panel has seen and lived it all. We discuss the pros and cons of all of them, and how to prepare for each unique experience.

Next, I talk with Glenn Stanton about the rise of cohabitation — even in the church — and how there really is no good argument for living with the opposite sex apart from marriage. Glenn brings compelling sociological arguments that apply not only to couples, but even those convenient dorm-like, platonic setups.

Finally, Candice answers a listener's frustration on rarely making it to the second date. Who of us hasn't been there? 

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  • I listened with great interest regarding Glenn Stanton's comments about cohabitation.  In some ways I don't dispute that he is an expert on the subject, In other ways though, I think he is not being completely honest regarding the research and relying upon generalizations too much.

    For example he claims that there is no research out there which suggests that there are any positives of cohabitation or at least no significant negatives.  However, there is some research which suggests otherwise(en.wikipedia.org/.../Cohabitation_in_the_United_States, see section under Stability).  He also makes a lot of gender generlizations but fails to cite any real sources.  Maybe there are real sources out there, but saying things like, "women care more about moving towards marriage than men" without any evidence does not make a good argument and relies too much on hearsay, stereotypes, and anecdotes.

    I also found his example of equating eating cereal in your pajamas together to maritial intimacy (even the non-sexual kind) rather absurd.  Absurd because it implies that if you share a meal with a woman you aren't dating you are experiencing "intimacy" with her.  Gee, I'd better stop having lunch with my female coworkers then.  Also absurd because there is a world of difference between living in the same general geographic area and living towards a common cause/purpose (i.e. each other, God, kids, etc).  Now I'm not saying I disagree that having platonic cohabitation with the opposite sex is wrong for a Christian, but that the logic is skewed.  I'm very surprised that not once in the entire interview Ephesians 5:3 was quoted ("But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.").  It's as if Christians NEEDED practical reasons for not doing something because Scripture wasn't sufficient.

    It's funny how he brought up the entire statistics argument.  Meaning that if you cohabit, the statistics say there will be problems down the road.  I agree completely that the stats should be paid attention to.  But how often on Boundlessline when someone brings up a stat about how men/women should act in order to find a mate someone will inevitably post "GOD ISN'T BOUND BY STATISTICS!".  By that logic then, why not cohabitate (if you aren't going to bring up the Ephesians argument)?  One might say, "We're cohabitating and not worrying because hey, God isn't bound by statistics?"  It seems people just like to raise the "God isn't bound" to justify behaviors which fly in the face of reality.

    Finally, regarding Candice's answer about not getting asked for second dates and guys should be mentored to "give a girl a chance".  That's fine, but should it also cutsboth ways?  Meaning what happens if a girl's "not feeling it" for the guy after the first date?  Should she say "Yes" to a second date simply because she hasn't given it enough time yet?

    Despite my criticisms, I thought it was a good podcast on a good topic.

  • I can relate to some of the sentiments about not making it to the second date – but I think that's a private matter, not for discussion on a public forum such as this.

    I am comfortable talking about the housing situation. I'm currently living myself in an apartment, but don't really see myself buying a house before I get married for some of the economic reasons stated during the roundtable discussion. I also think that might artificially limit my freedom if I were to buy a house, because I'd be tied down to one area – I see myself right now as having the greatest flexibility I'm going to have in the next several decades, and if I end up getting an accounting position somewhere else not in Dallas-Fort Worth, I'd like to have an easier time moving there, if need be.

  • replying to MikeTime:  I think we can give Glenn the benefit of the doubt a little on this.  Its a podcast interview, not a comprehensive lecture.  I'm sure he has citations and refrences to where he got his information in his book; citing all his sources in a relatively informal chat like this would be a bit time consuming and awkward.

    Anyway, Thought the podcast was really great this week, especially the cohabitation segment.  I wish I could get everyone I know to listen to that, and I have a younger sister who is getting to be the age in a few years where cohabitation might be a temptation to her, and this podcast really gave me some insight on that issue.  I did want to address what Glenn was talking about in terms of co-ed roommates though.   He talks about how such relationships would be full of “intimacies” even if there isn’t any sex going on.  Now I don’t want to come off as promoting co-ed roommate situations in most cases, but I don’t see why “intimacies” in a relationship are something to avoid before marriage.  I don’t think the Bible says it’s a sin to have “intimacy” before marriage, it says it’s a sin to have *sex*before marriage.  Yes, sex is a *type* of intimacy, arguably the closest kind possible, but it’s not logical to extrapolate out that a commandment against sex before marriage is a commandment against all possible intimacy before marriage.  Glenn makes the claim that its not just “sexual intimacy” we are to avoid, but other intimacies as well, but what support does he use for that statement, I’m honestly curious?  And also, the scenarios Glenn lists in the podcast could easily occur between same sex roommates too.  Again, not trying to say that I’m in favor of co-ed roomates, but this just seems to be jumping back to the annoying theory Boundless has sometimes put forth that its impossible for guys and girls to be friends in the same way that they are friends with other guys or girls.  “two guys hanging out is ok, but a guy and a girl hanging out is a date”.   I don’t think you can just assume that; not every guy is going to be attracted to every girl he meets, and the same with girls.

    Honestly if I were to take what he was saying about “intimacies” to the fullest conclusion, I’d be wary about being a roommate with the same sex just as much as being one with the opposite sex.  If brushing my teeth or eating cereal with someone is “intimacy” I should avoid, or would lead to such intimacy, why should I be ok with sharing that intimacy with someone of my own sex either?

  • I listened to the last two sections.  I'm already stuck in a home, learned my lesson...so I would only feel worse hearing more about it.  Regarding the cohabitation... of course I agree with the principle against - but I'm just not seeing the correlation between sexual intimacy and eating cereal, brushing teeth, etc.  As already noted, there is just no scriptural support for this....or certainly it would've been good to hear some.  I respect Glenn's point of view, but it is just that - a personal opinion, and he reached a bit too far there (in my opinion:).  I think simply making a case for wisdom would be more effective, since that is really what the issue is about.

    And, while of course the question was asked and answered from a woman's perspective... trust me it hurts guys just as much to not get that second date.  

  • I was excited to listen to the round table discussion about housing options, but was disappointed that the subject of living alone was hardly even addressed.  It was almost implied that you should have roommates until you're married, even if you buy your own house.  I've lived in almost every roommate arrangement/situation possible, so I've experienced all of the typical roommate scenarios (both good and bad).  I also understand the importance of "living in community" and having "built-in accountability", but that is not impossible to do if you live alone.  I moved into an apartment by myself about seven months ago.  Rather than isolate myself, I go to grad school classes two nights a week, eat dinner with other young believers from my church two nights a week, and i stay busy with plenty of consistent volunteer activities and my full-time job.  I'm interested to hear from other believers (both young and old) about their feelings regarding living alone.  How can I make it a productive time full of growth and preparation as I anticipate marriage?  Should I feel guilty after listening to this podcast?

  • Jessie, it was not intentional that we didn't discuss living alone on this podcast. Had it been a different panel of guests, I'm sure the conversation would have been different, too. I'll keep that topic idea in mind as we plan future shows.

  • I loved this podcast!

    I unfortunately fell short in the past and stayed over my boyfriends house (a while back before we broke up) and I can definitely agree that eating breakfast together in our pajamas totally was intimate.  Eating with friends as kids in your pajamas or with your siblings is totally unromantic but there is something about seeing the person you desire romantically in their mundane sharing with you that is totally intimate.  So unlike most of the posts, I agree with Glenn's statement (But again, I actually tried it even though I should not have been in that situation).  

    Anywho,  I too am a single living alone.  It is nice to have a roommate to learn to communicate with.  I wish I had several roommates as it would be less taxing if I could chat it up with a house full of roommates.

    I don't think cohabiting is wise. A close friend is living with her boyfriend of x years.  She wants to break up but literally mentioned about how sad her boyfriend would be if she took the dog! This podcast hit wayyy too close to home. It is so true! she wants to break up with him, but then thought about having to buy new furniture, and having to break up with his family so to speak... and learning to live alone yadda yadda yadda.  It hurts to know that Glenn's advice is accurate.  The negatives of cohabitation outweigh the positives.

    She grew up in a christian home with christian advice and support yet felt that... well, so many ppl get divorced why bother marrying, and that 'well, you learn so much about someone by living with them.'.  and yet, i feel living with someone without a commitment really makes things worse because you think, like, i could totally be with someone else, he's such a slob.  

    it's really hard for me because when you know someone personally going through this that is close to you, it breaks your heart.  I guess i just have to keep praying because I would hate for her to marry someone she doesn't want to marry, just because she's been living with him for so long that it's easier just to stay together.  

    I do feel that guys benefit from cohabitation because I work with 2 guys at work (both live with their girlfriends) and when i talked to the girlfriends at a party they said 'oh i can't wait to get married!!' and the two guys at the office in a separate conversation admitted that they aren't sure they want to get married!!!! i was shocked!!!! so those are just my personal examples, but it sounds like men think - hey, we get someone to take care of us, in a ton of ways, why marry? and women think... oh! this is TOTALLY leading to marriage!!!

    I can't wait to marry (if I marry, Godwilling) and learn all of the annoying and wonderful things that my spouse does that only I get to experience every day.

    (this font is too small on my eyes as a side note when typing... am i the only one with aging eyes? ;o

  • oh! and thanks Lisa for starting a comment section in response to the podcast.  I am so blessed to be able to listen to Boundless and hear everyone's viewpoints!

  • Interesting that eating in your pjs would be considered "intimate."  When my husband and I were dating, we were long distance, and there was a period during our relationship when I lived with my parents and when he would come to visit he would stay with us, so I'm sure we had breakfast together in our pjs a few times.  Does it count as "intimacy" if your parents are present? :)

  • Jessie: As a single girl I lived with my parents and one, two,  and three other female roomates at different times. I lived in an apartment and in a condo I owned. I housed a missionary for a time. I also spent several large stretches of time living alone.

    For me, the scariest thing about living alone was... the Liz Lemony idea that if I choked on a cheese puff or fell in the shower and cracked my head, no one would find me for days :P

    I mean, I'm sure that would would have eventually called my emergency contact (my Mom) and that the folks at church would have missed me after a couple weeks of blowing off worship practice, but the idea that I could fall, incapcitate myself and be stuck at the mercy of whatever I could crawl to was... a little terrifying. ;) Once, I lost my cell phone, the internet went out and the idea that I couldn't even CALL for help was suffocating. :P I got a little "backup" prepaid cell phone and stuck it in a drawer for emergencies!

    I also texted my mom EVERY. MORNING. If I didn't text her, I usually had a "Hey! Are you OK?" by lunch time.

    Maybe I was a little paranoid.

    ;)

    The first time I lived alone, I haaated it. I didn't like that there was no one to greet me at the door, that I could go to work, come home and not interact with a single human being. I think I called my mom and cried a lot. When my next roomate moved in... we had a rockier relationship than any roomate I ever had. We just didn't speak each others languages. Somehow we just never got on the same page. When she moved out I was so relieved.... and I had gotten to a place where I had learned to enjoy solitude, which was new for me. I LIKED being able to sit at home and refresh and go out if I wanted to see people -- of course, I think I also had a little more financial stability by then, so it was a little more practicable, than when I was a broke college student living with three other girls.

  • Jessie,

    I've always lived alone...first when moving out at 22, than when trying it again at 26.  Nothing to feel guilty about, it's pretty normal for guys to like a certain amount of solitude, that's where the whole man-cave thing comes in.  The benefits are that you completely control your environment and habits.... the drawbacks are that you completely control your environment and habits:)  But seriously, you always have quiet time when you need it, you can set your own schedule, plan your meals, etc.  Of course it's good to go out, like the examples you listed... so, being socially active and living alone seems like a good balance to me.

  • I, too, live alone.  Almost a year ago, I moved out of my family's home and into a rental house.  No roommate, just me and my two cats.  This is the first time I've lived away from my family, and it took a bit of getting used to, but for the most part I like it.  Yes, it gets lonely sometimes.  And yes, sometimes it's a little scary (like the time I got home after dark, and something had already triggered the motion sensor lights in my driveway...I really hoped it was an animal, not a human!)  I do have a few friends at work and church, and I'm around people all day every day through my job, so I feel like I have plenty of social interaction.  Sometimes it's really nice to go home to a quiet house and just have some time to unwind by myself.  

    One of my greatest concerns about living by myself, though, is that I'll become selfish and set in my ways.  I'm afraid that I'll get so used to being able to eat when I want to, watch TV when I want to, monopolize the bathroom when I want to, make noise when I want to, organize my kitchen the way I want to, etc., that I will have a harder time adjusting to marriage if God has that in my future.  When I go back "home" to my family for a few days, I find myself getting annoyed at them because they are making too much noise, expecting me to be quiet, leaving their stuff lying around, taking too long in the bathroom, etc.  Sure, all those things were a little annoying when I lived there, but I was used to it; now I find myself wishing I were back in my own quiet house.  Because of this "fear" of mine, I've considered getting a roommate.  One thing that has kept me from doing so up to this point is the very reason that one of the guests on the podcast suggested living with more than just one other person...I don't want a roommate who always feels the need to unload her problems on me when I'm at home.  And I don't want to do the same to her, either.  Great conversation would be a perk of having a roommate, but we shouldn't treat each other as a personal therapist!  Unfortunately, my house is such that it would be difficult to have more than one roommate, so that risk would be greater than if I could have two or three roommates.  Still, I'm praying about it and keeping my options open.              

    I do have a question for all you folks on here, though, especially you guys.  It seems that I've met a good number of single guys my age (late 20s, early 30s) who are Christians are still living at home with their parents.  Some of them pay rent and/or otherwise contribute to the household, while others let their parents support them so that they can "save their money for the future."  Some of them even admit that they can't financially support themselves, so they live at home instead of moving out on their own.  Yes, some of them are working on their education, or are between jobs, or are trying to get back on their feet after making poor decisions in the past.  But some of them seem quite happy with their situation.  I know I just moved out on my own recently, so I'm a big one to talk.  But am I incorrect in thinking that a guy who is actively seeking a spouse should be (or have the ability to be) independent of his parents?  Am I expecting too much?  This is something I've really struggled with lately.  Oh, and is there any difference in guys and girls when it comes to being independent from parents?        

  • MissC: I dated that guy. but I am SO glad I married someone responsible who knew how to save WHILE supporting himself, instead of relying on family to support him so he could save.  (Because, again, that guy *said* he was living at home for that reason, but was really just blowing his small paycheck on tech toys) Really, I think it depends on the responsiblity of that guy. Is he staying there to care for his aging parents and helping around the house OR is he being a mooch and shirking responsibility entirely? Those are two very different types of people.

    As far as getting set in your ways while living alone -- meh. You'll develop new habits as a married couple if you have roomates or if you're living alone. Either way, marriage is going to change how you live life. Having roomates won't make you a less selfish person, maybe just a more self-aware person, and it sounds like you're already asking the kind of introspective questions that having a roomate would bring up, so I wouldn't stress it ;D

  • MissC - There's very few reasons for a 30ish man to be living at home.  I do have a friend who's somewhat disabled who does, but if he had the will he certainly could get out on his own...he has let an incident that happened nearly 20yrs ago determine his future.

    Even if a guy is honestly responsible and saving up for a house (and I challenge you to really find an example of this)...it's at the cost of his maturity. Forget being responsible for other people if you've had no experience caring for yourself.  At the very least rent a room in a house... even if it's a no frills, minimal living situation, that guy has something more than the guy at home does - respect.

  • How do you even get a first date?

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