I've been talking to a close friend of mine lately about marriage. The couple is wanting to live together first before jumping into this big commitment. As I listen to them, I understand where they are coming from, but I also know what I have been taught all my life; "Wait until you are married."
My mom and dad were married in 1956. My mom was 18, and had just graduated from high school. My dad was a bit older, and had just finished his basic training in the Air Force. The couple never lived together before they were married. They will be celebrating 57 wonderful years together this August.
My husband's parents were also married in 1956. My mother in law was still in high school, and my father in law had just joined the Army and was heading to basic training. Sadly, my father in law died this past September, but they spent almost 57 wonderful years together.
My husband and I met in August of 1982. He was in Florida vacationing and had come to church, where we met for the first time. About two weeks later, we literally bumped into each other at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. We started dating, got engaged in December of 1982 and married 4 May 1983. We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in a couple of months, and have been and are still very happy.
Today, it is very popular for couples to live together before they make that big commitment. They want to see if they can get along together before they actually get married. As I said before, I can understand their thinking, but if they look at statistics, they might be surprised.
Michael McManus, author of the book, Marriage savers, says, "Statistically speaking, living together is not a trial of marriage, but rather a training for divorce." He goes on to give some statistics. "The number of unmarried couples living together soared 12-fold from 430,000 in 1960 to 5.4 million in 2005. Couples who do marry after living together are 50% more likely to divorce than those who did not."
On another website I read this, "Couples who live together to see if marriage is a good idea may be most prone to later disaster. It's possible that if you feel the need to 'test' the relationship, you may already know in your heart of hearts that it's not meant to be. Cohabiters may be more apt to divorce, particularly if they've lived with several people in the past--one study found that serial female cohabiters have divorce rate that are twice as high as women who cohabited once, with the man that became their husband." I found that quite interesting.
I researched the divorce rate in the United States over the past, and this is what I found. Between 1867 and 1900 the divorce rate rose from 3% to 7%. Divorce slowly rose until the 1970's when it skyrocketed, and by 1985 the divorce rate was at 50%. Several factors attribute to the jump in divorce, one being that it became easier to get one. But something else happened in the 1970's--cohabitation was obscure and even taboo until the 1970's. Hmmmm..., interesting that the divorce rate jumped about the same time that society started to accept living together.
I'm not saying that just because you live together and then get married, you are doomed for divorce, or if you don't live together before you marry, it won't end in a divorce. Marriage is something that should be taking very seriously. It is also something that both of you need to work at. Both should give 100% effort. It is not 50/50. It is 100/100; your all!
I am glad my husband and I waited, and did not live together before we were married. I believe that is one reason we have such a strong marriage. Both of us are committed to each other, and that is how it should be.
I hope and pray, that Bill and I will always be close as a couple. I also hope my friend does some real soul searching before plunging into the living together thing. Making that commitment toward marriage is a HUGE thing, but one that I feel can be decided on without cohabitating.