—From Women’s Health: Should you be living together? Quote from article:
But research has shown that living together before marriage can sabotage long-term love. Couples who share an address before exchanging rings have slightly higher odds of getting divorced. So how do you know if the timing is right to start shacking up?
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/10/19/should-be-living-together/?intcmp=features#ixzz2A38kwDxEAn article in the NY Times on 4/14/12 supports my opinion that living together before marriage is not a good idea.
What are your thoughts?
The Christian Standard magazine just published an article I wrote based on the reaction to this post. You can read the article here: Cohabitation for Idiots
I’m currently working on a family life book (for information on my 5 other books click here: Arron Chambers.com) so I’m very interested in the issue of cohabitation.
This is a big issue today. I’m seeing a lot of young couples who are living together before marriage. This troubles me for several reasons, not the least of which is that living together puts a couple in a place of enormous temptation to have premarital sex, which is a sin.
A few years ago, I came across this flier on living together. It’s been helpful to me in explaining some of the other reasons why living together before marriage is not a good idea (when the sin angle isn’t enough of a deterrent :)), maybe it will be helpful to someone you know.
Seven reasons why living together before marriage is not a good idea:
1. Those who live together before marriage are least likely to marry each other.
Forty percent of couples who live together will end their relationships before marriage.
2. Those who live together before marriage have higher separation and divorce rates.
The Journal of Marriage and Family reported marriages that are preceded by living together have 50 percent higher disruption rates than marriage without premarital cohabitation. The Universities of Chicago and Michigan reported that those who cohabit before marriage have substantially higher divorce rates than those who do not; the recorded differentials range from 50 to 100 percent. Researchers from Yale University, Columbia University and the Institute for Resource Development at Westinghouse revealed the divorce rates of women who cohabit are nearly 80 percent higher than the rates of those who do not.
The University of Wisconsin at Madisonresearchers report that cohabitors perceived greater likelihood of divorce than couples who did not cohabit before marriage and the longer couples live together outside of marriage, the higher likelihood of divorce.
3. Those who live together before marriage have unhappier marriages.
A review of 10 cohabitation studies found that those who cohabit prior to marriage show a significantly lower marital quality and have significantly higher risk of marital dissolution at any given duration. Couples who lived together before marriage also separated more often, sought counseling more often and regarded marriage as a less important part of their life than those who did not live together before marriage.
4. Those living together before marriage have more frequent disagreements, more fights and violence.
Three studies find this to be true. Pennsylvania State University researchers found that those who live together were more negative and less positive when resolving a marital problem and when providing support to their partner. They also found that husbands and wives who had lived together before marriage were more verbally aggressive, less supportive of one another and generally more hostile than spouses who had not lived together.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison reported that couples who had cohabited prior to marriage reported greater marital conflict and poorer communication than married couples who had never cohabited. Research reports couples who live together have more frequent disagreements, more fights and violence, lower levels of fairness and happiness with their relationships compared to married people.
5. Those who live together do not experience the best sex.
The National Institute for Healthcare Research found that couples not involved before marriage and faithful during marriage are more satisfied with their current sex life than those who were involved sexually before marriage. Another study done by the Family Research Council found that 72 percent of all married “traditionalists” (those who strongly believe out-of-wedlock sex is wrong) reported high sexual satisfaction. This is roughly 31 percentage points higher than the level by unmarried “non-traditionalists.” Religious women are most satisfied with the frequency of intercourse and were more orgasmic than are the nonreligious.
6. Those who live together before marriage experience more behavioral problems.
Compared with married couples, cohabitors report higher levels of:
- Alcohol problems.
- Aggression is twice as common.
- Greater marital instability, lower marital satisfaction and poorer communication.
- Depression rates are more than three times higher.
- Women being assaulted is 56 times higher.
7. Living together outside of marriage negatively impacts their children.
David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, researchers from the National Marriage Project, found that children living with cohabiting biological parents who are unmarried are 20 times more likely to be abused and children whose mother lives with a boyfriend who is not the biological father are 33 times more likely to be abused than children with married biological parents.
Compared to children in intact families, children in cohabiting households had more behavioral problems and poorer academic scores.
Every empirical study seen indicates living together does not produce healthier, happier marriages, but the contrary. Mature love is built on the security of knowing that your love is exclusive and permanent.
1. Bumpass, Sweet and Cherlin, “The Role of Cohabitation in Declining Rates Marriage” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53 (1991) 913-927. 2. Ibid 3. William G. Axinn and Arland Thorton, “The Relationship Between Cohabitation and Divorce: Selectivity or Casual Influence?” Demography (1992): 358. 4. Neil Bennett, et al., “Commitment and the Modern Union: Assessing the Link Between Premarital Cohabitation and Subsequent Marital Stability,” American Sociological Review 53 (1988): 127-138. 5. Elizabeth Thomson and Ugo Colella, “Cohabitation and Marital Stability: Quality or Commitment?” (Study of more than 13,000 adults) Journal of Marriage and the Family 54 (1992): 266. 6. Alfred DeMarris and K. Vaninadha Roa, “Premarital Cohabitation and Subsequent Marital Stability in the United States: A Reassessment,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 54 (1992): 178. 7. John D. Cunningham and John K. Antill, “Cohabitation and Marriage: Retrospective and Predictive Comparisons,” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships(1994): 90. 8. Dr. Catherine L. Cohan, “Living Together Pre-Marriage May Lead to Divorce,” Journal of Marriage and Family 64 (2002): 180-192 9. Ibid 10. Elizabeth Thomson and Ugo Colella, “Cohabitation and Marital Stability: Quality or Commitment? (Study of more than 13,000 adults) Journal of Marriage and the Family 54 (1992): 259-267. 11. Susan L. Brown and Alan Booth, “Cohabitation Versus Marriage: A Comparison of Relationship Quality,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 58 (1996): 668-678. 12. David B. Larson, MD, NMSPH, et al, “The Costly Consequences of Divorce: Assessing the Clinical, Economic, and Public Health Impact of Marital Disruption in the United States,” National Institute for Healthcare Research, Rockville, Maryland. (1994): 84-85 13. David Larson and Mary Ann Mayo, “Believe Well, Live Well,” Family Research Council (1994). 14. Allan V. Horowitz et al, “The Relationship of Cohabitation and Mental Health: A Study of Young Adult Cohort,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 60 (1998): 5005-514. 15. Jan E. Stets, “Cohabiting and Marital Aggression: The Role of Social Isolation,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53 (1991): 669-680. 16. Jan E. Stets, “The Link Between Past and Present Intimate Relationships,” Journal of Family Issues 14 (1993): 236-260. 17. Popenoe and Whitehead, “Should We Live Together? What Young Couples Need to Know about Cohabitation Before Marriage,” National Marriage Project, Rutgers, (1999): 7. 18. University of Wisconsin’s National Survey of Families and Households, American Family Association Journal, July 1993. 19. Popenoe and Whitehead, Should We Live Together?” What Young Couples Need to Know about Cohabitation Before Marriage,” National Marriage Project, Rutgers, (1999): 8. 20. Ibid.