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Times have changed. Fifty years seeing couples living together without being married was fairly uncommon. Only about 0.2% of 25-to 34-year olds shared their home in 1968. Today, this number has increased to 15%. In contrast, marriage rates have decreased from 59% in 1978 to only 30% today for the same age group (25 to 34 year olds). In what camp are you? Do you believe that cohabitation is necessary in order to “give the relationship a try”? Have you boldly declared that it would be impossible for you to get married without “testing the waters” first? There sure seems to be a lot of popular wisdom behind cohabitation. But what does research have to say? How does cohabitation impact your relationships and how does it affect child well-being? If you are unsure about whether you’d rather just live together or tie the knot first, or if you are already cohabiting but are curious to learn more, this post is for you.
The National Marriage Project and The Wheatley Institution released a report in February 2019 that assesses the link between cohabitation and relationship stability, commitment and satisfaction. Their findings may sound gloomy, but knowledge is essential when evaluating and making important decisions about your life. At Lifeline we strive to help you have fact-based information to make the best decisions for your life.
Not necessarily, as each relationship is different. In addition, Scott Stanley has made the observation that cohabiting couples can have the same outcomes as married ones if they:
So what about children? Today, about one-quarter of them are born to cohabiting parents, compared to only 6% in the 1980s. Some argued that the decision to have a baby together creates a comparable, if not stronger and longer-lasting bond than marriage. If you are one of these parents, you might want to know if your children will fare the same as those born to married couples…
The answer is not straightforward, as children’s well-being is also dependent on other factors. For example, adolescents are more resilient than younger children and boys were found to need more stability growing up than girls. Overall though, experts widely recognize that the well-being of children living with cohabiting parents is lower than those of married parents.
Would you like to discuss your own family situation with a counselor? Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy and unsure what to do? At Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic, we provide confidential and no-cost services including counseling, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, education and more. Visit our website for more information. We are here to help.