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Marriage is an acknowledged institution where people come together and live as husband and wife. There are many reasons as to why people marry and these include for economical gains, emotions, as a social union, legal or for religious and spiritual purposes. For a marriage union to be termed as legal, it should gain the recognition of a religious body, the state or even both of them. There are different ways in which people decide to marry. Some get married formally before living together while others live together and then marry.

Living together and then marrying

Though people may have different opinions about living together before getting married, it is cohabitation. There are different reasons which lead to people cohabiting. It can simple be due to loneliness while in other cases it is for financial reasons. Nowadays, this has become a common occurrence and unlike in the past when even unmarried couples were rarely allowed to rent apartments together, there have been changes with time and many unmarried couples are living together in rented apartments.

Cohabitation has been found to increase chances of later divorces. Among the positive divorce factors is living together before marriage (Gregoire, 2009). This means that there is a more likelihood that unmarried couple living together will divorce after marriage. Gregoire based her research on an earlier study by Scott Stanley which revealed that in the 1050 married couples that he studied, 19% of those who cohabited had already talked on divorce with their spouse while comparing with those who married before living together, 10% had talked about divorce.

From these statistics, we can conclude that living together before marriage has high chances of divorce. The comparison shows that twice as many who lived together wanted to divorce their partner.Cohabitation has many effects and these include decreased levels of understanding and marital satisfaction. When unmarried couples live together, chances are that they will be less rigid on the relationship rules and/or roles. After marriage, each partner gets the chance to make their own rules known in the marriage.

The husband makes gives their rules on what they expect of their wife and vice versa. This results to each partner making restrictions on the behaviors of the other partner. Therefore, there is an increased level of conflicts leading to unhappy marriages. When people marry before they live together, they are most likely to make their connotations and thus each partner gets into the marriage with a complete understanding of what is expected of them.

There are reduced chances that those people who live together before marriage end up in marriage. Research has shown that about 40% of the cohabiting unmarried couples end up breaking up even before they get married. There may be possibilities that during cohabiting one partner is not ready to settle down. They will therefore break from the union by claiming that they are in search of the right partner. This research also revealed that many cohabitants have many partners in their life and that may be why they do not want to settle down in marriages.

With cohabitation leading to increased divorces, there are many children being brought up by single parents. According to Roberts, (2010), women brought up in single parent homes were more likely to cohabit as compared to those brought up by both parents.  Therefore, cohabiting leads to the emergence of a society that does not hold moral and other cultural values.

It is the couples decision on the type of marriage that they get into. They can decide to live together before marriage or get married before living together. However, research has shown that living together before marriage is associated with many disadvantages. Therefore, marriages in which the couple gets married before living together have high chances of lasting longer than those in which people live together before marriage.



Gregoire, C. (2009). Living together before marriage. Retrieved from: Accessed December 17, 2010.

Roberts, S. (2010). The New York Times: Study Finds Cohabiting Does’t Make a Union Last. Retrieved from: Accessed December 17, 2010.

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