The subject of cohabitation has been in the news quite a bit lately. According to the United States Census Bureau, between 2009 and 2010, the number of opposite-sex cohabitating couples increased by 13 percent, from 6.7 million to 7.5 million.
New York’s newly elected governor, Andrew Cuomo, and his girlfriend, TV Chef Sandra Lee, are one of them.
According to the New York Times:
With 23 cookbooks and 2 television shows, Ms. Lee is arguably far more famous outside of political circles than the man she is dating. She has no plans to take up the traditional role of first lady. She will have no staff, no security detail and intends to only occasionally visit the 40-room Victorian mansion that is home to the governor.
Still, Ms. Lee, 44, has not ruled out using her new pulpit to draw attention to causes she has advocated for, including fighting hunger, and she has worked to clear her schedule in case an opportunity arises.
Despite assurances that Ms. Lee will not be given a staff and a budget normally reserved for the First Lady of the state, there is an unresolved awkwardness to it all. Will New York state police protect her? Should they? Since the media loves a star, budget or not, the press has already anointed Ms. Lee de-facto First Lady of the Empire State.
I feel for parents of young children in New York who have been forced to try and explain to their kids the shenanigans in Albany. First their governor Eliot Spitzer is caught with a prostitute and his successor, David Patterson, admits an affair of his own. And now young people will see a beautiful and smart couple under the bright lights on the big state stage, acting as husband and wife, and learn they are anything but.
Because she’s not married to Mr. Cuomo, Ms. Lee is not subject to state ethics laws. Some have called for them to be rewritten to include and account for the rising popularity of domestic partnerships.
You can see just how slippery is the slope of morality and the law, can’t you?
On a related topic, I was traveling to and from Los Angeles yesterday and noticed an interesting blurb in today’s USA Today “Snapshots” (Life Section, p. D1).
The Pew Research Center asked the following question:
Who is most satisfied with family life?
Married people reported the highest degree of satisfaction, followed by the widowed. Next came those who live with a partner.
In other words, those who are co-habitating are less happy than those who have lost a spouse to death.
There is a power and beauty (and satisfaction) in the act of commitment. Living together outside the bounds of matrimony is not only unbiblical, but less satisfying than marriage.
Popular culture continues to bombard us with the lie that cohabitation is a quick and carefree route to happiness.
Unfortunately, the opposite is true.