Cohabitation: A Trial Period Before Marraige?

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Cohabitation: A Trial Period before Marriage?

Marriage can be a frightening thing for anyone. The act of marriage can bring fear such as commitment, as well as fears associated with living together and sharing everything. This, in turn, can lead to one or both parties feeling vulnerable. A common approach to calm these fears and vulnerabilities is cohabitation. For many, cohabitation can seem as a transition period for couples to adjust to living with each other before marriage. In fact, cohabitation is becoming quite the norm in the United States. Huang, Smock, Manning, and Lynch (2011) state that “clearly, cohabitation has become a customary part of the American courtship process” and that it “has been increasing markedly in the United States over the past few decades.” In this paper, we will explore the reasoning behind cohabitation, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

Why cohabitation? One of the most popular reasons is cited as being that “couples can be sure they are compatible before marriage (Huang, et al, 2011).” Seemingly, many couples that cohabitate before marriage fear incompatibility with their current beaus and/or future spouses. Using cohabitation as a “trial period” before marriage can take away the fear of living together from both partners. It can assure both parties that they are companionable in living space, or affirm that they are not. Smock, Casper, and Wyse (2008) also point out several influences for cohabitation: there are cultural and economic influences. Young people see cohabitation as a part of life. “Two-thirds of both male and female 18-29 year olds who have never been married or cohabited explicitly disagree with the statement that ‘a young couple should not live together unless they...

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...ouples studied about cohabitation before engaging in it, they can learn what thoughts and actions to avoid a damaged relationship.


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