Why not just live together?

I’ve heard this question/statement so many times, or something very similar, and based on what I’ve learned in the past few years, I feel compelled to answer.

When I was growing up (starting a sentence with those words shows I’m getting old), it was more uncommon for couples to live together before they got married. It was socially and morally less acceptable. Times have changed, I’m well aware, and though many people, especially those with a strong religious upbringing, still “wait until they get married,” millions do not. In fact, 41 percent of new parents aren’t married, although a huge percent are living together. http://tiny.cc/eaxoh

So what’s the big deal?

Well actually, research shows, quite a bit if you want to ensure a healthy, lifelong marriage and a stable life for children.

Believe it or not, living together before you are married actually increases your chance of divorce. And the more partners you live with, the higher your risk. http://tiny.cc/gbhnz

Children who live with cohabiting couples have a much greater risk of having their parents separate during their childhood. If one of their parents goes on to live with a different partner, it decreases the stability for the child and sadly increases the chances of abuse. Again, the more partners for the parent, the higher the risk. http://tiny.cc/2gxea 

Most parents would do just about anything for their child, but not all realize that committing to a marriage is one of the best things they could do for their child’s wellbeing.

Making the commitment to marry and to a marriage actually makes people work harder at the relationship. It is a mental mindshift from temporary to permanent.

The irony is many people live together to “avoid the pain of divorce,” or “to try it out before they commit.” But living together doesn’t help anyone avoid pain, especially children.

I actually heard a Hollywood actor say today that being married took the “D” word off the table and walking away isn’t an option, so when disagreements surface you move to how to fix it and move past it instead of how to find a way out. Yes, a Hollywood actor said that!

The strange truth is I think most people want to believe in the possibility of lifelong marriage, 90% of people will venture into marriage during their lifetime. So I would think that 90% would want to do whatever they can to be successful. With good preparation, realistic expectations and a commitment for the long haul, living together before marriage is unnecessary. 

Living together before marriage keeps the exit door open which breeds insecurity every time something isn’t perfect. It says, “Hey we’re in this together until I find something I don’t like about you or I find I’m just not happy…”  Marriage is so much more than just living together. It’s for better or worse and knowing you’re in it together.