Living Together Before Marriage – Does it Help Prevent Divorce?

Many people in their 20′s believe that living together before they marry is a good way to prevent divorce. But is this true? Current statistics reveal that more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation. The cohabitation effect is the name researchers have given to the fact that couples tend to be less satisfied with their marriages and more likely to divorce who have lived together before marriage than those who do not. Why is this? An article in the New York Times by Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, says that “sliding, not deciding,” is one of the prime reasons. The gradual slope of dating, sleeping over and then moving in without clarifying assumptions and expectations can result in two different interpretations of the situation. It can be a way of avoiding a more serious commitment, testing out a relationship or a step toward marriage. The author of the Times article states that assumptions about the situation can often differ along gender lines. If you and your partner lived together before marrying or are currently living together, did you discuss the idea of marriage first?

Merry Frons