Friday, March 26, 2010

7 Reasons not to Live Together before Marriage

Ripped from the St Cloud Diocese Website

1. Those who live together before marriage tend not to marry. Over 50 percent of couples who live together will end their relationships before marriage.[1] Moreover, while many couples choose to cohabit in an attempt to test the relationship and prevent the pain of divorce, the "premarital divorce" is often times just as painful as divorce itself. [2]

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 marriages without premarital cohabitation.[3] 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.[4]

The University of Wisconsin at Madison researchers report that cohabitors perceived greater likelihood of divorce than couples who did not cohabitate before marriage and the longer couples live together outside of marriage, the higher likelihood of divorce.[5]

3. Those who live together before marriage have unhappier marriages. A review of 10 cohabitation studies found that those who cohabitate prior to marriage show a significantly lower marital quality and have significantly higher risk of marital dissolution at any given duration.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

Another study found that couples who cohabitate before marriage have less problem solving skills, poorer communication skills, and are more negative while attempting to resolve marital conflicts compared to married couples who have never cohabitated.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

6. Those who live together before marriage experience more behavioral problems. Compared with married couples, cohabitors report higher levels of:

Alcohol problems.[14]
Aggression is twice as common.[15]
Greater marital instability, lower marital satisfaction and poorer communication.[16]
Depression rates are more than three times higher.[17] According to a study done by the National Institute of Mental Health the depression rates of cohabitating women are second only to those twice divorced. [18]
Women being assaulted is 56 times higher.[19]

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.[20]

Compared to children in intact families, children in cohabiting households had more behavioral problems and poorer academic scores,[21] and are five times more likely to experience their parents separating.[22]

Numerous empirical studies indicate that 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. Popence and Whitehead, "Should We Live Together?" 2002, p. 6,
2. McManus, Mike & Harriet. Living Together: Myths, Risks, & Answers. Howard Books, New York, 2008, p.61.
3. Bumpass, Sweet and Cherlin, “The Role of Cohabitation in Declining Rates of Marriage” Journal of Marriage and the Family 52 (1991) 913-927.
4. William G. Axinn and Arland Thorton, “The Relationship Between Cohabitation and Divorce: Selectivity or Casual Influence?” Demography (1992): 358.
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. McManus, Mike & Harriet. Living Together: Myths, Risks, & Answers. Howard Books, New York, 2008, p. 72.
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): 505-514.
15. Jan E. Stets, “The Link Between Past and Present Intimate Relationships,” Journal of Family Issues 14 (1993): 236
16. Ibid 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. Lee Robins and Darrel Regier, Psychiatric Disorders in America: The Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study (New York: Free Press, 1991), p. 64.
19. University of Wisconsin’s National Survey of Families and Households, American Family Association Journal, July 1993.
20. Popenoe and Whitehead, Should We Live Together?” What Young Couples Need to Know about Cohabitation Before Marriage,” National Marriage Project, Rutgers, (1999): 8.
21. Ibid.
22. Cynthia Osborn, W.D. Manning and P.M. Smock, "Married and Cohabitating Parents' Relationship Stability: A Focus on Race and Ethnicity," Journal of Marriage and Family 69 (2007): 1345-1366, p. 1345.

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