Living Together Unmarried

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INTRODUCTION
Love, flowers, food, music, stress, and happiness all combined into one day – a wedding day. While many people may fantasize about that perfect wedding day with the perfect dress or tux and a decadent cake, most aren’t ready to commit to what comes after.

Some call it living in sin, others call it living in bliss, but these days it's almost expected that a couple will live together without marriage. Cohabitation, once rare, is now the norm. Filipino family life has changed drastically as marriage is losing ground and more couples live together without tying the knot. Instead of using terms such as ‘husband and wife’ or even ‘spouse,’ businesses and advertisers speak of ‘partners’ and ‘companions’. Instead of getting married, couples talk about being together. Couples who live together without marriage are called ‘domestic partners’ - which may be people of the same or opposite sexes. A major social change has occurred during our lifetime like the acceptance of other changes in sexual and family values such as divorce, homosexuality, abortion, coed college dorms, coed gym classes, etc. But the reality is that living together without marriage can be great if both parties are truly aware of what they really want and actually stick to it, and that is a BIG IF. When it comes to this topic, there are so many opinions, facts, research, and statistics that either in favor of living together before marriage or choosing to wait until the knot is tied.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND (DEVELOPMENT)
Today, cohabitation is a common pattern among people in the Western world. “More than two-thirds of married couples say that they lived together before getting married. In 1994, there were 3.7 million cohabiting couples” (Wikipedia, n.d.). This is a far cry from a few decades ago. “Before 1970, cohabitation was illegal. Living together outside of marriage was uncommon, but by the late 1990s at least 50% to 60% of couples lived together premaritally. According to the census, the number of unmarried couples living together increased tenfold from 1960 to 2000” (Wikipedia, n.d.). Nowadays, it is seen as a normal step in the dating process.  In fact cohabitation is increasingly becoming the first coresidential union formed among young adults. People may live together for a number of reasons. Cohabitants could live together in order to save money, because of the convenience of living with another, or a need to find housing. Lower income individuals facing financial uncertainty may delay or avoid marriage, not only because of the difficulty of paying for a wedding but also because of fear of financial hardship if a marriage were to end in divorce. The extremely high costs of housing and tight budgets of today's economy are also factors that can lead a couple to cohabitation. Today sixty percent of all marriages are preceded by a period of cohabitation. Researchers suggest that couples live together as a way of trying out marriage to test compatibility with their partners, while still having the option of ending the relationship without legal implications. Cohabitation shares many qualities with marriage, often couples who are cohabitating share a residence, personal resources, exclude intimate relations with others and, in more than 10% of cohabitating couples, have children. Many young adults believe cohabitation is a good way to test their relationships prior to marriage.

FACTS AND FIGURES
According to figures from a census, the number of unmarried opposite-sex couples sharing a household more than doubled between 2000 and 2010-jumping from 3.8 million to 7.5 million and this marks a sevenfold increase from 1970. This growing figure now accounts for 12% of the households. In some large cities, a third or more of couples living together are not married. Surprising as these figures are, they may vastly underestimate the problem. Data from the National Center for Marriage and Family Research shows that almost 60% of women ages...
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