You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first, so why would you choose a marriage partner without a test drive – or so the contemporary wisdom goes. Living together or “cohabitation” has increased by 75 percent over the last 20 years. Yet the research continues to point to the fact that living together does not contribute positively to a successful marriage, nor is it a good situation for the children who are born into these unstable relationships.
A review of social science research reveals that cohabitation decreases a couple’s inclination to marriage and if they do marry, the chances are reduced that their marriage will be successful. The divorce rate of men and women that cohabit is much higher than those who do not. The longer a cohabiting couple lives together, the less likely it is that they will marry, and participation in multiple cohabiting relationships is a strong predictor of failure for future relationships.
By virtually every measure – socially, emotionally, physically, behaviorally – children living with their married parents fare better than children of cohabiting parents. The research is there and it is quite clear that cohabitation does not contribute to good marriages or to the most successful future for children born into these relationships. Help United Families get the word out.