A GNA feature by Kwamina Tandoh

Accra, Jan. 11, GNA – Cohabitation before marriage has been an issue of concern in the society as it contradicts the norms and values of the Ghanaian culture.


The practice has now become a pattern among the youth as compared to the older generation. Majority of the youth today are in to the practice of cohabitation before the statutory legal marriage.

Cohabitation as the name suggest, is the arrangement where two people live together as if married, usually without legal or religious sanction.

More broadly, the term cohabitation could mean any number of people living together. To “cohabit”, in a broad sense, means to “coexist”.

The origin of the term comes from the mid-16th century, Latin word co-habitate, which means ‘together’ and to dwell.

Today, cohabiting with each other is a modern day fashion most youth pride themselves with and seen us a natural progression of a long life relationship.

Once the couple find love in each other, their next line of action is to co-habitate and start to reproduce but as a nation we must critically examine the causes of the practice among the youth.

Is it because they find love with their opposite sex that is why they deem it great to cohabit before marriage?

However, to a lot of people it seems to make sense that it is a wise step in knowing they are compatible before marriage. There are several causes and effect to this.

This awkward attitude of the youth are as a result of irresponsible parenting, broken homes, lack of proper parental care, peer influence, in addition to wanting to maintain a single financial status.

In the majority of cases, cohabitation shares similarities of marriage including living together under one roof, and sharing personal resources, as a result, the patterns of family life have started to change; marriage rates has declined and marriage is postponed to a later age.

Day in day out, there have been several news report, which discusses the inhuman attitudes that cohabiting couples face in their various homes.

Statistically, 85 per cent of these couples are assaulted by their lovers and some are even killed. Unfortunately, this percentage represents an active youth who could contribute to productivity.

These indicate that, the youth in the country are exposed to serious threats, which could work against the progress of the nation.

In effect, this practice has led to the increase in population since the co-habitating couples who live as husband and wife; do not have the will power to engage in sexual activities without any interrogation from anyone and spacing and timing of children is over looked.

Analytical reports by the National Population Council also indicates that rapid population growth affects various sectors of the economy, which could stall the rate of economic development and some of the key sectors that are affected by rapid population growth include: health, agriculture and education.

The report said that when a population grows rapidly, social services need to expand to accommodate the growing numbers.

Different sectors must deploy more resources to meet the needs of the growing population.

The education sector has to plan for more students, teachers, and schools; the health sector must satisfy the increased demand for health facilities, doctors, nurses, and supplies; and the agriculture sector must increase investments to ensure greater food production.

A large population puts great pressure on a country’s arable land, water, forests, and other natural resources; and as cities and towns expands, the need for more housing, water, transport, sanitation, and other urban services would increase.

The country’s economic growth rate since 2008 has been estimated among the fastest growing in the world. (World Bank 2011).

There is a high probability that if a cohabiting couple gets pregnant, the man would leave the relationship resulting in a single mother raising up a fatherless child.

Children born under such circumstances lack proper parental training and are exposed to higher peer influence.

Most of these children end up on the streets to search for their own food and are exposed to dangers and they would in turn grow to become irresponsible youth as well as adding up to high dependency ratio.

Another reason the youth must not cohabit before marriage is because cohabitation has a higher risk of divorce rather than marriage, because marriage is a public declaration and a commitment to God by taking a vow in church.

The Ghana Living Standards Survey Report of the Fifth Round, indicated that 30 per cent of households are headed by single parents. (Ghana Statistical Service, 2008).

In marriage, couples are likely to make more sacrifices for their partners financially, emotionally, striving hard for the relationship.

However in cohabitation relationships, that one could easily back out if a partner misbehaves, which has been confirmed by Ambert (2009) explaining that cohabited couples are less committed and could easily decide to go out of a relationship as compared to married couples who are much committed.

The Holy Bible teaches that fornication and sexual intercourse before marriage is against the will of God. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 from the King James Version says; “Flee fornication, every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits sin against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not of your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore Glorify God in your body, and your spirit, which are God’s.”

This bible verse clearly indicates that God frowns on such acts and these acts defiles the body in the sight of God.

A good way a couple may test their compatibility for marriage is to date for some years and participate in premarital counseling programmes.

Up and coming young ladies must be cautious of this practice and propose for a proper marriage than to engage in any immoral activities; ignore native wisdom at your own peril.



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