Monday, July 14, 2014

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage? (And What About the Baby Carriage?)

At times I wallow in sadness over the the high rate of divorce and the reality that many dating and engaged couples have experienced their own parents’ divorce It is clear that many couples shy from commitment to marriage at present.
One idea often discerned centers around this question: should couples cohabit to see if they are compatible? Doesn't it seems reasonable that cohabitation would offer a good preview of marriage?. However, sociologists have discovered that the “expectation of a positive relationship between cohabitation and marital stability . . . has been shattered in recent years by studies conducted in several Western countries.” (William G. Axinn and Arland Thornton, "The Relation Between Cohabitation and Divorce: Selectivity or Casual Influence?" Demography 29, 1992, 357-374).
So- the data show that if one wants a successful marriage, one is better off living together after the wedding. Why is that?
·         Numerous sociological studies reveal that if you want a happy marriage, you’re better off moving in together after the wedding. The research findings:

  •          Most couples who live together never get married, but those who do have a divorce rate up to 80 percent higher than those who waited until after the wedding to live together.
  •          Couples who cohabited prior to marriage also have greater marital conflict and poorer communication, and they make more frequent visits to marriage counselors.
  •          Women who cohabited before marriage are more than three times as likely as women who did not to cheat on their husbands within marriage.
  •          The U.S. Justice Department found that women who cohabit are sixty-two times more likely to be assaulted by a live-in boyfriend than by a husband.
  •          Women who cohabit are more than three times as likely to be depressed as married women.
  •          Cohabiting couples are less sexually satisfied than those who waited for marriage. 

If one dreams of a marriage "until death do us part," amd of marital peace, fidelity, physical safety, emotional well being, and sexual satisfaction, cohabitation is clearly not a recipe for happiness. Even USA Today reported, “Could this be true love? Test it with courtship, not cohabitation.”