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Cohabitation – Relationship Checker or Relationship Wrecker?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

posted by Andrew

Well, while Amy is away this week she asked me to do this week's post. I'm Andrew Rusbatch and I am the co-author of Save My Marriage Today and regular blogger on I have worked alongside Amy in dealing with relationship issues for a number of years. Many of you will know me as the guy in the How To Be Irresistible To Men video course, and if you flick up to the "About" tab at the top of the page, you will see a picture of me doing my best to smile and look sexy!

So when I was thinking about something interesting to write, one that came into my mind was thoughts about cohabitation and what sort of effect this has on relationships. Looking at the figures, around 4.9 million adult couples of the opposite sex live together unmarried. Compare this to around 400 000 couples 45 years ago, and we see a social trend that some social scientists believe is going to have significant effects on future marital disruption and spending habits of a major sector in our society. Heady stuff huh?

Let's be honest though, cohabitation is not something new to most people nowadays, though attitudes both for and against cohabitation are still quite strong. Moral rights campaigners indicate it is part of a slippery slope toward a new breed of society with scant regard to commitment, while others say it is a responsible trial-run for marriage, without the associated cost of divorce and asset separation. Is he, or isn't he, the-one?

I like to think of cohabitation as one of the many necessary steps in a relationship, and liken it to marriage with trainer-wheels. The belief that living together before marriage is a useful way to find out whether you are really compatible and avoid a bad marriage or costly divorce is now widespread among most young people. But it still has the capacity to teach us something…

I thought I knew a lot about my partner until I shifted in with them, and I understand they thought the same about me. Gee, was I in for a shock! I have lived with a couple of partners, the first being when I was around 21 years old. I rather foolishly assumed that being a girl she would have the same careful attention to detail around the home that my four older sisters did. I knew how to cook and clean, and there was nothing around the home that I did not know how to do. Living with a partner at that time really opened my eyes to how some people live, and I was horrified at the time to discover how different we really were. After living together for some time we both discovered that we were incompatible, and we parted company soon after. I called it my awakening, when I finally realized how different some of us can be from others. In that relationship a lot of long-held beliefs were shattered. However, I learnt a very valuable lesson.

When you don't live together, your partner only sees the side of you that you want them to see. They don't get to see you when you are grumpy, tired, sick, or your gross habits. I know, you will all say something here, but everyone has at least one gross habit, even if it is something as simple as leaving your long hair to block the sink or not rinsing the shower out after you have shaved your legs. Sometimes the smallest things can drive home the reality that your partner is not perfect and is a person like the rest of us after all.

So if you know so little about your partner, how can you possibly make a considered decision to spend the rest of your life together? Perhaps that's where cohabitation has a role to play.

They say falling in love with someone is a leap of faith. Depending on how well you know your love will determine how far this leap is. So is cohabitation a way of minimizing the risk of divorce, or is it seen as a cheap and easy alternative to marriage?

Well you need to start by going into it with your eyes wide open. Before shifting in with a man, consider why you are doing it. Is it because you want it, is it because it will make it more convenient, or is it the all-crucial "moving it to the next level"? Is this really marriage with trainer wheels? 

Women will analyze a situation and examine possible interpretations of what this move may mean and what implications this is going to have on the state of the relationship, both now and in the future. Most guys simply see it as somewhere pretty to stick your stuff and to be nurtured and don't think too much into the future.

So the question then comes, when is an appropriate time in a relationship for each of you to shed your independence and singledom and entertain the idea of cohabitation? 6 days into the relationship? 6 weeks? 6 months? 6 years even?

And do you think it leads to a stronger marriage?


Comment by cherie hizer

October 11, 2006 @ 3:23 am

I believe that if you are looking for marriage and trying to build a family life you should absolutely not live together. Living together is an easy out. In marriage where financial issues are involved, children are involved etc. it forces both parties to face their problems and deal with them rather than run from then. On the other side of the coin I currently live with my boyfriend and would not have it any other way. My children are grown, and as a single and independent person I have no need for a peice of paper to tell me if I am in a committed relationship. We are both financial secure, enjoy each others companionship and should there be problems the only issues involve are our feelings for one another. This is not a black and white issue by any means and should be weighed carefully by anyone wishing to entertain the idea.

Comment by Jo

October 11, 2006 @ 7:08 am

I don’t believe in cohabitation. First off, I came from the old school. Morally it is wrong. Most men would say “Why make it legal when you can get the milk for free”.. there is no challenge for the men to go after the girl. It is really an easy way out not to face any responsibilities, none whatsoever. Also a man won’t respect a girl if she was that easy to get. They always like to conquest.Marriage is a sacred thing between a man and a woman. When you live together prior to marriage, there is no challenge for anyone. You get the respect from your mate once you prove to them that you are worth the effort.

Comment by Yeanca Lisa

October 11, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

I think the idea of cohabitation is not a bad one but, to make such decision you must have a mission you want achieve. Its either you want to get to know his/her habits and decide if you can leave with it or you want to know the challenges ahead of you and see if you can tolerate them. Lastly, i believe people are different and its the kind of person you are dealing with that would determine if you need to cohabitate.

Comment by Patricia

October 11, 2006 @ 8:29 pm

Well I’ve done both the co-habit thing (one of the originals of the 70’s & eighties) & been married. Marriage was far, far harder to leave. Property & child rearing issues were the main cause of these difficulties.
It all depends on the relationship I think. They’re either a good & compatible partner or they’re not. You either have “issues” or they do or both. It’s still the same ol’ thing!! However, after the expense & ceremony of marriage, the combining of property & the rearing of children that marriage tends to lead to (more so than co-habitation), one tends to be a lot more reluctant to leave than the defacto arrangement. I lived with my ex-hubby first & we still divorced!! Now I think discussion about cohabitation vs marriage is a red herring. We need to dissect what makes people chose who they chose, why they stay when they shouldn’t, why they leave when they shouldn’t, what are our expectations anyway… how can we pick better, behave better etc etc etc… These are the things that effect our divorce rate. Attracting the right mate is the key & then maybe a test run… although I tend to think if you’re compatible by a 7:10 ratio… then bite the bullet & get married. You’ll stay in there & give it a harder go for a lot longer generally speaking!

Comment by Rammy

October 11, 2006 @ 8:36 pm

I dont believe in cohabitation. According to Moral and Biblical injuction, it is not right but these days people seem to say we are living in the modern world. If you are cohabitated eith your patner, it makes either of you to hide the bad side of your characters because of fear of parting ways in the end. And also it may make you to be fed up with each other and long for new things and before you know it you guys will star having problems an d break-up at last. All i am trying to say is,patners should stay apart before marriage so that the love will grow and you keep on longing for each other.

Comment by H JOhnson

October 11, 2006 @ 10:42 pm

I do not believe that cohabitation has anything to do with morals and it certainly does not make one a bad person who is less-worthy of God’s love. Cohabitation choices are for individuals to make on their own. Placing the sex issue aside there are many things to learn from living with a partner either before or instead of marraige.
The reasons I choose and promote cohabitation with a parnter are many. I have the ability to see a person as a whole, see their whole self without any interruptions. That gives me the power to make decisions about my life. You only get one chance on this Earth and my advice is to make it the most enjoyable and stress-free experience you can. I believe that happily married people are the luckiest people on Earth and I believe not that it is necessary for people to live together before marraige to be happy, but it can be a very helpful tool to a smooth transition from couple to family. As a near-30 year old woman who has never lived with a significant other I have a house of my own and a way of my own. I have also recently found a love of a lifetime who also has no experience with cohabitation. This proves problematic when a strong-willed, efficient and oderly person as myself is contemplating a long life with a man who has never had any guidence or training in how to take care of himself beyond going to work, spending his check, caring only for his needs and wants. Our living together now, with the knowledge this will end in a marraige, and the hope that this marraige will survive allows for us to deal with some very intense issues that arise from living with someone. In marraige there will be problems but the problems should not be ones that come between a couple but ones that come upon a couple who are able together to deal with them smoothly because they are united on how they live and think and feel about the important issues.
Living together we have a plan, we have specific and important issues we need come to terms with. Many of these issues such as marraige, children, finances, life goals have all been discussed early in the relationship. We already know we are compatible on a mental level, now we have to learn to be compatible on the living level. We have discovered that he likes the bed made and therefore we both attempt to keep it that way, even though it means nothing to me. Instead of being married and then moving in together and attempting to keep the honeymoon atmostphere by keeping objections, pet peeves, and stresses tucked inside where they can brew and grow into something unmanageable. We are taking care of the life issues that don’t appear to be that important in the whole scheme of life, until you have to live with it for the rest of your life. When we finally decide to get married he will have his credit card debt eliminated and we will have come to an agreement on how to spend “our” money, which at this point is his money and my money. When we finally walk down the aisle we will be a united front in dealing with my 2 year old son and in agreement on how to rear our own children who follow. When we finally get married we will not return from the church to find a person who doesn’t have any idea that his taking the initiative to mow the yard will save his wife the stress and anger of having to mention it. We will have the opportunity to enjoy the fact that we made it, that we know we will make it because we have discovered how to be happy together; we know we can live together and still love each other, it has been proven. Virgin couples may begin a life together believing they will survive anything because of love, but I would rather know for a fact and not be stuck in an unhappy life because I didn’t plan for idiosyncries to drive me crazy. We will be able to deal with life when the puppy-love feelings fade and life smacks us in the face with the loss of a job or triplets on the way. My opinion, work on and fix as many little problems as you can in the very beginning, prove that you are willing to try in this relationship – even if that means teaching yourself that your socks on the floor, however unimportant to you may be the beginning of a bad day for someone you love. Think of one pet peeve you have, one thing that someone does that you can’t stand…mine, clicking teeth on silverware. My boyfriend did it. I told him I love him so much right now that I hardly notice it, but I know that in 5 years when we have 2 kids and life overtakes the honeymoon atmostphere that that annoying little sound will drive me crazy, will be too much for me. I didn’t want to be unhappy in 5 years so I asked him to stop doing it, luckily for both of us he has broken the habit. Seems trivial, but people who can’t work out and discuss what causes stress in their lives are the ones in my opinion who will end up seeing divorce as the easy answer down the road.
It may be true that people who are married find it more difficult to leave a relationship because of the binding ties, that does not in anyway prove or even suggest that they are happier people for it. I would much rather have had a few live-in relationships to own up to than one ruined marraige.

Comment by marsha

October 12, 2006 @ 3:12 am

I have a very christian “church” background and never thought I would live with someone. But currently I am living with my fiance. We lived together before We were engaged. I am 46 He is 50. I was at his place all the time and then got transferred to his city, so it just made sense. I struggled with it alot the first few months. Altho, I would not encourage someone in their early 20’s to just try every serious relationship out by living together. I would also tell someone of any age that it would depend on your level of commitment. At my age and my life experiences I felt like it was the right decision. We have both seen this as the same type of commitment we will go into marriage with. Having said that, let me also say there are bumps and warts we each have that weren’t obvious when I was dating, nor when I was just “staying” there. End result is that this is the best decision for us. Had I not of done this, I would have had huge disillusions after the wedding. Planning a wedding now I see so much build up and emphasis put on an event, even tho a wedding ceremony is a very important event, it is still an event and not the focal point of a life long commitment. So I’m glad to be grounded and have this dose of reality. I feel like I won’t have the “Cinderella wedding bell blues” that have overtaken so many brides post wedding.

Comment by tabby

October 12, 2006 @ 3:24 am

cohabitation is a defent thing that is need to lead to a strong relationship and marrage .giving you the unexpencive way to get to now the man or woman you are saying you wish to be with for life.

Comment by Agnes

October 12, 2006 @ 3:28 am

I have lived with a guy for 2-3 years, and after doing so have concluded that co-habitation doesn’t work. Well…. at least for people like me who are single without children (as I suppose if you are more financially stable and have children it is a different matter).

The reason I say that it doens’t work it as some you who posted comments, and relationship doctors have pointed out – Living together before you get married takes all the fun out of being married…. I can just imgine if you live together and the guy if he does decide you know what the hey…. he’d wake up one day, nudge you and say ‘how ’bout it?’. It takes all the romance out of a marriage of living together, of building a life together, of starting a family together. Plus, if you do break up, you’ll still have to go through the emotional trauma and to move your stuff, and possibly you children out of the house you’re sharing!

Co-habitation is a intermediate stage for people who are not looking for something lasting in my opinion. If you love someone, and know someone, you would do anything to overcome whatever habits they have! (save from them being x-criminals or something :->). If you love someone truly, everything should work out… but that’s just my opinion.

Comment by Agnes

October 12, 2006 @ 3:35 am

Also, if I may add… when I read about people saying cohabitation is the inexpensive way to get to know their man… I am not trying to offend anyone, but it make it seem as if they don’t know how to get to know the guy without living with him… also, it makes me feel like they don’t have the confidence that the relationship they have chosen to go into themselve will work out… this is just my opinion, based on the circumstances that I have experienced. But… it makes me think, with this lack of confidence in your love, and your man, what kind of future this relationship have?

Comment by Lydia Choate

October 12, 2006 @ 3:42 am

On the subject of living together before marriage; I am not dead set against it… I have been broght up to believe it is a sin and always respected my parents’s beliefs.

However now that I am older – I feel that it is not a bad idea. I am a divorced mother of 2. My ex and I married without living together first.. He had some major issues and bad habits. I am not perfect and have my own bad habit. However – when those “things” get in the way – and you are not ready to deal with them – it can eat away at a relationship. People say that counseling works and I am sure it does – for people that want to change! : )

I am so happy now that I live alone. However I do get lonely. If I ever meet that special someone again I would consider living together first.

I do however have conditions and those are:

1. We must have already sat down and gone over what we expect of each other.
2. Doing overnights for a while – no time frame – just what feels comfortable for both people.
3. If one person is not ready – no pressure. We must both be ready.
4. lay down some ground rules – for instance I am expecting to get married. If the other person is not heading that way – I am not doing this.
5. Be honest… If your comfort level is totally not there – just say it.
6. and finally – listen to one another… people lie and say they did not know or see habits or mannerisms in their mate before they moved in… but that is not always true. there are things we think are cute in the beginning and we never question it.. then as time goes on – we hate it… had we been “tuning” in instead of being infatuated – we would have noticed. so be honest and let someone know what drives you crazy.

Comment by Mary

October 12, 2006 @ 3:56 am

I think it depends on the situation whether cohabitation would be good or not. If you have no children then I say go for it. If you have children and they live with you then I think you need to really think it out and already feel a commitment and love for one another. I myself lived with my first husband for 2 years before we married. But I didn’t know about alcoholism then. We stay married for 22 years but then I just couldn’t take his drinking anymore. I met a man online and we talked for 8 months before meeting and I believe we got to know the inner person much more so than when I lived with my first husband. We fell in love with each other’s souls first rather than the outside of each other. We now are married and I have never been happier. We also lived together for 6 months but not until my children got to know him and they also fell in love with him. Ironically they consider him more a father to them than their own father. So I think it is a good idea but one that needs to be thought out very carefully and not just jump into it.

Comment by Surette

October 12, 2006 @ 4:03 am

I’m 44 years young w/ 4 kids and 5 grandsons. no-one can say if co-habitation is right or wrong,I have gone down both roads. I have come to the conclusion that if a relationship is going to work,it will work with some hard work on both sides. I waited to live with my 1st husband until we were married and it did’nt work and I moved in with my second husband and got married about a year later and it did’nt work either. so the way I look at it, like I said before if a marriage, whether you wait to move in with them or you live with first,marriage takes alot of hard for any marriage to work and it absolutly has to be a 50/50 deal. A marriage is an equal sharing proposition,if you can’t compromise,it isn’t gonna work.

Been there Seen that

Comment by DIANA

October 12, 2006 @ 4:03 am

I think the longer you cohabitate, the less chance of marrying. After awhile, you both see the real person, we all start disliking the very things we once and first thought was “cute”, etc… I am twice divorced, did not cohabitate with either. I am now 52 yrs. old, single female, financially stable and want someone with as much or more than I have.

Comment by Tope

October 12, 2006 @ 4:15 am

Thanks Andrew for this important topic.Grew up from a christain background and Cohabitation are one of the “dont’s” rules.Learnt over the years it is not bad either.It depends on one’s perspective. i have heard both postive and negative effects of living together. the general belief is always for the man to take you for granted which most times happens and marriage might not actualize because he’s getting everything for free and might even decide to call off the relationship but other stories i have heard of are people who have lived together,got married and are happily married which makes a strong statement on its own that cohabitation is not bad. It can be successful if managed properly. It is important to know what you want before you start living with your boyfriend. second, there would always be tale signs that can aid in making decisions whether to opt out or not.Third, sometimes making the most important decision in your life might mean doing something you dont usually do. Cohabitation can strengthen a marriage and personally i would advice to start living with your partner after a year of meeting each other.Why? just an advice and i guess i would probably do that.

Comment by Penny

October 12, 2006 @ 4:23 am

Well…….as a single woman getting ready to do just this (cohabitate) in November, I am interested in these comments.

Let me say I was happily married to a loving man for 24 years, and yes we lived together for a year prior to tying the proverbial knot. At that time I was young, and inexperienced, but I don’t believe it hurt our relationship one bit! In fact, I believe it made it stronger. We went on to have 3 children who are now grown, and 2 out of 3 are cohabitating. In my opinion….I would rather have them “try out” a potential relationship, than have them go thru the nightmare of divorce! Yes, it is an easy out…….but,
would you rather be in a bad marriage, and be literally stuck?

In my own situation…..I am divorced for just a little over a year now. I met a wonderful man who has been traveling 2 hours each way every weekend to spend time with me. This has been going on for 8 mos now, and something had to give! He is also still in a messy divorce situation, although he has no kids of his own.
We are totally in love with one another, and already he spends every weekend with me at my place or his…I have seen his “bad” habits, and this just seemed like a natural step in the progression of our relationship. In fact, I truly believe that if we didn’t make some kind of “commitment” to one another, the travel would eventually cause us to part.

Yes, I agree marriage takes “work”, but so does living with one another. It also takes a level of maturity, and understanding on both parts. We aren’t spring chickens. I am 45, and he is 48. We have both been previously married, and both have cohabitated before. We also have the benefit of not having young children at home now. I think every situation should be regarded carefully before coming to any decision either way. No two relationships are ever alike, so to totally black ball cohabitating as “wrong” is predjudicial. But then again…….this is just MY opinion!

Comment by J Schneider

October 12, 2006 @ 5:32 am

I beleive that cohabitating is just as serious a decision as marriage is. I don’t think you can take one any lighter than the other. If both parties, are being honest and open with each other about what and why they want to live together then it’s a good “test run”, if that what you want to call it.

I’ve been married before and I’ve cohabitated before. I can’t say one was any easier to leave than the other, except fiancally it hurt less to leave the cohabitation. It was still a very diffcult decision to make and nothing about it was easy. I stayed longer in the marriage because I had children, but even if I was unmarried and had children with my partner I think I would have stayed longer.

At this time, I have a wonderful partner that I dated for over a year when we deceided to live together. We made this decision to live together because we wanted to become closer and more intimate. We both want “US” to work and be as healthy as individuals as well as a couple. We have both been married more than once and we both have grown children and now grandchildren. Not only did we consider what we felt, wanted and needed, but we both agreed that our families be able to get alone with one another. Since between us both Thankgiving, Chistmas and such would be a very big affair. All needs to get along. As with any family there are always issues that come up. To date, now 1 year of living together, we have managed all the issues and are closer than ever. We have talked about marriage before, but looking at finaces and wills and such, it would not bother me one bit if we never married. We are both committed to each other and the relationship and I don’t beleive any piece of paper from a state could make it any better than it is. I beleive in my heart that it just comes down to how honest, open and committed the two people are to having a relationship. It’s about sharing, caring and helping each other and married or not sometimes things happen that make people grow apart and a piece of paper can’t fix that or change that. So I say you must deciede together and for the right reasons what you want, it’s just a personal choice for the parties involved.

Comment by Charlene

October 12, 2006 @ 6:38 am

I firmly believe that cohabitation isn’t the best solution or the “next step” in a relationship. I am only 21 years old and am also married. I will admit that because we didn’t live together before marriage it has been tough and challenging but also extremely rewarding… It isn’t entirely compatability that holds a relationship together – it’s commitment. Everyone is going to hit those rough spots and yes – it will feel like its the hardest time in your life – but say when your not married – you have the choice to walk away – to just give up instead of push through and grow together. People are looking for an emergency escape in marriage instead of at themselves for an answer to their problems. Everyone forgets that marriage is a LIFETIME commitment that IS going to force you to unearth some bad issues. But there is nothing wrong with that. For those of you who have waiting until you were married to live together – I congratulate you for your commitment, resiliance and determination… As for those who decide to live together – just remember that no trial period ever foreshadows the future – every day is different – its whether you want to deal with the present in order to have a promiseable future together or just discard it for something new

Comment by Linda

October 12, 2006 @ 8:33 am

Cohabitating is a wrecker if there are doubts AND a lack of commitment to working together to resolve them. Some people have the idea that “if it doesn’t work out, we can always leave” but that isn’t a good way to begin a live-in relationship. With that statement, the speaker has a certain level of passivity and expectation of failure–the person uttering those words would let the relationship unravel rather than actively WORK towards keeping things together.

Comment by Elisaidh

October 12, 2006 @ 8:35 am

I have to say that I never believed in cohabitation (due to my beliefs). But after 19, almost 20 years of marriage (ending soon) to an emotionally, verbally, and on a few occasions, physically abusive husband, I would not be so hasty to say it’s wrong for people. If you really get to know someone, and you decide that you don’t want to be “bound” in that way because of a past relationship’s fallout, why should you get married again? A commitment is a commitment, it doesn’t take a piece of paper or a ring. I’m talking about two MATURE people who have gone over any issues of compatibility and dealt with them. Any good relationship allows each person within it to be WHO they are, and become who they are MEANT to become!

Comment by Penny K

October 12, 2006 @ 8:45 am

I have been married for about 24 years now. I have known my current husband 27 years. We lived together for about 5 years before we married. I was married once before for 5 years and had 1 daughter. I was extremely scared of commitment because my first husband ran around a lot on me after we were married.He change tremendously. We never lived together before we were married.. I can honestly say I do not think living with a person makes a relationship stronger, before marrying that person. It is true you do get to see a person in a much stronger light when you live with them on a day to day basis and see how they are as a person (cleansliness etc). But people also change everyday and sometimes for the worst if the relationship is failing…So living together with a person does not necessarily guarantee anything when it comes to cementing a relationship or a marriage.. I did get to see my furure husband in a different light once we moved in together, and I accepted his faults as well as him accepting mine, but I do not think it makes a man respect a woman any more for her moving in with him and sleeping with him like they were a married couple, because they aren’t really married, but somewhat playing house and I admit I too was guilty of it. But I strongly advise against it.

While I do adore my husband of 24 years and consider him a close mate and friend. I sometimes wonder if I settled too easily by letting him move in with me and let him take all the comforts of being married in with out so much as trying to work harder at the relationship. I sometimes wish he had been more romantic or loving as those two things nag at me constantly to this day! I wonder many times…if things would have been a little different had I not let him move in with me so soon after we met(in a bout a year), I think he may have tried harder to win me mover. I made it very easy for him. Don’t get me wrong , my husband is a very good husband. But when push comes to shove, I advised my daughter years later when she married NOT to move in with her fiancee when she was engaged. I told her a man does not have to try as hard to woe a woman as easy if he can sleep with her every night before the marriage. That is just my opinion as I have been on both sides of the fence now.

I am not sure if I can say it makes a relationship stronger just because I have a good marriage. A lot of it depends on the two people who are in the relationship and how hard they want it to work and how much they truly love eachother. Even that sometimes is not enough if differences can not be tolerated, because as I said I beleive the universe is changing constantly, and we as couple need to move and grow also.. Living with a person is no guarantee you will really know that person or will it protect you down the road from a divorce. My main reason I did it was for finacial reasons as I was working night and day to raise my daughter and I wanted to spend more time with her. But I still feel I compromised myself to easily.

Comment by Deneise

October 12, 2006 @ 8:59 am

Cohabitation a relationship checker or wrecker?

I think it’s both! It takes all kinds of people in this world. No matter what their parents or grandparents did this is a new generation.
They have new Morales and New Values that differ
from ours. Men are both mother & father now days with the mom no where in site and they are doing a great job at it.

I’d like to think of myself as a comodity…I feel that cohabitation in a relationship gives a false sense of security, while a piece of paper doesn’t mean a person will be with you until death do you part, to me it does give a sense of a verbal and mental committment to making the relationship friendship lovership work. Marriage says I love you in a millions ways.
Well I can say that a lot of people even 50 years ago weren’t really married certain cultures jumped the broom or just said that got married and lived together until death they did part.
Woman have stayed in loveless marriages for many reasons i.e money status children and such bottom line is….
1 they were right in the sight of Gods eyes..
2 they could make love as much as they wanted and be legal…..spiritually and morally
My thinking is simular to the saying…why buy the cow if the milk is free…
Relationships are meant to be very special! becoming one with your mate is another extremly special time. What happens when we throw it all away?
just like any one or jan in the arena?

Comment by Susan

October 12, 2006 @ 9:06 am

From my personal experience cohabitation does not work, if you want marriage to be the end result of your relationship. I’m 34, and married this August, for the first time. I have had several relationships with men I cohabitated with, but as soon as things started to get serious and I brought up the “M” word, they left. I decided that living together wasn’t working, because it made it too easy for the men I dated to get the benefits of a relationship, without all the serious aspects.

When I met my husband last year, I told him from the get-go that I was only interested in meeting the right man to marry. After several dates we knew we were compatible, so started spending more time together. He ended up staying over at my place every night after a while (so it was almost like living together) but he still maintained his own apartment and used it as his mailing address. Our cohabitation did not officially begin until the day after we exchanged vows.

At first he balked about the concept of marriage when I initially brought it up, but once we talked things through, he decided it would be a good idea. Now that we’re married, he says it’s the best decision he’s ever made and is happier now than he has ever been, because he knows he is really, truly and forever loved and wanted.

When you are just living together, there is always the knowledge you can leave at any time, so in my opinion there just isn’t the same amount of security in the relationship. True love = lifelong commitment. Period.


October 12, 2006 @ 9:19 am


In our days, marriages need an extraordinary amount of care and work in order to survive. Any little issues that can cause problems if it arises should be avoided at all costs. Cohabitation, for example puts the marriage at serious risk. It has so many disadvantages that can damage a perfectly good relationship and hinder it to an extent where it can’t be fixed. Cohabitation actually increases a couple’s chances of getting divorced lower the chances of commitment and permanence which are far better with marriage. Cohabitation minimizes one’s chances of marital satisfaction. In addition to all of that, cohabiting women are more at risk to suffer physical and sexual abuse .Some studies have proven that aggressions double among cohabiters. Furthermore, cohabiters are more likely to control their money selfishly without thinking as a team .According to many different researches ,the number of marriages preceded by cohabitation rose from about 10percent in 1965 to over 50 percent by 1994.Also in a study released this month from the University of Michigan researcher Pamela Smock discovered that 55 percent of cohabiting couples marry and 40 percent end the relationship within 5 years .She also found that premarital cohabitation tends to be associated with lower marital quality and increased risk of divorce.
There are many causes for all these problems.
First of all, marriage is the ultimate expression of love and commitment and this works as a motive for couples to keep on struggling to make theirs work while other couples who live together outside the institution of marriage are much less committed to their relationship. It’s no wonder that the divorce rates of women who cohabit are nearly 80 percent higher than the rates of those who do not since cohabitation removes the statement “until death do us part “from the picture and so couple who cohabit therefore take their marriages later as lightly as the whole cohabitation process.
Lowering the chances of commitment happens in a cohabiting couples’ home because they are less loyal to each other and less likely to view their outside-the-bonds-of-matrimony-relationships as permanently and mutually exclusive which generates more and more insecurity.
Also cohabiters work as units not a team towards their financial goals and career goals; they do not give and take the same amount of care and support as well as help as married couples do: 14,5 percent of first marriages of women who had never cohabited ended in divorce in the first five years compared to 22,6 percent of first marriages of women who had cohabited (with anyone) before those marriages.

It’s simple : any couple who doesn’t have a marriage license should not be allowed to live under one roof .Once it’s illegal, the whole process of cohabitation will vanish and with it will disappear each and every problem created by this non-committal trial marriage .

Every couple who is already cohabiting should decide if they are ready for the real thing or not and should keep on dating casually or even split up .Agreeably, it’s not the easiest solution to perform but it is the most practical and efficient one .A couple should be able to get to know each other without living together, first . All traditional marriages consist of traditional people not unconventional ones who don’t mind taking shots or risks with their whole future together.
Finally, if we allow people to make a detour from the sanctity of married life , we would be fooling ourselves into believing we are doing the right thing when in fact doing the right thing comes down to one final and true step that unites two peoples before God and the whole world : marriage.
Committing cohabitation is the worst offense a person can do to another person: it is like saying to them: I’m not sure you are the one for me but why not give you a try?
This indirectly implies that the one who proposed cohabitation is better than the other person who is not good enough for sure. That’s why cohabitation’s only and best solution is for it to be banned and stopped legally because it breeds resentment and anger as opposed to a marriage that builds a longer healthier lifestyle based on trust and respect for any couple and for the children in case there are any .
Making a marriage work is already very difficult to begin with, without adding to it the pressure and even threat of cohabitation first.

Comment by Alley

October 12, 2006 @ 9:23 am

Hey, that was a great view. im 18 n i lived with my boyfriend for a year and a half. Well the reasons for him moving in, in the first place was quite different from most. He got kicked out of his place so being caring i immediately offered to let him come to my house. But tensions were always high because we both had trust issues. And he would run around with other girls behind my back. Although we both shared objects n pays always treating each other to lunches. But we never went out anywhere together after a couple of months…Because we were always together he would bring that to my attention that when he wanted to go out but not with me. Which was horrible because i didnt know anyone in that town to hang out with which wasnt a guy, so i’d be working or at home which was very borin for me.

I dont know really if moving in with another person at such a younger age is a good thing because as you said each person is different. But once certain guys become comfortable and realise women will do pretty much everything and anything for them they begin to be lazy. But once you cross that line of being too nurturing they end up being like a kid and you cant get them out of that role because after so long they get used to that treatment and figure ‘hey shes going to do it anyways so i dont have to bother’ but how do you know when to stop before you reach that line? I find that when you get to that line they know your vulnerable and will do everything for them just to be happy and want to stay with you. I dont understand why we make ourselves out to be like that?

So i think it doesnt matter how long you know them before you move into together it all depends on the persons character, if their good guys they will be 50/50 on everything but if you become too vulnerable and want to make sure you keep them with you they’ll see that and learn that you will do everything for them and why should they do anything when we lead ourselves into that position?

Comment by Josephine

October 12, 2006 @ 9:41 am

Making cohabitation illegal…yeah, *that’s* realistic!!!

Comment by Judith

October 12, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

I used to be totally against it, thinking it to be morally wrong. Having dated my 1st husband for 2 years before marriage,I don’t think cohabitating first would have made a difference in making that relationship last longer than 16 years. Living together OR marriage takes a lot of conscious effort to make either work. I met someone after my 1st marriage and almost instantly fell in love. We dated for 3 months before we got married and that marriage was a beautiful, wonderful relationship until he died from cancer. I learned more about him after marriage. We both felt that getting married early was “right”. It was.

After my husband passed away, I was not interested in any relationships…then one day a friend introduced me to someone, and again, almost immediately, we connected. I am very intuitive with people and “know” about their spirit, thus felt comfortable with the intuitive knowledge that this new man was right for me and sent my way for both of us to learn from each other and grow together. After one week of meeting him, he moved in with me, and we have been living together for 2 years! We do plan on getting married. In this case, co-habitation has been wonderful and is working. We are both independent and have run our lives as such, coming together to share our common interests.

I have experienced both sides of the marriage issue, being married, being widowed, and co-habitating with someone. Being married and Co-habitation is good. The bottom line is a personal choice, and it can be beneficial. My daughter has lived with the same partner for 7 years…it works for them.

Comment by doina

October 12, 2006 @ 3:23 pm

Hi everybody!
Well, some interesting comments so far.Now it’ my turn!
I met my now husband 15 years ago and on our second meeting he announced to everybody that he was leaving his country to move in with me. So much for living together cause it’s easier or more convenient!!!
Both our parents did not have good marriages, so perhaps that did influence our choice. I did come from a Catholic background and it was a struggle for me as I had been raied to believe you get married. However my husband said he never would get married.
We decided that this way we could be together only because we really wanted to. No strings, no paperwork, no lawywers. If it’s over, it’s over.
I think in a way It’s the ultimate committment to another person. You stay because you love the other person and you can’t imagine life without them even if they drive you crazy!!! You don’t hang in there cause leaving would be so messy and expensive.
Now we have no children, so that is an important point.
Gradually I got to the point where I really did ot want to get married anymore. I had heard too many stories how people change after they marry and end up divorced 6 months later.
So imagine my surprise when my huband organised our wedding 5 year ago! I was stunned. and scared.
I still do not know if it was the best idea. My husband didh change, and not for the better. He started to take me more and more for granted.
We have had more problems since we married than before. However, we are trying to work it out and are getting counselling to help us communicate better and work out our differences. So here’s hoping!
I should mention that I was 30 and he 27 when we moved in together. So not kids! I really do not feel that being married made us any more or any less committed to eachother. You either love eachother or you don’t. That’s the only contract that matter. And staying together because you want to and not cause you have to makes it all that more special!

Comment by funmi ty

October 12, 2006 @ 9:42 pm

i strongly discourage co-habitation. the reason(s)i would point out. number 1,it is when u re ready to be joined together that u can live together,outside marriage, there is nothing like cohabitation.
number 2, it’s a cheap form of marriage that the guy in question wouldnt be eager to get married.since the lady would have satisfied him both physically and emotionally.though it helps to discourage double dating and it helps strenghtening the relationship if they both find out they re compartible. or else the guy avoid doing the neccessary things he should have done to cement the relationship and make it formal. to this end i would say cohabitation has it pros and cons. if the pros outweighed the cons then i decides. that is, if my reasons to cohabitate outweighed the reasons not to, will determine if iwould do it or not

Comment by Carly

October 12, 2006 @ 10:38 pm

Hi folks, Like many whose comments i have read, i was from am era when cohabitation was a Huge NO NO…so i never ever tried it…I dont say its wrong, infact if I had tried it I would probably not have married the guy I did…No I am not perfect, but heck neither is he..We are married 29 yrs plus, but if we had just 'lived together' I would have walked….Yes it could be the expense of divorce and the kids that kept me going at the partnership, but my vows did say, better or worse…hmmm did I pick one…My daughter cohabits, equally, with her fiance, she has found that all is not a bed of roses, but then yes she can walk away, sell the property and split the proceeds if she wishes…Her guy doesn't like her to have a life or friends outside him…My life revisited it sounds like, my advise to her has been, if you cant settle it..Get Out…so yes i think it can be a good thing to cohabit…just to get to know each others little faux-pas…good luck n luv to all..Carly..x x

Comment by Lala

October 13, 2006 @ 1:01 am

I like the way you call it – marriage trial runs!!! I never stayed with my then fiancee until after marriage and that was from a Christian background. Eight years later, we are still married and staying together. Of course there were some surprises when we first moved in together.

However, a lot of people in my country whom I have seen moving in together prior to marriage have either been cohabiting for life or ended up with kids born outside marriage and ended up partying ways. A horrible experience by my standards and one thats always worse for ladies than it is for men because it is the ladies who get to move on with the kids and fail to find other relationships due to the presence of the kids.

If I were to give a word of advise, I would recommend reasonably long courtships but not cohabitation, in order that you may be able to know your partner better, and ofcourse no kids before marriage. Hubby and I went through a 3 year courtship, no cohabitation, no sex, just courting. By the time we got married, we knew each other a lot better and were sure we wanted to be together forever.

Comment by Alicia

October 13, 2006 @ 3:05 am

In my studies of psychology I have come across this subjuect many time and have been left with the hard cold fact that cohabitation does affect weather a person gets married and/or stays married. In my studies I have found that people who live together for long periods of time have a lesser chance of getting married and the ones that do tend to get devorced more often than not. It has something to do with the thought that people that are willing to cohabitate are also more willing to devorce becuase they don’t value marrage and/or the commitment of marrage.

It is also said that the reason for such a high devorce rate among persons that cohabitate is the fact that people have different standards when it comes to marrage. Someting that may have been viewed as ok during cohabitation is now not ok when married. Standards change becuase people think that when they finally do say I Do that their partner will suddenly mold into the person they are “ment” to be in marrage.

My view on cohabitation after my studies into the matter is that yes it is ok to cohabitate after engagement becuase than there is a commitment and a definate durection.

Comment by Cathy

October 13, 2006 @ 4:54 am

Although I don’t judge those who wish to cohabitate, if you’re goal is marriage, cohabitation has no effect on how much you know your partner. I know of several relationships that are currently in divorce court where the parties livered together for long periods of time before being married.

Most of the time cohabitation has nothing to do with a ‘trial’ marriage. It has to do with the fact that two can live cheaper than one and it’s convenient. Even if it does, at least one partner is on his or her best behaviour most of the time which again, won’t really give you the desired result.

What one needs is the ability on the part of both partners to work together to solve the problems/issues that arise daily together. That committment is not restricted to the act of cohabitation.

You are not losing out if you don’t decide to live with your partner. However you will lose out if you don’t work on your own issues as an individual and be honest about those that arise in the relationship.

Comment by Angela

October 13, 2006 @ 1:03 pm

You should not live with a man, if you want him as a husband. This is a big no no. Some women foolishly believe that living with a man will some how get them to marry them. They are wrong in most cases. Men operate differently. They can live with you and not really be committed to you. Many will view the situation as temporary. It’s a big mistake to live together to test the waters for marriage. Men and women need to focus on compatibility and love. If a man truly loves you and you do not push him, he would pop the question. On the other hand, if he won’t pop the question or commit to you, you need to move on to someone who will.

However, if you do not want to get married and is looking for companionship, living together is ok. It is important for you to be financial stable and independent, just in case the relationship goes sour.

Comment by Elga Conley

October 13, 2006 @ 4:59 pm

Cohabitation for me says that somewhere in the relationship there is either doubt or fear and to go into a marital relationship where love, trust, and commitiment will be a way of life and a way to teach the children that come to live with this couple is to say that there is no doubt, lots of trust, and no fear of commitment. Stability is very important for the entire family and fear is not having love or knowing how to love….without love there is no stability.

Comment by Osaki

October 13, 2006 @ 11:22 pm

I'd call cohabitation and all the associated new morality a massive, gradual and suicidal societal slide into lawlessness, immorality and the death of all values that make us normal humans and which ensure the health and survival of society. Cohabitation violates the basic spiritual laws that govern the Homo sapiens universe and no one breaks a law without someone paying for it, whether or not they are aware of it. I'm aware that in many cultures this form of 'trial marriage' is 'normal' and many other forms of marriage incompatible with our western definition do exist. But we need to be aware that this world or even this universe is one, and many things do go the wrong way every day. Also, very often we do the wrong things but we will be better off if we do not try to justify our wrongs. Truth or what's right is not defined by our own experiences or by any culture; it's defined universally by nature and by God. Nature can accommodate many abuses and can recover from most forms of abuse but only to some degree. To explain what I'm trying to say, the alleged cannibals of Papua New Guinea of yester-years (hopefully) may not have considered eating a fellow human as evil but you know better.

Unfortunately, most negative social changes and their associated costs or pains or penalties happen so slowly that one generation may not be able to notice it. So who protects the succeeding generations?

What Andrew found out about his partners during those stints of cohabitation could have been found out another way without compromising your sexual purity or integrity. And no one is perfect we need to know. What we need is to use our knowledge to find someone who is compatible before committing to a long-term relationship and this is not too difficult. Cohabitation is really like buying a car and after two months you bring it back to the shop saying, “well, I thought is was a fine car but I no longer want it because it does not do a 360-degree turn on the spot.” No matter how many and the who and whos that indulge in extra marital or premarital sex, it is wrong and destructive and should be discouraged, not accommodated as the thing to do. You may not agree with me but really, that does not change the facts or even the situation. I know it's tough, but believe me it's the way to go – not giving in into unbridled sex, including cohabitation all under the banner of our so-called freedom.

Ya ya. Like I said, it's a gradual slide into the dark ages if nothing is done to reverse it….  [Removed by Editor]

Where will this all end? Do you have a guess?

I may have sounded too hard and harsh but I want you to understand that I don’t think myself to be a saint or something, nor do I condemn anyone. I love those who find themselves cohabiting and my heart goes out to them. Most of them are very decent people who find themselves in circumstances foisted upon them by peer pressure, family pressure, gnawing loneliness, societal encouragement and lack of proper love and a protective home environment. I pray that true love and freedom will come their way eventually.

Comment by amy

October 16, 2006 @ 11:43 am

Wow, this has been a heated debate!

I just wanted to remind you all again of our Comments Policy. We’re proud to publish all comments, but we reserve the right to edit any comments that fall on the fine line of lewd, obscene, or inflammatory language.

Sometimes when passions run high it can be difficult to take a step back and consider the impact of your words on others. But please remember that this blog is a public forum and should adhere as closely as possible to decency standards.

Thanks again for your understanding.

Comment by Mayan

October 16, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

I think living together with your partner before making a huge commitment such as marriage is a good idea, primarily because of my own experience with a long term partner. Turned out he more or less expected me to be his mother, wench and cleaner all rolled in to one, where as my opinion was to share all chores and bills and be equals…. And we had been together for at least three years before living together! So anyway, when it was his turn to clean up or whatever, he would just leave it ’til I got annoyed and did whatever it was anyway! Imagine if we had got married before finding that out, there would have been huge divorce proceedings and possibly a murder or two, as we had a very rocky relationship to begin with! Now me and my ex, we are friends now and get on great but I would never live with him and he would say the same about me too. For those people out there who for whatever reason or belief choose to marry first before living with their partner, I put my hands up to them for showing great trust, courage and faith, because I wouldn’t do it, I’m too cynical…

Comment by marlo

October 17, 2006 @ 12:49 am

i think it is a cop=out,if you really,truly love someone,you put up with a bad habit……my husband and i separated for 2 yrs ,what an eye opening experience,all the little things that bothered me,i would do anything to have them and him,back.A relationship isnt a car you can trade in if its not fitting your needs,thats a little selfish,isnt it? you take it all,and you make the best of it,and be thankful for every day you have,find a way to laugh,it really is all little stuff….on a bittersweet note,my husband and i have been back together for almost 2 years,we have had our ups and downs,but we both realize how stupid weboth were,about little things,we just found out i have inoperable brain cancer….now those little things,are just that…..if you are blessed enough to have been given someone to love,let them know today just how much you do,tommorow may be too late……..

Comment by afaf

October 17, 2006 @ 1:09 am

Well I think that cohabitation is neither a wrecker nor a checker.It’s rather a step that people are used to do because it has become “a tradition” no more no less.I belive very strongly that cohabitation is only away to get away from the responsabilities of marriage.the reason that was said in the article that in cohabitation one gets the chance to the the partner better,to give oneselff the opporunity to see the partner in his daily life states:tired,awake asleep…etc is reason that shows the extent to which we care for fake and shallow details.Your hausband or your wife will care for you in all cases not because of ur body or ur habits,but because of your humanity first.Why do we care much about these reasons?it’s stupid..and it’s because our body changes.So the body that u have now will not the same one after 5 years.Instaed we should be able to say from the beginning:we are certainly different,are we ready to change our habits for each other?or each one of us will stick to the things that we’re use to?.This what should be said if u really want to live in peace in your marriage.And if u can’t answer this question to succeed in ur marital life u won’t be able to succeed in cohabitation either.All in all cohabitation is no more than a way to escape from our fears that will never fade if we don’t face them.

Comment by Laurie

October 17, 2006 @ 5:17 pm

I think living with someone could be a good idea to see if you are truly compatible on a day to day basis.

HOWEVER I think it is mistake to live together thinking it will bring you closer if you are insecure and in a hurry to cement the relationship.

If your relationship is moving toward marriage and living together is the last step to assess the reality of lifestyle compatibility, it is good.

Insecurity and the need to play house to convince your partner to stay with you…not good.

I have seen many women move in based on their insecurity about whether or not a man wants to marry them.

I believe moving in rarely leads to marriage if it is based on keeping your partner on a short leash or giving you an easy out if you were never really that committed in the first place.

Comment by AISHA

October 18, 2006 @ 8:02 pm

I got married at a very tender age.The marriage broke up five years after.We cohabited for a few months before the marraige.To me it was out of necessity,i never got to know who he was till after marriage.
I cohabited with another guy for 3months and within this period i got to understand that we could not really made it to marriage.
You get to know a guy better if you in with him for a while before marriage,except you are the desperate type who is ready to take anything from a guy all because of marriage.Am currently a single parent of one,beleiving God for a partner.Am happier,well engaged,leaving happily with my daughter.I keep a date.
Cohabitation delays marriage,but a good ‘test run’.

Comment by Stella

October 19, 2006 @ 2:41 pm

Comment by Stella
I got married at the age of 16 yrs. been married now for 45 yrs. been married to one man. The longer one has been married the more your love grows stronger for each other. Why? because you have now become one in Covenant.
Living together before making a marriage covenant between two people will never work. Why? Because when two people are attracted to each other at first many call it love. In reality its not love at all; only an attraction ( known as the lust of the eye) then follows the lust of the flesh- meaning the desire of wanting and having that person. then follows the pride of life= meaning now that you got the person you so desired The honeymoon is now over.
This is when reality sets in. One will never know what true love is all about. Why? because your looking for love in all the wrong motivations.
couples think they love each other at first. As many have said.That person wasn`t what I thought he was.
One will never find a perfect mate. The perfect mate happens when both partners in a marriage covenant become one. How does this happen? This is the fun part.
In the beginning of a marriage commitment covenant no one is ever truly in love its more on emotions by the desires of the flesh.
After the marriage covenant after the honeymoon and etc. Now you learn to love one another. How> You grow in love. In todays society you fall in love and then grow out of love.
Its the other way around. You must first grow in love to fall in love. When this happens you have eyes for no other, nor will you be tempted to desire another.Why? Because you now have grown to love each other with all of your heart, soul, and body. This is what makes you one and not two persons. You become one in mind,body,and soul. This is what a true marriage covenant is all about. something that todays society needs to learn.
True love does not demand its own way, is long suffering, Is kind, gentle.meek, forgiving, trusting, upholds. has faith in the relationship, endures all things. And etc.The rewards are abundently.
You will not find this kind of happiness outside of a marriage covenant. In a true love marriage covenant you will not be fault finding; but looking to nourish and build a stronger bond.
I know. I have been at it for 45 yrs. and I keep falling in love over and over again with the same person I married 45yrs. ago.
Staying committed to one another will make one a perfect mate in everything you`ve ever dreamed of.

Comment by lucy

July 11, 2007 @ 3:57 pm

Just happened to surf in on this one. If you read this far,if you are a woman, DO NOT COHABITATE. The woman always ends up begging and pleading to marry the man. He is just in it for the convenience. Men these days are on a marriage strike. Well I think women should give them a strike, and they won’t like it. Marry us or no sex. At least women should get paid for doing it for free.

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