Living Together Before Marriage No Longer Increases Your Chance of Divorce
Are you living together before marriage?
For years, it’s been said that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced. But according to a new government study of 22,000 men and women, this is no longer the case.
About 60 percent of couples live together before marriage. “It’s becoming so common, it’s not surprising it no longer negatively affects marital stability,” said Wendy Manning, co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
According to the study, couples who lived together while engaged had a 60 percent chance of their marriage lasting 15 years-the same as couples who did not live together before the wedding. But for couples who live together before the proposal? Their marriages were only 53% as likely to reach the 15 year mark.
The study infers that the difference is related to feelings about committment.
“Commitment has made a difference. In interviews with some women who have been married 20 years or more after living with their spouse first, firm belief in a future together was a common theme,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I’ve always been a little skeptical of the so-called fact that couples who live together are more likely to get divorced. You’d think that living together first would give you the chance to work out any kinks in the relationship and really get to know the person you’re about to marry. My husband and I lived together for five years before the wedding (three before the engagement). We knew before moving in together that we were both in it for the long haul; but we were still young and in college, so a wedding was a few years off. Living together gave us a chance to have a little “trial marriage” and make sure that we enjoyed being around each other constantly. Cohabiting presents so many new challenges-how do you handle when one of you is a neat freak and one doesn’t mind a little (or a lot of) clutter? How do you divide the cooking and cleaning? What do you do if one of you loves entertaining and the other wants more quiet time at home? If you live together before marriage, there’s an easy out if it’s just not working. If your lifestyles don’t mesh, you won’t have to deal with attorneys to get out of the situation-and you’ll avoid the devastating emotional heartbreak of divorce.