We all know that cohabitation is on the rise in our country, but this living arrangement is at the forefront of politics as newly-elected New York Governor Andrew Cuomo begins his term without a wife but with a live-in girlfriend.
His girlfriend of five years, millionaire TV chef Sandra Lee, may or may not be moving into the governor’s mansion, but they have previously lived together in Westchester County, New York. According to Politico.com, Lee has moved into the governor’s mansion, although previous reports in November say that she would stay living at their Mount Kisco house to maintain a home base.
Regardless of whether Lee does officially move in with Cuomo, this couple represents a growing cultural norm that views living together before marriage as not only acceptable, but also normal.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s “American Community Survey” from 2005-2007, more than 12 million unmarried partners live together in 6,008,007 households and 10.7 percent of the unmarried population reported living with their unmarried partners. In an earlier report from 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau also reported that the number of cohabiting unmarried partners increased by 88 percent between 1990 and 2007.
Psychologists, sociologists and other experts have varying views on cohabitation, many of which are pre-empted by our country’s high divorce rate. If many marriages are likely to fail, some view cohabitation as a trial run. For some, this trial run never ends.
In the case of Cuomo and Lee, there’s no rush to get married.
“I think when it’s important to the kids, we’ll do it. Right now, we have much more important things to do,” Lee said in an interview with the New York Post. “We don’t even think about it, and nobody says anything.”
As Catholics we must say something.
Marriage is a holy sacrament, and even as cohabitation grows in numbers and acceptance, we must maintain the value that is embedded within the sanctity of marriage. No matter how unpopular or “traditional” it may seem, we must fully support marriage in its purest form and turn away from the diluted version that our culture promotes.