Living Together Before Marriage – Good or Bad

Living Together Before Marriage – Good or Bad.  I shared some incorrect statistics with my 26-year-old daughter who has been living with her boyfriend for 6 years.  They have been together for a total of 8 years and met while attending USC.  She recently graduated from Law School and is currently working as a Junior Associate while awaiting her Bar results.  I have been working with couples in private practice for over 20 years and told her that research indicates “the longer you live with your partner before getting married the least likely you were to stay together.”  The argument has been that living together before marriage increases the likelihood of divorce. 

A new study was released by the Council on Contemporary Families stating there is no link between living together before marriage and divorcing.  According to Professor Arielle Kuperberg, sociology professor at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, the more relevant factors are age and the level of education.

“Shacking Up” and Divorce – relevant factors include:

1.   Age group between 18 – 23

2.  Those not financially established

3.  Those who do not have the emotional maturity to pick a compatible partner

4.  Those who may not have their own goals set out

5.   Those who may not have their career settled

6.  Those who have less education

Couples Not living together before marriage – relevant factors include:

1.   Are more religious

2.  Have higher levels of education – very high levels

3.  Very highly educated parents

4.  Parents come from higher social class backgrounds


There are actually two co-habiter groups within the study:

1.  Couples who co-habitate – do a trial marriage or test drive.  This group moves more quickly towards marriage.


2.  Couples who are not financially ready – want to combine their finances; to save money for a big wedding.


So the longer you’ve been living together prior to getting married doesn’t necessarily indicate your marriage will end in divorce.  A combination of factors plus the characteristics of the individuals makes every case unique as it takes a lot of effort and desire to make a relationship work and last.  I have a lot of confidence in my daughter’s ability to make her relationship work as she and her partner are not within the relevant factors of “shack up” data and have many of the relevant factors in couples not living together before marriage for if and when she is ready to make that next step.

For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139.


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