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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Love: Cohabitation Before He Puts a Ring On It

First I want to apologize to those who read this feature on a weekly basis for my absence these last few weeks. I've had a lot of personal things going on...but that's no excuse. I'll do better in the future.

Although delayed....here we go.

Cohabitation before the wedding bells? You'll hear lots of opinions on this from many different sources...so here goes mine.

I'm an old-fashioned guy...yeah I had crazy fun and did stupid things growing up that don't fit that "old-fashioned" mold. But when it comes down to it, for me living with someone shouldn't be taken lightly and shouldn't be jumped into willy nilly! My wife and I were together for 2 years before we got married....we didn't live together before we got married....and I was perfectly fine with that.
The problem I have with this is that there are so-called "relationship experts" who'll tell you that IT'S IMPERATIVE THAT YOU LIVE WITH SOMEONE BEFORE YOU GET MARRIED TO THEM.

These days 70% of couples are taking that advice and cohabiting before getting married, but I'm going to share a few reasons why that might not be a good idea.

  1. Those who live together before marriage, tend to not get married. The desire to get married is no longer prevalent because one or both partners is comfortable with the way things are. Close to 40% of all those who live together before marriage tend to end their relationships before progressing to marriage.
  2. Those who live together before marriage have higher divorce and separation rates. Individual studies done at various universities have reported that divorce rates of women who cohabit are nearly 80% higher than those who did not.
  3. Those who live together before marriage have unhappier marriages. Studies have shown that those who cohabit before marriage have shown a lower marital quality.
  4. Those living together prior to marriage have more conflicts, fights, disagreements and are more prone to acts of violence than couples who do not live together before getting married.
  5. Those who live together before marriage experience more behavioral problems than those who do not cohabit. Cohabiting couples report higher levels of alcohol problems, acts of aggression, increased marital instability, higher depression rates, poorer communication, and greater increase in chances for physical abuse.
These are only a few of the reasons NOT to cohabit before marriage that I agree with. However, every couple has to make that decision for themselves and not based on what someone tells them they should or shouldn't do. Unfortunately, there are so many conflicting statistics out there...even ones that will conflict with the statistics I just shared, that it's ALWAYS best for couples to be up front and honest with one another and talk about whether they want to live together or whether they'd prefer to wait until after marriage.

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