Nadine Lustre, Cohabitation, and the Demand for Approval

Image: Alex Robert

 

First of all, YES. Nadine Lustre and James Reid are adults and they can make their own decisions. But they are also public figures. Miss Lustre is a celebrity looked up to by millions of adoring young girls. Does she or does she not have a responsibility to consider her words and actions, and how they impact her fans? Famous people have to grapple with this reality regardless of their personal feelings on the matter.

Whether their families approve of cohabitation or not has not been established as some claim, but even that is beside the point. People don’t reside in a vacuum, and words and actions ripple farther than we realize.

It is not a matter of privacy either as some claim. If Lustre wanted to preserve her privacy, she could have said, “That is for me to know.” But she not only played coy, she took it upon herself to give advice: “Be open minded.” That’s not a hands-off answer. It does not put the responsibility squarely back on the shoulders of parents. On the contrary, her answer demonstrates that she knows the potential effect of her example; she goes beyond simply asking to be left alone.

A CALL TO PARENTS AND OTHER RESPONSIBLE ADULTS

Parents need to be their children’s role models, and guide their offspring as they grow older and need to tackle more serious life choices. Since fanaticism abounds, however, matters of sexuality, of marriage, and of family, while previously the realm of private deliberation, are now fodder for anyone who has an opinion. On the issue of cohabitation, whether pro or con, Miss Anna Cosio’s voice is as relevant to the conversation as everyone else’s. Let her speak.

FEMINIST IDEOLOGY AND THE DEMAND FOR APPROVAL

The real enemy here is feminist ideology, which squashes any dissenting opinion almost as soon as it is expressed.

Miss Anna Cosio was attacked for supposedly attacking Miss Lustre’s privacy. But Lustre is a public figure and automatically subject to criticism as well as praise. On the other hand, Miss Cosio’s detractors attack her and her beliefs even though she’s a private citizen.

Miss Lustre’s argument for cohabitation was “It’s 2017, cohabitation is normal.” Miss Cosio addressed the argument directly by presenting research from years past. Her detractors countered with “It’s old data.”

Let’s be honest. If Miss Cosio had used arguments based on morality or religion, she would have been asked for scientific data. She gave scientific data, so she was challenged on the data’s age and demographics.

RESEARCH by its very definition references previous studies, even those from decades before. “Old data” has significance especially in the social sciences, because people are people. Human beings may change their views through the years and become more accepting or tolerant of certain lifestyles or behaviors, but their basic needs don’t change.

No, the answer here isn’t that we need to look at only new data, but that decisions about human relationships are delicate matters and no one, celebrity or not, should make them without careful discernment. For the believer, that means prayerful discernment.

Celebrities are humans too, and make mistakes themselves just like the rest of us. But idolatry blinds, and demands that we celebrate and approve of everything they say or do. Critical thinkers today are hard to find.

So what’s really going on here? Ms. Lustre’s defenders weren’t sincerely seeking data to evaluate. The message Nadine defenders really want to send is this: “It’s 2017. We are free to have sex and live together without the “shackles” of marriage. Leave us be.” They wanted affirmation and approval, which illustrates, quite frankly, the lack of maturity needed to make decisions on something as serious as cohabitation.

No matter what you do in life, there will always be someone who disapproves. What’s more important is to have a firm foundation to stand on, such that one’s sense of right and wrong isn’t easily swayed by public opinion or blown away by whatever’s fashionable. This foundation is what’s missing in many of our youth, and it’s a foundation that can only be built within stable families. (Parents, your work is cut out for you.)

ESCHEWING MORALITY BECAUSE IT’S “OLD”

The modernist mind insists that because it’s 2017, it’s passé to hold on to traditional moral values, simply because they’re OLD. To the modernist mind, old anything — history, psychology, sociology, experience, data whether scientific or anecdotal, and especially morality — should be discarded, their validity denied.

A few commenters rightly concluded that human relationships and decisions cannot be reduced to mere statistics. But if statistics aren’t relevant then all research is unnecessary. No, relationships cannot be reduced to empirical data. We are humans after all, not numbers on a page. But time and again, we look at data to learn about ourselves and others, to improve, to learn lessons, to avoid making bad choices, to make better decisions. Isn’t that why we consult each other and google reviews regularly?

Again, basic needs don’t change. People in 2017 still have a need to be loved. They still look for overall satisfaction and long-term happiness.

Feminists can deny it all they want, but a woman still wants a man who pursues, protects, defends her, someone who’s willing to lay down his life for her, someone who won’t take advantage of her, someone who will do everything he possibly can to win her and keep her. Those are facts.

Yes, it’s 2017, but guess what? We don’t tell a man to go looking for a woman who’s perfectly okay with hopping from bed to bed without compunction (hopefully). We don’t go around telling women, you should look for a man who is incapable of making a permanent commitment. And even if we say that, we cannot force a woman to be happy about finding such a man, despite there being plenty of them to be found.


More information, for those of you who are sincerely open-minded about research.

Marriage, Cohabitation, and Happiness: A Cross-National Analysis of 27 Countries (2012)

Cohabitation carries financial risk for partners (2013)

Hooking Up, Shacking Up, and Saying “I Do” (2014)

Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream — and Why It Matters (2014)

Is Cohabitation As Good As Marriage for People’s Subjective Well-Being? Longitudinal Evidence on Happiness and Life Satisfaction in the British Household Panel Survey (2016)

Redistributing Happiness: How Social Policies Shape Life Satisfaction (2016)

Marriage Vs. Cohabitation: What You Need To Consider (2017)

Marriage boosts happiness (2017)

Cohabitation on the rise, but 100 percent more likely to result in broken families: Study (2017)

Ties That Bind: Childrearing in the Age of Cohabitation (2017)

Report: Global Spike In Cohabitation Is Destabilizing Children’s Lives (2017)

Feminism Is Leaving A Wake Of Unhappy, Unmarried, And Childless Women In Its Path (2017)

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