Cohabitation and its Effect on Marital Stability in the US
Unmarried heterosexual cohabitation has increased sharply in the recent years in the United States. It has in fact become so prevalent that the majority of marriages and remarriages now begin as cohabiting relationships, and most young men and women cohabit at some point in their lives. It has become quite clear that understanding and incorporating cohabitation into sociological analyses and thinking, is crucial for evaluating family patterns, people’s lifestyles, children’s wellbeing and social changes more broadly. This essay presents some common explanation for cohabitation’s dramatic rise and identifies some analytic questions as to how cohabitation is increasingly a major barrier in the marital stability in the United States.
Cohabitation, over the last two decades has gone from being a relatively uncommon social phenomenon to a commonplace one and has achieved this prominence quite quickly.
It is interesting to note that during the period from 1960 to 1980, the divorce rate doubled (Nadeau 312). Studies show that divorce was most common in the second year of marriage (312). Because it was also a time that people began to live together more frequently, researcher...
Marriage and cohabitation play a central role in how family life is carried out. The way in which society views marriage and cohabitation is changing as individualism becomes an increasingly mainstream ideal. Marriage rates have decreased significantly on average over the past 60 years, but different groups show different rates of change. While certain sects each have their views, the general trends are showing decreasing marriage rates in lower income individuals, and increasing marriage rates in higher income educated individuals. These rates are directly connected to racial-ethnic groups, leading to larger gaps in socioeconomic status.
Natalie Angier, author of “The Changing American Family” offers different perspectives of why are Americans delaying marriage. One reason might be that “a growing number of Americans are simply intimidated by the whole idea of marriage” (Angier). On the other hand, Americans have chosen to organize their priorities by first getting their college degrees, finding a job, and being financially stable before thinking of marriage and children. This new generation is choosing to try things out before committing to them. That is why they are opting for cohabitation instead of marriage, Furthermore, most cohabitating couples are discouraged by the economic and emotional standards that a “successful” marriage
It is not a new thought that today’s young Americans are facing issues, problems and difficult decisions that past generations never had to question. In a world of technology, media, and a rough economy, many young adults in America are influenced by a tidal wave of opinions and life choices without much relevant advice from older generations. The Generation Y, or Millennial, group are coming of age in a confusing and mixed-message society. One of these messages that bombard young Americans is the choice of premarital cohabitation. Premarital cohabitation, or living together without being married (Jose, O’Leary & Moyer, 2010), has increased significantly in the past couple of decades and is now a “natural” life choice before taking the plunge into marriage. Kennedy and Bumpass (2008) state that, “The increase in cohabitation is well documented,such that nearly two thirds of newlyweds have cohabited prior to their ﬁrst marriage”(as cited in Harvey, 2011, p. 10), this is a striking contrast compared with statistics of our grandparents, or even parents, generations. It is such an increasing social behavior that people in society consider cohabitation “necessary” before entering into marriage. Even more, young Americans who choose not to cohabitate, for many different reasons, are looked upon as being “old-fashioned”, “naive”, or “unintelligent”. This pressure for young people to cohabitate before marriage is a serious “modern-day” challenge; especially when given research that states, “... most empirical studies ﬁnd that couples who cohabited prior to marriage experience signiﬁcantly higher odds of marital dissolution than their counterparts who did not cohabit before marriage”, stated by Jose (2010) and colleagues (as c...
Since the creation of mankind, humans all over the world have fallen in love and believe that they have found “the one.” People get married and realize that it is not always “happily ever after.” A large percentage of couples are unable to maintain their relationship, because of this, they choose divorce. Many spouses, believe that this is the best solution to deal with problems between each other. However, many people think carefully before getting entangled into marriage. Nevertheless, divorce rates still continue to increase to this very day. It certainly looks as if divorces occur more now than they did 20 years ago. There are three causes of divorce: changing of a woman’s household status, financial situations, and lack of communication.
“You change for two reasons: either you learn enough that you want to, or you’ve been hurt enough that you have to.” While maturing, young adults start searching for other peers to settle down with and marry. Although glamorous to picture, marriage is a commitment two partners make for life. To stick by one another “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health” (Sample Marriage Vows, 2004). Unfortunately, the promise to stay true to one another through everything diminishes. Resulting in what modern day society’s term as divorce. There are many paragons to justify on why individuals consider such deviances from their oaths. This does not mean, however, that every marriage will end in a catastrophe. Matrimony involves learning throughout life on how to work as one. Some couples play by the books and develop a system that agrees with both parties. Differing partners, on the other hand, fail at the teamwork category in their relationship. Therefore, the cause and effects of divorce in the United States of America illustrates different reasons on why and how the term comes about.
According to Clarkberg, Stolzenberg and Waite, from the University of Chicago, cohabitation is preferred over marriage by a specific group of people defined through their preferences in certain attitudes and values. According to this study, people chose to enter into either marriage or cohabitation depending on their views on procreation and relationships. However, the article also includes a study of peoples choice relying on views towards leisure time allotment, household labor division, employment, economic resources and relationships with immediate and extended family as well as with religion.
It is often stated that the divorce rate in America is on the rise, though some of the available research shows that divorce rates have not been rising over the last twenty years (New York Times, 2014). Those who provide evidence that divorce is on the decline still agree that remarriage statistics are rising. According to PEW’s research, 15% of children are living with two parents who are living in remarriage. Along with that, American’s who are at the age of traditional marriage are getting married later in life, or even forgoing marriage altogether. 34% of children today are living with an unmarried parent, 4% of which are living with cohabiting parents and 30% living with a single parent (PEW, 2014). With the rise of younger pregnancies and financial problems from the recent recession, 5% children are not living with either parent, most of which live with their grandparents. Families that are made up of two parents
Spohn, William C., and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. "The American Myth of Divorce." Santa Clara University - Welcome. Web. 21 Feb. 2011. .