Distorted View of Cohabitation
Poll Shows Distorted View of Cohabitation

by Devon Williams, associate editor

'One of the best ways to sandbag a marriage before it starts is to live together before marriage.'

Nearly half of American adults believe that cohabitation can be good for marriage, according to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll. Similarly, almost half believe living together before marriage has no effect on children.

The survey of 1,007 adults found that 49 percent believe cohabitation makes divorce less likely. Brad Wilcox, associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, said there is a growing body of evidence that suggests otherwise.

"People think that cohabitation is a great way to practice or test a relationship," he said. "In reality, we know that cohabitation tends to set people up for marital failure – both in terms of high rates of divorce, but also in terms of more conflict in their marriage and less happiness."

In addition, 47 percent of respondents said living together doesn't negatively affect their children. Wilcox called this is a tragedy for our nation's youth.

"Kids who are exposed to cohabitation are more likely to be physically abused, to be sexually abused, to have trouble with depression and delinquency and a number of other negative social outcomes," he said. "One of (marriage's) primary purposes is to secure an ideal environment for the rearing of children. We need to make sure that we are having and rearing our kids in the context of a marital union where there's that commitment and that trust that is going to generate good things for our children."

In a related poll released Monday by the Census Bureau, there are currently 6.4 million cohabiting couples in the U.S. That's up 1.4 million from 2006.

Glenn Stanton, director of family formation studies for Focus on the Family, said the numbers indicate pro-family organizations and scholars haven't done a good job of educating Americans about the harmful effects of cohabitation on marriage.

"The American people are largely clueless on the measurable benefits of marriage and the negative impact of cohabitation," he said. "In fact, one of the best ways to sandbag a marriage before it starts is to live together before marriage.

"We need to do a better job of helping people understand that marital status and lack of marital status really has a negative impact in the lives of people."

Assemblies of God SAM INTERCONNECT September 2008 Newsletter
It starts early....I remember hearing Dr. Dobson on the radio talking to a mother who wanted to know at what age it was appropriate to begin teaching her child values and morals. After finding out that the child was five years old, he told the mother that she was already five years too late. People think kids don't pick things up or understand at an early age but they do.
It's everyone's job. We're reaping what we've sown; when our kids grow up, they bear the fruit of the examples they've been bombarded with all their lives.
Here's are some statistics in an article shared by the NAD Family Ministries Department by Michael J McManus. Some very startling ones!


McManus - Ethics & Religion July 30, 2008
Column # 1,405
Is Soaring Cohabitation Risky?
By Mike McManus

Census estimates that the number of unmarried heterosexual couples who are cohabiting has reached a startling 6.4 million couples in 2007. That figure is for a given month. Over a year's time perhaps 10 million couples live together while only 2.2 million marry.

According to a USATODAY/Gallup Poll, 49 percent of America said living together makes divorce less likely, 13 percent said it made no difference, while only 31 asserted divorce was more likely.

These are widely shared opinions, which is why two-thirds of those who marry today are living together, as my wife and I reported in our new book, "Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers." However, our review of studies on the issue revealed cohabiting couples DO increase their odds of divorce compared to those who remained apart.

We quote Dr. Pamela Smock of the University of Michigan, who reviewed all of the studies published up to 2000, and came to this conclusion: "Common sense suggests that premarital cohabitation should provide an opportunity for couples to learn about each other, strengthen their bonds, and increase their chances for a successful marriage....The evidence, however, suggests just the opposite. Premarital cohabitation tends to be associated with lower
marital quality and to increase the risk of divorce...The degree of
consensus about this central finding is impressive." In a 2007 interview, she confirmed her conclusion.

Yet when USA TODAY interviewed her, she said, "The evidence is a lot more mixed."

USA TODAY quotes Dr. Jay Teachman of Western Washington University in Bellingham, who found that a woman who has lived only with her future spouse has no greater risk of divorce, while those who lived with more than one partner have a greater divorce risk.

However, Prof. Brad Wilcox of the University of Virginia, countered, "The problem is there is no way to know that the person you are cohabiting with is your lifelong spouse until you have gotten married. The only way to guarantee that your cohabiting partner is your first spouse is to wait until you are married."

He quotes Daniel Lichter, another expert cited by USA TODAY, who wrote in 2006, that a majority of cohabitants will end up in a breakup rather than a marriage.

True. Look at the numbers above. Some 6.4 million couples were cohabiting at any moment in 2007, but only 2.2 million married, 700,000 of whom were not cohabiting. Cohabitors had a 23% chance of marriage. Grim odds.

We quote an insightful study by Dr. Catherine Cohen and Stacy Kleinbaum who compared the marriages of those who had cohabited first, with those who had not. The couples were put into a living room setting with video cameras and were asked to seek to solve any problem in their marriage. "Those people who lived together were more negative and less positive when resolving a marital
problem," said Cohen.

Even those who cohabited for just one month before marriage actually displayed poorer communication and problem-solving skills than those who did not live together. The Family Violence Research Program of the University of New Hampshire reports that cohabitors are five times more likely to experience "severe" violence compared to married couples. And women who break up with a cohabitor are 18 times more likely to be assaulted by that male, than they would be by a spouse.

Many couples who cohabit say they are in a "trial marriage." That is a myth. More than eight in ten will break up either before or after the
wedding, as illustrated above.

In fact, tens of millions have been diverted from marriage by cohabitation.In 1970 there were only 21 million never-married . By 2006, the figure TRIPLED to 60 million. The population only grew 48 percent.

No wonder marriage rates plunged by 50 percent since 1970! Two-thirds of adults used to be married. Today it is only 49%.

Sadly, if cohabitants had a traditional courtship, living separately - most would be married today, usually to the first person they lived with.

Why doesn't cohabitation work?

My wife and I have mentored cohabiting couples to prepare them for marriage. We found that most erupted into such frequent arguments, we wondered why they were getting married. However, those who we persuaded to move apart, or to stop having sex - stopped arguing, became joyful and built solid marriages.

Why? We write, "People who cohabit seem to lose respect for themselves and for their partner, while those who form a household only after marriage haveinherently higher self-respect and respect for their spouse."

END TXT Copyright © Michael J. McManus
Wow! There are an awful lot of people cohabiting. Now what kind of commitment is that? If I'm not married but living with someone it would be a lot easier to end the relationship then if I was married to someone. What do you think?
Make it Happen! :-)

IT seems like more and more young people age 30 year and young do not want
to commit to any thing permanent -----also they are more focus on them selfs
which would account for the large number of people living together

Why would cohabitation make divorce less likely? Is it because there is less of a commitment and if you are cohabiting and split up then it's not a divorce? Now that would be strange thinking, wouldn't it?
Make it Happen! :-)
Can a person just leave a partner when the only commitment they had is cohabitation? If a couple are married isn't that a stronger commitment then cohabitation? So, you can't call a split with a partner you are cohabiting with divorce. So, are people just trying to avoid divorce these days by cohabiting? Kind of a weak commitment......
Make it Happen! :-)
So are divorce statistics declining because of cohabitation? Seems strange.......
Make it Happen! :-)
The above statistics mentioned were in 2007 but, I know they have gone up in 2017...

"Census estimates that the number of unmarried heterosexual couples who are cohabiting has reached a startling 6.4 million couples in 2007. That figure is for a given month. Over a year's time perhaps 10 million couples live together while only 2.2 million marry."

So........it looks like more and more are not marrying.....are they too afraid to marry because they will get divorced or be abused? What are your thoughts on this?
Make it Happen! :-)

I know of at least 3 different couples that are living together that are not married====it does seem sad===and it is also not just 1 culture that is doing this===
there are many different cultures that think this is okay to do ==== like I have said " What one generation tolerates ===the next generation thinks it is normal."

and this goes for all cultures in the world

You are right, dgrimm70. Our culture is certainly changing and it is not the only one. Life is moving to the end of this world and it's not fun. So glad that Jesus is coming soon!
Make it Happen! :-)
So, cohabitation doesn't keep people from divorcing because they can just get out of the relationship without being married? Sad!
Make it Happen! :-)

YES since they are just living together if they argue or disagree a lot they just move out ===like I said no commitments

No commitment............do you see and advantage of cohabitation over marriage? So, if you cohabit you don't have to commit to very much. Does that make marriage worth it?
Make it Happen! :-)
Yes, this is still continuing......no commitment. Is that good or is that something that needs to be fixed? What do you think?
Make it Happen! :-)

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