Marriage and Cohabitation

Topics: Marriage, Cohabitation, Common-law marriage Pages: 9 (3448 words) Published: January 22, 2012
Cohabitation Research Paper

Cohabitation and marriage both share effective similarities and differences. Within the last 40 years both have grown closely to represent two individuals that have a motive in life which involves commitment, financial responsibility, and the disposition to spend a majority of your life with one person. The subject of cohabitation is a popular one among many college students, upperclassmen, and middle aged divorced individuals in this day and age. In this essay we will be looking at the detailed facts in why people cohabit before they are married, why they do it and most importantly why cohabitation is not considered immoral behavior in the twenty first century as it was 40 years ago. This research will also contain real individual perspectives which will widen our thoughts and assumptions behind the theory of cohabitation. In today’s society there are many couples that are living together before getting married. The US Census Bureau calls cohabitation POSSLQ (pronounced possel-kews), which is understood as “shaking up”. The number of unmarried couples in the U.S. has increased from 0.4 million in 1960 to almost 7 million in 2008. In the mid 1990’s more than 60 percent of American’s cohabited. (Benokraitis, pg. 246) There are advantages and disadvantages when considering cohabitation. Some of the rewards of living together before marriage are some such as getting to know your partner better, learning about one's ability/habits, if they are able to satisfy your expectations, finding common grounds, and most of all to gain that special commitment with one another. On the other end there are disadvantages in living together before marriage, some being, not having much of personal space, religious outlooks, not being able to handle fights in a proper manner, going against family values, and most of all doing it for the wrong reasons. Almost half of young Americans say they will not marry someone unless they live with them first but on the other hand most Americans reject cohabitation on moral and religious grounds. Cohabitation has increased dramatically from 40 years ago, “In 1970, about 530,000 couples reportedly lived together outside of marriage. This number increased to 1.6 million in 1980, 2.9 million in 1990, 4.2 million in 1998, and 5.5 million in the year 2000.” (Diduck, Alison. Marriage and Cohabitation. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate, 2008. Print.) As statistics show, there has been a huge change in our life styles over the years. Unmarried couples over sees 17 percent of all relationships today. This trend is mostly happening in the younger age groups, ages 18 until 30 and for the older age groups the percentage is considerably lower. This is because many cohabiters, if they are still together by then after many years, they tend to eventually get married. There are many different types of cohabitation, the most common ones are, dating cohabitation, premarital cohabitation, trial marriage and substitute marriage. Dating cohabitation usually occurs with young adults sometime during or after college. These young adults take place in cohabiting for a combination of reasons, some being for convenience, sexual needs, companionship, and financial benefits. This kind of relationship is somewhat like being single and for that reason is tends to terminate faster than any other. Premarital cohabitation is a basic “test” for the couple to see if they are committed enough to move to the next step, which is marriage. Trial marriage is a type of cohabitation for partners that doubt they can succeed in a marriage and everything that it holds. Finally, substitute marriage is a long term relationship between two people living together that don’t plan on getting married. Cohabitation is followed with more detailed than what is classified, but is outlined with these characteristics. This has created a percentage that nine out of ten women will spend one point in their lives in an unmarried...

Cited: 1) Benokraitis, Nijole V. Marriages & Families: Changes, Choices, and Constraints. 7th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2011. Print.
2) Ihara, Toni Lynne. Living Together a Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples.Berkeley: Nolo, 2006. Print.
3) Diduck, Alison. Marriage and Cohabitation
4) Waite, Linda J., and Christine Bachrach. The Ties That Bind: Perspectives on Marriage and Cohabitation. Vol. 10. New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 2000. Print.
11) Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the United States. Hyattsville, MD: Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2002. Print.
12) Landale, Nancy S. Statistics on Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the United States. S.l.: S.n., 2002. Print. Ser. 23.
13) "Statistics on Living Together Before Marriage." Ray Fowler .org. Web. 06 Nov. 2011. <>.
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