The other day I was talking to a group of college students about the increased risk of divorce in couples who live together. They had a hard time believing me. ”Couples who live together know each other better!” they claimed. However, a recent study (click here for more information) supported past research that found couples who live together prior to marriage are less likely to stay married. But this research doesn’t make any logical sense unless you really evaluate what might be going on.
It is not the “living together” part that contributes to divorce. Rather, it’s the reasons behind wanting to live together that make the difference. If a couple lives together to “test drive” a marriage or to see if they get along – these are red flags. The need to test a relationship means the relationship is probably not solid to begin with. On the other hand, couples who live together to share expenses and save money for the future have their heads in a different place.
Regardless of the research, the majority of college students today say they would like to live together before marriage – in fact, living together has almost become a rite of passage and a stage of courtship today. In the last 15 years, the number of women in their late 30s who have ever lived together grew from 30% to 61%. Young people say that getting married without living together first just doesn’t make sense.
Time certainly changes everything, doesn’t it? I still remember the look in my father’s eyes when he shared his views about me living with a partner. The conversation began with something like ”no daughter of mine will EVER……”