Does Living Together Prevent Divorce?
Many young people want to live with their intended before marriage, in hopes of avoiding divorce.
Like Ben, a 22-year-old from Pennsylvania:
I think if you do end up marrying that person, you can understand their habits better. You can be more sure.
Or Carri, a twenty one-year-old from Virginia:
I think anybody that’s going to get married should live together before… You find out how that person really is… and you learn whether you really want to live the rest of your life with them.
In fact, cohabitation ushers in about two-thirds of marriages.
But does a trial run prevent future divorce?
After looking over data for their book, Premarital Sex in America, sociologists, Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker (who had spoken with Carri and Ben) learned that the answer is:
Not so much.
As a general rule, people who live together before wedding are more likely to get divorced – although that’s less true today than it had been in the past.
Living together doesn’t cause the problem. It’s just that people who insist on wedding first tend to value marriage more. So they work harder to save troubled relationships.
But the reason for living together also affects the divorce rate. Couples who are engaged, or who plan to marry, are no more likely to divorce than those who insist on marriage vows before moving in.
Interestingly, relationships last longer when couples move in together “as a step toward marriage” versus, “testing the relationship.” Maybe that’s because one view is positive while the other seems skeptical — perhaps creating worries, stress, and self-fulfilling prophecies — in a bad way.
For people who want to know…
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