Living Together Before Marriage Does Not Make a Stronger Marriage

As morality in our country has declined, naturally we have seen a rise in immorality. One visible example of this is the number of couples who live together before marriage. As time goes on, more and more people are either indifferent to the practice or are a promoter of it.

One of the arguments that is commonly used to justify the practice is that it can make the couple’s eventual marriage even stronger. During the time of cohabitation, the couple can get to know one another better, learn how they handle a marriage-type relationship together, and can get a better idea of whether or not they are compatible. If they live together first and it goes well, they can be confident of their relationship going into marriage. If it does not go well, they get to find that out before marriage.

On the surface, by human reasoning, this may seem logical. If it is correct, we should expect to see that couples who live together before marriage have a lower rate of divorce than couples who move in together after marrying. But actually, a recent survey shows just the opposite. Couples who live together before marriage do not have stronger marriages. In fact, they are more likely to seriously consider divorce than their peers who marry before living together.

One figure was particularly interesting. The survey divided couples into three groups: those who moved in together before engagement, those who moved in together after engagement, and those who waited until after marriage to live together. Of those who cohabited before engagement, 19% had suggested getting a divorce. For those who cohabited after engagement but before marriage, the percentage drops to 12%. For couples who wait until after marriage to cohabit, the percentage drops again to 10%. So those who live together before their engagement are almost twice as likely to consider divorce than those who wait to live together until marriage. Does that sound like a stronger marriage?

Here is the link to the article: Prenuptial Cohabiting Can Spoil Marriage

The article linked above goes into some theories as to why this is true. But regardless of the reasons, it is interesting and important to note that one of the primary arguments for the practice of cohabitation before marriage is invalid.

So how can a couple know they will have a strong and lasting marriage? The answer is simple – follow what God has instructed. God, the one who established marriage in the beginning (Matthew 19:4-6), has shown us how to have a good marriage. The basis for a strong marriage does not necessarily have to do with personalities, infatuation, or some of the other things that people look for in a mate. These may be good, but they do not make a strong marriage by themselves. A strong marriage takes two people willing to follow God’s instructions – fulfill the individual roles given to husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:22-33), put the interests of the other ahead of their own (Ephesians 5:21; Philippians 2:3-4), and making a choice and a commitment to love and be devoted to that one person (Colossians 3:19; Titus 2:4). A couple does not need to live together first to do these things.

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