Three Things That Concern Me About Pre-Commitment Relationships

I was listening to the radio interview with Dr. Helen Fisher, scientific consultant to, that accompanies this Wall Street Journal Online piece about the third annual Singles In America study released on February 5th. It is touted to be the most comprehensive study of its kind regarding the attitudes and practices of singles in America.

Among many things that bother me about this study is the issue brought up in the headline of this article. I have real difficulty with the concept of pre-commitments.

Pre-commitment=no commitment. It is a huge mistake to “try out” a relationship as a “friends with benefits” arrangement and expect to have a healthy relationship or subsequent healthy pre-marital relationships.

Here are my 3 concerns:

Dr. Fisher frames the pre-commitment stage as a new evolution in the courtship process and a sign that singles are more committed to making marriage work by trying it out first to see what they want in a partner. Marriage was shown to be important to today’s singles in the same study. Pre-commitment, “friends with benefits” arrangements erode the foundation of marriage while decreasing the chances of success in the marriage relationship. How much baggage is carried over into marriage from one or more pre-commitments?

To assume that a pre-commitment relationship is a “try before you buy” proposition is to assume there are no long-term consequences as a result of those relationships that don’t work out. How many children are being conceived that follow parents from one broken relationship to the next, or to be terminated as an unwanted, unneeded responsibility? The number one reported reason for abortion is the child is unwanted or an undesirable burden at the time of conception. The number of single-headed households with children is on the rise, and many of these are in poverty. These relationships increase the number of children with emotional problems, malnourishment, and avoidable death.

Accepting that pre-commitments are a natural and necessary evolution in courtship assumes that such trends are inevitable and desirable. This is also an assumption that there is no absolute truth and everyone is able to determine their own moral code. With the societal issues that plague our world after 40-50 years of postmodern thinking, I think it is worth considering how different society would be if we respected and obeyed a biblical view of sex and marriage.

I think men and fathers are the key to curbing negative pre-marital relationship. With more than 50% of the men surveyed stating they had participated in “friends with benefits” relationships, the prevailing view of men being primarily interested in sex and unconcerned with consequences or commitment is bolstered. But men can and will act in the best interest of their families and their futures. Let’s do that, men.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh


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