Cohabitation Before Marriage

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Did you know that over half of all first marriages are now preceded by living together compared to virtually none 50 years ago? The number of unmarried couples living together increased tenfold from 1960 to 2000. The number of unmarried couples living together increased 72% between 1990 and 2000. By the year 2010, if the present trend continues, there will be 7 married couples for every cohabiting couple. (Cohabitation Facts, "Cohabitation - It's Training for Divorce”- Chuck Colson (1995). Here are some statistics on cohabitating couples. These numbers show that as times go on more and more people will be living together before marriage. What is your opinion on cohabitation before marriage? Is this something that you see yourself doing in the future? Barbara Markey (1999) notes three groups of cohabiters; those headed toward marriage, those cohabiting as a temporary alternative, and those cohabiting as a permanent alternative to marriage. Roland Johnson, a university sociologist, describes four categories of cohabiters. Theses sum up the vast majority of cohabitating relationships found among college-age individuals. They are: Linus Blanket, Emancipation, Convenience and Testing Relationships (Johnson 1996). A brief description of each is: 1. Linus Blanket Relationship. (Sense of Security)

This type of cohabiting relationship is based on the overpowering need to be involved with somebody. The desire to be loved is so overwhelming that many will "settle for" rather than choose someone. It can be the male or female, but more often is the female. This person needs the security of being loved and cared for and will accept it from anyone. When there is divergence, they often give in rather than stand up. The fear of the relationship ending is immense. The end comes when one of the parties walks out. The remaining person feels lost, abused, and used. They are often left felling rejected, depressed, and having very low self-esteem. 2. Emancipation Relationship.

This type of cohabiting relationship happens when one person wants to prove to their friends or parents that they are free to make their own choices and not bound by any constraints. This type of relationship is not one that encourages the couple to work through their communication problems or find resolutions. This is not a relationship that encourages getting married. 3. Convenience Relationship.

This type of cohabiting relationship is convenient for economic reasons. The intent is to split expenses fifty-fifty. However, studies have found that women support the men. They contribute more than 70% of their income to the relationship. It is convenient for study reasons, but when it gets rough, it is the woman who drops a class or two in order to keep up with the duties, not the man. This relationship moves into traditional role patterns: male dominant, female submissive. The woman finds herself doing all of the chores while the man does nothing. So this relationship is convenient for the man, but not the woman. 4. Testing Relationship.

This type of cohabiting relationship is like testing the water before jumping in. They think they are committed to getting married, however, they want to first see if they are compatible by ‘practicing marriage’, or living together. They have fewer problems than the other three relationships, but statistically they are still no better off than they are for having a successful marriage. Most cohabiting couples are not living together after four years. The people who move in together, that plan to someday get married, who are ‘so in love' and are ‘so happy', are not going to be together at all within four years. There are many myths about cohabitating before marriage a few of these myths might make sense to you and others are just plain silly. One myth states "Economically It's Worth It To Live Together." --First, it is cheaper to live together. However, whatever money or other savings are realized from making the choice to living...
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