Relationships are drastically different from what they were years ago. Today’s generation of both men and women are more inclined to move in together before marriage. One recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Health Statistics noted that nearly more than half of couples reported cohabitating before marriage, which is up from 34% in 1995. With such a dramatic shift, it isn’t unreasonable for both individuals within a relationship to question the strength of their decision. Lately, there has been an influx of studies supporting the notion that sharing a roof before sharing wedding vows is one mistake that most couples can’t afford to make.
The Risk of Divorce
Divorce doesn’t only cause strife between the parties involved, but it also leads to a significant legal mess. Couples going through a divorce are left dividing up not only shared assets, but also divvying up time spend with any children within the relationship. Some studies purport that living together before marriage is one way to increase your chance of divorce. The study, cited by Psychology Today, assessed how living together affects the chance of divorce and the factors that lead up to that divorce. In the study, researchers noted that couples who lived together before getting married suffered more marital instability, they had poorer marriage quality, and less relationship satisfaction. These factors taken together are a recipe for a disastrous outcome.
Less Incentive to Get Married
Another prominent problem with living together before marriage is that for some people, it can decrease incentive to getting married. According to Focus on the Family, living together before marriage is a way of establishing half of the commitment. Couples who live together essentially establish the entire framework for a marriage, become comfortable, and thus reduce their incentive to getting married. In addition to establishing the framework of marriage without the marriage, cohabitation also leads couples to become less trusting of one another. Parties who move in together before marriage are become distrustful of one another when the relationship fails to progress as they would like, which would be into the state of being married.
Dividing Assets When Living Together
Another significant problem is the issue of dividing assets when living together and breaking up. Break-ups are emotionally trying for both parties involved, but factoring in dividing up an apartment or home that you both live in when you break up can add to the challenge. In most instances, parties may even bring the issue into litigation because separating assets can be so difficult. Nobody wants to lose out on items that are important or precious to them because of a breakup.
Overall, the point of this argument is not to say that living together before marriage doesn’t work for anyone – for some people, it may be a perfectly good way to structure a relationship. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to consider the consequences and considerations that need to accompany such a big decision.