Living Together Before Marriage Study: No Longer Seen as Bad Omen

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Living Together Before Marriage Study: No Longer Seen As Bad Omen
ATLANTA - Nearly half of first marriages break up within 20 years, a new U.S. government study finds. With those odds, you might wonder: Would we be better off living together first?

The new research, part of a marriage survey of 22,000 men and women, suggests times have changed from the days when living together signalled poor chances for a successful marriage later.

"It's not playing as big a role in predicting divorce as it used to," said Casey Copen, lead author of the study.

Living together before marriage has been a long-growing trend. In the late 1960s, only about 10 per cent of U.S. couples moved in together first, and they ended up with higher divorce rates.

Today, about 60 per cent of couples live together before they first marry.

"It's becoming so common, it's not surprising it no longer negatively affects marital stability," said Wendy Manning, co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked for trends in first marriages. They interviewed men and women ages 15 to 44 during the years 2006 to 2010. About 40 per cent were married.

The study found those who were engaged and living together before the wedding were about as likely to have marriages that lasted 15 years as couples who hadn't lived together.

But what about the couples who were living together but weren't engaged? The new study found marriage was less likely to survive to the 10- and 15-year mark among couples who weren't engaged when they lived together — findings similar to earlier research.

For example, for women, there was about a 60 per cent likelihood a marriage would survive 15 years if the couple either hadn't lived together before the wedding or were engaged while they were sharing the same living...
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