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Is cohabitation the right alternative to marriage? The increasing amounts or studies done in relation to cohabiting couples shows that this controversial topic is more common than most American’s think. Marriage used to be considered a defining event in a couple’s relationship, often marking the beginning of intimate relations, sharing a common household, and even childbearing. By definition, unmarried cohabitation is the status of couples who are sexual partners, not married to each other, and sharing a household (Popenoe). These two definitions seem to be similar in what each union reflects, but outwardly marriage includes a legal union that is meant to be a lifelong commitment. The meaning and permanence of marriage may be changing as cohabitation increases, (Casper 40) and this is in turn creating a society who is largely focused on self-fulfilling events, no commitment, and a lower understanding of what is best for our children. The research done regarding the effects cohabitation has on children, morality based on religious opinion, and the consequences of cohabitation explain why this growing change in society is wrong.

Thirty years ago, living together for unmarried, heterosexual couples was against the law (Popenoe). It is facts like that which make the moral changes in society seem unpredictable. Who would have thought that something as sacred and universally understood as marriage would become so subtle. The proportion of unmarried women who were cohabiting tripled, from 3 to 9 percent, between 1978 and 1998, and unmarried men who were cohabiting increased from 5 to almost 12 percent (Casper 41). Statistics follow along with the changing society. Just as the age for marriage has increased, this has ...

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...nstead of marriage. Especially when children are involved, there are many more aspects of living together outside of marriage that need to be taken into consideration. Not only obvious speculations like how the finances will be divided should be taken into consideration, but also morality and situational elements need to be discussed. Socially it may be acceptable, but that is wrong. That is society’s way of weakening marriage as a pure institution (Popenoe). Americans need to start reviewing what is right and what is wrong and reiterate the information into society. Sex should not be shown as glamorous and necessary, but rather as something significant that binds two people together. These themes would help turn around the quickly changing ideal of how family really should be, and turn it back to the right direction where unity is what the world is working towards.

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