Marriage and Cohabiting
Arelationship where couples live together before marriage is definedas cohabiting. Research reveals that one-half of couples under theage of 35 years in such a relationship say an important reason forcohabiting is that it gives them an opportunity to be sure that theyare compatible before marriage ( Sussman et al., 1999). Cohabiting isthus seen as a trial period for determining marital compatibility.This is brought about by the high divorce rates observed in the pastseveral decades some young Americans today believe that cohabitatingis helpful in avoiding divorce (Noller & Feeney, 2013). The paperanalyses whether cohabitation guarantees higher success rate inmarriage.
Thereare three groups of couples: – those who cohabit before engagement,others cohabit after engagement and those who do not cohabit untilmarriage. Research reveals that those who cohabit before engagement report lower interpersonal commitment, lower relationship quality,less confidence in their relationships and more negative interactionsthan other couples do. Those who cohabit before engagement do so totest a relationship, which they are concerned about (McManus et al.,2008).
Cohabitersreport poorer relationship quality than married couples. Thisincludes less happiness, more disagreements, more fights and violenceand lower levels of fairness (Kirst-Asman et al., 2009). Cohabitersalso tend to be more depressed than their married counterparts areand the depression is positively related to the length of therelationship. Lack of commitment may jeopardize the stability ofthese relationships and decrease the well-being of those involved.
Insummary there is fairly good evidence that couples who cohabit beforethey marry are at a great risk of divorce and of low qualityrelationships. However, if they are already committed to one another,for example engaged before living together, their chances of asatisfying and stable marriage are greatly enhanced than couples whocohabit before marriage (Gudgel 2013).
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McManusM, McManus J, & Mcmanus H. (2008). LivingTogether: Myths,Risks & Answers.London: Simon and Schuster
Noller,P and Feeney, J. (2013). CloseRelationships, Function Forms and Processes.New York: Psychology Press.
Sussman,M,Steinmetz, S, & Springer, J. (1999). Handbookof Marriage and the Family.New York: Psychology press.