1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

What is wrong with living together and not getting married November 12, 2007

Filed under: innocence,joy,love,thoughts,women,world — axinia @ 9:25 pm

 photo by axinia

The modern trend of living together in a so called cohabitation or civil marriage has been recently taking over not only the majority of the Western countries but also of Eastern Europe and Russia.

I have been suspecting something wrong with that phenomenon but could not really explain why. You probably know this feeling: you are sure something is wrong, but a simple explanation (because it is not traditional, not natural or not successful) does not work with the modern civilised humans.

Recently I came across some studies giving the scientific proof and logical explanation for the unhealthy nature of that state of illegal cohabitation (yes, actually it IS illegal – simply because it is no “by law”).

More than 50 percent of American couples cohabit, and those who later marry are more likely to divorce than couples who do not live together first, based on a recent review of studies co-authored by David Popenoe, Rutgers University sociologist.
The practice is common among people from broken homes, because they might be more cautious and wish to cohabit as a trial marriage, Popenoe said. These findings call into question whether cohabitation is good for the institution of marriage, he said.

The US National Survey of Family Growth report, based on a survey of nearly 11,000 women, found that after 10 years, 40 percent of couples that had lived together before marriage had broken up.

Another study by Penn State University researches prove that even though more than half of couples now do it, compared with only 10 percent 30 years ago, living together before marriage still is linked to higher rates of troubled unions, divorce and separation.

The Penn State team compared data on 1,425 people married between 1964 and 1980 when cohabitation was less common and between 1981 and 1997 when cohabitation was more common.They found that, in both groups, cohabiters reported less happiness and more marital conflict than noncohabiters. Also, in both groups, couples who lived together before marriage were more likely to divorce.

Then what is the reason? Why is there such a difference between these two seemingly similar states? And why does this “logical” idea of “trying it out before marrying” obviously not really work?

One marriage expert pointed it out very clearly:

When living together the attitude is “I vow to stay together with you as long as you make me happy.” In a marriage, people focus on making their partners happy.

The secret of more successful marriages without previous cohabitation could be the following: People who have no doubts in the right choice get marry without a long story. The other ones who are not that sure in the right choice may think they need more time (keeping in mind the possibility of a better option!). In case they do not find something better they finally marry the partner – no wonder that this reason does not work as a long-term solid base.

Looking in the German-English dictionary for the better term of cohabitation I found a tickled pink explanation for that state.

Question: how to explain the relationship of living together unmarried in what is known as ” wilde Ehe.” ?

Answer: Then it must be “still floating around out there :-)”  Straight to the point!

LOVE, axinia


Relavant posts:

Divorce rates of the world (by Nita)

Confusion of roles: man or woman?

Does male-female friendship exist?

The beauty of a marriage

Two more interesting points on Marriage

Marriage: Made in Heaven

Nice quotes on Marriage


19 Responses to “What is wrong with living together and not getting married”

  1. radha Says:

    HI, i only want to tell that when i read only the title of the posting i thought it was about single men or women living in a bigger collective, who do not want to get merried. So funny :DDD, but its really different now that i read it all!! Many smiles to you

  2. axinia Says:

    hey, radha, I see what you mean 🙂 But I hope most of my readers will get it right!

  3. leelajesus Says:

    Very conviencing arguments!!!

  4. axinia Says:

    thanks, leela – I hope they will convince some people 🙂

  5. Nita Says:

    Very nice analysis Axinia and thanks for mentioning my post.
    Well, I think you have nailed it. One needs commitment to start with because it is always hard to live with someone, anyone, even if one loves that person. There are adjustments to be made and to start out thinking that we can always break up if it gets too hard is something that is sure to make the couple try less.
    Partnership is not like shopping where one picks up clothes for a trial run. It’s human beings that we are dealing with here and when one makes a choice, it’s for life, for better or for worse. Except in exceptional and extreme circumstances couples CAN be happy, if only they try. True, some people are more easy going and easier to live with and some people are more difficult to live with, but once you make a choice one has to look deeper than that. Frankly I don’t even believe in this so-called ‘compatibility’ because two reasonable, rational human beings who love each other and are committed to each other can be happy together even if their temperaments apparently clash.

  6. natasha Says:

    Axinia, very nice article:)))))with simple words you explain this important and very delicate question…thanks!

  7. axinia Says:

    Nita, what an exellent comment!!! 1000 thanks for your great input!

  8. radha Says:

    i always thought about marriage as something challenging for my personal growth. Something really really personal. I know it is about a relationship built up by two people but i also believe that in one sense (very delicate sense) it concern one only person. Its not easy to explain. But for example whenevr i see my husband doin something i immediately turn the attention within myself and it feels like i did that too. Marriage is one of the most fascinating long experience we can have because you are fused with another individual and you are still an individual and all the thing is so incredibly interesting to watch, and worth to be lived. i would merry-every-moment with my husband 😉

  9. axinia Says:

    Lovely input, radha!
    I see one more aspect in marriage – althouhg it is very personal we you mean, it is also for everyone. Look, if people see a happy couple – everyone gets a bit of that happieness too! Unfortunately we do not see many happy couples in the West 😦 But this is a good motivation to make one :)))
    A good marriage is truly the cement of any normal society.

  10. […] I wonder if this phrase is known in the West)? It is quite obvious from what I see around that the people from broken homes have more difficulties with creating a happy family life themselves. Not only that – I see so many young and not any more that young people in […]

  11. Kai Thorsten Says:

    Marriage is bad for people. Heck, in California the divorce rate is 75%, it’s gotten so bad they don’t even publish it but if you Google around you’ll find it. Cohabiting is a much better way to go. Even better, just keep your own place! Everyone needs some space.

  12. Atlantic Says:


    Have you ever considered that maybe it’s the people that are bad for the marriage and not the marriage for the people? If such things as commitment and self sacrifice were impossible I’d have to agree with you, but because they’re not they are the key to a much warmer relationship than simply cohabiting ever could be. Nobody said marriage was easier but it’s diffinately more rewarding.


  13. axinia Says:

    More rewarding – is the key word.
    thanks, Newfoundlander!

  14. Zule Says:

    Consider those who do not wish to procreate. Although the bond of matrimony are inexpensive to enter, they are costly to break. Some studies indicate that humans tend to be serially monogamous. Break ups are common. Marriage is a method used to attempt to make the men finiancially and socially responsible for the children from the women they impregnate. Since a divorce is so costly, why encumber the relationship with it. I would rather love someone who is free to leave if they desire than have them legally bonded to me after their love departs our relationship. I bear these thoughts coming from a failed marriage. My partner wanted out for a long time, but did not want to give up the financial support the marriage provided. When alternative funding was located, the marriage ended. Marriage or cohabitation is about love, tolerance, getting along, and growing together. Divorce is about who gets to keep resources. The left person feels the pain of abandonment plus the additional burden of paying their share to bread the “bond”.

    • axinia Says:

      Zule, thanks. I can see your comment is personal experience based and such experience is always very painful, I know what you mean. But whatever happens, is for us to learn, whether we want it or not. As soon as we learn a lesson, the situation changes to the better!

  15. You raise a lot of questions in my head; you wrote an excellent post, but this post is also mind provoking, and I will have to think about it a bit more; I will return soon.

  16. May be it sounds good but there are a lot of complications like:
    In the case of death, no social security benefit will be available to help with the rent or mortgage (provided the house was even in both names). Paternity of any children will have to be proven in court for them to inherit anything and many more

  17. Lisa Says:

    Not all people who stay married, or who have been married a long time, are necessarily married successfully or “happily.”. I have known quite a number of married couples in various parts of the world, the so-called “baby boomers,” as well as non baby boomers, who have partners that have strayed one too many times. A majority of these couples do not get divorced because of the financial strain or destruction that a divorce would cause, and to a minority, their worry about what their families and friends would say and/or think. The longevity of any marriage is not necessarily a sign that a couple are happy together.

  18. axinia Says:

    agree with you Lisa, it’s true. I guess hapy marriages are as rare as happy people – because finally the secret of happiness is one and the same for every case.

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