Living together and still not married? See what is wrong with it!

Published November 17, 2007 by axinia

  

photo: Meredith Farmer

The modern trend of living together in a so called cohabitation or civil marriage has been recently taking over not only the majority of the Western countries but also of Eastern Europe and Russia.

I have been suspecting something wrong with that phenomenon but could not really explain why. You probably know this feeling: you are sure something is wrong, but a simple explanation (because it is not traditional, not natural or not successful) does not work with the modern civilised humans.

Recently I came across some studies giving the scientific proof and logical explanation for the unhealthy nature of that state of illegal cohabitation (yes, actually it IS illegal – simply because it is not “by law”).

More than 50 percent of American couples cohabit, and those who later marry are more likely to divorce than couples who do not live together first, based on a recent review of studies co-authored by David Popenoe, Rutgers University sociologist.
The practice is common among people from broken homes, because they might be more cautious and wish to cohabit as a trial marriage, Popenoe said. These findings call into question whether cohabitation is good for the institution of marriage, he said.

The US National Survey of Family Growth report, based on a survey of nearly 11,000 women, found that after 10 years, 40 percent of couples that had lived together before marriage had broken up.

Another study by Penn State University researches prove that even though more than half of couples now do it, compared with only 10 percent 30 years ago, living together before marriage still is linked to higher rates of troubled unions, divorce and separation.

The Penn State team compared data on 1,425 people married between 1964 and 1980 when cohabitation was less common and between 1981 and 1997 when cohabitation was more common.They found that, in both groups, cohabiters reported less happiness and more marital conflict than noncohabiters. Also, in both groups, couples who lived together before marriage were more likely to divorce.

Then what is the reason? Why is there such a difference between these two seemingly similar states? And why does this “logical” idea of “trying it out before marrying” obviously not really work?

One marriage expert pointed it out very clearly:

When living together the attitude is “I vow to stay together with you as long as you make me happy.” In a marriage, people focus on making their partners happy.

The secret of more successful marriages without previous cohabitation could be the following: People who have no doubts in the right choice get marry without a long story. The other ones who are not that sure in the right choice may think they need more time (keeping in mind the possibility of a better option!). In case they do not find something better they finally marry the partner – no wonder that this reason does not work as a long-term solid base.

Looking in the German-English dictionary for the better term of cohabitation I found a tickled pink explanation for that state.

Question: how to explain the relationship of living together unmarried in what is known as ” wilde Ehe.” ?

Answer: Then it must be “still floating around out there :-)”  Straight to the point!

LOVE, axinia

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Nice quotes on Marriage

28 comments on “Living together and still not married? See what is wrong with it!

  • This is an interesting point, Axinia. But here are my observations: some of the married couples I know don’t live with each other on a regular basis, while non married couples live with each other. I don’t know which ones have a better chance to last.

  • There is a choice on what makes a “successful relationship”. Is length and no apparent problems the determinant of success? Or is it that the relationship is an expression of joy? There are no statistics for the latter.

    I look at this as a trend. In earlier times, there was no option – you stayed together, even if miserable. And so, people didn’t express the misery and just shut down to bear it. Is this right, or better? Who’s to say. But we’re going towards a general society of less suppression. It will take time and growing pains.

    http://www.loving-awareness.org/

  • Mttew, I belive a happy marriage is very much possible without any supression🙂 In fact, I not only believe it, I LIVE IT…
    RIght, in the past there have been other reasons for less divorces but NOW, with the modern knowleadge we can make a marriage a very enjoable institution, based on mutual respect und untrestanding. And LOVE.

    To me also the measure of all thigs is how much I can enjoy something…how much true joy I can experiece. And a happy marriage with its DIVINE nature can give you soooooo much of it!!!!!!!!

  • Guess what? Your blog is amazing! I can’t remember when was the last time i’ve overcome such a good blog that almost all articles/posts were interesting and wouldn’t regret spending my time reading it. I hope you will keep up the great work you are doing here and i can enjoy my everyday read at your blog.

  • Dear Antanas, Your compliment is just wonderful, thanks!

    I also love this blog (there is a lot of love put in here, it may has the impact you feel)…I try to post now and then soemthing relevant to this great topic of woman, spirituality and beauty.

    However I do not have so much time for my blogging, so I only keep my other blog http://1000petals.wordpress.com/ update almost daily. It has not the same content but still similar… Enjoy!🙂

  • Matthew Spears, the problem is all this divorce is turning a lot of men off on divorce, and thus a lot of women aren’t going to get married. Several years ago, a study showed that at that time 22% of all single adult men said they weren’t ever going to marry. There is no reason to doubt the percentage is higher now and as new harsh laws are passed more men will opt out.

    So, all this divorce and the laws facing divorced men for the benefit of women has some really bad side effects on those people who want to marry.

  • I am so blessed with a wonderful husband and great marriage, never in my wildest dreams thought marriage would be like this. After 18 years of marriage we notice that a # of couples who drift apart don’t spend enough time together, whereas, with us we share about 90% of our time together.

    Great blog…wonderful post…Di

  • THank, Di
    that is a good point! Spending time together is definitly a strong clay:) – under the condition that it happens naturally and on the basis of mutual interests (I mean one should not force it).

  • Interesting post. Not sure I’m convinced by it, but I’m definitely not convinced by your definition of cohabitation as ‘Illegal’. To be ‘illegal’ there would need to be a Law specifically prohibiting cohabitation, and as far as I am aware there is no such thing, not in secular law anyway. Religious Laws may frown upon such an indeterminate union but their authority is, at best, highly questionable and also deeply subjective.

    You tend to see Marriage as the best option for human beings, almost a default state and ertainly the only state in which true happiness can be found; I prefer a more balanced view in that marriage is but one of a number of options. Human lives are simply too complex for marriage to be the ONLY solution that works when humans bond.

    On the other hand I see where these studies might be getting their data from: I think many couples cohabiting may not possess sufficient emotional and spiritual intelligence or learning to fully comprehend how best to blend their life with another; they may not fully appreciate the commitments involved, the responsibilities or even how to honour another properly on all levels. This is a failing of western societies generally in that they place great store on external solutions and quick fixes, where other, more traditional cultures focus on the inner human and his or her abaility to correctly deal with reality.

  • Wow, GrantTLC, what a deep and thoughtfull comment!

    As you might have noticed in my other posts I am only convinced in something I ecperienced. Same for this post. In my still realtively young life🙂 I know already what is divorce, what is cohabition and what is a happy marriage. I was lucky enohg to tase it all and to make my conclusions.

    Another thing is that marriage is not only a presonal thing.
    I think K.Marks once said that “A family is a cel of society”. A happy family makes a happy society( because what kind of happy people can grow in a broken home?)
    I find it paradoxical that the modern society is so egoistical and people in general dont want to think of the future (progeny, society) – but in doing so, fixing all on themselves they do not becomme happyier! What could be the reason???

  • you know I had this opinion about living in relations for most of my life, but lately I am more open to things which I don’t believe in. I think man/woman relation is so beautiful and intricate that there are times when there can exist something beautiful without any legal bondages as marriages.
    I somehow don’t believe in statistics too much, may be if we searched for failed marriages without prior livin relations, we can still find some other conclusion.
    But as far as sanctity of marriage goes, I have no doubts in the institution, however I also don’t think livin can be always bad for a relation

  • Dear Rambler,
    I have written several posts on marriage and my only wish is to show the true beauty of this institution, because it is truly divine…
    I probably sound too categorical, but this is for a good reason: because I ahve seen and experienced quite a bit… If living together without marrying is such a great thing – why people do not seem to be that happy in sucha realtionships? (and mostly it is women who suffer from it!)

  • Someone once said to me that the greatest instinct of the female species is motherhood; That also translates to the greatest fear being insecurity & fear of committment. WHich, I have presumed to be a reason why girls (my humble opinion) are not as much into into one-night stands/as long as it lasts relationships/cohabitation/for the sex sake relationships as boys are.

    Media & the so called “broad-minded” & “forward” thinkers have always propagated the virtues of ad-hoc relationships. With the same well represented in the sphere of popularism (Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Saif Ali Khan in India), no surprise people start following it.

    I fear for the social balance – hope it will be maintained. After all, I can’t think of my future, definitely not my present & past, without both my parents in tandem.

  • Raman, thanks for your interesting input! Your link was new to me, and this Mosuo culture is really funny, however I think it has its own ways due to the geagrafical position and this pattern will never be taken as regular for the rest of humanity… The eskimos have also some strage rules, but they were so few and they had to survive… this is soemthin else.

  • Thanks. I love the way your website looks. And the ability to convey stuff with minimal words. I envy that ability. I have to normally write a 1000 words before I can say something😀

  • I FEEL SAD THAT THE WESTERN CULTURE HAS RAPED INDIAN CULTURE. HINDU CULTURE SAYS THAT A MAN AND A WOMAN ARE SUPPOSED TO LIVE TOGETHER ONLY AFTER GETTING MARRIED. BUT MODERN GUYS AND GALS, DUE TO TOO MUCH OF EDUCATION, ARE LIVING TOGETHER IN THE NAME OF GLOBALIZATION. IT IS A FACT THAT FAR AWAY HILLS APPEAR SHINY. FANCY, THAT THEY ARE SAYING IT IS NO WRONG IN LIVING TOGETHER. IT IS WORTH TO IMPORT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, BUT IT IS WRONG TO IMPORT CULURE FROM ABROAD. ALL THIS IS GOING ON ONLY BECAUSE THE PARENTS ARE GIVING FULL INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM TO THEIR CHILDREN, RIGHT FROM THE CHILDHOOD. THE DAYS COME WHEN GIRLS SHOULD BE TESTED FOR VIRGINITY BEFORE MARRIAGE. HOWEVER GUYS AND GIRLS ARE FUCKING UP THE INDIAN TRADITION AND CULTURE.

  • rameshraju, your comment is rather heavy, but on the whole I agree… it is really sad. The Western culture is rather agressive because of the matherialism (which they nicely call “democracy”…

  • Axinia,

    I would like to think there is a difference between materailism and democracy. But it is true that one tends to lead to the other. Democracy gives western people freedom or licence to be selfish if they so choose. Freedom is a beautiful thing only so long as it is used to do good. Unfortunatly human nature has a tendancy to choose self and pleasure rather than the greater good. Still, as we all know there is no political system without its flaws and short comings. Coruption is a part of life on this sin stained planet.

    Newfoundlander

  • Newfoundlander, I agree, materialism and democracy are not the same! But so called democracy is the name of the Western political structire, and its basis is – alas! – meterialism in its extreems…

    I am avery naive and idealistic person and I somehow believe that one day the humanity will rise to the new awareness and go beyond all that systems. One day. But probably not soon😦

  • Thanks, axinia,
    your post remind me of the simple beauty of life which still exists in a society where money and success are highly valued. I nearly get lost in it.

    • I have experienced this myself that in western women the attention is so much outside that they are always unhappy. And they are always unsure of what they have is good enough . If they base thier joy on what people think of them then how can they be ever happy ? And marraiges break ! but even after that , will they ever be happy ??

  • So what if one is happily ever after living together.
    In the olden days one was considered to be married if the woman followed the man into his house. I know nobody wants to give unmarried people a bad feeling. But are married couples the better people then? Is the commitment to the relationship in unmarried couples necessarily any less? Is it not more a question of living a dharmic life and overcoming the ego attractions in a relationship. Who else knows if a relationship is good or not between two people except God?
    One still is not seen as mature if one is not married. One sees the relationship as loose, while married people can commit every mistake in the book.

    So better not to judge. Just trust.

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