It is known that one out of two marriages will end in divorce. According to Dr. Harley, in “Living together before Marriage”, eighty-five percent of the divorced couples were cohabitating before marriage, otherwise known as: living together. With these kinds of statistics, why would people want to live together before they get married? It’s a perfectly logical question, with a perfectly logical explanation. Couples naturally want to know each other before they take the big plunge. Some may say, “You have to try it before you buy it”. It leads a very good point: couples should know each other before they vow to spend the rest of their lives with one another. However, it’s been proven to be more harmful than helpful to a relationship, because of the habits that are inevitably created. Whether they are good or bad, habits are hard to break and may cause problems throughout a lifetime.
Cohabiting is a month-to-month agreement, says Harley, theoretically saying there is always an easy way out. People believe if things get too tough it’s easier to separate rather than divorce. Yes, this is true, but what happens when the couple decides to get married? Now, they’ve transformed their minds to be weak, to give up when the going gets tough, and to leave when things aren’t working out. That is why living together before marriage is harmful. On the other hand, married couples who have not cohabitated together have a different perspective on things, and it is easier to make decisions based on what is good for the marriage and not just for themselves. This is because they go into the marriage believing it is for life, and not a month-to-month agreement.
Marriage can be tricky because the decisions that are made are no longer for yourself, they are for the good of the marriage. Cohabitating before marriage is the very source that diminishes the meaning of marriage: oneness. A marriage is when two become one, a reading from the book, One Flame. Couples who live together before marriage have a hard time understanding the concept of oneness. There is a definite single mindedness, “My problem is my problem and your problem is your problem!” Why change the current agreement, if it works? By not changing the agreement, hypothetically you’re not truly married. All of the stages are there, but they are not connected spiritually, which is the very reason couples get married or should get married to begin with.
Another reason why cohabitating can be dangerous is the slight chance the woman may become pregnant. A report from Combating Out-Of-Wedlock Births says, that “one in three children are born out-of-wedlock.” Having a child out-of-wedlock is still considered socially unacceptable. If a pregnancy were to occur, then the couple may feel obligated to get married, if not for themselves for their child. The couple may not be ready, but they have been placed in a situation where they were rushed. A marriage out of convenience or inconvenience is never a good one, the marriage is contaminated and doomed before it starts.
Perhaps the most detrimental and permanent negative effects from couples living together are placed on their children. Children born out-of-wedlock are often subjected to unstable environments. Obviously their parents have their reasons why not to marry, like the old saying, “You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them!” Consequently the children are the ones who suffer, their life is forever altered. Glenn T. Stanton states in Cohabitation and Children, “For those children living with both unmarried parents, three quarters of these children will see their parents break up before they reach the age of sixteen.” The quality of life for these children is often poor, and their parents usually are of low financial standings. There is a significant increase in poverty for cohabitating parents. “The poverty rate for children with married parents is about 6%, while it is about 31% for children living with cohabiting parents”, says Stanton.
Cohabitating before marriage can be dangerous, however, there are a few precautions that may be taken to avoid problems in the future. If cohabitation is inevitable before marriage, then the couple should at least be engaged. This way they have announced their marriage and are committed to a date. The perspective is very similar to a real marriage, it enables you to make decisions together and has a sense of oneness. These precautions may be useful, but there’s nothing that can substitute for the real thing. Marriage alters the mind, and what once was fake now is real. Marriage is a life-long commitment and should to be treated with a great deal of respect. Cohabitating before marriage is proven to be extremely risky. Avoiding cohabitation may not only save a marriage, but may also increase your marriages overall lifestyle.