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The Effect of Cohabitation on Marriage

analytical Essay
3016 words
3016 words
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Abstract

The Effect of Cohabitation on Marriage

Several published studies look at the increase in premarital cohabitation and the effect of premarital cohabitation on the traditional marriage relationship from the 1960s to present. Issues considered are marital satisfaction, marital stability, marital communication, and incidents of divorce within each group. Contrary to common perceptions, studies on couples who cohabitated prior to marrying indicate marriages that are less satisfactory, less stable, report poorer communication and higher incidents of divorce when compared to couples who did not cohabitate prior to marriage. Factors that attempt to explain these results are explored.

The Effect of Cohabitation on Marriage

Finding a compatible partner and getting married is the dream for the majority of people in America. Statistics show that approximately 95% of all people will be married at some point in their lives (Cherlin, 2002). However, marriage is coming to be considered more of a short-term and an economic arrangement by many and less of a life-time commitment (Risch, Riley & Lawler, 2003; Seltzer, 2000). It is true that divorce is becoming less stigmatized and is a more frequent event with a current divorce rate of approximately 40% for first marriages (Risch, Riley & Lawler, 2003). It is also true that cohabitation is becoming a more common and accepted way to live.

It is estimated that between 50% and 60% of all people will live together before marrying (Cherlin, 2002, Seltzer, 2000; Teachman, 2003). Cohabitation is defined as the sharing of a household by unmarried persons who have a sexual relationship (Cherlin, 2002). Many couples make the decision to cohabitate in order to see if they are compatible and ...

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...: Quality or commitment? Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54: 159-267.

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Watson, R. E. L. (1983). Premarital cohabitation vs. traditional courtship: Their effects on subsequent marital adjustment. Family Relations. 32, 139-147.

Wineberg, H. (1994). Marital reconciliation in the United States: Which couples are successful? Journal of Marriage & the Family, Vol. 56, 80-88.

Wu, Z. (1999). Premarital cohabitation and the timing of first marriage. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 36, 109-127.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes the effects of premarital cohabitation on the traditional marriage relationship from the 1960s to present.
  • Argues that cohabitation is becoming a more common and accepted way to live in north america.
  • Cites amato, johnson, booth, a., and rogers, s. j. on continuity and change in marital quality between 1980 and 2000.
  • Explains lamb, lee, g. r., and demaris, a. union formation and depression: selection and relationship effects.
  • Explains teachman, thomson, colella, and treas, j. premarital sex, cohabitation and the risk of subsequent marital dissolution among women.
  • Explains that premarital cohabitation vs. traditional courtship: their effects on subsequent marital adjustment.
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