There has been much debate over whether or not living with your significant other before marriage increases the chances of divorce. Numerous studies over the past ten years have produced varying results.
In a recent study published in The Journal of Marriage and Family, researchers Wendy Manning and Jessica Cohen examined the most current data in an attempt to find an answer to this contentious question.
The study examined statistics from the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth by the CDC, tracking roughly 2,000 men and 2,000 women who had been married since 1996.
They found that cohabitation before marriage is becoming more and more common, with roughly 2 out of 3 couples now live together before tying the knot. On the whole however, there was no evidence to suggest that cohabitation prior to marriage increases the chance of divorce. Of those surveyed, about 20% were divorce within 7 years of marriage, regardless of their living situation before the nuptials.
Couples who move in together before marriage do so for a number of different reasons. Some view cohabitation as a test marriage of sorts to see if they can coexist with their partner on a daily basis. For others it’s merely a financial decision (more roommates=cheaper rent). The study also found that cohabitating couples who were committed to getting married in the future were less likely to get divorced than those who had not future plans for marriage.
“The previously believed fact that couples who cohabitate prior to marriage had higher divorce rates is an example of confusing correlation for causation,” says AZ divorce attorney, Gregory A. Riebesehl. “Couples who live together before marriage generally have a more liberal view of marriage and are more accepting of divorce if the marriage doesn’t work. Couples that refuse to cohabitate prior to marriage typically take a more conservative view to marriage and refuse to divorce.”
For those of you who did live with your significant other before marriage, what were your reasons? Would you do it again if you were able to rewind the clock?