The following are a selection of online and published resources specifically on this area:

Ash, Christopher. 2003. Marriage: Sex in the Service of God. Inter-Varsity Press.
This detailed study of marriage from a conservative evangelical perspective has a chapter (ch 11, pp211-45) which look at marriage as "voluntary sexual and public social union" and includes some discussion  of cohabitation (especially pp222-6 and pp232ff). Helpful summary of his position in “What’s wrong with living together unmarried?”


Diocese of Southwark's Board for Church in Society. 2003. Cohabitation: A Christian Reflection.
A helpful collection of different pieces by Christians. Summaries on the diocesan web-site linked from

Dormor, Duncan J. 2004. Just Cohabiting?: The Church, Sex and Getting Married. London: Darton, Longman & Todd.
A more popular and accessible study than Thatcher’s heavier book (below) which also argues for a more positive Christian response. Much of the argument can be found in his October 2004 Conference Paper


Flanagan, Declan, and Ted Williams. 1997. Cohabitation or Marriage? Belmont House Publishing. Critique of cohabitation from Senior Pastor of Cheam Baptist Church and a Christian GP which also published online. See also their summary of essential differences between marriage and cohabitation   

Forster, Greg. 1994. Cohabitation and Marriage: A Pastoral Response. Zondervan.  
A sympathetic study by leading evangelical writer in pastoral ethics.


Jenkins, Gary. 1993. Cohabitation: A Biblical Perspective. Grove Books Ltd.  
Helpful study holding together biblical integrity and pastoral reality. Key extracts in What's Wrong With Living Together?


Lawler, Michael G. 2002. Marriage and the Catholic Church: Disputed Questions. Liturgical Press,U.S.
Series of studies covering various issues (sacrament, bond, divorce, cohabitation) drawing on historical and contemporary resources. 

Mission & Public Affairs Council of the Church of England. 2006. Cohabitation: The Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown, A response.
CofE response to Law Commission Report also available online as PDF

Morgan, Patricia M. 2000. Marriage-Lite: The Rise of Cohabitation and Its Consequences. Civitas:Institute for the Study of Civil Society.
Full text on line of a critical study of the nature of cohabitation and defence of the institution of marriage.


Mothers' Union. 2004. Marriage or Cohabitation? Looking For A Christian Perspective.
Short online discussion paper with facts, figures, Bible texts, case studies and questions for discussion.


Pratt, Edward. 1992. Living in Sin?: Response to Cohabitation. St.Simon's Church.
Strong critique of cohabitation in a Grove booklet style.


Ramsey, Paul. 1975. One Flesh: Christian View of Sex Within, Outside and Before Marriage. Grove Books Ltd, reprinted 2009.
Another classic Grove booklet [originally a journal article] by leading 20th century ethicists; not always easy; uses existential categories; defends trad Christian views on sex and marriage


Taylor, Philippa. 2000. For Better or For Worse: A look at marriage, cohabitation and family breakdown.
Work of CARE researcher on marriage and cohabitation available online.


Thatcher, Adrian. 1999. Marriage After Modernity: Christian Marriage in Postmodern Times. New York University Press.
Important study on marriage esp its treatment of children and of cohabitation and betrothal from same author as above; more interaction with Scripture and tradition than earlier work.

———. 2002. Living Together and Christian Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
The fullest most recent academic study, arguing for a more positive Christian response to cohabitation and retrieval of the practice of betrothal. The heart of his argument is found in various short pieces - See it as a start in Church Times and Before or after the wedding? in The Witness. He responds to the debate he started in a 2003 paper entitled Continuing A Conversation


Warrington, Keith. 1997. Cohabitation and the Church. Churchman 111, no. 2. 
A response to this appears in Churchman 1998 (112/3) by Ted Pratt (see above).


Church of England responses

Church of England Website

General Synod 2004 Debate, Report of Proceedings (pp 108-end of PDF; 302-end of print)

CofE response to Law Commission Report.

For statistical data and info on situation in UK:

Oneplusone has collection of resources under Married or Not including:

On legal rights and issues surrounding cohabitation Advicenow has excellent resources.

The Facts Behind Cohabitation is a helpful short summary produced by Civitas: The Institute for the Study of Civil Society [also as PDF and in form of lesson plan for teachers]