A persuasive speech sample:
Attention Step: To persuade my audience that cohabitation can be a solution to many social problems in Lebanon.
Statement of Problem: Marriage has become a very burdensome relationship in Lebanon, especially economically and socially. Cohabitation presents itself as an alternative.
Explanation of Problem: In order to get married decently in this country, the following are needed: a possessed apartment, new furniture, a car, and above all, a secure job that can provide at least $1,500 a month. According to Mr. Wael Shatilla who has just got married, these are the requirements of marriage in a country where the per capital income is hardly above $5,000. Knowing that a university graduate who has been working for three or four years does not make more than $500 or $600 a month if he ever gets employed, it might take up to 100 years of work in order to get married in our society.
Some people, however may be lucky. They spend five to ten years of their lives abroad where they come back with a lump of money to start their homes and get married. Yet, the problem for all those who get married is that they have a very high possibility of getting divorced. This is due to many reasons, but the result in the end is that the collapse of this marriage means the collapse of the individual’s life.
Furthermore, as marriage expenses are getting higher, marriage ages have been going up too. Al-Nahar reported on January 12, 1996 that today, the average marriage age for a man is between 29 and 31 when it was only 22 two decades ago. For women it has reached 26 when it was only 18 two decades ago. The result is repressed sexuality and mounting social and psychological problems.
Proof that Problem Exists: A recent survey in As-Safir, published on May 9, 1997 shows that the expenses of marriage among the middle class breaks down as follows: $50,000 for the apartment, $15,000 for the furniture, in addition to $10,000 for other expenses. This mounts to $75,000 which needs about 25 years of persistent saving for a graduate who can save $250 a month. At the same time, medical research has proven that sexual repression leads to serious psychological problems for the individual and society. Among these are: increased stress and tension, depression, rise in rates of rape and sexual assault, and increased bisexuality and homosexuality.
Relation to the Audience: This problem directly relates to you. Some of the women here think that they are not concerned because men carry all the expenses. Well, let me tell you that if men cannot bear the expenses then you cannot get married. Some of you men may think that they can wait that long or they may have better financial chances in the future. Do you really think so?
Plan of Action: This problem requires an immediate plan of action in order to surmount it. Cohabitation might just be the suitable solution.
Explanation of Plan: According to the Longman Dictionary of American English, the definition of cohabit is “two unmarried people living together as though they were married.” Cohabitation, has become dominant in many countries of the world, and in Lebanon, although there are no statistics, but it is obvious that it does exist.
According to James Zanden in his book, Human Development, published in 1993, with cohabitation, a man and a woman will live together, share their feelings and the expenses of their lives without thinking about the financial burdens of marriage. Nor will they worry about the financial costs if their relationship collapses.
Allowing cohabitation in Lebanon will enable a very wide sector of men and women who do not believe that they want to get married to have a settled life and to overcome their sexual repression through relationships that may in the end survive and lead to marriage.
Countering Arguments Against the Plan: Many will argue that cohabitation is against religion. Well, those who are religious will certainly not cohabit but they do not have the right to prevent others from doing it. Secondly, for those who believe that cohabitation leads to loose social relations, according to Zanden, in the US, 44% of married couples have in fact cohabited before they got married in the end.
Action Step: Cohabitation offers solutions to many problems that are related to marriage, sexuality, social flexibility and above all, improving the human condition in Lebanon. It is your responsibility to choose what is better for you, and please keep in mind that cohabitation offers much more than it appears to do.
Summary: Cohabitation, a new phenomenon in Lebanon but long existing in the west, is promising social flexibility in addition to many solutions that have persisted throughout the war and the economic and social turmoil in Lebanon. It is an issue worth contemplating and considering.
Longman Dictionary of American English. Beirut: Librarie Du Liban, 1983.
Zanden, James. (1993). Human Development. New York: McGraw-Hill Inc.
As-Safir Newspaper. (May 9, 1997).
Al-Nahar Newspaper. “Marriage expenses in Lebanon.” (January 12, 1996).
Wael Shatilla. Personal Interview. April 24, 1998.